The Traditionalist Generation – Still Killin’ It!

What do Jack Welch, Helen Mirren, Robert De Niro, Mick Jagger, Tom Brokaw and Martha Stewart all have in common? They are members of the Traditionalist Generation born between 1925 – 1945 and they are still working… and still killin’ it! In this post you will learn to marvelous contributions Traditionalists continue to  make in society and your well being. After you read it, call you mom and your gramma!

Traditionalist = Tough Times, Sacrifice, and Hard Work

The Traditionalist Generation—also known as the Veterans, the Silent Generation, and the Greatest Generation—is comprised of men and women born between 1922 and 1945. This group not only survived the Great Depression of 1930, but they also brought us out of WWII and helped make the United States a world power. Patriotism, teamwork, sacrifice, “doing more with less,” and task-orientation very much define this generation. Rules of order, respect for authority, and following directions are all important touch points for Traditionalist.

When it comes to technology, this generation has to adapt. The only entertainment they grew up with were the voices coming out of a box—the radio. They were raised sitting around a radio with their family, listening to spellbinding stories, like “The Shadow,” “Dick Tracy,” “Lux Radio Hour,” and “Our Miss Brooks,” which filled their evenings with suspense and entertainment. When you think about the wonder of those times, it was their minds that created the pictures they heard from the voices on the radio. There were no MTVs or video games—maybe that is where the genius of Walt Disney was nourished. Although Disney was born before the Traditionalists in 1901, he was still part of an era that relied on their own imaginations for entertainment.

Traditionalists Words of Wisdom

They were also raised listening to their parents spouting proverbs that centered around, work, patience, and delayed gratification. These proverbs were a part of the Traditionalist’s DNA, and they quoted them often to their own children.

How many of you remember hearing these adages?

·      A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

·      A penny saved is a penny earned.

·      A stitch in time saves nine.

·      Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.

·      Don’t judge a book by its cover.

·      Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

·      If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

·      If the shoe fits, wear it.

·      Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

·      People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

·      Practice makes perfect.

·      Save for a rainy day.

·      The early bird catches the worm.

·      The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence

·      The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

·      Waste not, want not.

·      What goes around, comes around.

·      Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

·      You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.

A Peek into the Traditionalist Workplace

If you think about it, the country had just left WWII, which was won by the U.S. entrance into the conflict, and this “military way of doing things” trickled into the workplace. The traditional take on organizational structure in a business back then was very military-like and hierarchical, with power flowing vertically and upward, and employees were departmentalized. All employees follow a chain of command. For instance, the CEO has final say on operations in all divisions, but each department has a manager who runs day-to-day operations and ultimately reports to the CEO. Just like the military, every soldier answers to his commanding officer, while the president of the United States is at the top of the chain as commander-in-chief. This is what the workplace resembled during the Traditionalist era.

If you want to see just what it was like working in America in the 1950s, I suggest you rent “Madmen” and watch the first season. The early 1950s were a time where conformity ruled, and women and minorities did not share spaces with “the men.” TV shows of that era portrayed the loving and dutiful wife, a.k.a. June Cleaver, at home cooking and cleaning, and happily greeting her hard-working husband when he returned in the evening. Shows such as “Donna Reed,” “Father Knows Best,” and “Leave It to Beaver” were the rage. The workplace was a man’s world filled with rules: defined office work hours, face-time meetings, and obligations. Work was the first and primary interest of all those employed—the boss ruled and the worker was committed to work first and family second.

If you really think about it, this style of management has been a part of the U.S. workforce for many years. The Boomers tweaked it, Gen X tried to change it—and got angry—but really it’s the Millennials who actually have blown it up!

NASA, Medicine, and Equality

The Traditionalist generation spawned the first true innovators. They were responsible for developing NASA, which has led to today’s space program. Back in the 1950s, NASA chose seven men (astronauts) who would fly on the Mercury spacecraft and called these men the “Mercury Seven.” John Glenn, one of them, was the first American to orbit the earth in 1962.

Traditionalists also created vaccines for many diseases including polio, tuberculosis, tetanus, and whooping cough, laying the foundation for today’s technological environment.

This generation was the first to pursue equality through the Civil Rights Movement that began in the mid 50s with protests against racial segregation and discrimination. The movement began by attempting to tear down the inherent discrimination in public facilities that segregated blacks from whites. As the movement expanded, their struggle for freedom and reform extended to economic, political, and cultural arenas. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister, lead the Civil Rights Movement from the mid 1950s until his assassination in 1968.

Good-bye to Traditions

Traditionalists may be the last generation to help pass on the individual family traditions. Growing up, my sisters and I loved our family traditions. Coming from an Italian family background, we knew that every Sunday we would have either homemade lasagna or tortellini or, maybe, rigatoni, and always meatballs. At Christmas, my mom made tins of homemade cookies, breads, and our favorite almond biscotti. My mom loved special family dinners and set a fancy table with the family china, crystal, and silver.

Every Thanksgiving we counted on Mom to make the stuffing recipe exactly the same—and we would get really upset if she added anything extra like mushrooms or sausages. My dad would carve the turkey with the special knife reserved for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Regrettably, as time has marched on, many of our family traditions have gone by the wayside.

When Baby Boomers (1946–1964) began to develop their lifestyles, families changed. Their children, Gen X (1965–1984), share memories of holidays described as a “happy blur” with a “working mom” doing some frenzied cooking and cleaning, along with the dreaded car trips from one relative’s house to the next. If the relatives all lived in the same city, Thanksgiving could possibly be two or three huge meals packed into one day.

When Gen X moved out of the house (college, job, marriage) many continued these traditions by traveling home and spending a few days or a week at the parents’ home from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day. Movies such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Home for the Holidays (1995), and Four Christmases (2008) capture well those hectic years.

When Gen X married, another “holiday issue” was set into play: deciding which family gets them, followed by the travel arrangements and subsequent tight sleeping quarters. Many X’ers admit that they would break their parents’ hearts if they didn’t come home for Christmas. But, the question is how do they decide on which family to go to?

After the grandchildren arrive on the scene, numerous X’ers and now Millennials often decide to forgo many of their past traditions and begin their own, but admit they still call Grandma and get all the delicious family recipes.

If your grandparents are still with you, take time to ask them to share ideas and traditions with your family and try to keep some of those important customs alive.

If you have some time over the weekend watch one of these classic Traditionalist movies!

Casablanca , Citizen Kane, Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, North by Northwest, Rear Window , Grapes of Wrath, Unbroken Vertigo, Some Like it Hot The Philadelphia Story, From Here to Eternity, have fun!

Understanding the Boomers and their Contribution

Boomer’s Photo by: RMPhoto.com

I started speaking on Generations in the Workplace, to corporations and associations  back in 2000, when the Baby Boomers were in the heights of their careers and businesses. Back then, Boomers were the leaders in most organizations. Today, it’s a different story.  Boomers have either retired or are facing retirement in the next few years. Since the Boomers have left their mark on America and our ways of doing business I decided to write this post giving you a peek into “The Why” Boomers are Boomers and the impact they have made in our lives,

 

Who is the The Baby Boomer?  Born 1946–1964

The name “baby boomer” refers to the tremendous spike in births when WWII came to an end. In fact, the birth of the boomers signaled the end of 16 years of depression and war. But now as peace and prosperity returned, America was ready for a new start.

The post-war era brought not only babies, but also a new confidence in the economy. Corporations began to grow larger and more profitable, and labor unions were in their heyday promising higher wages, benefits, and a brighter future for their members. Parents of this new generation wanted to give their children so many of the opportunities and things they did not have in their own childhoods.

 

Boomer’s Lifestyle Changes and the Women’s Movement

One of the first lifestyle changes after the war was the birth of “the burbs.” Visionary developers bought land on the outskirts of the cities and built mass-produced homes (tract homes) on the land. Low-interest rates through the G.I. Bill for vets tempted many city dwellers to move out to the burbs, while others just wanted to leave the city life and raise their families in a safer environment.

 

Although the flight from cities to suburbs was great for family life, many women felt isolated and trapped away from their city lifestyle. Another point to remember is that during the war some 350,000 women served in the U.S. Armed Forces, both at home and abroad. More than 310,000 women worked in the U.S. aircraft industry in 1943, representing 65 percent of the industry’s total workforce (compared to just one percent in the pre-war years). Rosie the Riveter symbolized the new-found strength of the working woman during the war years.

 

However, in the 1950s, a shift in thinking was on the rise, and women were told to go back into the home where their most important job was to bear and rear children, along with being a good wife who knew how to cook and keep a tidy home. For some women, this shift in lifestyle and values generated a huge dissatisfaction, and the women’s liberation movement began contributing to the feminist movement of the 1960s.

  

Television, Credit Cards, and Consumerism

The post-war economy was able to raise the standard of living for many families. Moving from apartment living to a home with a “family room” required more furniture! A new concept in buying with a credit card was born, and people began purchasing on credit products of the revved up economy: televisions, hi-fi systems, new cars, and clothing. Consumerism wasn’t just for the adults as marketers begin to realize there were huge profits to be made from the boomer babies too. They began to watch the habits of the newest generation, who were now watching TV and, in particular, Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club. Boomer children begged their parents to buy them mouse-ears, Davey Crocket hats, hula hoops, Frisbees, and lots of other toys now being advertised on TV. The boomer child had buying power! Looking back on this new affluent spending may have been the precursor to the boomers’ philosophy of spend-now-and-worry-later lifestyle.

 

Boomers and the  Counter-Culture of the Sixties

The first boomers entered their teens and said so long to Elvis and hello to the Beatles, Stones, and the Dave Clark 5. Bob Dylan sang “The Times They Are A-Changin’” as civil unrest exploded with the Vietnam War, and many baby boomers began to gravitate to a counterculture. Rejecting the status quo, student activism appeared on many college campuses. Young adults became activists protesting civil rights and the war. Other boomers dropped out completely and they were called hippies. The hippie arrived on the scene with their long hair, Birkenstocks, tie-dye clothing, peace signs, and hallucinogenic drugs.

 

Living the American Dream Requires “Work, Work and More Work”

When the oldest boomers entered the workforce in the late ’60s and early ’70s, they brought with them their vision of the American Dream, a competitive nature, a strong need to be seen as an individual, and a new style of leadership. They replaced their predecessors’ “my way or the highway” style with a more democratic consensus of leadership and teamwork.

 

Their dream was challenged early on. The 1970–1980 decade was filled with uncertainty in the U.S. workforce. The U.S. was moving from a manufacturing economy to a service economy, and the transition involved downsizings, mergers, and reorganizations. Attitudes towards work and the employer were changing. As the uncertainty grew, some boomers felt betrayed, but they continued to work longer and harder. Boomers have felt they are hardwired for work. As boomers have aged, they also have admitted that they have stayed in jobs that had no growth or future, but still continued to work hard calling their work a “badge of honor.”

 

In 1991, we signed the North American Tread Agreement, and many U.S. manufacturing companies moved to Mexico and overseas. The look and feel of work was changing and many boomers moved into management.

 

Today, the oldest baby boomers are already in their 70s. By 2030, about one in five Americans will be older than 65, and some experts believe that the aging of the population will place a strain on social welfare systems.

Bill Clinton was the first baby boomer to serve as president, followed by George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Baby boomers have risen to the highest levels of corporations and elected offices. Their time is now fading into the golden years of retirement, but they have left an enduring mark on our society. One has to be proud of being included in this remarkable generation.

Today, the oldest baby boomers are already in their 70s. By 2030, about one in five Americans will be older than 65, and some experts believe that the aging of the population will place a strain on social welfare systems.

Bill Clinton was the first baby boomer to serve as president, followed by George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Baby boomers have risen to the highest levels of corporations and elected offices. Their time is now fading into the golden years of retirement, but they have left an enduring mark on our society. One has to be proud of being included in this remarkable generation.

Generation-X: Time to Pass the Torch

Gen X: There Will Never Be Another!

As with most generational labels, “Generation X” is a somewhat negative term, coined by Douglas Coupland, author of the 1991 book Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. For Coupland, the letter “X” was meant to signify the generation’s random, ambiguous, and contradictory ways.

Generation Xers were the children born during a time of shifting social and family values, a challenging economy, and advances in technology in the U.S.

Boomers, who were also called the “Me Generation,” were deep into self-actualizing, and their focus seemed to be less on their children and more on themselves and their careers.

Looking back-

Gen X kids grew up in harder times than the Boomers. Between 1979 and 1995, some 43 million jobs were lost through corporate downsizing. Newly created jobs paid less and offered fewer benefits, and stagflation appeared. In economics, stagflation happens when the inflation rate is high, the economic growth rate slows, and unemployment remains steadily high.

Many families needed more than one income to survive and women reentered the workforce to provide the extra income. The challenges in the American economy combined with other social changes, including the Pill, feminism, increased levels of education among women and men, revolutionized the American family.

A new trend was occurring: American couples began to marry later, have fewer children, and divorce more frequently. In 1973, when “the Pill” went on the market, most Americans lived in nuclear-style families. The average married couple had three to four children, and mothers stayed home and tended to the family. By 2000, the average family had shrunk to two children (that’s why this generation is so small), and one out of two marriages was ending in divorce. Almost a third of American children were being raised by a single parent or an unmarried couple—further contributing to profound changes in family dynamics.

Freedom! Growing Up in the 70’s and 80’s

Freedom! Well sort of … kids had lots of freedom back in the 70s and 80s. They played outside! They had wheels—their bikes—and they got to roam and ride all day until the streetlights came on at night. More than likely, this childhood freedom will never happen again. Helicopter parents have entered the building!

The term “Latchkey Kids,” a name created by Boomers, referred to children who came home from school to an empty house because mom was working. The kids of this era were given a great deal of responsibility and a list of chores was often left on the kitchen table to be completed before mom got home: empty the dishwasher, plug in the crock pot, do your homework, and help your brother and sister with theirs, fill the ice cube trays, set the table, and don’t make a mess. The responsible Xer did get many of the items on the list done, but only after hours of watching MTV, listening to the radio, and making mixed-tapes to share with their friends.

Now let’s pause for a moment. If you were born between 1964 and 1979 and your mom did not work and you did not have lots of independence, you may be more like a Boomer than a Gen Xer. The same goes for Boomers, no matter what your age, if your mom worked and you were left alone to be independent and more personally responsible, you may relate more to Gen X.

Let’s go back to the growing-up years of Gen X and reflect on them. Parents and even teachers did not coddle this generation along with the Boomers. Gen X saw first hand that their parents were human and fallible, and they often found themselves giving their parents advice and comfort. Autonomy and self-reliance, rather than respect for authority, were natural byproducts of the Generation X childhood.

Looking back at this generation, it’s easy to see that Gen X could possibly be the last generation of children and teens to grow up with freedom, independence, and the luxury to try different things on their own, fail, and try again.

Gen X: Skeptical and Cynical – Reality Bites

Xers grew up seeing lost children on milk cartons and taking their Halloween candy to the hospital to get it x-rayed because a neighbor may have slipped a razor blade or pins into their Milk Duds. They watched TV when a frying pan came on the screen and heard a voice announce, “This is your brain,” and then an egg was cracked into a pan with the voice explaining, “This is your brain on drugs!”

They also grew up in an era when many of the sacred institutions (churches, schools, government) fell apart or let them down. Gen Xers saw corporations like Enron and WorldCom crumble, leaving their employees with empty pension funds. They watched in real time as the doomed Challenger exploded, and as Heisman winner O.J. was crouched in the back of his white Bronco while his friend drove it down a Los Angeles freeway. Here are the dates for the memorable events that squelched their ability to blindly trust and also added to their skeptical nature:

1972 – Watergate Scandal

1973 – Energy Crisis and Long Gas Lines

1979 – Three Mile Island Meltdown

1980s – Priest, Politician, and Teacher Scandals

1986 – Challenger Disaster

1990s – Corporate Layoffs (parents laid off)

1992 – Rodney King Beating / Police Brutality

1995 – Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal

2001 – Enron / Tyco Corporate Scandal

                             “Never confuse having a career with having a life,”

                                         Eddie Bauer Shopping bag slogan. 

Can We Have a Little Balance?

Generation X entered the workforce when the Boomers were in their prime, and early on there were not many areas for this generation to flourish—except, of course, in technology!

Because many Gen Xers learned independence early in life, this attribute turned out to be a valuable trait and Xers progressed in their work and in the world. As writer Mary Donohue proudly writes in her article in the Huffington Post, “Gen X is your bread and butter. They have worked through more recessions than their parents or grandparents ever did. Most often they are executive leaders who are on the cusp of becoming the C-class, but aren’t thriving in the workplace. The closer these workers get to 55 the more their knowledge becomes invaluable to your organization and to your customers. They are your intellectual capital.”

Because many Gen Xers had early contact with the “real world,” they are highly self-reliant and positioned to take on leadership in all organizations—corporate, non-profit, and community. As a whole they are serious about meeting commitments, have a strong sense of purpose, and are highly resilient. Gen X is the generation who wants options/choices since they don’t want to be cornered into just one and only one single way of doing something. They are innovative, creative, and insightful. These qualities position them for great leadership in an era of disruptive thinking. Gen X values new ideas and “out of the box” thinking.

As leaders today, they must help organizations become more collaborative. They must continue to ask great questions and get others excited and engaged in work and projects. They must embrace complexity and continue to seek new answers and new disruptions. And they must keep up their need for authenticity, purpose, and mission in the workplace and world.

Is There a Little Generation X in YOU?

 

Shutterstock ImageAs a Generations in the Workplace speaker the most asked question is, “How did they come up with the dates that define a generation?” Wikipedia states that A generation is “all of the people born and living at about the same time, regarded collectively. The Center for Generational Kinetics tells us  that.a generation is a group of people born around the same time and raised around the same place. People in this “birth cohort” exhibit similar characteristics, preferences, and values over their lifetimes.

When I present keynotes on the Generations in workplace, and give the dates that each generation falls into,  many come up and say that they do not fit- they are more like a ______. I tell audiences that there are other factors that contribute to your generation. Let’s look at  GenX- If you were born between 1965 and 1979 and your mom did not work and you did not have lots of independence, you may be more like a Boomer(1946-1964)  than a Gen Xer (1965-1980). The same goes for Boomers or Millennials (1981-2000), no matter what your age, if your mom worked and you were left alone to be independent and more personally responsible, you may relate more to Gen X.

SO…Take the Quiz and see how much Gen X is in you.  The more you say YES.. the more you are like Gen X than your generation!

Is There a Little Gen X in You?

 

1.  My life defines me and my work is a means to an end, consequently “I work to live.”

 

2.  I am a self-starter, and I am willing to work hard when I see that it’s necessary, but don’t interrupt me when I am focused.

 

3. I am a saver $$$$$ and I save for the future.

 

4.  I enjoy doing DYI projects in my free time.

 

5.  I use social media to engage with my friends, and I value their reviews and suggestions.

 

6.  I find that I would rather work on my own, where I want, and when I want—telecommunications work.

 

7.  I have been known to be direct and even abrupt, and I can’t tolerate BS.

 

8.  I keep my personal life separate from my work life when possible.

 

9.  I admit I am a little overprotective of my kids and accepting of the term “helicopter parent.”

 

      10.  I value my friends and their opinions many times over that of my parents.(sorry Mom)

Think Like a Millennial? Take the Quiz

I Started speaking on the generations back in 2005 when the Millennials were starting to show up and make some noise in the workplace. It was a great fit because I felt I had an understanding of young people. You see,  before becoming a speaker I owned retail fashion stores in Houston. Hiring many young employees with no workplace experience was typical,  and I often discovered that  they had the potential become great employees. My early years in retail and retail management set the foundation for my peaking platform.

As you may have guessed, I am a not a Millennial – I am a Baby Boomer, but I am discovering that I think and, yes, at times, act like a Millennial despite all the negative comments and sterotyping. They have been described as entitled, narcissistic, and spoiled—and let’s not forget lazy. But, throughout my work and research, I have discovered the opposite is true. Just as Gen Xers have turned out to be other than their name implies, the Millennials that I encounter are ambitious, smart, energetic, creative, and have truly inspired me to do better work.

As we continue to hear the negative comments about this generation, I want to know how many of you Xers and Boomers out there are secretly saying, “Yes, Millennials—go for it!” with the hope that the changes they represent will trickle down into your workplace and life?

For a few moments, forget about the year you were born and the descriptive behavioral characteristics of Millennials. Look and see if any of the items on the list below resonate with you…

Maybe it’s possible that you, too, are more like a Millennial than you think!

True or False

1. You are not content with the status quo. You are always thinking of how things can be better. You are curious, and open to new ideas.

2. You embrace change and see change as an opportunity to grow.

3. You use technology to engage with others.

4. Technology increases your productivity.

5. You are not fond of long hours behind a desk when the work can be done anywhere. You prefer a flexible work schedule when possible and use technology as a means to be more productive.

6. You are motivated by humanitarian causes.

7. You are a self-promoter and have an opportunist’s mindset—you know how to grow your brand.

8. You have a low BS factor and seek out those people who are authentically themselves.

9. You seek feedback.

10. You are impatient.

If eight or more are True for you, you too are more like a Millennial than your assigned generation, please share your thoughts and any other characteristics that I have not included.

How I Stay Focused and Productive

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 9.07.24 PMI admit I feel sure that I have a touch of ADHD…I never officially got tested but I do get distracted  and lose focus easily. I get a lot of ideas all at once (like now when I am writing this and have an urge to look at shoes on Zappos) and I have to stop and refocus on the task at hand. The idea that I have ADD didn’t really even occur to me back when I was running my retail stores. Retail is totally an “ADD friendly” business – always having interruptions, people in and out, calls… actually it was a great place for someone like me.  But …when I became a speaker and started working out of my home office I began to notice my little lack of concentration quirks.

Being a solopreneur and working out of my home office can have its challenges. I am my own boss, manager and motivator and I have discovered that I need structure and rituals in my day if I am going to be successful. Structure is something that I naturally resisted (ENFP) but through practice and the desire to succeed it has become my good friend.

So here are some of the things/rituals that I do stay focused and productive.

1. I plan my day the night before. I use to plan early in the morning, but I discovered that I am more productive if my mornings are free to work out. See #8

2. In my PM planning I begin with the top two or three must do’s (commitments) that no matter what, I will get them accomplished that day.

3.  I include people in my daily plan…people that I need to reconnect with to keep the relationship alive, and people that I need to connect with because I am waiting on them either for information or as a follow-up.

4. I have an ongoing list of 3 projects (website redo, write book, create an online course, write a blog post) that I continually chip away.

5. When I am working at my desk I cut out all distractions. I turn off my email, and pings from social media.

6. I have discovered the site focusatwill.com and I set the timer for 90 minutes of classical music. It keeps me focused and I work faster and better when the music is on. I love it and I really focus.

7. I work at my desk writing or doing clerical work for 90 minutes at a time and then I take off 10 minutes and do something unrelated to work (throw in a load of clothes or empty the dishwasher) and then hit it for another 90. I learned this trick from Jim Loehr early in my speaking career. I read his book The Power of Full Engagement and it changed my life and how I look at time management.  It’s well worth  the read.

8. I discovered that exercise and dance have increased my energy levels and I am more productive when I hit the gym. Because I work alone I enjoy working out in classes with people who I greet and chat a bit before and after the class. It energizes me and I alternate between yoga classes, Zumba, a step class, and body- pump every day that I am in town.  I go early in the morning and then again if possible at 5:30 in the afternoon. I cannot tell you how good I feel and how my energy level has advanced. I believe that the yoga/meditation has really played a huge role in my ability to focus.

9.  Dr Phil once said you can’t claim it if you don’t name it.  I try and do all my clerical work on Mondays (Money Mondays) and my creative writing on Thursdays (Text Thursdays).  I like naming the days- it helps my stay on track…I have a VA and I have her doing all the follow-ups up “Follow-up Wednesday”.

10. Recently a friend told me about the Five Minute Journal, just five minutes a day made Tim Ferris happier , so I ordered one. I have been writing in it for almost a month and actually I enjoy it, and I am focusing on personal growth. It’s not hard to do and it actually takes me less than five minutes. It’s gratitude/affirmation/reflection journal.  The question that gets me thinking and is actually making a difference is, “How could I have made today even better?”

So there you have it! Please comment and give us all your tips on staying focused  and productive.

Busting Myths about Millennials

 

A smiling Caucasian human resource manager with beard interviewed the applicant with his curriculum vitae for the job vacancy. Employment, recruitment concept. A contemporary style with pastel palette, beige tinted background. Vector flat design illustration. Horizontal layout with text space in right side.Because I speak on Generations in the Workplace and I focus on Millennials, I decided to start using Uber – as a research project- interviewing the drivers.

My first trip was in DC visiting my daughter, Meredith. She got me on the app and boom in a few minutes a driver was there.  I used Uber throughout my visit. It was so much easier that walking to the metro or waiting forever for a cam.

When I got back home to Houston, I decided to use Uber more and drive my car less. At first, I only used it to get to and from the airport, but soon I was Ubering it to events all over town. I loved it! In addition to providing me with transportation, Uber has been a great way for me to conduct research. Since I speak on “Generations in the Workplace” and most of my Uber drivers are Millennials, I was getting pages of research.

These interviews have allowed me to expand my insights and bust some myths about Millennials.

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  • Millennials are not lazy. They just look at work differently than their Boomer parents did. They do want to work and they are hard workers, but their biggest difference is that they want independence. Most of my drivers have been part-timers who like the freedom that Uber provides. The can pick their own schedules as to when they want to work, and I have learned that they are ambitious. Over and over, I hear how Uber fills a financial need. I have garnered this info from college students, business majors, and graduate students working on master degrees. I have encountered a web designer, a programmer who works from home and drives just two hours a day (mid-day while taking a break), a high school teacher who only drives on weekends, and a guy that not only drives for Uber but
    rents out his apartment on a regular basis through Airbnb.
  • It’s been said many times that Millennials do not know how to do face-to-face communications. I have found just the opposite to be true. Actually I have enjoyed great conversations in almost every ride. One of my drivers was getting her master’s in social work, and she confessed to me that before driving for Uber she was very quiet and introverted. Her professors suggested that she work on her face-to-face communications because talking and drawing things out of her clients was going to be a big part of her work after graduation. She said that she decided to practice talking to her Uber customers. At first she admitted that she was nervous, but she kept at it. It was a surprise to hear that she struggled with conversation because we talked all the way home.
  • We have heard that Millennials are not loyal to their employers. To the contrary without exception, every driver I have interviewed from Albuquerque to DC has said that they love the entrepreneurial spirit of the company. Drivers have taken me through the vetting process on how they became one. They proudly show me the badges they wear around their neck, the pick stickers on the right front window, stating that they are a certified driver. And every driver has mentioned the five-star rating system. The passenger gets to rate the driver—and get this—the driver gets to also rate the passenger for real-time accountability. Several of the drivers have shared with me that they strive to get as many five-star ratings as possible because if your rating goes below a certain number you are put on probation. I am impressed not only with Uber but with the drivers who want to succeed and who care about my experience in their car.
  • Here’s a new one… Millennials are fun, bold, and creative and they made a ride home an  experience … in a good way!  The last driver I had was really into Adele, I mean really into her.  I head Hello as I entered the car. We sang Adele songs together all the way home ( he must have seen this on youtube) .  It was an experience.

 

 

Today, I am a Millennial and Uber evangelist. I have discovered that the Millennials I am meeting are ambitious, respectful, hardworking, and loyal to their employer. They care about the quality of their work, are accountable, and are terrific conversationalists.Thanks Uber! and if your are reading this TIP your driver!

 

How to Manage Millennials

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There are no quick and dirty tips when it comes to managing and Millennials in today’s workplace. Millennials, for those of you living under a rock, are individuals born after 1980 and particularly those now leaving college. The key to successfully managing this generation begins with understanding them. They look at their world, lifestyle, and work very differently than the generations preceding them do. The unpopular news is that you have to meet Millennials where they are. Yes, it does take more energy, but if you invest the extra time, you’re more likely to keep them in your organization and grow their talent. The bottom line is that forcing them to conform to your way will only push them away.

Workplace expectations that Millennials have include:

■ Inclusion—They want to work with positive people and to be treated with respect and asked for their input.

■ Challenge—They want to work on demanding projects with an engaged team that cares about the outcome.

■ Learning—They want to gain knowledge from a variety of tasks so they can grow their career quickly.

■ Career goals—They want to be able to see their future and their career path in your organization.

■ Techno 24/7—They want the ability to leverage technology to work—anytime/anyplace.

Nearly half of all Millennials say they can’t live without the Internet, according to a recent study by The McCarthy Group, a marketing consulting agency. Target ad dollars there, not toward print media, which is read by less than 10 percent of Millennials.

■ Results oriented—They want to be evaluated on their finished work, not on how, when, or where the work is done.

■ Honest authentic leadership—They want transparency about compensation and what it takes to get ahead. (If you’re advertising to Millennials, watch out! Eighty-four percent do not trust traditional advertising, according to McCarthy.)

 

If you want to understand the psychology of Millennials, consider these clues:

Tech Matters, But Relationships Matter More

High Tech- High Touch – Millennials are known for their love of technology, texting, and connecting online, but did you know that they also value clear communication, an understanding of expectations, and authentic relationships.

Want to Interact Directly and Often with Their Managers and Coworkers

They want to work in a friendly place where they feel a sense of acceptance and enjoyment in the workplace environment. They want to identify with the company’s core values and work with people who share their priorities. They are very willing to leave if the company’s purpose does not align with their own values. Anything less would mean they are not individually authentic and therefore cannot relate to managers and fellow team members in an authentic way.

This Is the I…I..I.. Generation

We are in the age of personal blogs, websites, selfies, YouTube videos Blab, and Perescope! It’s important for this generation to stand outsocial-media-not-fad-th and celebrate their uniqueness. They’re proud of their individuality and look for ways to express themselves. Besides online and social, it can be seen in their tattoos, piercings, hair color, and dress. An astute manager helps Millennials balance their need to be unique and still be in balance with the organization’s needs and brand. Achieving this goal may take some creative thinking. In addition to being individualistic, millennials understand the value of teams. They are committed to their units and to the company. However, their definition of commitment has changed and doesn’t include sacrificing health or putting up with a work/life balance that is out of whack. Commitment to them means good business outcomes for both the company and the clients of the company.

Millennials Are Restless for Career Results

Not all Millennials look at their first job as their final career. Many younger employees consider their work “something to do between weekends” and aren’t thinking about climbing the corporate ladder. The more focused Millennials have a self-centered work ethic and are in search of a career path. If you are working with them, show them where they fit into your organization, take time and show them a career path, and open their eyes to the opportunities in front of them and in other departments. How you manage that sort of talent and how you deal with their expectations is very different from what’s been done in the past. As a company leader, you can find it frustrating to manage Millennials.

The biggest challenge for any organization is to be open and willing to make a shift.

It must bend to accommodate the millennial mind-set. Of course, the need for young talent is enormous. Competition is fierce to recruit and retain the best talent. Organizations unable or unwilling to make the shift will pay dearly for their inflexibility. Millennials have the ability to transform disruption of the workplace into profit for your company. First, however, your managers must be willing to adapt and change to fit their needs. Are you up for the challenge?

5 Ways to Grow Your Self-Awareness- Leaders must read!

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One of the perks of being a professional speaker is that I get to hang out with really smart people, which means I often I get to pick their brains.

Take for instance last Sunday night when I had dinner with one of the top executive coaches in Houston, Cecilia Rose. Cecilia works Houston’s top tier leaders helping them successfully navigate through career transitions.

I asked her what was the #1 top quality of successful leaders, and before I could finish the question, she responded with “keen self-awareness.” Expecting to hear words more like vision, charisma, and strategic thinking, I was thrilled to hear that answer because self-awareness is one of the key qualities I emphasize in all my presentations ( Unwritten Rules of Success)

“Your IQ will get you the job but your EQ (Emotional Intelligence – Self Awareness) will get you the promotion”  Cecilia Rose

To define the term, self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires. It is the essential building block in effective leadership. Having an “awareness” of yourself and the people around you will help you effectively lead and inspire all you come in contact with.

 So, the underlying question is: How do you develop self-awareness? Here are some steps to follow to bring you to this level of moving more assuredly in the world.

1.  Take and Take-in your Personality Assessment – If you digest what it says about yourself, your Self-Awareness will grow. I was in my 20s when I took the Myers Briggs personality test—and I scored an ENFP, which means that I am a passion-driven “idea” person. ENFPs gain energy from interacting with others, and become quickly excited over new possibilities and ideas … and don’t always finish what they have started. ENFPs dislike routine work and want a variety of tasks and challenges. They prefer to set their own schedule and chafe when saddled with excessive regulations or mundane details,

Throughout the years I have taken a lot of personality tests, such as DISC, the Birkman, The Enneagram, True Colors, and just last month I took the Insights Discovery Assessment. It took me an hour to complete because every question came down to a split decision, and I really tried to be honest in my answers. The eagerly anticipated report arrived from it: “Karen may generate more ideas, possibilities, and plans in one day than others might manage in a month! Her life will tend to be a series of initiated, but unfinished projects. She should take care to include the practical details in her projects and continually try to look at situations from an objective viewpoint rather than just her own perception. Her energy comes from a variety of new projects and interests.”

“If one person calls you a horse’s ass, be curious. If two call you one, be reflective… if three call you a horse’s ass buy a saddle.” Anonymous

If you are interested in developing your self-awareness, you may want to revisit the assessments you have taken and “take-in” what has been written about you.

2.  Participate in a 360 assessment. There can be a world of difference between what you think you project and what others think of you. I worked with a coach several years ago, and she had me ask my clients the four questions below as we developed my personal brand. In finding people to help you get answers, branch out and include bosses, peers, and subordinates. You can even include neighbors, friends, and if you are brave—family members. But they can be the most brutal, so give them the questions in writing and let them have time to think about their answers.

Please give a one-word or one-phrase answer to the following questions

  1. 1. What one word describes my personality?
  1. 2. What value or principle do you most closely associate with me?
  1. 3. What skill, ability, or talent comes to mind when you think of me?
  1. 4. How would you describe me to others who have never met me?

 3. Take the StrenghtsFinder: To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced the first version of its online assessment in 2001, StrengthsFinder ignited a global conversation and helped millions to discover their top five talents. In its latest national bestseller, StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular assessment. Take time and discover your top five strengths.

 shutterstock_1111318824. Listen … to yourself. Start listening to your own voice and observe how others react to your tone and your words. Begin to set aside time in the morning before work and replay some of the scenarios of the previous day. How did your voice and maybe even your body language affect others.

5.  Cultivate your ability to focus. “Focus is the hidden driver of excellence,” according to Daniel Goleman. If you can block out the noise and silence your inner distracters, you will begin to see situations more clearly and how you fit into the picture. Because I am an ENFP, focus has always been a challenge for me. Three years ago, I started a yoga class, and I noticed that I spent more time watching others, comparing myself to them. I decided that if I was going to grow and enjoy the classes, I had to close my eyes and focus on my own practice. The outcome was that yoga has helped me attain focus.What are you doing to grow your focus?

Please share your thoughts on self- awareness and add to the list any thoughts or strategies you have tried or are thinking about trying.

 

The Unwritten Rules of Success

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I have been speaking on “Generations in the Workplace” for nearly 10 years. And a few short years ago, there were just a handful of Millennials in my audiences.

Today my audiences are filled with people 35 and under as the number of Millennials in the workplace continues to swell. Recently, Pew Research released the news that more than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials (i.e., adults aged 18 to 34 in 2015), and furthermore this year they surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce.

By 2017, half the U.S. workforce will be Millennials and they are shaking things up as they change the world of work. We are discovering that Millennials seek a multi-dimensional lifestyle that satisfies both their work and personal lives. They are a bit impatient and want to proceed along their career path more rapidly than Boomers and even Gen Xers ever did.

So,I decided to write a post helping Millennials as well as Boomers and Gen Xers speed up their career advancement

 Reality bites … and the reality is that today there are still powerful Unwritten Rules in every organization that stand in the way of your success. These are the Unwritten Rules that must be addressed for career advancement. My goal in this post is to help not only Millennials but all generations understand advancement strategies and recognize opportunities to make key decisions about their career options.

Here are my suggestions for conquering the Unwritten Rules:

  •  Be Observant: Begin a new job or new department or team by closing your mouth and opening your eyes and ears. Observe—how things get done. Your workplace success requires a deep understanding of how the organization or new team functions and how decisions are made. Be fully aware of the politics and notice where the political landmines exist. Political know-how (the unwritten rule) is important—and those who fail to develop such skills are often the ones who get left behind.

“You can observe a lot by watching.” —Yogi Berra

  •  Discover: Now that you understand your organization find out where you fit into the big picture. Every organization has a culture that sets the tone for the types of people who are hired.   You need to know why you were hired, where you fit into the organization, and how your superior sees your career path in the organization.
  • Share your Goals: Speak up and effectively communicate your career goals, your ideas, desired assignments, and when the time is right, ask to be considered for promotion.
  • Build your Relationships and Grow your Circle of Influencers: Start your list of 25 people you admire, people you can learn from, leaders, gatekeepers, and people in your organization who have enthusiasm and ideas. Then join your organizations, formal and informal networking groups, and, as Keith Ferazzi once said, “Never eat alone.” Make it a point of having lunch with members of your team and those in your circle of influence.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Be a Giver: Figure out how to cultivate your list of 25 and grow the relationship BEFORE you ask for advice or a favor. Share your talents (perhaps in technology) and be open to teaching others.
  •  Increase your visibility: Volunteer to give a presentation! Did that scare you? Do your homework—practice, practice, practice, and make it a great one. Become known and get involved.
  • Take pride in how you show up. Although we are seeing a more flexible work trend—dress still matters! How you dress for work is even more complicated today than years past. The casual dress trend combined with today’s increased focus on “snug-fitting” clothes makes it clear that deciding how to dress for work takes some thought and preparation. Every business has a culture and every culture has a costume. Make sure your day-to-day outfits fit your company’s look and feel … and are “company appropriate. Some professional cultures still require suits while others, such as the tech cultures, are more relaxed and you may even get by with a grey hoodie … if you are Mark Zuckerberg. Be mindful of the image you want to project at work with clients and peers, and choose outfits based on cues from those you admire around you.

“Remember, whatever you do at work, no matter how small it is, has your signature on it! Make it clear,bold, & easy to read!” Karen McCullough

 

What unwritten rule have you discovered?  Can you share examples where you have turned your discovery into opportunity?  Please share your thoughts below