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TRANSITIONING PARENTING ROLES AND WORKPLACE ACCEPTANCE

The articles keep piling on: Just this week the New York Times Sunday Styles section (August 12, 2012) big feature on the changing attitudes about stay-at-home dads; and sports pages in many newspapers and electronic media on professional athletes’ fatherly devotion (e.g., Eli Manning, elite quarterback, said he thinks he’s an “elite dad”). I wrote about this trend in sports several years ago, and I’m delighted to see young fathers in other occupations not only expanding their parenting roles, but also speaking publicly about it.

My big questions are:

1-    How much have attitudes in the workplace (not the sports arena) changed toward part-time worker/dads and stay-at-home dads?

2-    Will elimination of stigmas regarding work/life flexibility for men accelerate acceptance and new flexibility for everyone and help women in the workplace as well?

3-    Are the more open attitudes a generational thing, more prevalent with Gen X and Gen Y/Millennials?

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com

 

ATHLETIC GENERATION GAP: HEADS-UP TO RECRUITERS

#generations. You know Gen Y Athletes are serious about social media when they only respond to scouts/college coaches by Facebook and Twitter, not phones. ”Coaches New Friends

 

NEXT GENERATION OF MANAGEMENT INCHING UP TO SPRING TRAINING AND CULTURE CHANGE

I often use baseball references in my work and writing. Many of those who know me know I am a big New York Mets fan (after being a huge Yankee fan through age 18). All baseball fans know that the Mets have had a string of bad years. The new manager, a veteran manager, Terry Collins has a new approach for himself as well as the team.  First off, though naturally intense, as a manager he wants to have fun, and for the players to have fun with each other, according to a recent interview in the New York Post by reporter Kevin Kernan.

Here’s his plan: bowling, communication, involving players and management together in their daily work life, giving the players a voice. The bowling (with bowling balls displaying the Mets logo) and pizza is meant to be fun and draw the team together.

Collins admits to doing a bad job managing the clubhouse in previous stints as a manager. But he thinks his communication skills have improved and his approach is changing. He told the coaches he wants them to have input into clubhouse life too and to have their lockers with the players. And he wants the players to have a voice in things. His formula for the players is preparation, self-discipline, maximum effort and a thoughtful process.

For the manager’s part, he promises communication and stability and spelling out expectations so that each player will know where he is playing and what he is expected to be doing.

He seems to have a grasp of management as Harvard Business School professor Linda Hill (not advising the Mets) defines it: it’s about interdependence and getting things done by working with and through others.

Collins is a Boomer managing Gen Xers and Gen Y/Millennials. My reading is that he is expressing humility, openness, challenge, approachability, collaboration, consistency, high expectations, confidence and ability to make decisions - which should be appealing.

For the Mets and other organizations that have been struggling with some dysfunction, this sounds like a good start. Whatever your team, what do you think of this approach? Is it a winning formula for success and fun?

Phyllis Weiss Haserot      www.pdcounsel.com

BASEBALL PROFESSIONALS TRANSITIONING OPTIONS

While Bernie Williams contemplates whether to show up at Yankee spring training, some additional thoughts on transitioning - mainstream and from left field.

Don Mattingly, former star and now Yankee bench coach, had these words of insight as quoted in the New York Times (2/16/07): Because he no longer had the daily structure he had become used to as a player, Mattingly called his first year out of baseball "a weird year and a tough year." He spent time driving his children to various activities and tended to his horses instead of going to a game or a workout.

"We grow up playing this game and that's all we do," said Mattingly. "It's hard to say you're done. I liked the way I did it. The last thing you want to say is 'I'm done,' and then a year later say 'I want to play.'"

So there's the tension of indecision as to when to go. No doubt many white collar professionals often feel the same. They need something to look forward to where they can retain a professional identity.

What do former major league baseball players do? (Apologies for the New York focus - it's my backyard.) Some of the choices are obvious. A lucky group become sportscasters or managers or coaches if they have that type of talent and want to stay in the game. Some have offers and are still in limbo. For example, former Yankee and Mets star and future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson has had offers from the Mets to coach young players on base-stealing and other skills. He is back at Mets spring training for the second year as a special coach for a short stint, having turned down full-time offers because he still wants to be a player (which he has done in the Independent league and still hopes for a major league spot). Todd Ziele is making movies among other things (and does stints of color commentary on occasion). Traditionally, a lot of players opened bars and restaurants, but with financial backing and savvy business advisers, they are able to plan for more diverse opportunities.

For something completely different, Mo Vaughn, no longer fit enough to be able to play under his hefty contract, launched a successful business career completely unrelated. His company builds affordable housing in areas that desperately need it. Not only is he doing good, he loves the business.

Like elite athletes, many white collar professionals have done well financially, so their interest is in doing meaningful things and retaining or building a new personal and professional identity rather than how they can make the most money. Sorting through the possibilities to arrive at the right thing for each individual can be a time-consuming but exciting process. It should start early, years before the need to let go and go.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com

LETTING GO - TRANSITIONING IN BASEBALL

Almost time for pitchers and catchers - spring training - I'm so happy!  Many people who know me know I am a big baseball fan. I write and speak about business lessons and leadership with baseball illustrations. See my business lessons to be learned from Omar Minaya (General Manager of the New York Mets - my team, though I was a rabid Yankee fan as a kid).
But now I am thinking about transitioning in baseball after reading some quotes from former Yankee Paul O'Neill (New York Post , February 11, 2007) on Bernie Williams having to face the fact that there is no room for him on the Yankee roster.
These are words any successful professional can relate to. No matter how great a player is, there has to be an end, even if it's not a happy one, and " it's sad to see players who have been a huge part of the organization go," O'Neill said. Williams, at 38, is the same age as O'Neill was when he retired, but O'Neill did it on his own terms. Williams wants to stay and play on the Yankees' team. Though he still has considerable skill and would be likely to get an offer from another team, the Yankees have decided to fill the slot with younger talent. O'Neill added," He still is a very good player. I think any time you are not able to play where you want or with whom you want, you take it personally."
I am relieved that Bernie Williams, a great fan favorite as well as a tremendous player for 16 seasons as a Yankee, has chosen to retain his dignity and not risk being cut in spring training and/or being sent to the minors. Lucky he has other interests as a musician and songwriter, giving concerts and making a CD in his spare time. He will sort things out.
Other types of professionals (lawyers, accountants, etc.) facing either mandatory retirement age requirements or pressures from younger colleagues in their firms to transition out, also need to read the handwriting on the wall. They need to make their plans for their next career/life destination, cooperate in transitioning to younger professionals and let go with dignity to preserve relationships and preserve their legacy.
New adventures lie ahead for those who know to let go.
Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com

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