The Slowest Generation Ever!

Here’s a quick little experiment to take in your office or department:

1.     Rank everyone by performance – first to worst.

2.    Rank everyone by how fast they can actually run.

3.    Check for correlation.

I’ll be honest, I have no idea if there is any correlation, it’s just a feeling I have.  People who tend to move fast, tend to be higher performers in my 20 years of HR Experience.  Also, there was a recent article out in the Wall Street Journal that examined how 25-35 year olds have been slowing down in endurance races as compared to prior generations at the same age.  From the article:

“They’re just not very fast. “There’s not as many super-competitive athletes today as when the baby boomers were in their 20s and 30s,” said Ryan Lamppa, spokesman for Running USA, an industry-funded research group. While noting the health benefits that endurance racing confers regardless of pace, Lamppa—a 54-year-old competitive runner—said, “Many new runners come from a mind-set where everyone gets a medal and it’s good enough just to finish.”

Now, a generational battle is raging in endurance athletics. Old-timers are suggesting that performance-related apathy among young amateur athletes helps explain why America hasn’t won an Olympic marathon medal since 2004.

Of the two Americans who won marathon medals that year, one—Deena Kastor, who is now 40—was the top finishing American woman at the marathon World Championships in Moscow last month. The other—38-year-old Meb Keflezighi—was the top American male finisher at the London Olympics marathon last year. Hunter Kemper, the 37-year-old winner of last month’s Chicago Triathlon, remains arguably America’s top triathlete as he aims for his fifth Olympics.”

So, how did your experiment work out in your office?  Does speed correlate to higher performance? If so, are your youngest employees faster or slower than other generations in your workplace?  Competitiveness, and incoming generations of kids who are all use to just ‘participating’ versus ‘winning’ might also have an impact to this as well.  This lack of competitiveness probably has more of an impact than anyone really understands.  More from WSJ:

“After finishing last month’s Virginia Beach half marathon in the top 2% of the 50-54 age group, Brendan Reilly was shocked to find he’d made the top 1% of the overall field—despite running 27 minutes slower than the personal best he’d set more than two decades earlier.

“I wasn’t thrilled,” said Reilly, a sports agent in Boulder, Colo., adding that “races are turning into parades.”

Is your workplace a race or a parade? 

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