Reach for the STARs

Reach for the STARs

Our February musings have encouraged looking beyond your own environment — whether a groundhog emerging to see his shadow, imagining beyond deep snow drifts to the intricate physics of a single flake, and now urging you to gaze at STARs …

STARs is an acronym for Skilled Through Alternative Routes.

The Burning Glass Institute recently published The Emerging Degree Reset. While employers are finally understanding that eliminating the degree requirement for some of their jobs will give them access to a broader labor pool, there will be a burden as well: 

“A reset requires employers to be more articulate about the skills they require for the job”

Article after article on this topic concedes that employers have used the degree requirement as a proxy for the competencies that they assume a college degree imparts, versus articulating or probing for those behaviors in the interview process.

How many more workers?

In a recent story on Marketplace, Papia Debroy, who leads research at the nonprofit Opportunity@Work said:

“There are more than 70 million workers in our U.S. labor force today who are skilled through alternative routes — through community college, through military service. Most often they’re learning on the job…”

If you’re wondering what sort of employers might be looking for STARs, the piece interviews Jimmy Etheredge, CEO of Accenture North America, who is an advocate.  

“The assumption has always been, ‘I need to look for people that have a technical background, and then the easier thing to teach is the soft skills,’” “It’s easier to teach them the technology, and they already have amazing skills for doing client-customer interaction,” Etheredge said.

If you’ve ever seen a detailed image depicting the crystal structure of a snowflake, it didn’t come from a college graduate.  Those photos taken under a microscope in the bitter cold were taken by a farmer nicknamed Snowflake Bentley who had all the competencies like curiosity, initiative, and determination – but lacked the technical tool to capture the images.  Once armed with that technology, the sky was his limit, and his laboratory.

Are you late to the game?

Are you late to the game?

We were pretty late to the game. 

A sports-mad 21-year-old kept recommending this show about soccer … so you’re a bit skeptical.

But once the friend that actually went to a Premier League match with you decades ago, tells you that you MUST watch it, you actually do.

Luckily we binged shortly before the Emmy’s so were all caught up and understood why Ted Lasso deserved all the raves. 

You can experience this series on so many levels.  If you like football, or programs about sports and coaching, it is great entertainment.  It also proves that once again, sports remain a wonderful arena for Management 101. If you’ve lived or traveled overseas and tried to adapt to a different culture, there are some overt and some subtle chuckles. Given the international nature of the sport, the team that Ted takes on is a perfect example of how complex global organizations are: not only are there personalities to manage, but personalities layered with national … proclivities. 

What all the characters and story lines underscore is that there is no one perfect way to motivate everyone, and that the best coaches and managers take the time and the effort to understand how best to inspire the individuals on their team. With so many leadership lessons from Lasso, some beat me to it.  Late to the game, I tip my hats to them, and share their insights   Read more here and here.

The agility in Ted Lasso is not just on the pitch.  If you scan a few articles, you will discover that the lines between creators, writers, and producers blur.  Brett Goldstein, who received the Emmy for best supporting actor, began as writer and ended up auditioning for a role.  Not unlike the sport at its center, the show scores because the ensemble relies on assists.  When teammates are generous with each other, they are willing to make that extra pass, to get a better line, to set up for a surer goal, and a better ending.