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Valuing & Respecting Experience

image credit: Photo by Patrick McGarry
Patrick McGarry's picture
Senior Director PCI

Patrick recently joined PCI as a Senior Director in May, 2019. He owns over 32 years of experience in commodity trading and owns an extensive record working closely with energy market...

  • Member since 2004
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  • Dec 2, 2021
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I am stupid. I am stubborn. And I am loyal.

I am a suffering New York Jets fan.

But I choose to go on my journey with a band of brothers.

My local Jet Nation family.

Our tribe ranges many different generations and we have survived butt fumbles and busted first round draft picks. We have witnessed ineptitude at a level not seen since the Bad News Bears.

We gather each week in the name of hope and often depart with sadness, frustration, disbelief, and always a smile from something that happened at our local watering hole.

We talk to ourselves and often wonder if this “Jet rooting” is any good for us.

“Is there something better we'd be doing if we could?”
And oh the stories we could tell…..

                                                                                                                      The Beach Master

Every tribe has a Chief and Jet Nation/Ponte Vedra Beach has one as well.

The Beach Master.

John Stack.

The heart and soul of our clan of crazy Jet fans.

John’s job description reads as follows:

“Responsibilities include managing people on the beach including their placement of lethal beach umbrellas! Walking around the beach and saying hello to my constituents. Body Surfing. Drinking refreshments (good hydration is paramount for a Beach Master). Controlling the weather, especially wind direction, thunderstorm activity and proximity along with providing as much Sunshine as possible! Making people laugh while also ensuring a safe beach environment under my watchful eye and leadership. Advising on proper placement of Beach Chairs with relation to their neighbors and the Ocean Tides.”

If you did not guess by now, John is “retired” from the business world.

But he brought the same level of passion, loyalty, leadership, and humor to his professional career.

John brought something to his career that is sadly being devalued in a business world where we seem to be in a rush with “out with the old and in with the new.”

John knew “why” he showed up for work each today and he often shared it with coworkers and customers.

Overcoming Tragedy

At the age of twenty-four, John lost his dad to heart failure and then suddenly lost a sister in a car accident a few years later.

Utilizing his college career as a member of the Manhattan College track team, John landed a sales gig with Physio-Control.

Founded in 1955 by Dr. William Edmark as a pioneering company in the field of portable defibrillation, Physio manufactures emergency defibrillation and automated CPR equipment.

“Life saving tools for life saving people” as John proudly told family, friends, coworkers, and sales prospects.

John knew how it felt to lose a dad at a young age to heart failure and Physio’s mission resonated with him authentically and deeply.

As a leader at Physio, John took the time to get to know his colleagues. Their families, Their children. Their hopes and dreams.

He devoted as much of his day to one-on-one internal discussions as he did with selling.

John’s investment in spending time with colleagues on a personal level was an investment that just came naturally to him.

Treat everybody with respect.

Those relationships with customers and coworkers allow you to survive office politics.

To a point.

Physio was acquired by Bain Capital in 1994 and then acquired by Medtronic in 1998. After a spin-off, going private, and then another acquisition by Baine in 2011, John retired in 2014.

The shore at Ponte Vedra Beach became a better place for all with John’s retirement.

 

What We Lose

During the past five years, there has been a great deal of discussion about gender prejudice and racial bias, and both are important for many reasons. But probably one of the most pervasive and harmful types of bias we confront is age bias: we frequently judge others based on their age, and this is now a huge problem in the workplace.

Many companies believe that older people are “overpaid” and can be “replaced with younger workers” who can do the job just as well.

Besides numerous studies providing data contradicting this myth, companies lose something even more significant than cognitive diversity, or even the leadership ability of company veterans being able to get people of various ages and work experiences to come together to accomplish goals.

They are pushing out people who know “why” a company existed in the first place.

The impact to corporate cultures due to age bias is becoming quite clear daily.

Many executives think younger people see “opportunity” when older workers get pushed out to pasture. But I think younger people see something different.

I think they wonder if “that will be me someday”. “Why should I be loyal?”

 

Pat Riley & Rick Pitino

Pat Riley is one of the most successful professional basketball executives and coaches in the history of the game. And he has succeeded across many different generations spanning five NBA decades.

When Pat Riley took over the basketball operations of the NY Knicks in 1992, one of his first decisions was to bring Knick legendary coach Red Holtzman to the first training camp. Besides wanting to establish a relationship with one the greatest basketball coaches ever, Riley also wanted to send a message to his team.

“This guy won two world titles with the Knicks. He knows a few things. I want to connect our past with the present and the future.”

 

Rick Pitino came to the Boston Celtics five years later in 1997. Widely regarded as one of the best college coaches in the game, Pitino arrived in Boston and took a slightly different approach to his beginning than Pat Riley. He made a silly and completely unnecessary demand. Rick Pitino insisted on having the title of President of the Celtics. What was the big deal?

Red Auerbach owned the ceremonial title as President of the Celtics. As a coach, Auerbach set NBA records with 938 wins and nine championships in Boston. Red was a beloved legend in Boston in the same manner as the Sons of the Revolution against the British Empire.

Pitino’s Celtic career was a complete disaster and he never connected with his players. Some say his college teaching style couldn’t work with millionaires. But I wonder if those young players noticed his disrespect of Auerbach and took the “it’s just business approach. ” Why should I be loyal to that leader?”

Disrespecting and not valuing the experience of veteran colleagues causes negative impacts to corporate culture.

Younger impressionable colleagues do take notice.

 

 

J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS

According to Daniel Wann, a professor at Murray State University whose research program focuses on the psychology of sport fandom, being a sports fan is a "highly psychologically good activity." He claims that fandom connects us to other people who share our interests, satisfying our basic desire for belonging.

I completely agree.

Personally, being a passionate Jets fan has little to do with the outcome of the game. And thank goodness for that!

I love being a member of the diverse tribe cemented in our love of the Jets.

My favorite time of the Jet game? That is easy.

Its when the Jets score a touchdown and John Stack leads us in a thunderous chant of J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS when we score a touchdown.

People laugh at the crazy crew in the corner of the bar and wonder how we can be so excited and happy when the team is 3-8 and the Patriots look as intimidating as when Brady was the quarterback.

And then we laugh at ourselves.

Someday our ship will come in and we will drink from the Lombardi Trophy. When it does, I fully expect to be with my insanely crazy Jet family and the Beach Master leading the celebration.

Until that time, I plan to stay stupid, stubborn and loyal

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 2, 2021

Personally, being a passionate Jets fan has little to do with the outcome of the game. And thank goodness for that!

This made me laugh. I often revisit the decision point early in my life-- my mom is a Jets fan and my brother a Giants fan. I chose to follow my big brother, and life has sure has been different than it could have been :)

But you're right-- there's definitely some character building in the decades-long journey towards that inevitable (right?) championship one day!

Dr. Amal Khashab's picture
Dr. Amal Khashab on Dec 2, 2021

Yes, an old employee has the experience of why and how , but he lacks the new spirit of the coming days. Compared to football teams. When an old coach is a valuble treasure to his team players , it is a 1:25 ratio.

 

Patrick McGarry's picture
Patrick McGarry on Dec 2, 2021

Dr. Khashab- Mind if I ask where you get your data to support your hypothesis?

 

Wonder how old Warren Buffett does it..........

Dr. Amal Khashab's picture
Dr. Amal Khashab on Dec 3, 2021

How many Warren Buffett do we have? The exception is not a rule of thumping. My hypothesis based upon the true life facts. You can notice them through watching the different games and competitions.

Patrick McGarry's picture
Patrick McGarry on Dec 6, 2021

Sir- We are talking about the workplace. I do not live in the world of academia, rather the real world. Here is what Harvard ( academia) says on the subject:The scientific evidence on this issue shows differently: For most people, raw mental horsepower declines after the age of 30, but knowledge and expertise — the main predictors of job performance — keep increasing even beyond the age of 80. There is also ample evidence to assume that traits like drive and curiosity are catalysts for new skill acquisition, even during late adulthood. When it comes to learning new things, there is just no age limit, and the more intellectually engaged people remain when they are older, the more they will contribute to the labor market.

Dr. Amal Khashab's picture
Dr. Amal Khashab on Dec 6, 2021

Totally , I agree with that. Back to my first comment , a coach is older than his team members. But he is very useful because of his deep experience, not because of physical fitness. The olders are quite welcome on the labor market if there are suitable roles.

 

Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Dec 3, 2021

Patrick - thanks for this post.  Just so you know, I feel your Jet's fan pain as I am a Broncos fan, and as of late, things have not been great!  

 

I love this quote in your post.

 

"Besides numerous studies providing data contradicting this myth, companies lose something even more significant than cognitive diversity, or even the leadership ability of company veterans being able to get people of various ages and work experiences to come together to accomplish goals.

 

They are pushing out people who know “why” a company existed in the first place."

 

When I started as a young whippersnapper, I thought I knew everything and could do better than some of my seniors.  Boy, was I wrong!  There is much to be learned from those who have been there done that, believe me.  Thirty-some-odd years later, I am still learning!  Each generation brings something unique to the table - seniors tend to bring more experience. They can help us from making mistakes that they may have already learned from making, while the next generation coming in might bring in new knowledge or skills and sometimes a renewed energy.  It is all about diversification in my mind.  The more diverse your workforce, the stronger your company! 

Patrick McGarry's picture
Patrick McGarry on Dec 3, 2021

Audra- Thanks for the nice words and the EMPATHY!

Patrick McGarry's picture
Patrick McGarry on Dec 6, 2021

Countless individuals in their 60s and 70s are actively engaged with their careers, and certain to avoid retirement. At 89, Warren Buffett is still regarded as one of the most brilliant brains in the world of finance, and Charlie Munger, his righthand man, is 95. At 61, Madonna is the undisputed queen of pop. At 81, Jane Fonda is as prolific as ever in her careers as an actress and activist. In addition, the most important job in the U.S. goes to people who would generally be considered “too old” to be productive in most offices. Only two presidents ended their tenure under the age of 50 (and one of them was JFK). The other 43 were 50 or older, including 22 aged 60 or older.

All this suggests that age does correspond with workplace wisdom, and research proves it. Contrary to popular belief, older, more tenured people are more successful entrepreneurs. Those over the age of 40 are three times more likely to create successful companies as a result of their patient, collaborative natures, and their lack of a “need to prove myself” attitude that tends to accompany youth.

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