December 2, 2021

5 Ways to Identify Your Next Generation Leaders and How to Train Them Up

Gen Y PictureAs many of you are aware, our world is at a critical point in history. Many studies are estimating that in the next 10-12 years, approximately 45-50% of the workforce in the United States alone will be gone, and most of the workers are from the Baby Boomer generation. They will be leaving in droves in leadership roles in business, education, government, the medical field and the world of non profits.

Many people argue that Generation X will fill these leadership roles and that all will be fine. Well…if you do the math, you will find our three main demographics in our world today include these numbers:

Baby Boomers: Approximately 70 million
Generation X: Approximately 45 million
Generation Y: Approximately 80 million

If you look at these figures, it is obvious that once the Baby  Boomer Generation is out of the workforce, we are most definitely going to have a shortage of leadership talent.

I speak with young men and women under the age of 30 every day, and many tell me that they have been thrust into early leadership positions without any training, coaching or shadowing. They show up for work and hear “Hey…Margaret…Bob’s last day is tomorrow, so you are stepping into his role.” While the names in this statement are fictional, the scenario is not. Because of their knowledge, talent and confidence, members of the Gen Y demographic are being pulled into leadership roles at ages 24-29, and they are saying they are not ready…that they need training, shadowing and coaching. So, my question is this “If you are not acting now to get your Gen Y careerists trained for top leadership positions today, then when are you going to do it?” My opinion is this: If you are planning on waiting and just letting the cards fall where they may, your company will either suffer or your doors will unfortunately close.

So, today, I want to share with you five characteristics that I believe will be critical for your next gen leaders to have ingrained in their DNA and five steps you can take, starting today, to get your young careerists ready for the highest level positions in your company. And, no, I am not foolish on this one topic…I am talking about getting your young workers ready for positions like CEO, COO, Senators, Hospital Administrators and Superintendents of Schools.

The 5 traits of your next generation leaders:

1.  An eagerness to both coach and be coached. Businesses are now moving into a coaching mode as opposed to an advice-giving or consulting mode.  If you notice a young careerist who is open to being coached and then willing to coach other co-workers, peers and even bosses in the direction of success, you have a potential leader in your midst.

2. An innovative spirit and creative experimenter who inspires others to act. I truly believe that the leaders and companies who can innovate like mad will using new media and the technology we have at our fingertips will be the ones who survive in the future.  If you spot a creative thinker who can also map out the strategy from start to finish of how to get a new product or service to the market, I recommend looking closely at this potential future leader.

3.  A global collaborator who engages creative talent to produce positive results for your company. Because of new media and of course the internet, we can now collaborate on a global level.  A true next generation leader will surround herself with talented people who can gather together for quick collaboration sessions.  (Note:  Be cautious of someone who wants to collaborate for hours and hours…red flag!)  The best collaborators are those who can guide collaboration, take command, make quick decisions while mitigating risk and who is agile and flexible enough to move and bend with the collaborative process without dragging it out.

4.  A young leader who has demonstrated shared leadership and self directed leadership. The old school hierarchical style of leadership is quickly fading away.  Our next generation leaders are turned off by climbing the ladder, being excluded from decision making and having to wait until a question slowly crawls up the ladder to the top so that it can be answered.  Generation Y is craving shared leadership, and they naturally lead with a self directed form of leadership. If you spot a young careerist who is willing to step aside and bring forward another leader who has a better grasp, ideas and input on a project, then you have yourself a great candidate for more training.  While the buck will ultimately stop with this leader, a form of shared, self directed leadership gives other young careerists a voice, respect, credibility and a host of other skills which will build confidence and a create a bigger pool of potential leaders.

5.  Strong networking and strategic alliance building skills. Companies of today and tomorrow cannot survive without alliances with other companies.  I have watched and watched this for the last ten years.  The companies who “hide” what they are doing, who don’t want to share with others and who see building alliances as a threat are either now closed or in jeopardy of falling off a cliff.  Your strong future leaders should be networking maniacs and constantly scanning the global environment for companies who can make your business stronger, more visible and more credible.

How to train your next generation leaders so that they can step up and step into high level leadership roles

1.  Study your under 30 employees closely for at least three months so that you can spot the above five characteristics. Remember…some people just have a bad day now and then, so look at the overall picture and don’t dwell on the few bad days…we all have them!

2.  Once you have spotted the employees you believe are potential candidates for leadership roles, perform a full 360 degree feedback review on your potential candidates. Make sure to include questions which address the above five traits.  You will want to gather feedback from co-workers, bosses, friends, former co-workers and family members to see how they view your potential candidates.

3.  Choose your potential leadership candidates and hire an experienced executive coach to work with your high potentials for at least six months. Ask your potential candidates if they will agree to a final debrief with the executive coach to determine coachability.

4. Assign a tough project to your potential candidate to observe how she handles leadership under pressure.  Once again, you are looking for the above traits as well as the obvious skills such as staying cool under pressure, time management, delegation and command.

5.  Design a structured shadowing program for your potential leadership candidates. You will want your candidates to shadow your strongest senior leaders and then flip the situation.  Ask your strongest older leaders to shadow the potential candidate for at least one month to get feedback about how they really act on the job.  If you have a strong future leader, she will be able to stay cool and calm when being followed around all day by a higher management leader on your team.

Ready to Think BIG? Get Started Today With the Think Big Manifesto

My colleague and friend, Michael Port has been called “an uncommonly honest author” by The Boston Globe. He’s just written his 4th (and by far his best) book The Think Big Manifesto to rally us to come together as a society and think bigger.

I read the book last week, and it is  the most revealing work he’s ever published. I read it in one sitting as I was riding to and from a golf tournament. It’s excellent. His message is challenging, yet compassionate. I was re-inspired to be and lead the kind of change I want to see in the world.

The one thing that struck me when I read the book was this…Not everyone is born with a high IQ or athletic talent or the ability to sing like Pavarotti…but you know what...everyone is born with the ability to think big, but only if you choose to take that journey.  Sometimes, we all just need a thunk on the head like The Think Big Manifesto to get us really stepping up to the plate to make big things happen in the world.

This is a MUST read book for everyone. Check it out today and you’ll score a pile of goodies and free stuff to fill your pockets.

If every person decides to read this book, we will (I’m certain of this) create a better place for ourselves, our children and the world.

Make History Today:  Pick up a copy of the book here:

Here’s what Michael asked me to pass along to you, from him:


Hey, Michael here, calling on all you big thinkers. I’m talking about the biggest, brightest, forward-thinking, still dreaming, hard core intellectual thinking, down-to-earth realistic-being and even the most unconfessed, self-professed and secretive big thinkers (and, that pretty much covers everyone).

The think big revolution is in full swing. There’s no stopping it.

Thousands of revolutionaries are coming together to collaborate, cooperate and combine forces to yes… think bigger about who they are and what they offer the world.

Thinking big is like a secret handshake, only there’s nothing secret about it. There’s no tips, tricks or mystery code to decipher.

Thinking big is about one person at a time experiencing his or her own personal empowerment against an existing, deficient (small thinking) system. It’s about being fully self-expressed in the face of all the forces that conspire to pacify your drive, your hunger to be the most you can be.

Be a part of history. Bring your big thoughts forward. Get your manifesto and road map to navigate these revolutionary times. The Think Big Manifesto is not just my manifesto, it’s our manifesto. It is the manifesto of everyone who is, who will and wants to think big.

Get your copy of The Think Big Manifest:


Michael’s book is brilliant. I know you’ll love it. Pick up at least 4 copies…1 for you and 3 for the 3 closest people in your life. This is a book you’ll be talking about with friends and colleagues tomorrow. I know Michael has a great bunch of bonuses to show his appreciation and incentivize you to buy today. And there are so many more reasons you are going to want to sit down and read The Think Big Manifesto sooner than later.

We can do far more together than we can alone. And that is why it’s an honor to be of service to you and also help my friend Michael Port spread the message that we must think bigger; today, tomorrow and forevermore.

Buy your books for the think big revolution: The Think Big Manifesto:

Think You Can’t Change Your Life (and the World)? Think Again.   Have a great day today, and get out there and THINK BIG! Wishing you much continued success,

Bea Fields Companies

175 Rountree Lane
Southern Pines, NC

Say CollegeMogul: Say Cool Company

I have recently found out about the new company CollegeMogul.   Very cool company.

The venture was  co-founded by February 2008 by student entrepreneurs Alex Lindahl, Miles Lennon and Henry Khachatryan.  The site profiles and reviews businesses and other initiatives developed by students and recent college grads.  Great site for Gen Y and anyone wanting to know more about what they’re up to in the world (which is big stuff!)

Check out today..

Faces of The Future by Fortune Magazine

Some fresh faces…Gen Y’s who are making a significant mark on the biz world…Just expect more of this to come!


Faces of the Future .

Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Spirit of Generation Y

As I am traveling around the country speaking to companies and conferences about Gen Y, a question keeps popping up

How do I prevent my Gen Y workers from becoming bored and restless?

My response to this question is this “Embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of Gen Y”. Let me explain.

Generation Y is the most entrepreneurial generation in history. It is not uncommon for members of Gen Y to be working full time for an organization while running a small business or a non-profit organization outside of work. Most Gen Y’s will tell you that they see themselves in 2 careers: One that is working for a company or for their own business and one that allows them the time to give back to their community.

The need for flexible work hours, the ability to work from home and the opportunity to work as a community volunteer during the work week will increase as Gen Y tries to balance a full time job with their own social and entrepreneurial interests. Employers who embrace this entrepreneurial spirit, help to cultivate it and support Gen Y in having their own business and giving back to their local and greater community will be much more competitive than employers who don’t embrace this notion. These opportunities can expand a company’s internal and external network and new ideas will be born as Gen Y brings their best practices from their own life back to your organization.

We are certainly in an era that embraces the free agent. Your company can grow by leaps and bounds by teaching young talent about how to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, one which focuses on not just working for your company but ON the company…on its growth and development. By getting Gen Y involved in creative ideas for growing your company, you will find that they are much more invested in your mission and in the long-term success for your company.

If you have not read A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, I highly recommend it as required reading for everyone in your company. Give it out to your Gen Y employees the first day on the job, ask them to read it, and then sit down with them to find out what ideas they have that will spark creativity for your team. You might just be surprised at what you come up with.

Millennial Leaders.

Two Must Reads for all Millennials

As we move into the future, the face of leadership is going to change. As the Millennial Generation explodes onto the business scene, they will be bringing with them an entrepreneurial spirit unlike anything we have seen before in history. In order to lead in the future, not only are we all going to be called to understand what it means to be an entrepreneur, we are going to be challenged to shift our thinking and to start challenging our assumptions about the human dynamics which are at play for all business leaders…and those dynamics are going to be moving heaven and earth (just look at what is going on in our world today economically, politically and socially).

To help you along your journey, I am recommending two must reads (and I don’t recommend books that often). These two books are critical additions to your library, because both of these authors have worn many hats in life, have experienced a huge variety of business opportunities and will be the first to admit that they have made mistakes along the way. In spite of any demons they have met in the past, everything they have touched has turned to gold (so of course, why would you not read their books).

So…here we go…the two top reads for this month are:

Beyond Booked Solid: Your Business, Your Life, Your Way Its All Inside by Michael Port

I have come to the conclusion that anyone and their grandmother can write a marketing book. But…writing a marketing book with passion and from the human emotions we all experience as business owners requires a master craftsman. Michael Port is truly such a master, and this book is at the top of my list of biz books for 2008. Port goes deep…challenging business owners to look at the internal shifts required to go from being a great business owner to one making a significant impact on the world. As we all know, each growth phase of a business requires a new attitude and a new way of seeing your business and the world, and I can promise you this…if you read this book, your life and business are going to change for the better, and there’s no turning back…you will never see your business or your life as you see it today (and that is a great thing…as I always say, you can’t do what you’ve always done to get where you’re going today and tomorrow!). Fabulous!

Awakening the Entrepreneur Within: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Companies by Michael Gerber

Michael Gerber’s mission is “to create a turnkey system for awakening the entrepreneur within every person who wishes to go into business for themselves, while providing them with the support for doing it”. Well, he has certainly achieved this mission with this passionate book…calling even the most frustrated entrepreneurs to start dreaming big about what they want for their businesses and their lives. As with The E-Myth Books, Gerber makes this simple and just a great read. You can read the entire book on a Saturday afternoon (while sipping hot tea or coffee in your snuggly robe, but after you read it, you are going to want a hot night out on the town dressed to the nines, because the book will set your soul on fire!) Truly inspiring!.

The World Has Changed and It’s Not Turning Back: DK of

“The world has changed, and it’s not turning back.”
~DK of MediaSnackers

The “new media” — Internet, mobile technology, interactive television — has redefined mass communication. While older generations are trying to learn, adapt, and basically keep up with youth in this area, Gen Y’ers are taking to all these formats seamlessly. Blogging, podcasts, and vodcasts (video blogs) are supplanting traditional channels. The speed with which these messages are delivered feeds right into the Gen Y desire for instant gratification.

But with all these advances happening overnight, training in the technology has become a must. MediaSnackers, a UK based company dedicated to helping organizations work with young people to generate new strategies and operations in social media, has risen to the challenge, incorporating the “quick bits” learning and processing style of Gen Y.  The company works with young people to train them to use the new media, as well as instilling a sense of responsibility about the global impact of their efforts.

The company’s founder is as unique as the organization itself. DK — that’s his entire moniker — knows how Gen Y’ers learn, what they expect from technology, and how the new media unleashes their creativity. The colorful UK native works within the gap between the Gen Y’ers, who are embracing this technology at the speed of sound, and their confused managers, who are still stumbling with new media.

We had the privelege last year to interview DK of MediaSnackers for The Gen Y Project (Check out their impressive 2008 pro bono project here). DK has very generously opted to not have his chapter appear in our book but to be given away as a bonus chapter to help each of you in supporting Generation Y in their development in the future.

Download the bonus chapter featuring DK of MediaSnackers here.  This is a great chapter, so thank-you DK!

Listen to the interview with DK for The Gen Y Project:

If you enjoyed this interview with DK, you are going to love the book Millennial Leaders.  Pick up a copy today through .

Gen Y In the News: Ryan Allis, CEO of iContact Featured in the Raleigh News and Observer

Ryan Allis is one of those young entrepreneurs who at age 14 was busy building a web design company while his peers were trying to figure out how to date the hottest girl on their middle school or high school campus.

He is only 23, and he is building a mega company iContact. A great article appeared about Ryan today in the Raleigh News and Observer: CEO, 23 shares tips on start ups

We will be featuring Ryan on Y-Talk Radio on February 23 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. You don’t want to miss this call!

He also has a new book coming out…Zero to One Million: How I Built My Company to $1 Million in Sales . . . and How You Can, Too

So…make sure to mark your calendar for Feb. 20 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. .

Y-Talk Radio Interview with Michael Gerber, Author of The E-Myth Books

Generation Y is one of the most entrepreneurial generations in history, and their adventurous spirit is a force to be reckoned with. Listen in to this special Y-Talk interview with host Bea Fields and Guest Host, Corey Blake as we interview E-Myth Guru, Michael Gerber, founder of In the Dreaming Room. Gerber is the author of The E-Myth Books and the upcoming book Awakening the Entrepreneur Within. During this call, we explore how to support the young entrepreneur, ages 18-30, in transforming their lives and businesses in a radically creative and strategic way.


The Winning Young Entrepreneurs, 2007 by Business Week Magazine

This past summer, Business Week kicked off its third annual contest to identify and recognize the most promising young U.S. entrepreneurs.  Over 6,000 business leaders made it into the final top 25…the winners achieved their final spot by showing courage and originality and were formally announced on November 12, 2007.  These young leaders are incredible:View Slide Show

And…while you are on, check out what last year’s winners are up to.  Two of these award winners are featured in the book Millennial Leaders:  Michael Simmons and Ben Casnocha!

View the slideshow update for the 2006 winners here.