Flourishing in Business: An Introduction
“Sustainability” has become a highly popular, perhaps overused, term in business today. Often it refers to environmental issues. Today, I want to apply it to people – particularly those that will take your place in leadership in ten, twenty or thirty years. What are they learning? To whom are they listening? What will they stand up for? Will they sustain and build on the prosperity you and others have created?
We’ll propose some ideas over the next week or so, but for now, let’s go to the research. It’s stunning – at least I hope you’ll think so. Leading firms are seeing more and more candidates who are graduating from leading universities and seeking entry level positions that are as bright as ever, but know less and less of what they need to know, in business and in life.
These candidates don’t know history. The research is depressing. One study, “Still at Risk: What Students Don’t Know, Even Now” found that 25% of 17 year olds surveyed nationwide could not identify Adolf Hitler. Forty percent could not place World War 1 as having occurred between 1900 and 1950. Their knowledge of the founding of our nation is even more dismal.
They don’t understand civic responsibilities either. The Civic Literacy exam administered by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) is failed by 57% of college graduates. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni rated Yale as a “D” in preparing their students to succeed after graduation. Princeton gets a “C” and Harvard a “D”. (I’ll bet Hillsdale College, Patrick Henry and Wheaton – among others – do better though.)
In fact, The California Teachers Union has produced a video, narrated by Ed Asner, which is a real eye opener regarding what our kids are learning and how they are being indoctrinated. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOegA8MgC2o. Prepare to be aghast, but you’ll likely be impressed with their marketing.
It shouldn’t be surprising then, that our system of free enterprise capitalism is not very popular with so many of today’s young people. In fact, recent data from Pew Research reveals that a majority of 18 – 29 year old Americans favor living under Socialism rather than Free Enterprise. At Tenacity, we find this alarming and we believe that it should deeply worry every single one of us and create concern for the future that our children and grandchildren face.
It gets worse. Sixty-two percent of Americans believe that corruption is widespread across corporate America. According to Transparency International, an anticorruption watchdog, nearly three in four believe that corruption has increased over the last three years. Their default association with “capitalism” is in fact “corruption” followed by “cronyism”.
We believe that every one of us needs to play a part in changing the nation’s thinking and reversing these trends. The ultimate issue is that there is no narrative that young people have to really understand how to create both value and jobs and how to increase per capita wealth through business and our free enterprise system.
We think it will take real “tenacity” to make a positive difference and we’ll offer more of our insights and ideas in the next two weeks. In the meantime, we’d be most interested in thoughts you might have. Please use the “Comment” link below, to opine publicly, or “Reply” above to reach us privately. Until next week,