Thursday, March 28, 2013

Are They An Asset or a Liability?

In a meeting yesterday I asked Don Oldham, president of Sanford Contractors, what the biggest challenge for his business is…his answered stunned me.

He said, “The biggest human resource challenge is helping my folks understand that what they do today affects what their future will be like.”

We all know the truth of the statement but you’d think the leader of a multi-million dollar firm that builds bridges, develops large industrial and retail sites and builds roads would be thinking about technical issues.

He explained, “In this sort of work a lot of our people come to us with a high school diploma, if that. But, they can work into jobs that pay very well. And to have someone work for us for twenty years for a good salary and they end up living in a single-wide out in the country without a penny to their name…that shouldn’t happen.”

We talked about some of the educational, social and relationship reasons people make the decisions they make and end up with the lives they have.

Then Oldham made a comment that should appear in the air above the head of every person we meet. He said, “So often they don’t think about whether the people they bring into their lives are assets or liabilities.”

I know I’ve brought people into my life…friends, relationships, business connections…who definitely were assets. But, I’ve also brought people into my life who were definitely liabilities. I burned up years of my life being associated with them.

What if, when we met someone, the phrase “Asset or Liability?” appeared in the air above their head like the bright idea lightbulb in a cartoon? And yes, with some people you don’t really know for awhile, but you get the idea.

Take a moment and look around in your life. Who are the assets, the people who are supportive coaches and cheerleaders who’ll help you get to the life you imagine? And, who are the liabilities, the people who support the status quo, make you feel less than positive and act as weights to keep you from reaching your potential?

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