Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You might be a slacker if...

...your effort is contingent upon the prize.

During a talk with a group of twenty-somethings recently, I provided a brief small group competition. It was a 20-minute exercise and they were informed it was a competition. They were not informed in advance of the prize to be awarded the winning small group.

At the conclusion of the exercise and the announcement of the winning team, the whole room wanted to know their prize. What if the prize was a raise, I asked the room. Wow! You could hear the uproar from blocks around! Exclamations of "That's not fair!" were hollered by several in the room. One person even said she would tell on me to the CEO! 

Separate from the young tattle-tale needing to learn communication, emotional intelligence, and general people skills, what stands out to you?

A few things stood out to me:
First, I'm quite certain they all expected to get a prize or they expected the winners' prize not to be too great. People in this age group are used to getting trophies just for showing up once in a while. They are not used to standing out when they do something extra. In fact, they are not used to having to do anything extra and seem to resent being asked to do so.

Second, and what I spoke with them about at the time, their effort on the team project was dependent upon the prize. When they found out the prize could be something more than a cheery smile, many commented that they would have tried harder had they known. The effort of many was contingent on the prize rather than on their own pride in their work. 

I find that sad. 

At such an early stage of their careers, they already do not give their all to each task. I wonder if they ever had pride in their performance or if they just never had to?

For the record, most of the young people in the room tried hard, worked together, and wanted to win no matter what. About a third of the group, the loudest of course, were the slackers. I am glad most of the group gets it and I hope they don't let the loud slackers ruin their attitudes and expectations of themselves. 

You might be a slacker if...
  • Your effort is contingent upon the prize.
  • You blame others for your lack of effort.
  • You think procrastination is a viable success strategy.
Jeff Foxworthy, watch out! What might be a slacker if...fill in the blank...

No comments:

Post a Comment