November 21, 2017

Are You Praising Generation Y or Complaining and Calling Them Names?

Look at this poor guy to the rightGuy Rolling Eyes. 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
  • Smirking
  • 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

And that is my post for today.

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Where Will We Find Tomorrow’s Leaders? Video

An Interview with Linda A. Hill, Professor, Harvard Business School. Hill suggests we won’t find new global leaders by looking in conventional places for people who act in conventional take-charge ways. Instead, look for people who can lead from behind to promote the collective genius of their teams.

I am seeing more and more in the current job search that companies are willing to take someone with 40 years of experience at a much lower pay.  My question is “Will they use this unconventional, collective genius approach?  If you don’t believe so, it’s time to start taking a closer look at our up and coming Generation…Gen Y.  They live, eat and breathe the team approach and are anything BUT conventional!

Video Rating: 4 / 5

Keeping Generation Y Engaged At Work

Many organizations and businesses are asking how they need to change in order to attract and then retain Generation Y. When I answer this question, many people don’t seem to like my answer, because my answer is this: If you want to attract young talent into your organization, you will be called to not just change but undergo a metamorphosis that will keep Gen Y interested and excited about working for and with your company. And, if you try to sit on them, keep them or make life difficult, they will leave in a heartbeat.

I am not a futurist, and many futurists will tell you that it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict the formula for the future workplace, because as technology and our global business landscape change, so will the way our organizations work and the way we go about attracting young talent. However, I do have a few ideas on the topic (based on my conversations with Gen Y and companies who seem to be “getting it right”. Over the next week, I will be sharing a few of those ideas with you through a challenge/solution format:

1) CHALLENGE: KEEPING GEN Y ENGAGED

Solution: Redesign the organization to put the focus on the the knowledge worker as your number one growth asset.

The future will belong to the companies who embrace knowledge as the number one asset for growth. There is no generation better to fill the role of the knowledge worker than Generation Y. This Generation was born with a cell phone and laptop in their cribs. They have had instant access to massive amounts of information at the touch of a button for the last 15-20 years of their lives. Companies that thrive in the future will be looking at not only who has the most knowledge but creative methods to capture and leverage tacit knowledge. I believe that the Chief Knowledge Officer is going to be one of the most important roles for the future workplace. The CKO will be the leader who can provide companies with an honest, unbiased view about the world and where their company stands in relationship to its competitors.

I spoke to a young woman last week who said she felt as if her job was not challenging her enough, keeping her interested enough. She knows she can be doing more and giving more to her job…if only her boss could provide her with the challenge and developmental opportunities she has been craving. I hear this constantly. Many people believe that this is just more of Gen Y trying to “get what they want”, but I have to ask you “Isn’t this what we all want?” Don’t we all want to feel that we are learning more, being challenged more and being offered an inspiring environment to work and live in?

If you are reading this blog today, I want to ask you to sit down with your Gen Y careerists and ask them what you can do to help them grow, develop and feel as if they are learning more because you have provided an inspiring environment to do it in.

Millennial Leaders .

Y -Talk Radio Interview with Gen Y Executive Coaches Bea Fields, Beth Bloomfield and Carol Graser

Political leaders want their votes. Businesses want their disposable income. Organizations want their talent. Generation Y represents over 72 million influencers, and they are a powerful force to be reckoned with. During this interview, published author and corporate writer, Sara Thomas, interviews executive coaches Carol Graser, Beth Bloomfield and Bea Fields about some of the most pressing questions companies are facing about how to best develop The Millennials into future leaders.

For more about host Sara Thomas, visit her blog at SarahThomas.com.

Listen to the audio here:.

Younger Folks’ Narcissism May Enliven the Workplace

In The Informed Reader from the Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2007, a bit of research that appeared in The Boston Globe on September 30 says the following:

“The narcissism of the younger generation in the work force might be the shot in the arm corporate America needs, even if it is annoying”…The article closes by saying this:

“There (narcissists) confidence lets them take risks others might balk at.  Narcissists will aslo speed up innovation by pushing bold ideas onto skeptical elders.  However, since narcissists rarely acknowledge their wrong ideas are wrong, the trick will be “to identify the upstarts with the most potential,” and only then, “allow them to run with their ideas.”

A great book on this very topic is one that I feel all leaders should read by Michael Maccoby, author of The Productive Narcissist: The Promise and Peril of Visionary Leadership.  Maccoby points out in his work that narcissists, because they don’t have a great deal of internal restraint and caution, are the ones who usually change the world.

We have been told over and over again that our future is going to be determined by Gen Y…so, maybe their healthy doses of high self regard is just what our world needs in order to go through a radical transformation..

The Boomers Had Their Day. Make Way for the Millennials in the Washington Post

Great article in the Washington Post today:

The Boomers Had Their Day. Make Way for the Millennials.

Studies: Arrogance not rampant among young in USA Today

Great article today in USA Today:  Studies:  Arrogance not rampant among young in USA Today.

As I have said before:  Every generation thinks the next generation is more arrogant and narcissistic than the generation before them.  The Gen Y leaders I have met over the last 18 months (and I have met and interviewed about 200) are coming across as generous, hard working, and very dedicated to social causes.  They are also very thoughtful.  Just three weeks ago, Arel Moodie and Bert Gervais called to wish me a Happy New Year and to thank me for supporting them…that meant a lot to me, and I don’t hear my boomer colleagues calling me to say that.   And…if you listen in to the interview below this post with Margaret Regan, she brings up a great point…that Gen Y is saying that they don’t want to live the way their boomer parents did…working 60+ hours per week and being stressed to the max.  So, in my opinion, what some boomers are calling narcissistic and “it’s all about me” may just be  Gen Y’s way of saying “I want to live life first and work second.  I want balance, flexiblity and freedom.  I’m not going to do things your way, working my fingers to the bone, because it will kill me…or at least put me in the sick ward”.  (Don’t we all want that?  Why are we so afraid to ask for that, and why do we then call a generation that is asking for what we all want in life things like lazy, narcissistic and arrogant?)

I believe this to be true…if you look for the negative, you will find it.  If you look for the positive, you will find it.  If you are reading this blog today, I encourage you to get out there and start talking to Gen Y, because I think you might just be surprised at the positives they are bringing to the world.  And…I’m going to say it again “It’s time for us to start working with them…not resisting their efforts!”.

Y-Talk Radio Interview with Margaret Regan, Found of the FutureWork Institute

Would you like to know how our business and corporate landscape will be shifting in the next 5-10 years as young talent (Gen X and Gen Y) moves into the workforce and into key leadership positions? If so, you don’t want to miss this call with Margaret Regan, Founder of the FutureWork Institute , shares her insights from a gobal study her company is conducting on workforce trends, diversity, talent shortages and generational values. Led by Y-Talk host, Bea Fields  and Guest Co-Hosts Beth Bloomfield and Carol Graser of Next Gen Leaders..

Y-Talk Radio Interview with Michael Simmons, Founder of the Extreme Entrepreneursip Education Program: http://ExtremeE.org

Listen in, as we talk with one of America’s top young entrepreneurs, Michael Simmons. Simmons, who has been featured in USA Today and Business Week Magazine, is the CEO of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Education Tour. Michael and his partner, Sheena Lindahl, takes their entreprenerial message to the country’s top young schools to spread the entrepreneurial mindset. The national tour creates buzz across campus and in the local media. During this call, we discuss what it takes to be highly successful as a budding entrepreneur.

Visit Extreme Entrepreneurship Education  for more information OR find an Extreme E Tour coming to your college campus soon!

And…while you are there, pick up a copy of The Student Success Manifesto (it’s a quick and inspiring read for all ages!)

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