October 30, 2014

Y Talk Interview Tonight With Terry Osborn and Ben Aronson of the TAO Experience

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During this episode tonight, March 18 at 7:30 Eastern, I will be interviewing the founding partners of  the TAO Experience, a Marketing, Branding and Talent Management firm based out of Hoboken, NJ. We will be discussing their new and unique Break’n Through event, which showcases the talent of their firm to the Gen Y demographic.

To listen in live, go to Y Talk Radio.


Jamie Varon on Does Generation Y Need to Grow Up?

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I’m just now getting caught up on my reading on Brazen Careerist.  (Great site and blogs…you need to check it out…all Gen Ys blogging on great topics we all need to know about.)

Jamie Varon has a great post from last month:  Does Generation Y Need to Grow Up?

She makes a few great points.  We need Gen Y’s optimism and confidence right now.  And…if you are a Boomer or older Gen X, think back to when you were in your early 20’s, and you wanted to change the world.  What happened to that dream?  Did you let corporate group think pull you down into the mud and the yuck?

Quite frankly, I am on Jamie’s and Gen Y’s side on this issue.  If you are a leader, I believe it is your role to open up, be more optimistic and listen to what your Gen Ys are trying to say to you.  They are tired of the pessimism and skepticism that they are being dished out by senior leaders who call them names and try to turn them into surly “workers” who become “yes men and women” for the organization.

So, go over to Jamie’s post, and add a few comments on how you can help come to a meeting of the minds with your young careerists.


Are You Hurting or Building Your Relationship With Your Gen Y Careerists? Answer These 3 “DUH” Questions

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As an Executive Coach and Leadership Consultant, I work with leaders from all walks of life who interact with employees from all walks of life and all generations.  The thing that I notice more often than not is that more senior leaders are “brushing off” a few huge opportunities to build out their relationship with their Gen Y careerists.

So, today, I am going to ask you 3 “DUH” questions…these are so obvious, but about 70% of the leaders I meet are not able to answer “YES” to these questions.

1) Are you using technology to communicate with Generation Y? This includes blogging, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, wikis and forums.  This one step takes only minutes, and if you’re smart, you will learn how to connect all of your social networks together with a service like Ping.fm so that one message is sent out to all networks at one time.  There is really no excuse for not using the technology Gen Y is comfortable using to communicate with them, and it honestly takes about 5 minutes to get set up.

2) Are you giving your Gen Y careerists a voice in your organization? If not, why not?  This is one of the most creative, intelligent generations we have alive today, and if you are not asking for their input, listening to their ideas and then incorporating their suggestions into your company, there is a good chance you will lose them AND your company will lose its competitive edge.  And…just stop that junk about how the economy is going to make Gen Y less vocal and more willing to follow some of what I call those “stupid rules” of the company where only senior managers have a voice and get invited into those “secret/private” meetings.  That is so dark ages.

3) Are you spending time truly listening and supporting your Gen Ys when they come to you in need of help and feedback? I sat last week and watched a senior leader talking to a Gen Y…he was nodding his head up and down like one of those bobble head dolls that looked like this:

It was obvious he was not listening…he was just doing the bobble head thing to act like he was listening.   Take the time to sit down with your Gen Y’s and really listen to them, give them the feedback they want, and give them the support they need to build a great career.  You will be glad you took the time to show that you care.  And…don’t do the bobble head thing…just stop that!


Ryan Stephens Marketing: Top Gen Y Blogs for April 2009

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Ryan Stephens is balloting the public for the top ten blogs for April 2009.  The Millennial Leaders blog is currently on the list of potentials.

If you wish to vote for the ML blog, you will need to follow a few guidelines:

You can rank the blogs you submit any way you’d like, though I would encourage you to consider some of the following criteria:

  • CONTENT
  • Frequency of updates
  • Valuable and interesting links (embedded or in the blogroll)
  • Aesthetic (i.e navigation, functionality, and to some extent looks)
  • Ability to incite conversation, thought-provoking comments/discussion

The Rules:

  • The blogs must directly relate to Gen Y/Millennials*
  • One ballot per person
  • Your ballot must have at least 5 blogs listed to be included
  • You -can- vote for your own blog
  • If you feel compelled to include a great post that showcases why you chose a particular blog I won’t hate you

*For clarification purposes – This is not a list of the best Gen Y bloggers based on their demographic, but about the best blogs that deliver value for the Gen Y demographic. For example if a 26-year old writes brilliantly about the latest tech inventions, though he is Gen Y, he’s probably not a good fit for this list. The alternative is a 40-year old writing about approaches Gen Y can take to get a job in the current economic climate is very relevant. Honestly, I don’t mind that the line blurs as long as great bloggers get recognition. Take that for what it’s worth.

Please submit your list of top Gen Y Blogs to ryanstephensmarketing(at)gmail.com


Striking Similarities Across Generations: The Pepsi Forever Young Commercial

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The Pepsi Forever Young Commercial just brings to mind how similar things look across generations.

Take a look:

Pepsi: Forever Young


Adam Lambert Rocks the House on Idol

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Well, here we are again…one of my favorite times of the year, because Idol is back on.  I don’t make any bones about the fact that I am an Idol freak…I love watching great Gen Y talent, and I get a LOT of coaching tips from S. Cowell.

Each year, I make an early prediction.  Two years ago, I predicted Blake Lewis (got that one wrong.)  Last year, I predicted David Cook, so got that one.

This year…my eye is on Adam Lambert.  He is a bit on the quirky side but can hit the notes, and he is an outstanding performer.  I think he certainly did justice to Michael Jackson’s Black or White last night, and I was totally captivated watching him.  He’s also quite relevant and the timing is perfect…given the whole Twilight thing going on right now.

To watch the performance, go to http://itunes.com and download the American Idol video of Adam Lambert performing Black or White.


Should Teachers Incorporate Texting and Twitter Into the Classroom?

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It is not uncommon for me to turn on the news or read an article about texting in the classroom. Teachers are pulling their hair out trying to stop it…and the more they resist, the more the students persist. I even saw recently where a student was caught texting, the teacher called the police (after an argument) and the student hid her cell phone in her pants. Argh!

From where I sit, it makes perfect sense to start using texting in the classroom. Imagine this: Every child in the classroom has a cell phone, the teacher has Twitter open on a big screen television, a discussion happens, and the students all weigh in by posting to Twitter. The class can then choose a topic on the screen to explore in further detail.

I am sure this sounds ridiculous, and many critics will argue that not everyone has a cell phone nor can they afford it…true! BUT…I have been into several public schools, and it is hard for me to find a student who does not own a cell phone and who does not text as the main means of communication. So…that is a hiccup we would have to address (to make sure that everyone has a text plan that is free, etc.)

I suppose my main thought here is this…if students are texting, tweeting and on their laptops checking their friends’ Facebook comings and goings during class, then why not bring this into the classroom? I think the whole “broadcast/lecture” model is not working, and we have to find a way to get our students engaged and involved.

Would love to hear your comments on this post and the video below.


3 Ways To Give Your Gen Ys Feedback

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When I talk to Boomers , I hear this whining, moaning, complaining about Gen Y needing constant feedback.

Of course, when it comes to Boomers, they know that the annual 360 or performance evaluation  are the only times feedback should be delivered and “no feedback is good feedback” seems to be their mantra (not always…but most of the time.)

I don’t really get why the request for feedback is such an issue…so your Gen Ys want feedback on their performance on an ongoing basis?  My hunch is that if we all took this position, we might not be in the mess we’re in today.  As a young employee, if you don’t know how you’re doing, then how in the world can you improve?

So,  if you are a senior leader who is frustrated with your Gen Y’s need for constant feedback, there are 3 things you can do to help with this situation:

1) Give 5 minutes of feedback on Tuesday and Thursday of each week. On Tuesday, give them feedback about Monday.  On Thursday, give them feedback about what happened on Wednesday.  And, when you give feedback, here is how to say it “I want to acknowledge you for doing x…you really helped out the team with this approach.”  And…for negative feedback, say something like “I noticed you did or said x yesterday.  You will be much more effective and build out your leadership capabilities if you do x.”

2) When your Gen Ys ask you for feedback at a random moment, just give it. Give one minute of quick feedback and move on.  The majority of the time, your younger employees just want to know they are on the right track.  Don’t lecture or harp on the issue..just give the quick feedback and move on.  The more they know they are doing things the right way, the less they will ask you for this ongoing feedback.   And…for heaven’s sake…stop being so impatient when your Gen Ys ask you for feedback.  It’s not going to kill you to give one quick minute of feedback.  If you have an employee who is coming to you all day long for feedback, remind them that you will be giving them feedback on Tuesday and Thursday.

3) Go to lunch or breakfast with your Gen Y’s one time each quarter simply to discuss how everything is going. Use this as a more casual/more social time to give more extensive feedback and to talk “big picture” topics.

At the end of the day, if you are resisting giving feedback, it’s probably because you have an issue around receiving feedback.  Times are different, and in our current economy, we all need more feedback about what’s going on today so that we can turn things around as quickly as possible.

Millennial Leaders


Hey! New York City Residents: BREAK’NTHROUGH Coming March 5

I had a great conversation today with Terry Osborne of  TAO, a marketing agency that specializes in motivating the Gen X and Gen Y markets.

TAO is sponsoring the BREAK’NTHROUGH Event this week.

Here are the details:

BREAK’NTHROUGH

Date: March 5

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: The Canal Room: 285 W. Broadway in Manhattan

Great Artist Line Up

I would highly recommend any of you from NYC to attend…free to the public (except for any drinks)…great way to see how to market to Gen Y and how to connect with a younger demographic.


10 More Ways Gen Y Will Change the Workplace by Ryan Healy

Last May, Ryan Healy wrote a post titled 10 Ways Generation Y Will Change the Workplace. It was read by thousands of people, and Healy has now posted another great entry on how Millennials will change the workplace given the current state of the economy.

I will just add to Ryan’s list one thought:  Gen Y is looking a LOT like the GI Generation of the early 1900s era.  They are very optimistic, hopeful (think Roaring 20’s) and were born and raised in an era of influence.  Suddenly, we are hit with global terrorism and a war…and war usually brings along a recession.  FDR was a man who came into his adulthood in the roaring 20’s, and the New Deal was of course his big initiative.  I fully expect to see our Gen Y’s become more politically active and civic minded, and it would not surprise me to see a modern day FDR step forward with a brand new deal.   I believe that the war in Iraq has created in Gen Y one of the most caring, civic minded generations we have seen in a long, long time.  I  believe Gen Y will use their civic duty to come up with some brilliant approaches to bring the private and public sectors together (just my 2 cents!) in order to make our political system actually work!

Great post by Ryan.  Read it here.