Meet the Millennials – The New Workforce

Millennials in Your Workplace – The New Workforce 

I have been speaking on Millennials and  the generations in the workplace for nearly 10 years now. And I can remember back in 2008 when there were just a handful of Millennials in the audience. Today, my audiences are filled with people 35 and under and the number of Millennials in the workplace continues to increase. This  New Workforce is close to  half of the US workforce and they are shaking things up and changing the world of work. It is important that we understand this dynamic group and move forward. We are discovering that Millennials are seeking a multi-dimensional lifestyle that satisfies both their work and personal lives. They are definitely impatient and want to proceed along their career paths more rapidly than Boomers and even Gen Xers.

Meet Millennials where they are!

Today you have to meet Millennials where they are if you want to succeed. 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. We must take a look at the workplace through their perspective in order to understand what they are about. The bottom line is that forcing them to conform to your way will only push them away.

Millennials are the New Workforce

What motivates Millennials?

To understand what motivates Millennials and how to work with and manage them, you need to consider what they value:

  • Challenge – they want to work on demanding projects with an engaged team that cares about the outcome, embraces complexity, and seeks disruptions.
  • Learning – they want to gain knowledge from a variety of tasks, so they can grow their careers quickly.
  • Career goals – they want to be able to see their future and their career path in your organization.
  • Feedback – Millennials want feedback on how they are doing, and they want to hear it often.
  • Techno 24/7 – they want the ability to leverage technology when working—anytime/anyplace.
  • Tap into Social Platforms – Millennials are social beings; use social platforms to grow your organization’s employee brand.
  • Results Oriented Flexibility – they want to be evaluated on their finished work—not on how, when, or where the work is done.
  • Transparency – Millennials want to know how their performance will be measured. They like structures and systems, and they want to understand by what metrics they will be judged.
  • Access – they want open and constant communication from their boss (and their boss’ boss, and so on –
  • Social Interaction – Millennials want to have friends at work, and they want the workplace to be a pleasant and social place. They prefer to work on teams rather than as individuals. So, If you are excited because you have one Millennial on your team, wake up! They may not be there next month.

This is the iGeneration

In addition to iPhones, iPads, and iTunes, Millennials could be called the iGeneration as they revere technology and the spotlight. Millennials’ parents told them they were special, and they believed it! It’s important for this generation to stand out and celebrate their uniqueness.

Millennials tend not to 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 the time to show them a career path and open their eyes to the opportunities in front of them and in other departments.

The biggest challenge for any organization is to be open and willing to make a shift. It must bend to accommodate the Millennial mindset. 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 the disruption of the workplace into profit for your company. First, however, your managers and marketers must be willing to adapt and change to fit their needs.

Are you up for the challenge?

10 Ways I Motivate Myself to Work Out

Four years ago a friend gave me the book Younger Next Year for my birthday. The title grabbed me, because I am always trying to motivate myself and look a bit younger. The book stresses the importance of exercise, so I bought the audio version and started listening and walking.

The premise of the book is simple–you’re either growing/building your body or you’re rotting. Rotting is a powerful word with strong visual imagery! I didn’t want to rot. Very soon I became obsessed with this book … listening to some of the chapters over and over.                                                                         The book is based on 7 principles, or  “Harry’s Rules”

  1. Exercise 6 days a week for the rest of your life.
  2. Do serious aerobic exercise 4 days a week for the rest of your life.
  3. Do serious strength training, with weights, 2 days a week for the rest of your life.
  4. Spend less than you make.
  5. Quit eating crap!
  6. Take Care of yourself.
  7. Connect and commit.

Now I am not saying that this is the greatest book on fitness ever written and you may not like it, but it changed the way I think and act about exercise, aging and my overall health.

Walking is and is a great way to exercise but I needed to get my heart rate up so I took action and joined the Y. I started off with a Zumba dance class thinking, “great cardio” and as a bonus I would have some fun. Now here’s where the truth about exercise, at least for me begins: The music was great, but my body was hurting and my heart was pounding. I was not is shape and half way through the class I was looking at the clock as the minutes slowly ticked by. I was struggling and the next day it was easier not to go… but I went.

“You have to work through the discomfort and the negativity when you start out. It does get better!”

It’s 4 years later and I am addicted to exercise – Zumba, body pump, cardio combo, body flow, yoga, and soon cycling. So what moved me from dread to joy?

Here are some of the tricks I have learned to keep me motivated, and exercising every day.

  1. Think of working out as part of your career success. Look at it as part of your  job and you have to show up every day. The pay is amazing but not half as good as the benefits.

  1. Group classes worked! I am an extrovert and the group classes worked best. I need a team around me. Hint- Make friends with the regulars who stand near or during the workout. It helps.

  1. Make friends with the instructors. That will keep you motivated and obligated to show up for them!!!

    My first Zumba instructor,Shannon 

  1. Buy cool looking workout clothes and if you are lucky enough to work from a home office like me, put them on in the morning. And don’t be stingy. But several of everything so you don’t have the excuse that nothing is clean.

  1. Write down how you feel after every workout. It is a great way to journal your journey and you’ll motivate yourself with your own feelings and words. 
  1. Do not look at the clock. Listen to the music, and stay in the moment. I have created a great playlist of songs I would never have heard if it weren’t for Eliot, my favorite instructor. He keeps me young and fun.

My personal motivator Eliot Perez – Heights Y

  1. Before you decide not to go, ask yourself, “Will I regret skipping today?” Guilt is the Killer App.

  1. Go for a walk, invite your dog and listen to audiobooks! You will find that you walk longer.

9. Make exercise your favorite thing to do.

10.  Pat yourself on the back because you are getting stronger!

My UnResolution!

 

This blog is about letting go of what sometimes works but could be better!

Last week I did the opening day keynote for THLA (Texas Hotel & Lodging Association). I have been the opening keynoter for this particular event for the past 11 years.  Lucky for me, each year the audience is totally different except for the association administrators.  This year, after some great coaching, I tried several new pieces adding new stories, a game and a totally new closing. Honestly, I was very nervous hoping the new stuff would “land”. During the program one of the association’s administrators stood up and announced to  the audience that she has head me for 11 years and each year the keynote different but this year it was remarkable. Phew…what a relief. Letting go of my tried and true material was hard, but creating fresh and new is exciting, even thrilling!

What are you holding onto that is holding you back?

Lessons I Learned Listening to Rob Lowe

14068320_1200311903324983_2512375791801175616_nLast month I was the opening speaker at a conference called Connect Marketplace. This is the 3rd time they called me back to open their conference. Needless to say I was thrilled. It was a biggie-over 3000 meeting planners and suppliers attend these conferences and I appreciated the opportunity. When I saw the speaker line-up I nearly fell over – the other two speakers were Rob Lowe and Shaq and there I was smack in between.

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As it turned out I opened the first day and Rob opened the conference the next day..So, actually I can now say that I opened for Rob Lowe !
The morning of Rob’s session, audience was filled with Row Lowe fans with phones in hand taking photos to share on Twitter and Instagram. in that huge ballroom.  Young, old, male, female it didn’t matter because they all seemed to love him.
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And here’s the best news- he showed up and he showed up better than great! He was real! He not only won me over but most of the 3200 in attendance loved him. A lot of what Rob shared really hit home- in my work I have to travel a great deal, show up, and be on… stage. He dropped some wise life lessons over his up and down career.

 

So please, Listen up!

1. The beginning of the interview started with Chris Collinson remarking that Rob seemed very comfortable in his own skin and here’s Rob’s reply: “When you skin looks like mine, it’s easy to be comfortable!” (lesson: add more night cream)

2. “Any time an opportunity scares you that much, you should seriously consider saying yes.” (oh $%#*)

3. “I think it was Alfred Hitchcock who said 90 percent of successful moviemaking is in the casting. The same is true in marriage. Success comes when you cast the right partner.” (Needed this one years ago.)

4. When talking to someone you respect Rob said : “Tell me one thing that you know that I should know.”

5. On the subject of mentors and mentoring and Rob added:  “If I have one regret it is that I can’t pick up the phone and call a mentor. Guys just don’t mentor each other the way they should.(Guys, is that true for you?)

6. Rob’s list is long- The Outsiders, West Wing, Parks/Rec, St Elmos and just recently The Grinder that was cancelled: “I live project to project. Your best is never really your best. You are only as good as your last job.” (Stop talking about all you did… what are you doing NOW!)

7. “If you’re telling a story, and somebody is going to come out badly, it better be you.”(Good one for my speaker friends) 

8.Rob confessed:  “26 years ago I made the decision to become sober. People drink because they aren’t comfortable in their own skin. I am comfortable with who I am.”

(and we end it back talking about Rob’s skin!

and actually, that’s not a bad place to be .

How to Make Your Brain Smarter!

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One of the great perks in being a professional speaker is that I do get to hear mind –blowing presentations. Last week I had the privilege of listening to Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, founder and leader of the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas. Dr. Chapman shared her knowledge on brain health and shared how we can increase our brain’s health and actually make our brains even smarter than they are right now calling it, “Turbo-Charging” your brain.”

She opened her keynote saying that our IQ is not a fixed number and “yes we can” get smarter by engaging our brain’s frontal lobe. The frontal lobe of the brain is the decision making, planning, and problem solving section of the brain and…the frontal lobe the last part of the brain to fully develop (by age25) and the first to decline (age 40).

That makes sense. I recently read that teens do some crazy things in their lives because their frontal lobes are not fully connected but I had no idea our brains started to decrease so soon- 40 seems too young to be on the decline! The good news according to the Doctor is that we cannot only stop the decline but we can actually reverse it! Halleluiah!!!

Here are her suggestions to help increase blood flow and connectivity in our brains and turbocharging our brain!

  • Think single task – focus only at the task at hand – with no distractions. That means that multi-tasking is actually making us dumber. Research now shows that the brain can only focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking splits the brain and our brain jumps from one task to another diminishing the focus. It creates something researchers have called“spotlights”. When we multitask it’s like we are actually getting dumber and making more mistakes.
  • Look at your to-do list and think of the two most important tasks that are most important and spend your prime time doing- and do them.                                 “When you are hunting elephants, don’t get distracted casing rabbits, rabbits take all our day away”Dr. ChapmanI have heard to only have 5 items on your to do lists…two is so minimal but if it increases my blood flow I am on it.
  • Think deep- most transformative – power of deep – is to synthesize constantly- take information from all sources abstract and concrete ideas, talk shows, conversation – get off of automatic pilot, and talk about your ideas with others. It’s in the sharing of ideas that our brains dance. She said that people that stay home and do crosswords alone every day are not helping their brains.
  • Brains power of less – our brains need to rest. Constant stimulation makes us dumber and reduces the flow of blood. Dr. Chapman said that airplanes are a great place to rest vs. work. She suggested that we take time to rest our brains rather than constantly be filling them with data, crosswords, or even sudoku
  • Detox distractions. Every time we look at an email or text while working we actually get dumber, and slower and make more mistakes… It takes 15 to 20 minutes to get back into the groove when you are busy working .
  • And then take a break every 90 minutes and give your brain a rest. Go and do something mindless… don’t take a break and read… let your mind rest and let the blood flow! The brain need down time, for aha moments
  • Finally, she reminded us the importance of good eating, sleeping and exercise – I found this interesting. Dr. Chapman said we need at least 7 hrs of sleep because our brains kick in and unload between the 6th and 8th hour of sleep.

So there you have it. I have to unlearn things I was sure I was doing to make my brain smarter. I am thinking … well, I’m  actually unthinking how I do things because I want to be smarter next year!

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?

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

How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Recommendation

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I have to admit that I have neglected LinkedIn for a long time. Although I hopped on its platform years ago, most of my social time and energy went to the more playful and engaging sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

And then the light bulb went off … It happened one morning while I was watching CNBC’s Squawk Box when I heard Joe and Becky singing their praises about LinkedIn. They said that, although LinkedIn wasn’t as sexy as the other social sites, it was the “go-to” place for serious professionals and business owners (and motivational and business speakers) who wanted to make strategic connections and grow their brands. With more than 350 million members, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. Business owners and career professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at an astounding rate of more than 2.5 new members per second. And that’s just the beginning of LinkedIn’s potential.

After hearing all that, I got serious about LinkedIn!

 

One of the areas that I truly love on LinkedIn is the Recommendations Section. It’s the place where you get to leave a recommendation for your connections, who are friends, colleagues, vendors, customers, and even ex-customers. Now please be clear that I am not talking about the skills endorsement section where you just click on skills that LinkedIn suggests. To me that whole concept seems so fake, but that’s another blog post.

 

I am talking about the area where you get to actually write out a more in-depth and thoughtful recommendation for your connections. Posting a recommendation on LinkedIn is so much easier than sending a letter, and much more visible and permanent than an email as it will be there on their LinkedIn site forever. Now, that’s powerful!

 

Writing a recommendation for others has benefits not only to the person whom you are honoring, but it is also a light that reflects on you as the writer. When you write a thoughtfrecommendation, it tells the reader who you are in addition to the person you are praising. It can give us a peek into your personality, humanity, and your style.

Here are some tips on how to write a great LinkedIn recommendation (watch the video for examples):

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  1. Start with a killer first line that is authentic and memorable.
  2. Describe your relationship—tell us how you know the person.
  3. Share how their behavior, actions, or contributions helped you.
  4. Try to give an example of how they empowered their client, team, or organization.
  5. End with a note about the personal aspect of working with him/her.

Oh, one more thing—when you ask for a recommendation, make sure that you only ask people you know. Also make sure that you have a comfortable enough relationship with them to ask them to recommend you. Just because you are connected on LinkedIn or are Facebook buddies does not mean that they are informed enough to comment on your body of work. When I get requests from people I do not know, it is uncomfortable and a bit awkward.

 

If you get in the habit of writing one or two recommendations a week, you will find that you do not have to ask for recommendations. I call it the act of reciprocity. When people see that I have written a killer recommendation praising their professional talents, they more than likely will return the favor.

What are you waiting for? Start writing!

Tell Your Story – Put your ideas into the world

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For years stories have been a huge part of my business as a motivational business speaker. Today  storytelling  is a hot topic and has become so popular in business and marketing.  In a world  where we’re all striving to cut through the noise and make a lasting impression, stories have become a tool to get us noticed and remembered.  Great stories are memorable, they get our attention and stories put ideas into the world. Stories make the facts and figures come to life! Stories are sticky and fun and best of all, everyone has one…but your story, your signature story, will never be heard if you don’t tell it. 

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~ Maya Angelou

Your Signature Story…

The days of canned, memorized speeches are long gone. Today audiences are hungry to see authenticity and vulnerability and connect on a deeper level with the speaker.

Stories are bridges from one mind to another.  Robert McKee

Your story has the ability to  weave a connection between you as a speaker and your audience.  We are living through dynamic times that are both inspiring and troubling, often at the same moment.  In the face of such dramatic change, we know how easy it is to get discouraged, disappointed, and even overwhelmed.  It is not hard to feel at times small and even insignificant. But as I travel and speak I have also seen that in the face of such unprecedented change, in addition to some big hurdles, there are also big opportunities.

Our stories help us realize that we are not facing any of this alone, and through our stories we can encourage, support and elevate our listeners.It all begins by identifying the obstacles of those who are listening. Once you know what keeps them up at night, you can tell your own personal story of how you stumbles and learned; struggled and conquered; questioned and found peace to move forward in your own life. Expect miracles from storytelling. 

Stories have power!

Once you begin to tell your story over and over…the magic happens.  After telling your signature story at every engagement, you become known for that story. Over time you become so good at performing your story that people ask for it again and again. Most speakers that I know personally have many great stories and the really successful ones have a signature story that stands out from all the rest.

How My Signature Stories Came to Be

In 1999 I closed my last clothing store in Houston, Texas and I was itchy to start another business with no inventory or rent to pay!   A good friend of mine invited me to a National Speaker’s Association local Houston chapter meeting and that was the night the class of 1999 “speaker newbies” were presenting on stage.  As soon as I saw a few of the presentations I was hooked, signed up and was accepted in the class of 2000 NSA Houston New Speaker School – where I learned the ins-and-outs of professional speaking.

In 2001 I began speaking professionally.  That spring I went to the Jazzfest in New Orleans, and that is where I met Sting (really)…and  my first signature story was born. It had all the right elements… a great setting, a challenge that I had to overcome, humor, and of course meeting Sting (at the NOLA airport on my way back to Houston)! Right off the bat, my Sting Story was a hit, and each time I performed I wove that story into my presentation. I kept improving the story and even had a $$$$$ coach work with me on making it even better.

( this takes me back to 2004 – 2007…I have improved!)

By 2004 I was being booked by clients asking for the Sting Story. Once I did not put I Sting into a presentation for an insurance client, because I didn’t think that it fit in the program and the planner was furious with me for leaving it out!

In 2007 I created a new story called  You Rock  and it took off…well .. like a rock-et! I started getting testimonials saying You Rocked It… and I put Sting away on the Shelf. After writing this piece I have decided to bring Sting back, dust him off, and introduce him to the Millennials. 

I am passionate about helping people create and present their signature story…

Hello Generation Interruption- Generations in the Workplace

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Photo by rmfoto.com

Many of you know I speak around the country on the subjects of Generations in the Workplace, Change and Rebranding, and Generational Opportunities. A few weeks ago I returned home from an event where the team who booked me was under the impression that my 45-minute presentation would give them the quick and easy steps in “How to Manage Your Millennial.” The director said that these young kids are a huge interruption in his day… and that got me thinking!

Interruption- an abrupt occurrence that interrupts an ongoing activity

Are they an interruption or a wake-up call to the future?

There is no silver bullet when it comes to  managing Millennials. AKA Generation Y. It’s a bit more complicated than that. The key to successfully managing this generation begins with understanding them.  They view the world, lifestyles, and work very differently than the generations preceding them. The unpopular news to previous generations is that you have to meet Millennials (Gen Y)  where they are—and, yes, it will take more energy, but if you invest the extra time, you are more likely to keep them and their talents in your organization. Forcing them to conform to your way will only push them out, and they will be quick to leave.

Here Are Some Gen Y  Expectations that are changing the world of work: 

• Work with positive people, to be treated with respect , and to be asked for their input—it’s  called inclusion.

• Work on challenging projects with an engaged team that cares about outcomes.

• Gain knowledge from a variety of tasks, so they can grow their career faster.

• See the route to their future and their career path in your organization.

• Ability to leverage technology work—any time/any place.

• Evaluation on work product—not how, when or where the work is done.

• Need transparency about compensation and what it takes to get ahead.

Hey…I want these things too~

Relationships Matter

Millennials are known for their love of technology, texting, and connecting online. But did you know that they also value clear communication and authentic relationships, along with a need to have an understanding of expectations? Millennials wants to interact directly and often with their managers and coworkers.

In addition, 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 core values and work with people who share their priorities. They are very willing to leave if the company purpose does not align with their own values. Anything less would mean they are not being individually authentic, and therefore cannot relate to managers and fellow team members in an authentic way.

Isn’t That Special!

Millennials were told by their parents that they were special, and they believed it!  It is important for this generation to stand out and celebrate their uniqueness. They are proud of their individuality and look for ways to express themselves, which previous generations see expressed as tattoos, piercings, hair color, and dress. An astute manager will help Millennials  balance their need to be unique and, yet, still be in sync with the organization’s needs and brand.  This may take some creative thinking.

Show Me My Career Path

Let’s be realistic. Not all Millennials look at their first job as their final career. Many younger employees consider their work “something to do between weekends,” and are not thinking about climbing the corporate ladder.

But, the more focused Millennials (high potentials) have a self-centered work ethic and are in search of a career path. If you are working with the “High Potentials,” show them where they fit into your organization. Take the time to show them a career path and open their eyes to the opportunities available in your organization in all departments.

“This Millennial generation is not just looking for a job, they’re not just looking for salary and financial benefits, they’re looking for skill development, they’re looking for mobility, they’re looking for opportunities to acquire different skills and to move quickly from one part of an organization to another. 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.”

—Dennis Nally, PricewaterhouseCoopers HR Director

Managers Need a Big Dose of Self-Awareness

I am listening to my audiences and what I am hearing is that managers are frustrated.  They don’t want to spend time training the new hires and feel that they are a huge interruption in their day.  They just expect them to know.  In fact, one person said if they have to train someone, they aren’t worth hiring.

The biggest challenge for organizations is to ask themselves are they open and willing to make a shift.  If so, they must bend to accommodate the millennial mindset or lose their talents, which are considerable.

That said, 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 ( I am now calling  them Generation Interruption) have the ability to transform disruption of the workplace into profit for your company.  But first, your managers must be willing to adapt and change to fit their needs. Are you up for the challenge?

Then you need to decide if your company culture can adapt and move ahead. Can your organization get out of the default mode and try new things to meet the needs of this new talented generation of Millennials who are going to carry us into the future?