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Is the job engine broken for young people? You decide…

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Just saw this– sent from a “millenial” (generation in their 20’s) to whom I’m closely connected: What I keep hearing and seeing anecdotally–that the young college graduates I know are lining up for unpaid internships, encountering hundreds of applicants for any non-service industry jobs that pay less than a living wage at best–is backed up by this piece in the Huffington Post. We are supposedly 4 years into a recovery– the stock market is strong and corporate profits and top executive salaries are at record highs– but the jobs, incomes, and opportunities under the traditional system are in measurable decline. Wages are flat, even down in real money terms– while the basic costs of living flow relentlessly uphill. (Case in point– a Verizon smart phone costs the average person $100+ a month for minimum data and minutes. I recently priced it. A person today is basically unemployable today without mobile access. Verizon told me that even their non-data phone plans, will cost you about $75/month soon. No average person’s wage is keeping up with inflation like this).

The only answer for millions of new generation Americans–trained to expect good jobs to be handed to them after following all the rules in school–trained to be job seekers and optimizers and keepers of the status quo– is a paradigm shift: to learn to think more like job creators. In short, to think like entrepreneurs. That means learning in schools to take a different view of risk, a different view of what a job is, a different view of the future. The entrepreneurs will make the jobs, make the new markets, make the innovations that will keep us in a leadership role–or not. We need a new national priority–to expose children to entrepreneurship in the same way we expose them to math and science at the earliest age. This priority is as important as any wartime mobilization this country has ever had. It needs come from the top down–including our political leaders.

Otherwise– we can’t get there from here. The 1% is flying along. But even they must realize that their jet is going to hit a mountain if the vast majority can’t afford to sustain the banks and corporations whose equity is the basis of their wealth.

We are the original entrepreneur nation. We need to remember it and recommit our whole system to it,  now.




Why Fear Cultures Need to be Changed

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We learned a lot about Fear on our journey to write The UnStoppables. For each individual, Fear is the most primitive of emotions. It was designed a million years ago to keep us from danger. But in the process, it became the great stopper of dreams, innovative ideas and creative action. As the Navy SEALs say, it makes you stay in your hole. We learned that Fear even distorts our thinking processes and colors our perceptions with dark tones.

We must learn to outwit this quick, dumb animal inside of us so we can dare to take regular, intelligent risks. We must learn to accept “intelligent failure” to make individual progress–especially in our new age of constant accelerating change. We can never eliminate Fear, but we can tame it. And when we do, just like breaking a wild horse, we turn the beast into our own power.

Now collect hundreds or thousands of individuals into a modern entity called a corporation. To survive in a world ruled by accelerating change, this corporation must do what individuals need to do. It must be innovative, creative, adaptive and ready to take decisive action. Its collective personality and tradition–that is, its culture–has to allow the group to take intelligent risks and to accept intelligent failures, just like individuals do.

But what happens when a corporate culture is designed to maintain and even promote Fear–the way traditional command and control cultures of big companies were set up to do in decades past? What happens when the culture punishes any weakness or mistake, when intelligent risk taking is considered dangerous for any one but the owners or top leaders–where any misstep might be an excuse for a firing, rather than a means to learn, refine and improve?

The answer is that the impulse to innovate in cultures like this is effectively killed. The impulse to create and to dare is quashed. The ability to adapt and grow in an age of constant accelerating change is chained to a stake in the yard.

Big corporate Fear cultures can no longer compete in a global marketplace that demands every ounce of creativity, energy and engagement its employees have to offer if they are to have any chance of winning the economic future.

It’s just that simple. It was okay in the 20th century when America had no one to compete against. Corporate leaders could create whatever kinds of cultures they wanted and still win. Not now.

In the war for the future, companies of all sizes need to be innovative to the core. To be innovative they need to be entrepreneurial. To be entrepreneurial, the culture must celebrate a belief in intelligent risk in service of the mission–belief in learning, belief in customers and in the creativity inherent in all engaged employees. Belief that value is not created by Fear, but by turning Fear around together.

To be innovative and to succeed, the culture must allow its people to be entrepreneurs in spirit. Fear cultures kill it. Belief cultures multiply it.

It’s our responsibility to win the war for the future. We can’t get there from Fear.










Top 30 Business Books for Entrepreneurs

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Someone sent us this link tonight. It was a list of the top 30 business books according a website for entrepeneurs called I started scrolling through the list. #1 was Dale Carnegie’s all time classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People probably the best business, sales and personal wisdom book of all times. So I immediately decided to respect this list maker’s taste and judgement. He didn’t start off with the book BANG! about the AFLAC Duck, for example. A host of other great ones followed–some old and timeless like Think and Grow Rich, best sellers like Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth, and some of the more new age ones by Tim Ferriss and Daniel Pink.

Now here’s the rest of the story. #20 was, you guessed it (I didn’t guess it by the way) The UnStoppables. Always a nice surprise for anyone who’s ever written a book, believe me. The host of the site also has a podcast interview series with some excellent past guests. One of the most notables for me was “The GPS Girl– also the voice of Siri–Karen Jacobsen. She even looked like Siri–blonde, willowy, sweet, patient, loving and kind. I expected her to be wearing two giant hearing aids though because she is clearly hearing impaired–she NEVER understands my voice!!! But you didn’t see those in her publicity shot. He also had the guy who started 1-800-Got-JUNK, Brian Scudamore.

I called the host, Peter Sveen, to thank him. We started talking a little about the book and he asked if we could do a show. Of course, I said. Secretly, I’m hoping we get to include a call-in with Siri. Something tells me she’s a born entrepreneur.