Fast Company: How Millennials Are an Untapped Treasure for Business

Somehow last week turned into a spontaneous celebration of the potential within the Gen-Y/Millennial generation that’s just waiting to be fully tapped. Everywhere I turned, articles, conversations, and presentations reaffirmed my belief that we need to move past the intergenerational finger-pointing and harness the good, albeit different, approaches to work and life that the Gen-Y/Millennial generation offers.

Because it’s their inherent flexibility, openness, and communication skills that hold the key to future success in business and life for all of us, if carefully mined.

It started when I read an article in this month’s Fast Company magazine by Nancy Lublin, CEO (and self-described “Chief Old Person”) of Do Something entitled, “In Defense of Millennials.” As an employer of 19 full-time millennial staffers, Lublin shared how she flips the common complaints lodged against the generation on end and makes them into a positive:

Compliant #1–they multi-task: Lublin agrees that they do, and often not with great success but that isn’t going to change. So, instead, “I see my role as defining a clear goal, giving her the resources to take the shot, and then getting out of her way while she takes the dunk.”
Complaint #2–they share too much information on their social networks: Lublin sees it as, “Free advertising.”
Complaint #3–they are entitled: Lublin believes it makes them hungry for responsibility and she gives it to them.
Complaint #4–they require too much praise: Lublin feels that we all need more praise, so gives it freely.

But it’s the last paragraph in which she wonders, “Maybe the real problem isn’t this generation–maybe it’s that the rest of us don’t manage them for greatness, for maximum effect,” that rang in my ears when I met with a terrific senior leader last week.

We met for lunch prior to a work+life fit strategy session I facilitated for his group. I asked him, “So how have you found working with the millennial employees in your organization?” He smiled and proceeded to share the following story that perfectly illustrated their power to get things done when we guide and let them, (Click here for more)

2 thoughts on “Fast Company: How Millennials Are an Untapped Treasure for Business

  1. Great Post, Yost!

    The other thing we can learn from Millennials is that they tell us time and time again in survey after survey that WLB is the most important thing they are looking for in life. While it would be easy to scoff at that sense of entitlement, employers who will soon be on the short end of the supply and demand equation when the boomers start retiring en masse will need to have great WLB policies in place or risk losing top talent to more progressive competition.

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