During my recent trip, I also taught classes at Tsinghua University, for an entrepreneurship program run by UC-Berkeley’s Center for Entrepreneurship. The students there were very much like those I teach at Duke and Berkeley. They were hungry for knowledge, connections, and ideas. The only difference I noted was in the answer to one question: Why do you want to become an entrepreneur? American students usually talk about building wealth or changing the world. The Chinese said they saw entrepreneurship as a way to rise above “the system,” to be their own bosses and to create their own paths to success. They clearly did not cherish the idea of working for a stodgy state enterprise, an autocratic government, or what they deemed to be an opportunistic foreign multinational. (emphasis is mine)
Yes, times are changing. Out of respect, we should never look down on our workers or allow our manager to treat them like dirt. However, the costs are getting higher and higher. We are losing the best to those who know how to recruit and retain them.
We are retaining too many that are just collecting a paycheck because of our behavior. Similarly, we empower and back managers who sap worker motivation. Together these take away their motivation.
We need to think again whether we have really saved money on that program or saved time. We need to think again what the cost of enduring that manager’s behavior is. You need to think about getting coaching for you or her and compare the costs. They are hard to measure, but good leadership gains and saves you more money than you might imagine.
Thoughts? What are you seeing? Are great workers getting harder to get and keep? Should we invest more in them?