Companies hire intelligent and experienced talent, then expect those same people to check their brains at the door.
By Kent Mulkey
It’s been over 25 years since I completed my graduate training in counseling psychology, but I do remember one thing; the family “rules” that were imbedded in us as kids are readily carried with us into adulthood, including the workplace.
For reasons beyond me, parents give birth to children who are full of energy and curiosity, then early on begin to tell them to keep quiet and mind their manners. My mom’s favorite line was, “Children are to be seen and not heard.” I did her one better and chose not to be seen at all. When I showed up after the 4th grade she had forgotten what I looked like and thought I was the neighbor’s kid.
Companies hire intelligent and experienced talent, then expect those same people to check their brains at the door. The employee quickly learns that being seen (coming to work) is necessary to earn a paycheck. Using their brain is not. Asking tough questions or thinking in greater depth is a dangerous waste.
It can be different, it must be different and, fortunately in many companies, it is different. It means speaking up, which is worth it and anything that is worth doing is worth whiffing at a few fastballs at first, until we learn to hit a few home runs. We have to get really good at this. The senior living arena is changing faster than a Nolan Ryan fastball.
Theo Epstein, President of the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs said it this way at his 2017 Yale commencement address:
“…some of us go through our careers with our heads down, focused on our craft and our tasks, keeping to ourselves, worrying about our numbers or our grades, pursuing the next objective goal, building our resumes, protecting our individual interests. Other players go through our careers with our heads up, as real parts of a team, alert and aware of others, embracing difference, employing empathy, genuinely connecting, putting collective interests ahead of our own. It is a choice.”
Keep your head up. It will keep you from slamming it on your desk.