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By David Harder on December, 14, 2017

Why Do Our Children Need Sales Training?

My colleague Mary Campbell and I are developing a new business that includes a digital platform and book designed to help parents better understand how to prepare for the future of work. Until recently, Mary was the chief talent officer at The University of Southern California. They were our client. As the great recession was still in play, Mary and I often discussed the challenges facing higher education. At the time, much of our national media was telling the story of young people going to college so they could get a better job and have a more secure future. Unfortunately, many were coming home unemployed and staying in their old rooms. We came to the conclusion that our biggest challenge is that parents are not changing their own outlook and behavior about work…quickly enough.


As the acceleration of change continues, the old outlook of getting an education to become more secure is quickly sounding as quaint as Y2K. Today, many parents are deeply confused about how to even talk about the work of tomorrow. One of the significant indicators this is the case comes from The New York Time’s recent survey. In it, 48% of our nation’s workers described themselves as “underemployed.” Our interpretation of the figure is that at least half of our workers are not staying ahead of change and in fact getting thrown to the curb. Change is becoming so vast and yet we continue to instill this idea that security will be derived from a job or a professional category. Instead, this is the critical time to help our children learn the very skills that will give them the power to change.


Thousands of people have used The Inspired Work Program to define and find their life’s work. Some would characterize the journey as finding what they were born to do. Our participants realize the internal obstacles that are in the way, such as outmoded beliefs. They connect with the critical life skills that bring success to anyone. Today, we need these skills whether we love our work or hate it. The skills include being able to draw healthy attention to oneself, to know how to build a support system, to persuasively present one’s ideas and value, as well as connect with and influence others. Why? As the old job model crumbles and the cycles of change skyrocket, we need these skills to thrive.


How fast will it get? Today’s college graduate will change careers (not jobs) four-to-six times. That figure wasn’t pulled out of thin air. Cathy Sandeen is the Chancellor of The University of Wisconsin. Previously, Cathy was the Dean of UCLA Extension, our nation’s largest adult education resource. In fact, she built that school into a powerhouse. Cathy has been researching the impact of change on education. Every time we encounter career change, we need to be able to connect effectively with others. In our work with engagement, these are also the skills necessary to thrive in today’s fast-paced world. If that is true, then doing the work that we love, encouraging our children to find work that they love is a far better idea than going after traditional jobs that offer smaller and smaller returns. This is why we need to build these skills as we become adults. Without the skills? Life is and will be tough.


Recently, Mary and I talked to a national organization about new education for young people. I pointed out that we cannot find one learning institution, from Kindergarten to Graduate School that insists on learning the skills that prepare us for a successful life. Most likely, this is because learning the skills require a bit of courage. Even in law schools, there are no programs that teach business development. Consider the educational failure when we compare two equally good attorneys. Which one will become a partner? The one that brings in business.


As technology and software eliminate task-based work, we are seeing new careers that require creativity, empathy, and connectivity. As Mary and I finished our presentation, we moved on to Q & A. One individual told us of a program at his child’s school that is providing life skills such as learning how to use a checkbook. But, there was nothing about connecting with other people. Chills went down my spine when a teenager was awarded “student of the month” and refused to come to the podium to collect the prize. Our schools and many of our parents are completely out of touch with the crisis that comes when a highly gifted student cannot deal with attracting even positive attention.


This past week, I was given the gift of meeting Brandon Farbstein. At eighteen, Brandon is the youngest professional member of the National Speakers Association. He was born with a condition that stopped his growth when he reached 3′ 8″. He has various physical disabilities. When he was fifteen, he asked his parents to consider buying him a customized mobility device that resembles a small Segway. They responded by telling him to raise the money. He did just that and it opened the doors for him to develop the kind of confidence to speak to millions of people. If you want to be moved by someone’s spirit, look up his Ted Talk. During our chat, I told him how moved I was by the vision his parents had in telling him to raise the money. That was the moment that cracked his commanding demeanor. Senator Ben Sasse, a former College President, recently published The Vanishing American Adult. In it, he talks about how our country is adopting the child rearing model of ancient Europen aristocracy where we shield our children from discomfort, protect them from the topics of work and extend their adolescence as long as humanly possible.


We need to be giving our children the confidence to be and to succeed as themselves. This is learnable. The problem is that we are not teaching them. The work that is emerging right now is far more exciting than sitting in a cubicle and meeting quotas. The workplace coming towards us will solve many of the world’s existing problems, will probably cure cancer and make higher education available to everyone for free. Our children will not be tethered to mind-numbing work unless that is all they can find based on the narrow vision we gave them.


We are living in a time when it is vitally important to tell our children that they can do whatever they want if they prepare and learn. We live in a turning point and it is time to give our children the mindset and the life skills to develop confidence and self-trust. In fact, let us give them the faith they will deal with anything this world dishes out to them.


Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc.


(C) Copyright, 2017, Inspired Work, Inc. – (All Rights Reserved)


If you would like to discuss your workplace or your career with David Harder, schedule fifteen-minutes, Here.