While doing some research recently on career development for youth, I came across an interesting study. I’ve always asserted that many people choose their career path for the wrong reasons, one of those being the desire to pursue a career that pays the “most” without giving much thought to whether or not he or she would actually like what pays the “most”.
The study by Srully Blotnick* followed 1500 people from the perspective of their career choices and financial success. Basically, he sought to see what happened when people “went for the money.”
Group A contained 83% of the sample population; the people in this group chose a career path because they believed they could earn a lot of money doing it. Group B, containing 17% of the population chose a career because of their passion for the work.
Twenty years later, 101 of the 1500 hundred were millionaires. One hundred were from group B and one was from group A.
The study illustrates the simple thought that many in career coaching and development see. You are 100 times more likely to be financially successful if you do work you enjoy and have a passion for doing. So what cranks your tractor? What do you have a passion for doing?
The Leadership Lesson in Tractor Cranking
For future leaders, I think the can be translated into a lesson. Choose a career path based on what interests you or cranks your tractor. You are more likely to emerge as a true leader in an industry or occupation in which you enjoy.
For current leaders, I think this study demonstrates the fact that getting people on the right seat on the bus is important component to motivation and success for individuals and organizations. Taking the time to discover what cranks the tractor of those you lead and giving them assignments that cater to their talents and passions, leads to a more successful individual, which leads to stronger company results.
Be aware though, most managers and leaders do not have this discussion with those they lead. I think there are many reasons why, but the main reason being, the thought of, “well what do I do with them if they isn’t anything within the organization in which they have a passion for doing and even if there is, there aren’t any openings or they don’t have the skills to do the job(s) in which they do have a passion for pursuing?”
Being prepared to help a person transition into another position, which may take additional training and time, or even transition them out of your organization is difficult. Most people will not promote the idea of showing people the door, especially if they are competent at their job, but I think a true leader demonstrates their ability to support others, even if it means helping them find their place somewhere else. This gives you the opportunity to pursue filing the position, whether internally or externally, with someone that does have a passion and a talent for the work you need done. This, of course, leads to better business results, which you are responsible for delivering.
*In researching the author of this study before making this post, I found that his research methods and practices have been questioned. As a reader of this blog, I urge you to conduct your own due-diligence to decide whether or not to take his writings and research at full value.