Is Showing Up 60 percent of the Time Good Enough?

By January 14, 2016Leadership

showing upIn this political season, there are a lot of polls. Here is another one, and it is from USA TODAY and Rock the Vote. Rock the Vote is a nonprofit focused on engaging and driving youth to vote. Voting is a citizenship responsibility, yet it is one often skipped. Before jumping into this element, let’s highlight a few of the statistics on what Millennials think about the upcoming election.

Millennials and Voting

The good news is more Millennials are optimistic than pessimistic, but the optimism percentage should be higher. Challenges always exist, and an optimistic mindset helps us overcome them.

  • 57% say they are optimistic about the future of the United States
  • 34% are pessimistic

Voting creates some ambivalence.

  • 55 percent agree “there are better ways to make a difference than voting”
  • 3 of 4 say voting is a way to change things in their communities and have an impact on issues
  • A majority say their vote could decide an election

Voting is just one way to make change happen. Getting involved in local communities can have longer term positive impacts. Voting and engaging are not mutually exclusive.

Ashley Spillane, president of Rock the Vote, is right:

“These poll numbers should put to rest the notion that Millennials are unaware of the value of their vote. But the numbers also underscore how critical the work we do to engage young people in the entire civic process — from demystifying registration and voting to providing key information about candidates and issues. It’s on all of us to make sure new voter to know how much critical they are to the future of our democracy.”

On the partisan and voting preferences:

  • One-third will likely vote in the Republican primaries
  • 4 in 10 will likely vote in the Democratic primaries
  • 6 in 10 will likely vote in November

33 percent. 40 percent. 60 percent. The last statistic is troublesome since it means 40 percent of Millennials may not vote at all. Unfortunately, not voting cuts across all generations. Just a little more than 58 percent of the eligible United States population voted in the last presidential election. Too many are guilty of not voting.

Showing Up: Voting Participation Applied to Life and Work

What if this 60/40 split showed up in other places in our work and life? Meaning, what would happen if we only participated 60 percent of the time and did not show up 40 percent of the time? Some thoughts:

  • What if we went home only 60% of the time?
  • What if we showed up for work only 60% of the time?
  • What if we missed 40% of our team meetings?
  • What if we missed 40% of our kid’s events during a school year?
  • What if we only loved our spouse or partner 60% of the time?
  • What if our spouse or partner only loved us 60% of the time?
  • What if we only loved our kids or parent 60% of the time?
  • What if we missed our project deadlines 40% of the time?
  • What if we missed our revenue and profitability numbers 40% of the time?
  • What if we only bought 60% of the groceries we needed?
  • What if we only completed 60% of work objectives?

I know. Some are thinking in a cynical way. Some would love to be loved 60% of the time! I get the fact that we live in imperfect situations, but this isn’t an excuse to check out.

Others may be remembering that employee engagement is lower than the voting rates. They are correct. The last Gallop poll found that less than one-third of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs. Gallop defines engaged employees “as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.”

In our homes, work, and communities, we cannot continue to be absent 40% or more of the time.

We cannot afford to live in a world where we only show up 60% or less of the time, especially when critical issues are unsolved and leaders are being selected.

What Can Help Us Participate More?

Although no magical answer exists, the simple one is to dig deep within, know our responsibility, and act upon it with commitment and optimism. After all, active participation goes to the heart of our character. I wish “just do it” would be enough, and it should be. But it isn’t.

There are enablers that can help. Technology can play a role.

  • In family, use Cozi to coordinate involvement and stay on schedule.
  • In work, use Asana, Basecamp, or other solutions to stay involved and on time.
  • In work, use TINYPulse, Officevibe, or other solutions to tap into team attitudes and sentiment.
  • In politics, use Voter (we highlighted Voter in a Millennial Momentum story) or other sites to learn more about candidates and find your voting location. Plan ahead and follow the campaigns.

(For the record, none of the solutions are affiliate links. I use several of them, but they are listed as a useful option only.)

Technology can help, but it is not the complete answer. Other times, we just need to unplug and plug into what is going on around us. We need to do so with empathy and an activated mindset.

What it comes down to is our character. Our character is demonstrated by what we do. In important areas requiring our attention, our character is diminished by what we do not do. We need to do the right things. We need to avoid being passive in the right things.

We cannot afford to be an absent partner, parent, citizen, worker, or leader. We need to be the example.

Our future is too important.

The future of the next generation is too important.

Are you ready to show up?

Are you ready to vote, love, engage, participate, lead, and create a better way?

What are your ideas to close the engagement gap?

 

Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and highlighted as one of the Leaders to Watch in 2015 by the American Management Association. He also is the author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. Jon serves as vice president of marketing at Corepoint Health. Outside of his professional life, Jon brings together a community to inspire Millennial leaders and close the gap between two generations of leaders.
Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz

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