The Crisis

In America, the problem with our schools and workplaces is not so much that there is an achievement or productivity gap, it’s that there is an engagement gap. This gap is due to a ruling ideology in current mainstream education and in the business arena that focuses on the shortcomings of students and employees. This perspective produces a climate in both education and in the business world in which students and employees are viewed as something to be fixed and not as valuable assets that are integral to the success of the organizations and systems that they serve.

This type of ideology creates multiple problems that affect both business and education. In regards to the educational system this approach fails to meet student’s basic developmental needs. This failure leads to a lack of involvement in school, a decline in student productivity, as well as a decrease in the student’s ability to connect with others and navigate their way through challenging situations. This directly affects the business world due to the fact that the employees produced by this system enter into businesses and organizations lacking many basic skills that are necessary for them be more productive workers, managers, and CEO’s. Secondly, this ideological perspective creates a deficit-focused workplace that fails to engage employees. Research done by Gallup shows that workplaces that focus on employees’ short comings and weaknesses are far less engaging than those who focus on the strengths and talents of their employees. This lack of engagement leads to a decrease in productivity in the work place and ultimately leads to a loss of profit.

The Crisis

The Myths

1 Young people just don’t care about education.
2 It is our job to “fix” youth and non-productive employees.
3 If I focus on what is wrong with people it will motivate them to be more productive.

The Remedy


Create a shift in thinking that encourages organizations, schools, and businesses to focus on providing the basic supports and opportunities needed to promote optimal development of students and employees.


Encourage Individuals to focus on what’s right in order to help fix what’s wrong, allowing them to make full use of their assets at work. Build a strengths-based culture to get every person in the organization to do what they do best every day.

Supports and Opportunities:

Opportunities to build applicable skills in engaging and challenging ways.


Opportunities to contribute to and gain knowledge of the community.


Opportunities for meaningful participation, also known as voice and choice.


Individuals can develop positive, caring, and consistent relationships with others, including peers, supervisors, and mentors.


People feel physically, culturally, and emotionally safe. They are free from harm or judgment, and they feel confident that they will be accepted for who they are.


YDN believes that in order for schools, businesses and organizations to function at an optimal level the people who work within those organizations must be equipped with the proper tools and possess an understanding of best practices. Our trainings help you start creating positive change in your organization or team.


5 Things You Can Do Now.

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