Who are your employees… 10 years from now?

In the space of a week I read about LinkedIn’s new headquarters building in San Francisco and Apple’s new spaceship in Cupertino. Both are marvels of design and engineering. They are equipped with all of the latest technology and amenities that a modern workforce could want.

What I found interesting was that all of the amenities seemed geared mostly towards attracting and retaining young males. Huge gyms and fitness facilities, music studios, gamer related art, etc. Everything about these facilities scream “We want 20-something men!” There was a clear absence of any mention of daycare or child care facilities.

My initial reaction was disappointment and a lost opportunity to recruit and retain women in the technological workforce. That’s until I did a quick google search and learned that women will probably never make up more than 46% of the overall working population and there has been a decline in women in tech over the past ten years. These designs aren’t misogynistic but are instead reacting to what they predict their future employees are going to look like (young and male.)

I will leave the debate about whether these companies (or the education and labor system) are doing enough to create equality in the workforce for another day.* What I want to focus on is how these companies are looking at what their projected employees are going to look like, and then creating space that will attract and retain them.

It’s an interesting lesson to consider, whether you’re a 20 person accounting firm or a 600 person tech firm. Where are your employees going to live over the next decade? Where will they want to work? Will they demand work/life balance as they are family oriented? Is your hiring pool tilted towards men or women?

As you work through those questions, think about culture and how the facility can create the environment that reinforces those values. Maybe, like Patagonia, you see that child care is a huge benefit for your workforce. Or maybe you acknowledge that there will be high turnover as people exit their 20s and you create buildings that young employees consider a second home.

Leaders create culture, but facilities can help reinforce it.

*for the record, I have two daughters. I would love to see a working environment where they have every opportunity to thrive, no matter what industry they choose.

The secret to my success

img_3906-1Back when I was younger and standing on triathlon race podiums regularly, people used to ask me how I did it. While I was in decent shape, I don’t look like the typical triathlete. My gear budget was smaller and my equipment was older than what many of my competitors used. My diet wasn’t particularly disciplined (Then, as now, I have a soft spot for excess carbohydrates.) I used to shrug and explain that anybody could do it. I knew I was doing anything special, but I couldn’t articulate it. Only as I got older did understand what separated me from the competition.

The secret to my success? Patience and consistency. I trained every day. I got up, I did the prescribed workout, and then went about my day. And the next day? I did it again. And again. Every workout was designed to build me towards race day, but they were never so strenuous that I couldn’t execute the next day’s workout. I understood that there wasn’t a single day, or a single workout that would be the golden ticket that put me on the podium. It was the steady buildup of many sessions over time that gave me the strength, endurance, and confidence to execute on race day.

This translates to the working world very easily, and especially anything related to building up new business. It has to be a combination of patience and consistency. There’s no one single person or conversation that’s going to help grow your business, no one blog post that’s going to make your web site explode, no one tweet that’s going to land you with a million followers.

You need to execute every single day if you want to grow your business. That means making calls, sending emails, creating content, and working hard to add value. What is the appropriate volume for all of this activity? The answer is “however much you can do and still be excited to do it again tomorrow.” As GaryVee says, “Macro patience and micro speed.

The good news is this isn’t some super-secret formula that I discovered by accident. To paraphrase Thomas Edison, “[Success] is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

PS: I had to dig those medals and trophies out of a box buried in the basement for the picture. They are not on permanent display at the Horowitz household. I know that past success has no impact on current execution. (Also, my wife says they don’t match the decor.)