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Of course your people have the tools to succeed. The only question is why they aren’t succeeding at a higher level. Don’t they care about being successful? Aren’t they inherently motivated like you are? Don’t they get the inspiration to fully engage from your motivating presence?
Regardless of motivation, nobody can create the best results without the required tools. That’s where the Chicago Urban Academy can teach us something.
The on-time graduation rate from Chicago public high schools is, sadly, very low. In contrast, the Chicago Urban Academy, an all male high school in one of Chicago’s toughest south side neighborhoods, graduates 100% of its students on time. It’s been that way since they opened their doors. And the story gets better, as 100% of their students go on to college. Lest you think that’s a fluke, 83% of the graduating class of 2010 returned for their sophomore year, compared to an overall average of 35% for African-American males. To be sure, there are several reasons for the outstanding results of the Chicago Urban Academy and one has to do with tools.
The students are given the tools to succeed – the facility, the computer labs, the great teachers, parental involvement and more. These kids work hard and have what they need to tackle their challenges, just like the people in your shop.
But what if that isn’t quite accurate for your people? Sure, you give them the tools to succeed, yet here is an interesting exercise. Go to one of your direct reports and ask this question: “What is it that, if you had it, would make all the difference to maximize your productivity and success?” Then wait to hear what they say.
They just might have an answer that will both open your eyes and open your shop to greater engagement and greater success.
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