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)

Guest Blogger: Courtney E. Martin–Great, if not Dangerous, Expectations

Note from Cali: My terrific guest bloggers continue to help me manage my “fit” as I care for my mom. This week you’re going to hear from Courtney E. Martin, a writer who came to my attention when she wrote an insightful article for American Prospect that included the Work+Life Fit Reality Check research. She is also the author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body (Simon & Schuster’s Free Press), and a freelance writer for the New York Times, Newsweek, the Huffington Post and the Christian Science Monitor, among other national publications, as well as an adjunct professor gender studies at Hunter College.

As someone who witnesses how the expectations of Gen-Ys for “balance” and flexibility are forcing many organizations to change, I found Martin’s commentary on how it can’t be a one-way street and how her generation needs to meet the world of work halfway fascinating. Enjoy!

Great, if not Dangerous, Expectations by Courtney E. Martin

As another class of hung over college students cross that graduation stage and grab their very expensive diplomas, I am thinking a lot about the rude awakening that awaits them on the other side. After the celebratory dinners have been eaten, the dorm rooms cleaned out, the summer adventures experienced…the prospect of job/apartment/health insurance/bills will be staring them down hardcore. They may find out that the real world is not all it’s cracked up to be. Or as I put it in my new book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body, “the real world ain’t no MTV.” (more…)