In America, the problem with our schools and workplaces is not so much that there is an achievement or productivity gap, it is that there is an engagement gap. This gap is due to a ruling ideology in current mainstream education and in the business arena that focuses on the shortcomings of students and employees. This perspective produces a climate in both education and in the business world in which students and employees are viewed as something to be fixed and not as valuable assets that are integral to the success of the organizations and systems that they serve.
This type of ideology creates multiple problems that affect both business and education. In regards to the educational system, this approach fails to meet student’s basic developmental needs. This failure leads to a lack of involvement in school, a decline in student productivity, as well as a decrease in the student’s ability to connect with others and navigate their way through challenging situations. This directly affects the business world due to the fact that the employees produced by this system enter into businesses and organizations lacking many basic skills that are necessary for them be more productive workers, managers, and CEOs. Secondly, this ideological perspective creates a deficit-focused workplace that fails to engage employees. Research done by Gallup shows that workplaces that focus on employee’s short-comings and weaknesses are far less engaging than those who focus on the strengths and talents of their employees. This lack of engagement leads to a decrease in productivity in the work place and ultimately leads to a loss of profit.
- Young people just don’t care about education.
- It is our job to “fix” youth and non-productive employees.
- If I focus on what is wrong with people it will motivate them to be more productive.
- Create a shift in thinking that encourages organizations, schools, and businesses to focus on providing the basic supports and opportunities needed to promote optimal development of students and employees.
- Encourage Individuals to focus on what’s right in order to help fix what’s wrong.
Create five key supports and opportunities that promote desirable outcomes:
- Access to emotionally, culturally and physically safe environments
- Caring and consistent healthy relationships
- Opportunities to participate (decision making power)
- Opportunities to contribute and know the community
- Opportunities to build skills in engaging and challenging ways