After a recent event at a University where I was featured as a guest speaker, I had a young college graduate ask me, “What is wrong with Millennials?” She was noticeably worried and confused about why Millennials are negatively labeled, and she inquired as to what the problem was with her current generation. She began to ask what she should be prepared for, and why her generation is becoming a national topic on so many levels. My response was: “There is nothing wrong with your generation – and in fact, the Millennial generation is more educated than any other generation in American history.”
I clearly saw she was marked with worry that her next chapter in her life would be filled with more challenges to overcome than ever. This looming black cloud that was floating over her transfers into the business world as well. I paused for a moment, then told her that her ability to strive and grow in the business world is no different than it was for any other generation – and in fact, the ability to do research on whatever she envisions for herself in the future is truly the best way to succeed. This is a matter of replacement: Replace second-guessing with research, replace discomfort with engagement by continuously building relationships and value in other people, and finally – never stop learning and acting on what you learn.
When we apply these principles through the lens of the business world, recognizing that there is a growing division between Millennials and more mature managers and executives is only relevant if communications are broken down between one person to another, and one department with another. As leaders, no matter what age bracket you fall into, it is a number one priority to learn to connect with people based on interests, motivation, and most importantly, team development. The days of using “just get it done” as a corporate strategy are gone, and the failure to recognize this is taking corporate giants down and decreasing the number of entrepreneurs entering the market to an all-time low.
Currently, based on social and financial pressure, the labeling of any generation is pointless and does no good to the people that are being identified and labeled. This also brings more pressure on those that start to believe it corporately and individually, especially to the new generation that is hitting the work force.
No one person is the same as another, and how we are raised and what we are subjected to has certainly created a difference between generations, due to technology and the accessibility of information. Understanding this is important for all generational gaps to connect, and understanding and being understood is crucial to utilize work habits, information, and shared delivery. Different circumstances exist with every person and every company based on the way they communicate and manage personnel. Every person and company has different methods, ideals, and strategies.
Statistics with current trends, and potential future trends, are the best tool to evaluate based on educating one-on-one, or one to many, with incorporated solutions which can be utilized to overcome problems and fear-based obstacles. For example, a large percentage of current events-related information featured on social media channels is actually false, or is utilized to drive messages out and create deliberate attention as a means of improving a company’s business model.
In his 2017 letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos, the billionaire entrepreneur and founder of Amazon.com, recently touched upon the way to create a “Day 1” company culture that is cutting-edge and innovative – the type of culture that a Millennial worker thrives in – as opposed to a stagnant and outdated “Day 2” culture. He also touches on Amazon’s use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, one of the biggest trends in tech, and how it touches nearly every part of the company.
The beginning and core message of his letter reads as follows:
“Jeff, what does Day 2 look like?
That’s a question I just got at our most recent all-hands meeting. I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day 1 for a couple of decades. I work in an Amazon building named Day 1, and when I moved buildings, I took the name with me. I spend time thinking about this topic.
Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.
To be sure, this kind of decline would happen in extreme slow motion. An established company might harvest Day 2 for decades, but the final result would still come.
I’m interested in the question, how do you fend off Day 2? What are the techniques and tactics? How do you keep the vitality of Day 1, even inside a large organization?
Such a question can’t have a simple answer. There will be many elements, multiple paths, and many traps. I don’t know the whole answer, but I may know bits of it. Here’s a starter pack of essentials for Day 1 defense: customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision-making.”
How does this relate to Millennials? Going back to the girl’s question and concerns that I mentioned at the beginning of this article, how do we excel at life and in business? The answer: Always stay in “Day 1” as described above. All of the above acts as concrete evidence to demonstrate that a company culture that is innovative, creative, and dynamic is of critical importance to workers and employees of any generation, be they Millennials or otherwise. The ability to effectively utilize statistics and trends to clearly identify and maintain positive growth and movement will be the catalyst that rockets any company into immediate success. The modern world is essentially dynamic on an infinite variety of levels – and clearly seeing, analyzing, and using the current cutting edge of technology and mathematical statistics to keep on the front vanguard of progress will be the key that causes stagnation or raises any company up to the stratospheric heights of great success.
Written by the author of “The Power of Breaking Fear”
This book teaches people to create permanent resilience – personally, professionally, and financially – by smashing through fear and conquering self-doubt forever.
– Tim S. Marshall