A few months ago, I put out a request for readers to share stories of practical ways we can prepare students for adulthood. I was finishing up the manuscript for my new book, Artifical Maturity, and wanted to include real-life examples from people around the world. The response was absolutely overwhelming! I’m so thankful for everyone who took time to share ideas. There were so many more than could be included in one chapter of a book. But I wanted everyone to hear these great ideas. So here’s the plan: over the course of next year, I’ll share a story that someone submitted. I hope you find them as challenging and helpful as I did! Today's story comes from M. Croswell in Melbourne, FL.

delegation

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the four stages of delegation. This is an essential skill for leaders to master. Today's blog is a guest post by Randy Allen, a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He has been training military leaders for 25 years. He trains next generation pilots for the Air Force and I appreciate him sharing his expertise with us today.
In the United States Air Force, it is not difficult to find Type A decision makers.  We attract them like moths to a flame.  However, in order to create a successful Air Force officer, it is critical to mold this raw talent into an able group leader.  Among one of the most challenging tasks in building these future leaders is teaching the art of delegation, a crucial component to effective leadership.

leadership internshipThe Harvard Business Review just published an article called, “If Unemployment is So High, Why is Hiring So Hard?” Their answer? It’s the great mismatch between skilled jobs and the talent needed to fill them. In other words, there are lots of young adults out there looking for work—but they often don’t possess the right skill set to take the important and often high paying jobs available. A few years ago, The Telegraph carried an article saying that almost half of employers failed to fill vacancies last year because many university graduates lack basic communication and leadership skills, according to a survey of leading companies. In total, over 43% of employers said positions were left unfilled last year. Ugh. This is both sad and unnecessary. So—let me tell you one small way we are addressing this issue.

entitlementEntitlement is an increasingly common problem among students.

Fox News carried a report about recently that stopped me in my tracks. A professor from Valencia College in Florida, Jack Chambless, was interviewed on an entitlement experiment and an essay he gave his class this semester. He assigned his class to write a short essay on what the American Dream means to you. Students were to write off of the top of their head, for about ten minutes. The papers Chambless received sobered him. The students were clear:

Community Engagement A few months ago, I put out a request for readers to share stories of practical ways we can prepare students for adulthood. I was finishing up the manuscript for my new book, Artifical Maturity, and wanted to include real-life examples from people around the world. The response was absolutely overwhelming! I’m so thankful for everyone who took time to share ideas. There were so many more than could be included in one chapter of a book. But I wanted everyone to hear these great ideas. So here’s the plan: over the course of next year, I’ll share a story that someone submitted. I hope you find them as challenging and helpful as I did! Today's story comes from Ellen P. in Tuscaloosa, AL.

National Security

If you know me—you know that I’m an optimistic person with a well-developed sense of humor. Over the last three years, however, I have been on a warpath to awaken adults to our dismal failure in developing today’s kids into healthy adults. That failure may now affect national security.

In addition to the statistics I share in my book, Generation iY—Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, I now submit a new report, provided by former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and former Chancellor of NYC Schools, Joel Klein.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press, cautions that far too many schools fail to adequately prepare students. "The dominant power of the 21st century will depend on human capital," it said. "The failure to produce that capital will undermine American security."

piracy Today, young people want their music, TV and movies now — even if it means they download these things illegally. According to the Associated Press, “a recent Columbia University survey found that 70 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they had bought, copied or downloaded unauthorized music, TV shows or movies, compared with 46 percent of all adults who'd done the same.”

With such an ingrained attitude, what can be done about widespread online piracy?

influence teamYears ago, J. Oswald Sanders taught me in a book that “leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.” The measure of one’s influence is not moving up the flow chart in a company, but identifying who is listening to who, and who is following who. This is especially true about today’s emerging generation of young people. They are not into titles, positions, tenure or protocol. So, how do we deepen our influence as we work with people, especially young people? Here’s a truth I learned a while back. If you’re wiling to take the blame, people will give you the responsibility.

Autographed BaseballLast week, I got a baseball signed by sixteen guys from the San Francisco Giants. I already treasure it. It’s going on a special shelf in our Growing Leaders offices. No, the autographs are not from major league ballplayers, although many of the signatures are from men who did play pro baseball. Nope—those names do not make up a list of rich and famous all-stars from the Giants organization, although I do cherish autographs from star athletes, of all sports. But these signatures are even more important than that.

A few months ago I was putting the finishing touches on my upcoming book, Artificial Maturity. I put out a request for readers to share stories of practical ways we can prepare students for adulthood. I wanted to include real-life examples from people around the world. The response was absolutely overwhelming! I’m so thankful for everyone who took time to share ideas. There were so many more than could be included in one chapter of a book. But I wanted everyone to hear these great ideas. So here’s the plan: over the course of next year, I’ll share a story that someone submitted. I hope you find them as challenging and helpful as I did!

next generationHave you seen the numbers? The American demographic is changing far more quickly than most of us realize. Because I don’t know the inside scoop on your state, let me illustrate by sharing the statistics I just heard from my home state, Georgia. Between 2012 and 2020, growth in ethnic groups of kids in K-12 education will be:

  • 17% Hispanic population growth
  • 2% African-American population growth
  • .05% Caucasian population growth
Minorities are a Majority Today, 53% of Georgia students are non-white. That’s a majority of minorities. Nearly four in every ten students live in a single parent home. Among Blacks, they’re 300% more likely; among Hispanics, 150% more likely…to live with a single mom. Approximately 25% of our students live in poverty. And get this: 59% receive a free or reduced cost lunch at school. This is sad, but it’s not the most disconcerting to me. Keep reading.

Mind of studentsOn this blog each day, and thorough our organization, Growing Leaders, we are about leading the next generation effectively. We want to help you (an adult) equip the next generation to lead and live well. Today—I want to focus on understanding the teenage mind so we can lead high school and college students to mature in a healthy way. Dr. Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology at U.C. Berkeley, reminds us that children are reaching puberty earlier. Much of this has to do with what they’re eating and what they’re doing. Frankly, kids are eating more and moving less. In an article called, “What’s Wrong with the Teenage Mind?” Ms. Gopnik’s explanation is simple: there are two different psychological systems that interact in the brain to turn children into adults.

Cell phoneMost of us admit—what started as a convenience or even a device for emergencies has become a necessity. I am speaking about our cell phone. In the beginning, I told myself I would only use it once in a blue moon, and only for dire needs. Yeah, right. Today, I make dozens of calls a day. The average teen texts 3,000 times a month from their cell phone. In fact, in a recent nationwide survey, adolescents said they put this kind of technology in the same category as “air and water.” It’s a necessity to live. So, why can’t we just enjoy this new convenience? We can, of course. But there are other factors we must consider.

This month, Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, is releasing a movie called “Bully” in select cinemas across America, including locations like Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco and other major cities. It is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary that is both deeply sad and incredibly hopeful. It tells the stories of kids who’ve been repeatedly bullied

Last week, I spent time at spring training again with a couple of pro baseball teams we work with at Growing Leaders. As a lifelong baseball fan, it's always one of the highlights of my year! While watching the San Francisco Giants warm up on the field—the thought struck me: these guys just hoisted a World Series trophy in the

I’m blogging about commitment this week. I started yesterday with a post titled, "The Value and Cost of Quitting." Here’s one solution to students who are unable to keep a commitment to stay in school. Dohn Community High School, in Cincinnati is using a novel idea to get students to show up on time and attend class: money. Seniors are getting

It is cliché to say it—but we live in a day where quitting is commonplace. We find it easier to walk away from commitments rather than stick with one that no longer seems relevant. In response, we choose to… Leave our spouses. Quit the baseball team. Walk away from contracts. Drop our New Year's resolutions. And why not? In our day, quitting is just…easier. We’ve

We must change our minds about kids. It's time to rightsize our leadership. Perhaps one of these is a common scenario you’ve witnessed before: Parents trying to control their children by filling their schedules with structure, rules and goals to meet. Their hope is—if they just push hard enough, their children won’t embarrass them or be underachievers. Teachers trying so hard to be hip, cool and relevant in the classroom that they cause students to laugh at them. While the faculty members may be in midlife, they act as if they are “forever 21.” Everyone sees the incongruency except for them. Coaches who try to lecture their way into the hearts of their young players. They often become frustrated that the attention spans of their student athletes are about four minutes long. It is the classic “old school” leader with a “new world” team. These scenarios are far too common for my taste. It seems I find adults everywhere who throw their hands in the air in surrender. They don’t know how to lead, parent, coach, pastor or manage today’s “Generation iY” kids, who’ve grown up with iPods, iPhones, iTunes, iPads and the internet. So adults fail to lead at all. Since our world today is so different from the one we grew up in, we grownups frequently don’t make the jump to understanding and practicing good leadership with our kids. So, what are we to do? How should we lead these kids?

delegationAs I work with leaders in education, business, non-profits, and churches—it’s clear that the subject of delegation is still a hot one. Lasting leaders know what must get done, then understand how to “broker” the talents of their team members, and use delegation appropriately to get the work to the right people, in the right proportions. Over my career, I’ve observed there are four stages of getting the work done. See if you can spot yourself on this list: