Every year around this time, I write an article about being thankful and reflecting on everything we have as we close out the year. This topic is obviously very worthwhile and important. Too often we get caught up in our complaints about what we don’t have, or spend time envious of what others have, and forget to take stock and really appreciate all the good around us.
Last year around this time, I tried something different, though, and wrote about the biggest Thanksgiving tradition around here: the Cowboys. I wrote about the return of Tony Romo, and how important one strong, veteran voice of leadership can be in a panicked or downtrodden locker room or plant.
This year, the Cowboys have a different message to teach us. This year is the year of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, two rookies that have taken the Cowboys, and the league, by storm. Now, whether you like the Cowboys or not, you have to admit that these rookies have had quite the impact.
When Tony Romo went down before the season, most in Dallas were sure another bad season was coming. But Prescott and Elliott have led the team to 11 straight wins towards a League best 11-2 record. On top of the wins, we hear that veteran guys like Jason Witten feel like they’ve caught a second wind. Even Head Coach Jason Garrett, who is known for monotone and redundant press conferences, seems to be having a good time.
The point? The passion of youth is infectious.
In our last article, my teammate Teresa noted that the age of the corrugated industry might be a problem moving forward, as a wave of retirements is inevitable in the foreseeable future, and, at this time at least, there are not enough young bodies to replace them.
I would suggest that this is more than just a headcount issue, though. It’s a matter of keeping things fresh and keeping innovation moving forward.
Now, while I acknowledge that if Prescott and Elliott are playing behind most of the other Offensive Lines in the league, this conversation goes very differently, it’s impossible to deny that these rookies have changed the way the Cowboys play football.
Prescott isn’t just another body to hold Romo’s place, he’s a different player entirely. He represents this new wave of younger QBs that are more mobile. There will always be a place in the league for the pocket passer, the Peyton Mannings and Tom Bradys, but the next generation of quarterbacks has grown up watching the likes of Michael Vick, or even Cam Newton.
These changes, along with more restrictive rules in the name of player safety, have made the game of football very different than the one that was played by Unitas and Staubach.
And, like it or not, these changes are necessary to the evolution and continued success of the NFL.
In the same way, the corrugated industry must get younger. It must adapt to the changing world. As for how to bring the influx of youth necessary to have this evolution occur on a wide scale? That’s a problem for much brighter men than me. But, you can start to make those changes, at least on a smaller scale, almost immediately.
In the coming weeks, management teams across the country will have meetings to close 2016 and set goals and plans for 2017. In a lot of these meetings, the younger team members will be expected to stay quiet in order to listen to and learn from the Old Men’s Club. I would encourage you to not have this be the case in your meeting.
Invite the younger members of your team to contribute and aid in the plans moving forward. Keep an open mind to what the next generation has to offer. Change is hard and painful, but it is necessary.
On a more personal note, and to touch on the topic of being thankful: I am incredibly grateful for my amazing team here at Oberg and Associates, LLC. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do here and be the resource that we are for you in the Corrugated and Paper Industries without each of them contributing to the team in their own way.
From everyone here at Oberg and Associates, LLC, We wish all of our friends, clients and candidates in the Corrugated and Paper industries a Happy and Safe Holiday Season.