I recently had the supreme pleasure to give my ‘Ignite Your Life’ keynote speech to a group of engineers, business owners, entrepreneurs, educators and governmental leaders. To say I felt like the dumbest guy in the room would be an understatement, however I loved it and meeting them. As I told the group hanging out with really smart successful people is a precursor to self-improvement.
It was a great day!
Hosted by the Capital Area Manufacturers Council (CAMC) at the Kellogg Center on the campus of Michigan State University, and a regular event coordinated by Michelle Cordano, this social/business gathering brings together women and men who want to see our economy thrive and improve.
For example I met Jeff Metts, President of Dowding Industries, and his right hand Rebecca Roberts, Executive Director. Andy Storm, President and CEO of Eckhart and his Director of Human Resources Stephanie Schanher, Jim Bunn, business services Liaison for Capital Area Michigan Works, and Julius Diaz the new Director of Human Resources for Emergent biosolutions, just to name a few. These executives want to move the needle higher and create positive economic momentum.
The demands of the 21st century workforce are dynamic and intriguing, never before imagined. Working to not only encourage upward mobility, these demands will include-
- Learning and education
- Growth, including spiritual, physical and intellectual
- Goals and the ever changing need for re-evaluation, creation and modification of them. Using acronyms such as SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) to challenge us daily on the journey of incremental self- improvement.
- Continual performance evaluation, both on a personal level as well as professional
- Customer focused employees
Together building a new mindset of ‘Exceptionalism-ness’ will overcome many of the obstacles that are becoming pervasive in the 21st century. This mindset will take collaboration and teamwork, and a new paradigm must emerge to really embrace this potential forward momentum. Multigenerational giving and mentoring, training and sharing must occur for continued upward mobility.
In a recent article in Time Magazine, Paul Taylor wrote about Millennials and their “Economic Indignities” where they “unlike their parents and grandparents, this is a downwardly mobile generation, (ouch) with smaller incomes, less wealth, (ugh) more debt, higher unemployment and fewer homes than their parents’ generation had at a similar age”. Stepping to the aid of our children, and for some our grandchildren, has never been a more serious issue. The knowledge economy may hold potential, but only in randomized pockets of success, for the vast majority of millennials the future could be bleak.
That is if we do not do something about it!
As I say on my radio talk show ‘Boomers Rock’ “through adversity grows opportunity”. The intergenerational upward mobility and the confidence growth that is necessary for becoming part of the new normal of ‘Exceptionalism-ness’ is upon us.
The marginalization of certain age groups is the future draining of our talent pool, what will we do to combat this trend?
The best way to battle betrayal is through giving back, to caring and to loving and reaching out in new and better ways. The new-new normal is a time of reflection and re-evaluation of our principles. My speaking to the CAMC really opened my eyes to the concern of these business owners and leaders in finding the next generation of talented skilled trades, fabricators and creative builders. Filling the collective pool of talent, 21st century creative hands on workers and doers, will take ingenuity and it will take effort.
We all may live in the most technologically advanced world ever and the Millennials may be the best educated and omnipresent consumers of technology, but without hands on functional workers, here in our state and other states in our country (manufacturing employs more people than any other category in Michigan) our way of life will not reach the potential that it can be.
And these careers pay really well!
‘Exceptionalism-ness’ will take all of us to get our house in order and dream better dreams. For example, the “Believe in Amazing- The Superintendents Speaker Series” that a group of my friends and I are developing will raise the bar to a new level. This group includes Dr. David Hornak, Superintendent of the Holt public schools, Brian Town, CEO of Michigan Creative and Jeff Fuhrman, President of Third Coast Media.
The Superintendents Speaker Series
In this seminar series we will share ideas, talk about positivity and acknowledge good things that are occurring in secondary education all while building community outreach and brainstorm the next new-new things. Introducing leaders of industry to students, bringing artistic outreach and inclusiveness to the forefront, are just a couple of ideas for our speaker series. Hosted at Holt High Schools auditorium this event brand new event will bring talent, excitement and positivity to the community and public.
Showcasing all that is good, and working toward and helping everyone achieve greatness, multi-generational in nature, community collaboration in scope we are going to make a difference. Building a new mindset, hope and a long term future for our local communities, setting the bar high and working together for all of our futures.
You just gotta light the kindling to start the bonfire that can be greatness!
Hope begins with faith, and leadership is enhanced with outreach, it will be all of us together that can make an impact. The time is here and the time is right to become ‘Exceptional’!
Meeting the executives at the CAMC meeting and delivering my “Ignite Your Life” seminar was really a blessing, I thank everyone who attended for their kindness and positive response, and it was wonderful.
Let us all think about all of these issues, because we all can make a difference, we can all be part of the solution. All it takes is faith!
If you would like to continue this conversation, or if you are looking for the spark to light a fire in your organization and people, contact me for availability in speaking to your group or organization.
Get ready because this is a group event and we want everyone to feel included, heard and part of this game changing process, as we say in radio, “stay tuned”!
Let’s change the world together.