Doc, millennials and mailing it in…


This summer we have an intern at BTL. His name is Doc. He writes me everyday after practices are complete with his learning. He’s 20 years old. Here’s yesterday’s writing unvarnished. Read it, my savvy professional friend – you just might learn something…

“Today was a good day for progress. In the morning practice, we picked 2 out of the ten people to say where we wanted to go and had a whole practice worth of discussion. One thing that was so cool about the discussion is how naturally conversations and questions flowed from everyone in the room. It’s always a good sign when a team trusts each other and can talk through problems together without having to take forever to get going. I was encouraged by everyone’s desire to step up and ask questions. The major theme for the day came down to the line “play it back”.

We talked about how as a leader it is never okay to leave any conversation wondering what the other person is thinking. When someone seems to be having a strong reaction to dig at what’s at the root of that reaction. Not only that but to just plainly make sure they heard you right! So much of our miscommunication is a simple play it back line away. When we forget to do this, and suck, now we must go and repair. Another element of the mornings practice was how often we need to role play to teach people. When someone has shown a lack of competence in a certain area we must find ways to teach making sure we have their attention. Know your players and know what type of animal they are.
Practice two was super encouraging. Here we are actually starting to see some significant progress in putting action to the plan. Some of this is really hard but one month at a time we can make it through difficult seasons like this. If we know the approach to what the actions we need to take are, now it is time to take a disciplined approach to living them out. Getting up to be at the office early and paying down debt are parts of that discipline. The learning from GM rings in my head too. They were failing and putting out poor quality. What changed? They made a choice to change and got people who knew about quality. Once they learned they slowly integrated that learning to the floor. They got lean. There’s a thousand tiny details going on in the floor, going on in our lives. When we make a choice to change it doesn’t just dump truck happen overnight, rather its a slow integration of our learning.”

Good writing, doc. Good learning. What are you writing and learning each day, my mature professional friend? What are you doing to improve your performance tomorrow, business pro? What are you habituating to build your second nature, leader? Where in your work/life are you choosing to simply mail it in, my friend?

Doc’s a classic millennial – just mailing it in. Funny, huh…

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