This week’s book review is Men Without Work by Nicholas Eberstadt
Eberstadt defines a problem in the US that has so far remained invisible to the public: There are literally tens of millions of able-bodied American men who have left the US workforce and are not even trying to participate.
He goes into great detail with charts, research reports, and statistics to try and frame the problem and understand why it is happening. Although he has some ideas on how to solve the problem, the book does not try to create a solution but rather focuses on framing the problem.
Take a look at the chart below to see the worrisome decline in the workforce participation!
“That is not my problem.”
If anyone in your business responds to a coworker or to a customer with “that is not my problem…”, your business is in serious trouble! These five words signal a dangerous situation where that employee is totally disengaged from the business and does not care about it, their coworkers, the customer or their career with your company.
I have heard these words many times over the years and other variants like:
“The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing.” Stephen Covey
What is your “main thing”? What is it that you do so well that people are willing to pay you for it? If you are not doing your main thing, or what you do best every day, chances are you are frustrated and even disengaged at work. According to Gallup annual poll, only 31.5% of US employees were engaged at work in 2014. That means that 68.5% of the US is not engaged in their work! As business leaders, this should scare us!
My main thing is leadership. Specifically: strategy, process and structure, and communication. Today, I do that from a business point of view by setting business strategy and vision, building processes and structure to implement that strategy and then communicating to the organization through this process. Prior to business leadership, I did the same thing from a project management perspective and, earlier, from an engineering and construction perspective.