Let the newbies know the truth
Loop North News

Howard Tullman
Too many youngsters are entering the workforce with delusions of their own grandeur. It is vitally important that they’re checked into reality before you hire them.

3-Apr-22 – New employees need a simple, straightforward, cohesive, and consistent introduction to your business, your company’s culture, and your work philosophy if they’re going to be successful – especially if they’re going to be mostly remote.

Simple doesn’t mean dumb in this case, but it does mean short and sweet.

Straightforward means telling it like it is and letting the chips fall where they may. You’re much better off filtering out newbies with attitude and entitlement problems at the outset – and maybe even losing a few prospects in the process – rather than inviting fundamentally unhappy and chronically dissatisfied folks into your shop.

Cohesive and consistent means that, in this painful age of constant management contortions – as business owners try to please everyone, be politically correct, and ensure that everyone’s opinions matter and that they all get a vote on everything – your public pronouncements and positions actually do have to align with and be supported by the day-to-day rules and ways you run the business.

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Having personally hired hundreds of employees over several decades, I’ve never seen such an influx of confused and deluded young people looking for a workplace that simply doesn’t exist.

Sadly, they’ve been primed and “woke” in academic bubbles that have set utterly unrealistic expectations. They’ve been overwhelmed with media imagery and fantasy articles about work-life balance and doing just what you love; they’ve been inundated with social media junk and the fake lives and lies of influencers; they’ve been told repeatedly that they’re now in “the driver’s seat” in terms of employment negotiations and smothered by all the other online noise and clutter that sucks up far too great a portion of their lives.

There’s no escaping this stuff and any entrepreneur who’s looking to hire these kids has to try to help straighten them out so that they actually know what they’re signing up for and, if it’s not right for them, they can do everyone the favor of bailing out and going elsewhere.

These aren’t likely to be quick or easy conversations, but they’re essential for any business that’s hoping to find the right talent and the right fit for them and, at the same time, grow quickly. Getting hiring right – right at the start – is the name of the whole game. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with a constantly revolving door and treading water.

“Having personally hired hundreds of employees over several decades, I’ve never seen such an influx of confused and deluded young people looking for a workplace that simply doesn’t exist.”

There are many different messages and approaches that might work in situations like this, but I’ve found five ideas, attitudes, and thoughts that consistently appear in the most successful conversations. There’s no magic to the syntax – whatever words work best for you will get the job done.

1 You have to commit fully to the work and put your whole self into everything you do – and do it with a vengeance. Don’t come to work merely to do a decent job; there’s no room these days for “whatever” or adolescent indifference. Work matters. There are no easy jobs; there are only graceful ways of performing difficult ones. Be proud of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. No wobbling and no white lies. Don’t say “maybe” when you want and need to say “no.” Don’t try to do things cheaply that you shouldn’t do at all.

If you’re constantly hedging your bets, then even on your best days, your results will still be mediocre. Band-Aids and duct tape solutions are the worst bets you can make. If you can’t do it well, do something else.

2 Everything today is about time, which is our scarcest and most precious resource. You can’t afford to dawdle because speed is what sets the best players apart. You never get back the time you waste in not making a fast and final decision. Especially in times of radical and rapid change, the faster you decide, the more likely the chances that your choices will be successful.

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing. Any decision is better than no decision.

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3 No one is irreplaceable, but the best and most successful people are invaluable because they’re the ones others turn to when there’s a problem. The people you can always count on to be there and help – the ones you tend to run to, not away from, in a crisis. You want to be someone’s first stop when they need help, and not their last resort.

This isn’t something that happens automatically or overnight – it’s something you build, nurture, and demonstrate throughout your career. You make your passion and enthusiasm apparent, you’re always available and up for the next challenge, you do your homework and put in the necessary time and effort, and you don’t quit. When the chips are down and the fat’s in the fire, you want to be the one who people can count on.

4 Learn to let things go. Not everything can be fixed, finished, or saved. Sometimes you don’t even get to understand everything. Some things aren’t problems to be solved, they’re situations that we need to learn to live with. Mistakes happen to everyone unless they’re sleeping. The trick is not to dwell on them. Fix them, learn from them, make the best of them that you can, and move on. Don’t be a prisoner of the past.

The best athletes have “in game amnesia.” They forget their past flops, the missed shots, and the officials’ bad calls so they can focus 100 percent on the present and make their next shots count.

5 It’s okay to fail sometimes as long as you gave it your best, asked for help when you needed it, didn’t try to hide the problem, and ultimately owned the whole mess. But it’s never okay to quit in the middle and leave people in the lurch. We want to give people permission to fail without accepting that those failures are warranted, unavoidable, or inevitable. Tell them to save their breath and give any alibis, sad stories, and painful explanations to someone else. There’s no such thing in the real world as a good excuse.

The bottom line is pretty simple. You can’t build a real business without a solid foundation based in truth. Telling people only what they want to hear or half-truths about what life in your business is really like isn’t doing anyone a favor. Lies mortgage your firm’s future while the truth will set you up for long term success.

• Contact Howard Tullman at h@g2t3v.com

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