I would like to share with you two stories about why I like having young people around me.
My first story takes place back in the summer of 1977. I am 20 years old and it’s my first day working for a large recruitment company in London. I am sitting near the back of a room crammed full of metal chairs, there must twenty wide and at least thirty deep. On every one of them sits a newbie like me. We are paying extremely close attention to the lady on the podium. She is large, large in every respect; she is intimidating, purposeful, full of fire and energy.
“What?” She booms “What is the absolute secret to success?”
The person next to me says to me in a voice a bit louder than he realises
“Don’t get caught!”
“What was that?” The lady on the podium asks.
The guy next to me goes bright red and tries to hide his face.
“What was that?” the lady booms again.
“Don’t get caught” the guy next to me finally says, and half the audience instantly breaks into a nervous laugh.
“No! No! No!” screams back the lady. “The Absolute secret to success is – do it now!”
And here I am at the age of 60 still advocating the wisdom of the recruitment lady but also, reflecting on the young man’s advice and his desire to make an impression on his environment. I wonder what he is doing today?
The second story is of a friend of mine who, when a young employee, had the luck to work for a very inspirational boss. It was in one of his bosses regular off site sales meetings that his boss told his sales team:“If you do it my way, you stay in. If you do it your way and it works, you stay in. If you do it your way and you fail, you’re out.”My friend looked around at his colleagues then looked to his boss and said “Excuse me sir but if I do it your way and I fail, are you out?”
My friends desire to stand out from the crowd, won him the secret admiration of his boss and they became friends. He went on to a very successful career, spending the following years learning from his mistakes and acquiring the diplomacy and skill needed to get what he wanted by the most efficient means. I wonder today if any of his young colleagues in the room remember the answer he gave to his boss?
Oh! to be challenged by a young person, oh! to have people around you that think out of the box, that have belief and a desire to succeed, who want to make a difference, who are not scared of making a mistake, who are prepared to learn from them and have the confidence to try again!
Have a good week