Helping Young People Succeed at Work


(1 February 2022)

Reading With Your Teens—for More Impact

Also: How a Checklist Will Stimulate Interaction and Growth

Instilling Work Ethic

I am learning much by talking to parents about my new book, written to help teens at work.

The most common thing I hear from adults is "kids today have no work ethic". My primary response to that is, "so I have observed". Watching young people flounder in their roles—often because of apparent poor training—is a big reason I wrote the book.

But, how do you get your teen to read a book about working—which takes work on their part—and help them get more out of it?

Behold the Power of the Checklist

One approach is the typical strategy for accomplishing almost any large project: break it down into smaller pieces. Another approach is for parents to read the book themselves, separately, as their teens read it as well. This way, they can both discuss the content together and apply it to their own shared circumstances.

I have created a tool that will help parents and teens do both of these things: the Reading Checklists PDF document is free to download at the website.

The Reading Checklist: a Helpful Productivity Tool

Importantly, the document features a sample checklist. This fictional page illustrates the sort of information a parent and teen might log on paper as they both, separately, read the book. Users will also find two blank checklists (because the book is written in two parts) to fill out themselves.

Three Major Lessons

Using the Reading Checklist tool as a reading and discussion aid will demonstrate several important lessons for teens:

  1. Task Management: As mentioned above, big projects are best tackled by breaking them down into small pieces. The reading checklists divide the book into reading stepping stones. They encourage readers to read a little, set the book down, and return later to read a little more.

  2. Team Productivity: Checklists are powerful productivity tools. They allow a team to see at a glance which tasks have been completed and which are yet to be done. The parties involved do not have to talk to each other to communicate, so the information can be absorbed at various times that are convenient to those accessing them. (This is why I love checklists as team productivity enhancers.)

  3. Personal Productivity: The reading checklists provide a progress feedback loop. Users can see—again, at a glance—the scope of the project they are working on, how much progress they have made, and what work remains. Teaching teens the power of mapping their pursuits in this way will potentially empower them as they take on other challenges of their own.

Ideally, as both parents and teens read the book, they will discuss their reading experiences and relate them to their own circumstances. This is where the impact of the book—especially the impact of reading the same book at more or less the same time—should begin to take effect.

One reason so many kids lack a work ethic, I think, is that they lack guidance. For parents, I hope my book will help them be better guides. And for kids, I hope it will help them become better decision makers, as well as better and more fulfilled employees.

–Greg Kagay


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