Monday, July 26, 2010

Leading Millennials: Inspire & Be Inspired (Part II)

[...continued] This post started as a response to Travis Robertson's blog post The Millennial Revolution: An Experiment. What evolved lies below. Please continue the discussion here or on Travis' blog.

A collaborative, diverse, interesting and fun culture play into some aspects of the Millennial Generation, but there is a need for so much more. In the slew of conversations I have with peers and direct reports each week, I hear resoundingly that the "job" at hand is a stepping stone to a greater passion. That is not to say that these individuals are disengaged from the work at hand, in fact rarely is that so. Remember, these workers were raised with high expectations for performance in the classroom, on the ball field, and at home. While privileged, many come with perfectionistic tendencies.

The challenge every organization faces today is to engage each individual according to their skills (to benefit the company) AND their passions (to benefit the individual AND the company). One without the other leaves both parties wanting, and the relationship is short-lived (but you might get a twitter marketing campaign out of it).

This provides both a challenge and an opportunity for organizations. Those that get this balance right will have a far more loyal workforce, will attract employee referrals, project a positive corporate image in social media, and have opportunities to couple company culture with world-changing opportunities and organizations. The hard work consists of building genuine relationships with EVERY employee, not just the perceived top talent, and not just because it is a checklist item, but because it creates a bond that a pension no longer makes. This relationship building takes a lot of listening, it takes asking meaningful questions, and pressing in to find the passion that each "millennial" clings to. It can't be faked, or you erect a relational curtain (Read more). Relationships take time.

In fact, I suspect that EVERY person has these passions, these dreams to save the world, and it is up to us, the business leaders, CEOs, and Executives, to listen, encourage, inspire, and lead. We lead now on two fronts, each requiring equal thought and action; 1) Our responsibility to our organization and driving business, and 2) Our responsibility to our people locally, and our people globally.

This does not put business leaders in the backseat just along for the ride. This is not an either or choice, it is a both and. The relationship goes both ways. We have an incredibly challenging and rewarding course ahead. Not only to listen, encourage, inspire, and lead, but to do all this while teaching through our own (and others) stories how devotion, commitment, and loyalty have led to great successes through the course of our own lives.

(Hope this helps Travis!)

I don't have it all figured out, but neither does PWC. It sounds as though they are still muddling through the details of managing millennials as well. Read more here.

Additional Resources:
The M-factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace

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