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Ron Paul: MD who graduated from Duke University who, as an OBGYN, delivered over 4,000 babies: Check!
Ron Paul: Served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force during the 1960s. Check!
Ron Paul: A member of the Beatles who draws crowds of young people like a magnet…just like John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Can’t check that one, because he was not a member of the Beatles. BUT…he is drawing in the under 30 voters like flies to honey (Being a Southerner talking about a Texan…just had to throw that analogy in). He is truly drawing the under 30 voters like a rockstar would!
This really has the media baffled, and quite frankly, Congressman Paul is somewhat baffled. Here he is…a man born in 1934, and he is truly the political rockstar of the men and women born between about 1985-1994. This is the age of men and women who are currently ages 18-28. Generation Y spans the birth years of 1977-1997, but we are seeing young voters from ages 18-28 showing up in huge packs to cheer the elder leader on. They are walking along major interstates with Ron Paul signs, and they are on waiting lists to work for the 76 year old Congressman. The question is WHY?
Well, I am here today to tell you why. No…I am not the most experienced demographer, but I did write a book on Generation Y about 6 years ago, and I have continued to study this demographic since that time. And, I am writing this post from Hilton Head, SC, where I am speaking tomorrow morning to a group of business leaders on how to attract Gen Y and how to best work with them to get great results. My answer? Follow what Ron Paul stands for and how he is drawing in this demographic.
So, here we go on the major reasons why Generation Y is so attracted to Congressman Ron Paul:
Number 1: People are drawn to others based on affinity. This may be a shocker to some of you, but Ron Paul is a traditionalist, and Generation Y is most aligned with the values of the Traditionalist generations. He was born in 1934, and generations have historically been repeated or reinvented every 4 generations. When you consider the order of generations as the following…
Generation X (President Obama is on the cusp…he is a very young boomer and a wise Gen X)
Generation Y (Mark Zuckerberg and is 300 million friends on Facebook. I am sure I have the numbers wrong, but I am just doing my best to show you the lineup of generations).oy
you will see that Generation Y is the demographic that is going to repeat the values, world view and norms of the Traditionalist generation (if you believe that generations are repeated every 4th generation). It makes total sense to me, and here is why:
1. Ron Paul was born in 1934 in the middle of the Great Depression. His parents lived during the roaring twenties who thought life would be great forever with wealth and great things passed on to the next generation. But…two things happened: World War I and II, and so, Pauls’ life was built on a foundation of national debt, fiscal responsibility, hard work and brutal honesty. His parents thought they were “set for life”, the great depression hit, and then their kids were handed a tremendous amount of debt and work was hard to find. If you are a parent of a Gen Y, I am sure this scenario sounds familiar.
2. Through my interviews, the majority of the discussions I conducted (both with Generations Y, X and Boomers) revealed that Generation Y is sick and tired of the Baby Boomer mentality…of keeping up with the Joneses, living above your ability using a plastic card and telling their kids that if you are educated, you will walk into the job of your dreams and be anything you want to be. As a Baby Boomer, I want to personally apologize to Generation Y for filling your head with this unrealistic, blue sky thinking. As parents, we thought we were doing a great job by trying to build your self esteem. What we did not know was that we were moving in the direction of dumping trillions of dollars of debt on your shoulders (YES! That’s Trillions with a capital T as Ron Paul says). Ron Paul is very pragmatic about this situation…he is doing what he can to tell the public what is really going on with our deficit, and Generation Y finds this refreshing. He is concerned about this generation, because his children and grandchildren are inheriting trillions of dollars of national debt, so YES..he has both a professional and personal interest in our current economical meltdown.
3. The majority of Generation Y leaders that I interviewed told me that they are more interested in what their wise grandparents have to say to them than their parents who are drowning in debt, cars, boats, houses and gadgets. Makes sense to me. Congressman Paul is the age of Generation Y’s grandparents, so his wisdom, pragmatism and loyalty to a cause is music to their ears.
Number 2: Ron Paul is speaking to the values of Generation Y. Look at this graphic of what most demographers will tell you about the top values of Generation Y:
I could talk about all of these in relationship to Congressman Ron Paul, but I want to specifically talk about freedom, integrity, authenticity and scrutiny:
Freedom: Congressman Ron Paul is a libertarian at heart. Although he is running as a Republican for the GOP nomination, his big mission and movement are all about freedom, liberty and justice for all. He is the biggest supporter of the Constitution we have in Congress at this time, and he has not wavered off that path for the last 25 years (probably even longer).
Integrity: Congressman Ron Paul is a man of integrity. If you have not noticed, he is the one person who no other political candidate has gone after over not walking his talk or for having character flaws. He says what he means and walks his talk. He NEVER tries to veer away from what he believes, and he has been speaking to the congregation about liberty and less government for over two decades. Generation Y LOVES this! They have had it with being sold a bill of goods from their parents and key political leaders about how to live life, only to find out that their own parents and leaders are hypocrites! They have HAD IT! Congressman Paul makes living in integrity a “cool thing to do”. Thank you Dr. Paul.
Authenticity: Congressman Ron Paul is not pandering to individual states OR to the media. He is a truth teller, and he is super transparent! Paul is not afraid to call out Congress or the media when they are trying to bend the truth or pretend to be something they are not. Generation Y is drawn to this like a magnet, because thanks to sites like Facebook, Generation Y can write their autobiographies in real time. Generation Y throws their inhibitions to the wind when they are online, so their stories are raw and real. Dr. Paul is not going to bend just to get votes. He is the real deal, and Generation Y can smell it 10 miles away.
Scrutiny: In closing, I do want to speak about Generation Y’s value of scrutiny. Because of the internet and the 24/7 news cycle, Generation Y knows how to use the internet, news sites and social networks to dig deeper into a situation to find out the REAL truth. Generation Y is of the first groups to break “news” that even the media does not know about. If you don’t believe this, just go back and trace the steps of the protests in Egypt and the Arab Spring. Gen Y is VERY drawn to Congressman Paul’s boldness in scrutinizing Congress and then clarifying what the truth really is. I watched the Piers Morgan interview last night with Congressman Ron Paul, and it was blatantly apparent that Morgan was doing his best to draw Paul into the media view of what is going on in the world and in this race (their bias and some of the out of context quotes they throw at the public to keep things interesting), and Congressman Paul held his own. Morgan interrupted Paul about 8 times and talked on top of him constantly to get his questions in…which is irritating. I LOVE CNN! I watch CNN from 5 -10 PM almost every night, but they have two people who need help! (I personally think that Piers Morgan and Soledad O’Brien should get into a one on one debate to see who can interrupt the other one the most OR who can talk on top of the other the most. I am confident a great fight would break out. I watch Piers Morgan frequently (and I like him), but his talking on top of people has gone way over the top. He needs to take a few lessons from Anderson Cooper…the cool, listening, non-interruptive journalist or from John King…my hero, who just asks the very tough questions, waits for the answers and then allows people to talk without talking on top of them. Both Cooper and King have an eloquent way of “politely interrupting” unlike Morgan and O’Brien who just start yapping on top of people. Congressman Paul even asked Morgan to please not interrupt him last night. You can watch all below. So, since you are all CNN colleagues…Piers and Soledad…you can ask Anderson and John for a few pointers on how to come across as truly fair and balanced. It would truly help your credibility. Soledad…I know you think you scored this week by asking Romney about his comments, but you would not let him explain his comments…if you are fair and balanced, you would allow him the air space to explain his choice of words, but you just want people to believe the small snippet you thow out there to the public!)
Number 3: Generation Y is all about wanting a change…not a change just spoken but change that is implemented. Believe it or not,Gen Y respects and adores the Constitution because it begs for freedom and liberty, and they want liberty and freedom to live their lives as they choose. They want true change, and they believe that Congressman Paul can deliver on the message he is speaking. Generation Y wants constant feedback, and they know that they are responsible for their choices…good or not so great. Congressman Ron Paul has opened the door to less government and more freedom, and they are loving that he is taking responsibility for driving forward the change we know we must implement if we are going to thrive as a nation.
If you want to know more about why I think Gen Y is so attracted to Congressman Paul, call me at 910.692.6118, as I do have more information. But, this blog post has gone on long enough! If you study Ron Paul over the next few months, you will quickly learn why our young (future leaders) are so drawn to him. It is very, very interetings!
As 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:
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.
Look at this poor guy to the right. When you think about Generation Y, is this what you look like? Or, when you are in a presentation, hearing about all of the good, the not so great and the challenges with this new generation, do you find yourself:
Rolling your eyes
Having side conversations with your colleagues about their “entitlement” issues
Sighing…wishing this Generation would just do things the way YOU do them
Thinking of all of the ugly names you can call Gen Y like lazy, narcissistic and demanding
Walking out of the room , because you just don’t like what you’re hearing
If so, the Generation Ys in your life may not be the problem…the problem may be YOU!
You may think I am exaggerating about the above bullet list, but I am not. The above six things are what I witness every time I lead a presentation to an audience of Generation Xers and Baby Boomers about our rising generation of leaders, parents and community caretakers…Generation Y OR as they would preferred to be called “The Millennials”. I was even asked one time why they “had to have their own name”. My response: “If you had 3 brothers named “Bill” or even “Bob, Brant and Ben”, would you want to be named Bill just because your older siblings were named something similar?” (Referring to the fact that demographers just gave Generation Y their name because the letter Y follows the letter X). The guy wanted to argue…that this is just one more piece of evidence pointing to the entitlement of Gen Y. But my point is this: “This generation is unique, on a mission to change our messed up world, and wants to be distinguished from other generations, and the belly-aching and complaining is not doing one damn thing to help our communication and relationships at work.”
And to the question of “Do you think Generation Y can take care of our country? I just doubt their capabilities!” My answer is ABSOLUTELY they can. They have learned everything NOT to do from us…their parents and older siblings. Just look at what a great job we all did with creating a recession, running into debt, telling our children they could have ANYTHING or BE ANYTHING. “Oh…honey…of course you can play for the NBA just like Michael Jordan. Just practice, and then we will go buy you the best pair of basketball shoes money can buy…and you will get there!” Only to lead to a big fat bubble being burst wide open once that 15 year old turns 18 or 19 and does not even get recruited to play college basketball.
If you look really closely at this generation…they ARE different. How could they not be? They are constantly dialed in using text, chat,facebook, phone while flipping channels or playing video games. While multi-tasking has been donned a “sin” in our workforce, they do it, and they do it quite well. And guess what…it ain’t goin’ away (and yes…I know that ain’t ain’t a word).
As far as Generation Y being lazy…I beg to differ. I have never seen a generation who so aggressively attacks a project. While the project may look like a tornado at times or not get done like you want it to be executed and while Gen Y may get distracted at times, they have produced some of the most amazing products that we are all now gobbling up like the best dessert we’ve ever eaten. Need I mention Facebook? I guess not…since it has now been taken over by 40-somethings who are suing it to spam me every day to “come to my event”. I could go on and on, talking about things we use every day…like mobile apps, Twitter and some amazing “going green” efforts being led by Gen Y, but I am sure that many people will say “I don’t use those things, and they are just a passing fancy.” Hmmm….time will tell.
The premiere season of Glee starts this week. I cannot WAIT, and 80% of the cast is made up of Gen Ys. If you watch the show, you will see that this is probably the hardest working group of young adults I have seen in my lifetime. They are talented, perfect, in sync…they get it. I bet they work 80 hours a week minimum, and they are bringing music from the past back into our living rooms and the joy and memories that come with it. So, five stars for this brilliant cast of Gen Ys.
So, today, as you walk away from this post, I encourage you to start looking at the bright side of The Millennials. They might just teach you a thing or two like:
How to be open to Blacks, Whites, Native Americans, Latin Americans, Asians, Africans and Germans
How to multi-task the right way
How to take shortcuts that will give you a BETTER end result
How to take care of our crumbling environment
How to NOT take learning for granted
How to probe, scrutinize and ask questions before you walk into a land mine
I had a great interview today on Y-Talk Radio with Selena Rezvani, author of the new book The Next Generation of Women Leaders. During this interview, we will be hearing from Selena about a few of the most common mistakes women make at work and specific advice for women who have a goal of being a top tier leader in their companies.
About Selena Rezvani
Selena is an author, consultant, and coach whose goal is to propel more women into the top echelons of leadership. Her debut book, The Next Generation of Women Leaders (Praeger, 2009), is the career guidebook she always wished she’d had but could never find. A major underpinning of Selena’s book is the 30+ interviews she conducted with c-level women around the country. Selena wrote Next Generation while pursuing her MBA at Johns Hopkins, where she graduated first in her class. Selena also holds a Masters degree in social work from NYU.
In 2009, Selena created her own successful coaching and consulting business, NextGenWomen LLC, where she works with individuals and corporations to develop leaders and foster gender balance. Selena is also an active volunteer, serving as a regional vice president with the National Association of Women MBAs, where she helps developing leaders excel upon graduating. Learn how Selena focused her passion on emerging women leaders and what she’s learned from the executives she interviewed, the women she’s coached, and the audiences she’s spoken to around the country. For more information on Selena, visit: www.nextgenwomen.com.
Never understimate the power of community and building a grassroots network…both online and offline…AND the intellectual horsepower and creativity our Millennial generation is bringing to our workforce.
The Foggy Monnocle blog is getting a great deal of attention. The satirical blog builds its content around stories, conversations and anecdotes submitted by readers. Quite interesting indeed from the perspective of how to market to young adults. I have to say that their approach is quite clever indeed.
During this episode I had the pleasure of interviewing Terry Osborn and Ben Aronson, the founding partners of the TAO Experience, a Marketing, Branding and Talent Management firm based out of Hoboken, NJ. Listen in as we talk a bit about marketing to the Gen Y and Gen X demographics and their highly successful Break’n Through event, which showcases Gen Y talent to the New York City public.
“The USA’s celebrity-obsessed culture is causing us to become more narcissistic, says behavior expert and physician Drew Pinsky, co-author of The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism Is Seducing America. It may be especially dangerous for young people, who view celebrities as role models, say co-authors Pinsky (an internist better known on TV and radio as Dr. Drew) and S. Mark Young, a social scientist. ”
This article in USA Today yesterday is worth the read. I do agree that celebrity narcissism is creating a few issues not only for our kids but for adults, but what about the narcissism in our business world? Many of us did not know the name Madoff until recently. I suppose my question is this “Why does the media place such a big spotlight on some of the most notorious narcissists of our times and actually romanticize their lives in the process?” I guess to sell papers, advertising and to get eyeballs on their news shows. I suppose no one would read or watch if we devoted our media attention to people who were actually making our world a better place to live. Those stories are reserved for public television and the Documentary Channel, and occasionally they do slip into the mainstream media, but they certainly don’t make headlines.
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