Blog   Ask Not What Your Country

"Ask not what your country can do for you...

Published on 8th May 2015

...ask what you can do for your country." 

One of the themes at the moment that I'm observing in a wide range of workplaces is derived from a lecture I went to a couple of years back at my boys' high school. 

An American educationalist, Dr Leonard Sax, delivered (somewhat surprisingly to me - I was tired and it was a Monday night!!) an inspirational presentation where his thesis was on how, in educating kids, teaching them resilience is way, way more important than building their self-esteem... and yet as parents we tend to act as if it was the polar opposite. 

It is easy in the workplace to make the same mistake, perhaps especially in the services sector. To have managers and executives spend an overwhelming amount of time on self-esteem resulting in a lack of resilience among team members. 

We are experiencing demand from clients in many different areas for leaders who can achieve the right balance in this regard, especially with the present ambiguity created by technological change. 

A subsidiary effect from getting this balance right and developing resilient people (and this is what the smart companies can see) is that those are the very individuals who will put their hands up to help out on projects and get involved with issues 'outside their day job'. 

They are the people who have vision, place high expectations upon themselves and like it when the organisation does the same. 

They are the people who will become invaluable. They are tomorrow's leaders. 

And they tend to "ask not what the company can do for me...."