Employee vs. Entrepreneur: 4 Great Ideas to Foster Millennial Entrepreneurs Within Your Company Today

The American Dream was much different just a few decades ago. People wanted the good life: a big house with a nice yard, a shiny car, a family, luxuries, and rising to the top of the corporate ladder.

In 2017, things have changed.

Millennials (who will make up half the work force in the next three years) value independence over a corner office in an executive suite. Nine out of ten millennials say professional development and career growth is important in a job. However, to Generation Y/the Millennial, the appeal toward entrepreneurship is most attractive.

Almost two-thirds of millennials want to start their own business. Growing up seeing their parents and relatives getting fired, along with viewing cubicle life as boring, millennials see entrepreneurship as the answer to a stimulating career, a solid work life balance, professional growth, and independence. This begs the question:

Is working for the big man and a big company contradictory to millennial’s path to success if their ultimate desire is to be entrepreneurs?

All across the career board, you can see a pattern occurring. Millennials who work as trainers at a gym want to break off and get clients on their own and start their personal brand. IT consultants are wondering if they should continue working within a company, or offer freelancing consulting. Nutritionists and health coaches desire to become their own boss with their own clients and personal practice.

As a manager, this change can either be seen as a problem or as an opportunity. You can either think, Millennials are just going to stay for 3 months and leave my company. They are unloyal and not worth even training. Plus, they are ignorant about how difficult it is to start a company.

Or…

You can see this major industry shift as a HUGE opportunity and ask, How can I encourage entrepreneurial behavior within the company?

While the idea of entrepreneurship is sexy to millennials, the reality is starting a business is no easy task. This is where managers can thrive and become the rock star leaders that millennials need.

As a manager, you can play a key role in coaching Millennials to become inner entrepreneurs within the frame of your company. This is the ultimate win-win: creating intraprenuers. Millennials can have the opportunity to develop, innovate, and experiment, all the while contributing to the wellbeing and growth of your company’s mission.

Create the Space for Millennials to Experiment with Passion Projects

From the get-go, make it transparent to your millennial workers that they have the opportunity to grow and innovate within the framework of your company. Create a culture that promotes a healthy balance of freedom and structure.

A great example of this is what Google did with their “Genius Hour.” Employees were allowed to use 20% of their workweek to explore projects of their choosing, as long as it benefited and contributed to the company. Gmail, AdSense, and Google Glass are just a few examples of successes that resulted from the allocated time for self-directed experimentation.

Welcome New Ideas, Feedback, and Input

Millennials want feedback. They want acknowledgment. They want praise. They want constructive advice. They’re just too scared to ask for it. Less than 20% of millennials say they routinely receive feedback, according to Gallup research.

As a manger, it’s up to you to create a welcoming, friendly work environment. Make feedback a two-way street. Create an open door policy and make it clear to your millennial workers that they can ask you questions—whether popping into the office, texting, tweeting, or calling.

By empowering millennials to feel confident and comfortable with open communication, they will feel permission to innovate and come forward with new ideas. They will see you, their manager, as someone they can trust.

Create Incentives

Whether it is in the form of stock options, chances for commission, or special perks, make it clear that millennials can succeed beyond just means of salary. Millennials value independence, flexibility, purposeful work, and growth opportunities. If you can provide these incentives, millennials will want to work for your company and contribute to its growth.

Emphasize Structure and Safety

Unlike if millennials were on their own starting a personal brand, they have the luxury of support and safety that comes with working for a company. Emphasize that millennials can be intrepreneurs and still grow and take risks. Explain that working within your company is the perfect place for them to learn and grow, without the very real risk of messing up on their own.

By emphasizing entrepreneurial opportunities and the safety that comes along with being part of a company, millennials will feel empowered to take risks and innovate within your company.

Take action TODAY and create the opportunities for millennials to become Intreprenuers within your company. Allow the space for millennials to work on passion projects and innovate within the company. Embrace new ideas, provide feedback, and promote a culture with open communication. Create incentives while also showing the upside that comes with working in a company.

The workplace is changing, and it’s up to YOU as a manger to adapt and view the shift as an opportunity to be embraced.

Need help getting started? Let us help you stop chasing relevance and make it happen. For more on working from the inside out, check out Part One of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace TODAY.

One Personal Challenge that will Make 2017 your Best Year Yet

One personal challenge made up of three special words has the power to positively change your career and greatly impact your world for the better.  Are you ready to make 2017 your best year yet?   Here we go!   The act of branding livestock with a fire-heated iron to identify ownership dates back to the ancient Egyptians. In business, the concept of “per­sonal brands” dates back to the late 1990s. At launchbox, our approach to branding is a fresher take on the value of defining your personal brand and considerably less painful than being touched by a hot iron (although millennials are not averse to marking; nearly 40 percent of them sport tattoos).

We call this your “brandstamp.”

Brandstamps are about who you want to be, how you want to be perceived in the world, and whether or not you deliver on that brand. To help our clients define, articulate, and own their personal brands at launchbox workshops, keynotes, or peer-to-peer networking groups, we create brandstamps through an exercise you can start right now.

It starts by finding your three brandstamp words: Three words that define your personal value and how you want to be perceived by the world. You can pick any three words you want to but try and pick:

  • words that are aspirational—that you think you are and wish to be perceived as—such as smart, caring, honest, and thoughtful.
  • words that, when you wake up in the morning and immedi­ately think of, make you push yourself to be your best.
  • words that if you lived by them every day, you would be the best version of yourself and who you are meant to be.

Now that you have your brandstamp words, you need to field-test them to find out how well they are aligned with views people you know have of you. Because when people see you as you see yourself, you are succeeding in convey­ing your value.

Before I started launchbox, I struggled with what my brandstamp would look like would look like. My coach, Lauren, had an idea that we should assemble a group of thirty friends, former employees and bosses, peers, workout buddies, and mentors to discuss who I was. They would help me start to determine how I could build something big.

Before I went in to talk with this group, I chose my own three words. Once we were assembled, Lauren and our facilitator, Angela, had the group pick the words they thought represented my per­sonal brandstamp. They had fun joking and whittling down hundreds of words to three: direct, giving, and motivational. (I admit to being relieved when “arrogant” and “annoying” finally left the table.) Wow. Not only were they generous words (I felt like I was at my own funeral), but they also aligned quite well with mine at the time: generous, bold, and inspirational. To me, that meant I was living my story, and my story reflected who I was to them.

As launchbox has evolved, so has my personal brandstamp. Today my words are generous, bold, and empowering. That is the cool thing about your three words: they can evolve and you can change them whenever you need to, as long as you own them and keep them aligned with how people see you.

Okay, your turn to try.

Once you have your words, see how they align with the way your people see you, and listen to their comments. Do this with at least three people. See what they think your three words should be, then share yours and see if you are in alignment. If the words are aligned, congratulations! Live them and let them evolve as you do. If they are not aligned, get at it. Find out and explore the inconsistencies—seek to understand why disconnect exists—and get the words aligned.

For more on working from the inside out, check out Part One of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace TODAY.

 

 

 

4 Ways to Coach Millennials to Drive Results and Engagement

If there is one take away from the Presidential Election and all the recent media coverage, we need to “de-polarize” the biggest challenge to your workplace – Millennial Employee and Customer Engagement.  The critical steps for healing the disconnect starts from controlling ourselves. Working on becoming our “best self” by working from the inside out (it all starts from within).

It wasn’t until the first time I spent the day with my dad at launchbox, watching him walk around and engage with the team and the space, that I realized how amazing it feels to create and be a part of a business where I can be 100 percent me (my authentic self) and own it.

In every job, I have ever had before I started launchbox, I played “the game” and suppressed at least a part of who I was for what I thought, or “they” thought, I was supposed to be and do. I found it limiting, and thus my ego flared. I never saw the wisdom in being any other way. Today, I am responsible and accountable to myself for empowering everyone I connect to and with everything I touch.

I get to be the jolter and stimulator, the coach, the mentor, and learner all in one. It does not get better than that.

Does that mean my ego is gone today? Hardly. I’m still (a little) vain and drive an expensive car and love my watch du jour. But I appreciate the relationships I have. I value meaningful connections, making it about others, and the power to create and work with next-gen/millennials to both lead and be led by me and my team, because we are mastering learning to work from the inside out.

I was careless before. Today, I choose to care more. And I’m intense about it, especially when it comes to empower­ment. Unlike others, we don’t just talk about it.  Our system solves the challenge by delivering real and immediate connections between managers and next generation (millennial) leaders and customers.

How?  We customize and facilitate special training events and one-on-one coaching for organizations large and small. We strive to empower people to succeed 24/7 and expect empowerment from them in return—we study it, live it, teach it, technologize it, and love it.

 What are you doing to de-polarize your workplace?  If you are in the majority, you don’t have a plan.  How are you empowering and engaging your employees to be successful? Are they connected, engaged and empowered so you can do your job successfully? When you can answer these questions with a resounding “Yes!” you have empow­ered success by empowering your employees to develop a culture that you can be proud of.

Here are 4 ways used by some of our most successful clients to reinforce empowerment and heal the disconnect in the workplace:

 

  1. Focus on individual growth. Manage each person differently, align tasks with employee competencies, focus on and help employees develop their strengths, and create a system to identify high-potential employees, challenge them, and create growth opportunities.

 

  1. Pave the road by ensuring your millennials have what they need to be successful. Make sure delegation and creating trust are givens, and make them want your job. Make future advancement opportunities transparently available.

 

  1. Give Feedback 365: Now! Always! Do it daily and never stop. Provide and ask for regular feedback on performance. Be specific and listen.

 

  1. Recognize and celebrate in a fun, creative, and interactive team culture that empowers more success and recognition. Do it for short-term wins, individual contributions, and team successes, in a public way.

 

It took a long time for me to truly understand how to put these four pieces together to empower individuals and myself to be better. When it works? It is beautiful. When it doesn’t? It is still fun just trying to do things the right way. Yes, I said fun. This can and should be fun.

Leadership today is never easy. It’s filled with contradictions, just like millennials themselves. We can’t ever reconcile those contradictions so … enable them! Create a culture of disruption and transparent learning—an environment where authentic communication and education also mean calling everyone (yes, yourself included) on their shit.

Get out of your own way and ask yourself: What can I do tomorrow to start doing those four things to empower my culture and employees to suc­ceed – to develop a culture that everyone can be proud of and that empowers everyone (including you) to do their jobs successfully?

If not now when? Let us help you stop chasing relevance and make it happen.  Our CEO and Founder, Dan Negroni, will be in New York at the end of the month on his Millennial Speaking Tour. He is so passionate about this issue; he wants to meet you and hear about your challenges and help solve them on the spot.  For more on the power of relationships, check out Part One of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace TODAY

 

 

 

Embrace Millennials as the Opportunity they are

A massive shift is taking place in the workplace and marketplace. Millennials—currently representing 36% of the workforce—will be 75% of your employees and customers by 2025. This change is creating a huge gap. Boomers and Gen Xers grew up with structure. Millennials have grown up with flexibility and the freedom to say what they want, when they want, simply by sending a tweet or a snap. They want feedback 24/7. They collaborate and create influence through network and community. They work way differently than previous generations. This difference is causing what you might label a “problem” in the workplace. There is a clear disconnect between expectations and work style.

But what if you challenged yourself to view this generational gap not as a problem to be solved, but as an opportunity to be embraced? Millennials control $660 billion in spending and will soon be leading the workplace, if they’re not already. Be the solution and embrace this generational “shift”–you can “shift” your perspective on this gap and win the millennial race! Millennials hold a tremendous opportunity for your workplace to excel in the future. Here are 3 millennial “problems” that are actually opportunities to be embraced.

  1. They constantly seek feedback 

    Millennials grew up in an era of instant gratification, so they expect feedback all the time. While this classic millennial trait may seem annoying or ridiculous, it offers you an incredible opportunity to actually communicate and connect. The” problem” isn’t just that they want feedback, they are scared to ask for it and don’t know what to do with it or how to react.

    Use this opportunity to be a mentor and guide for your millennials. Be real, be honest, be a teacher.  Show appreciation when they do a good job, and let them know when they make mistakes and how they can improve. Ask them questions on a regular, weekly basis so you can create a two-way relationship. If they see you, their boss, asking questions, being vulnerable and caring, they will mimic your behavior and develop confidence.Use feedback the way it is intended, as a give and take.

  2. They want flexible or their“perfect” schedule 

    It may seem like a pain to offer a flexible schedule to your millennial employees. You may think, “Why can’t they just work 8 hours straight like I did and not complain about it?” Well, technology has changed the world and millennials can get work done remotely as well as in an office. Millennials tend to seek a perfect work/life balance. By allowing a flexible schedule, you provide your millennials the opportunity to fulfill other activities that make them happy and keep them fulfilled and engaged.

    If your millennials are engaged in the other areas of their life, they will be more inspired to do more great work for your company. By caring about their needs, they are happier, therefore so are your customers and you also create more success of your company.

  3.  They have wild ambitions and ideas

    “They all want to create the next Facebook.” The initial reaction to millennials’ wild ambitions may be that they’re entitled and expect success overnight. But what if you could focus their ambitions within your own company? As a manager, you can motivate your millennials to learn and grow within your company. You can provide opportunities for them to excel, create and innovate…a win-win that would benefit your company. Don’t suppress your millennial worker’s ambitions, but guide them so they can flourish and excel both personally and professionally.

Where one sees trash, another sees treasure. The millennial shift is happening…its inevitable. However, it’s up to YOU how you view it…as an opportunity to be embraced!

 

Light Realistic Blank book cover vector illustration

Need help understanding, engaging, and retaining your millennial workforce?  Dan Negroni, Author, Speaker, Attorney, Kick butt business consultant, coach, and proud Dad of a few Millennials delivers actionable solutions.  Different from all other millennial experts, Dan’s empowering business approach at Launchbox, creates quick value and seamless connections with millennials and management each on their own terms.   Using unique content and delivery methods that audiences respond to immediately he leverages results from the inside out.   Allow millennials to be your secret weapon and maximize your commitment to them to innovate, create a culture of engagement and grow your businesses today.    To start click here to grab your copy of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace or call them at 858.314.9687 for a free Coaching Assessment or visit www.launchbox365.com.

4 Things You Probably Hate about Millennials and Why You’re Probably Wrong

Listen, the challenge of parenting, educating, training, mentoring, and guiding young people has been around for thousands of years. Consider this quote attributed to Socrates, almost 2,500 years ago:

 

Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.

 

“But my millennials are so much more annoying than we ever were.” Got it.

 

Remember, millennials look nothing like the previous generations, and that’s why they annoy you. It’s a lack of understanding of and between different generations. The point is millennials are probably everything and nothing we say about them.

 

  1. Entitled, lazy, and won’t do what they’re told? In a poll of 5,000 workers by Jennifer Deal of the Center for Creative Leadership and Alec Levenson of the University of Southern California, 41% of millennials agreed that “employees should do what their manager tells them, even when they can’t see the reason for it,” compared with 30% of baby boomers and 30 percent of Gen Xers.

 

  1. Aren’t competitive? The Economist cites research by CEB, a consulting firm that polls 90,000 American employees each quarter, that 59% of millennials say competition is what gets them up in the morning much more than the percentage of baby boomers or Gen Xers that say that about competition.

 

  1. Only communicate digitally? That study by Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson showed that more than 90% of millennials surveyed want face-to-face feedback and career discussions.

 

  1. Jump ship and are not committed for the long term, or really any term? According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker stays at a job 4.4 years, and yes, according to the Future Workplace “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey of 1,189 employees and 150 managers, 91% of millennials expect to stay less than three. But beware of averages: Millennials may find it normal to job-hop faster than any previous generation, but when they find the right opportunity they actually are more loyal than the previous generation. The CEB study showed millennials put future career opportunity among their top five reasons for choosing a job, again ahead of other generations.

 

Simply put, when it comes to millennials, most of us have no idea what to believe or do. So we believe and assume the worst. Until we see this, the most powerful myths or assumptions that we have about millennials will continue to negatively impact our attitudes about, perceptions of, and relationships with them.

 

Get past the
 myths and realize that individual differences are more important than generational ones In the end, most millennials just want what we all should want: challenge, flexibility, purpose, engagement, collaboration, work-life balance, transparency, and authenticity.

 

They want bosses who care, set clear expectations, and are willing to coach—and who understand what they expect and need in the workplace. Are these things so unappealing or are they just not your story?

 

Don’t let generational differences be the problem. Lean in and consider millennials an opportunity to learn, connect, and kick more ass in your business using millennial power.

 

Need help getting started? For more on this, check out Busting Myth in Part Two of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace TODAY.

 

 

3 Things a 75-Year Harvard Survey of Adult Life Tells Us about Millennials Today

What’s the most important life/work skill?

 

When we ask people this question in our launchbox workshops, at our clients’ workplaces, in our extended professional networks, and at keynote presentations, the number one answer by far is “communication,” followed by listening, discipline, passion, and persistence. (My teenage son Matthew said “for­giveness,” so I asked him what he had done wrong.)

 

I’ll take all of that. But I want something deeper. I want more. Com­munication and all the other answers are important, but they are com­ponents of the number one life/work skill.

 

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

 

Everything—from money and knowledge to power and love—boils down to interacting with other people. Positive relationships lead to positive mindset and intent and are essential in business for morale, produc­tivity, innovation, loyalty . . . positive relationships lift all of these things and much more. Relationships are about connecting. It is easy to get information any time from your smartphone, but how are you connect­ing?

 

In business, connecting with other human beings creates much more than results: It leads to health, thoughtfulness, balance—and happiness.

 

This is not a hypothesis. Just watch Robert Waldinger’s TED talk, “What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness” (bit.ly/1PxtGLt). Waldinger is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which may be the longest study of adult life ever done. For seventy-five years, starting in 1938, the Harvard study tracked the lives of 724 men (about a third of them Harvard sophomores and the other two-thirds twelve- to sixteen-year-olds from inner-city Boston). As the men aged, the study asked them deep questions about their professional and personal lives.

 

And what did Waldinger say was the clearest message from this seventy-five-year study?

 

“Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”

 

Waldinger then laid out three lessons he learned about those relationships.

 

  1. Social connections are really good for us, and loneliness kills.

 

  1. People who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age fifty were the healthiest at age eighty.

 

  1. Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains.

 

In the end, Waldinger says, “Good, close relationships are good for our health and well-being, this is wisdom that’s as old as the hills. Why is this so hard to get and so easy to ignore? … Relationships are messy and they’re complicated and the hard work of tending to family and friends, it’s not sexy or glamorous. It’s also lifelong. It never ends.”

 

Exactly. So knowing this, what are you going to do to connect and create great relationships with your millennials in the workplace?

 

Need help answering this question and getting started? Let us help you stop chasing relevance and make it happen. For more on the power of relationships, check out Part One of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace TODAY.

 

 

 

 

5 Questions Managers Should Ask Millennials to Connect

Most Managers are Boomers and Generation X’ers—and most of them don’t understand millennials because they grew up in a world vastly different from them. Because the interests, worldviews and perspectives between generations vary significantly, finding common ground is the dang key to connecting a united, powerful workforce.

Forbes just released an article about how Boomers can network with Millennials and Gen X’ers. We’ve taken their top 5 questions on how to connect and provide our real deal insight into why these questions are effective in bridging the generational gap in the workplace.

  1. How do you most like to spend your time?

Everyone wants a boss who cares. This question helps you immediately open up the possibility for connecting on mutual interest. It also takes the pressure off work and focuses on personal interests and people’s favorite topic: themselves. This question shifts the focus from you to them (in our book we call this WIFThem,), which demonstrates that you have really leaned in to respect them as a grown (&^%) adult and see things from their perspective.

  1. What’s the most important lesson you learned at work?

Again, caring…but more. It helps you coach on how they view their work and what strikes them as important. This question also opens up the opportunity for sharing lessons you’ve learned. What do millennials want more than anything in the workplace? Learning and growing opportunities: we call it capability! Gallup will tell you it equals engagement more than any one thing!

  1. What do you wish you knew at the start of your career?

As Julius Caesar said, “Experience is the teacher of all things.” Millennials, like all of us, are never fully prepared when embarking on an endeavor. Clearly, it’s impossible to know everything when starting out. By opening up the way for millennials to share what they’ve learned, you tell them “I care and I respect you.” It also provides connection currency and then you can share what you’ve learned, which will help them in their careers. You better share funny stories and lessons—that type of vulnerability wins.

  1. How do you think work could be restructured to make it more productive and enjoyable?

This question highlights that you are open and want their input because together you can create a great workplace. It makes you more approachable as a manger or as an experienced worker, a better coach and a leader. After all, the ability to seek feedback and integrate it into your business is what real leadership is about.

 

  1. How do you think you can be most helpful to teammates?

Millennials wan to learn about themselves and how to be effective from day one. Identifying the strengths of each millennial worker, and allowing them to understand their strengths, will help you put them in the best possible position for themselves and your company. For example, a millennial working in the sales department is unhappy and feels she is of minimal value to her team. However, she is savvy and skilled in Adobe and Photoshop. She will be more of an asset to a company’s design or branding department than the sales department. This question helps you effectively place them in an optimal position for the company’s gain and their fit. It helps them provide real value, something they are very concerned about.

So get on it now: Go ask some friggin questions that show you care, respect them and are a coach and mentor those are the connection currency. That will pay off in attraction, retention and engagement.

Chasing Relevance by Dan Negroni

Interested in learning more about bridging the gap between millennials and managers? Here’s your chance! Grab your copy of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace!

Maximize Your Millennials As Next-Generation Leaders

This article was originally published on Forbes by Tony DiCostanzo



 

Author and launchbox founder Dan Negroni says millennials aren’t the problem; chances are, the trouble is with how you’re managing them.

By now you probably heard the rumor: The reason the workplace is in deep trouble is because of millennials—you know, those young folks that are frequently maligned as entitled, disloyal, lazy, disinterested, and who make terrible employees.

But is that really true? Are millennials a problem that need to be solved or an opportunity that should be embraced?

Leadership coach and author Dan Negroni suggests the latter. In his book, Chasing Relevance: Six Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace, Negroni argues that it’s high time we start valuing millennials for their fresh viewpoints and strengths, including intelligence, innovation, curiosity, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

This isn’t just a feel-good exercise. As the largest generation in our history, millennials make up 2.4 billion of the world population. They represent 40 percent of today’s workforce (and over 73% of BookPal’s employees), growing to 75 percent of the workforce in the next 10 years. They are the biggest and most powerful customer group today. They are our kids, our workers, and our future.  So if you want your business to succeed, you need to figure out how to bridge the gap to attract, engage and retain the next generation of leaders.

The good news is that closing the generation gap will not only benefit your millennials, Negroni says, but it will help you, your business, and all of your employees thrive.

I had the opportunity to sit with Dan to discuss his top six strategies for getting started.

1.  Stop whining and start caring

People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. So care! It is a basic human tenet. We need to focus less on complaining and ffinger-pointingand focus more on building relationships.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development, conducted over the course of 75 years, concluded that if done right, relationships are essential to human happiness and “will positively affect your health, longevity and quality of a successful life, including your economic success.”

Millennials understand this, but they just haven’t been taught how to best develop these relationships, especially in the workplace. 60 percent consider themselves entrepreneurs, with 90 percent recognizing entrepreneurship as a culture in itself. Almost 67 percent of millennials want to own their own business someday. Yet the rest of us are saying, “I don’t get it. How can we all be the boss, and, if so, then who will do all the work?”

We have to remember that there is magic where youth and experience meet, and that magic has existed since the beginning of time. It doesn’t have to be a power struggle in which we expect millennials to conform to outdated modes of working. If we start busting myths about millennials and understand what they individually want, we can start building the solid relationships that lead to success.

2. Be authentic and stand for something unique

All great brands and companies stand for something distinctive. Millennials want to be a part of greatness. Employers like Nike, Google, and Uber get that. Millennials want to work for companies that reflect who they are. It’s no surprise that Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign widely resonates with millennials.

It’s imperative that we figure out how our business values match those of our millennials. We have to be authentic, because millennials are smart and they see right through the fluff.  At BookPal, we established a Cause Committee, comprised of employees from all departments to clarify the company’s purpose.  Clearly defining BookPal’s cause has united the staff in new ways and given them purpose beyond just selling books.

Millennials are deciding which businesses live or die: Consider Blockbuster versus Netflix, or the shopping mall versus Amazon, or hotels versus Airbnb.

Economists predict that 75 percent of the S&P 500 will be replaced over the next 10 years. It’s companies like Google, Starbucks, Nike, Apple, Disney, Levi’s, and other brands that tell and sell powerful stories that attract both customers and employees. These companies know who they are and how to communicate that to the world, thus sustaining and growing their business models.

3. Own your stuff

One of Dan’s favorite sayings is “What happens to you is because of you.” Real power comes from teaching an overindulged and “trophied” generation that they too should take responsibility for their actions. How? By example. To make your relationships with millennials stronger, you need to make yourself stronger first. Fulfill your duty to be the best manager possible and take accountability for yourself, your actions and your results.

4. Make them opt in

Today’s business climate is extraordinarily tough and competitive, requiring more creativity, innovation, and better leadership than ever before. Remember that millennials want to be their best. They want responsibility and to help in a purposeful and meaningful way. Hold millennials to their own standards. While setting clear expectations, remind them that they control the trajectory of their career. Allow them to test concepts and fail without judgment, giving constructive feedback along the way, but only if they want it. If your millennials are truly uninterested in doing the work, let them go. Encourage and demand the opt-in, all while demonstrating that the relationship is a two-way street.

5. Get on the same page

Define and align your purpose transparently and create individual, team, and company-wide goals. Communicate and regularly revisit these goals and why they exist. Millennials need to understand “the why” to be inspired. Yes, they like to celebrate successes like all of us, but also like all of us, they just want to know, as best as possible, what road they are on, where it’s going, and what is expected of them.

Involve your employees in ensuring that everyone in your organization is on the same page. Every time you want to open your mouth to tell them what to do, instead pivot, asking them what they would do. Collaborate. Understand that we learn more about relationships from asking questions than any other method. These same techniques are also required for good marriages and successful parenting. It’s no different in the workplace.

6. Mentor like a coach

Coaches learn early on that each individual is unique, and if they want to lead, bond, and win as a team, they must respect each individual’s differences. Whether it’s your salespeople, engineers, or accountants, all of whom have different purposes, they all share the same desire to be recognized for their individual strengths along with the strengths of the team.

How often do you even think about your team and how to get results from each individual on his or her terms? Chances are not enough. The more you work on leveraging the strengths of your individual team members, the better your employees will respond.

Launch Your Plan Now

Studies show that 30 percent of organizations lose 15 percent or more of their millennial workforce annually, and it can cost companies up to $25,000 to replace each millennial. And only 22.9 percent of organizations have a plan in place to engage millennials and future generations. It’s time to step up.

By creating genuine connections in your workplace, you’ll foster a collaborative environment that empowers your employees to be accountable, focus on results and deliver value.

We know our ability to attract, train, manage, and retain this next generation of leaders is critical to the future success of our businesses. Let’s create results by caring more—not being careless.

 

Interested in learning more about bridging the gap between millennials and managers? Here’s your chance! Grab your copy of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace.

2 Big Reasons Why Pokémon GO Struck Gold & Can Help You Understand Millennial Customers and Employees

Within 24 hours of release, Pokémon GO surged in popularity unlike anything the app store has seen before. In terms of time users spend on the app, it surpassed Snapchat, Twitter and even Facebook![1] If you’re unfamiliar with Pokémon GO, it’s an augmented-reality game that launched in the United States late last week. To break it down, the game lays a sort of semi-transparent Poké-world over your actual, physical location, which you can explore by literally walking around while staring at your screen.

The game has been all the hype over the past week, striking a chord in the millennial generation. Whether you are into gaming or not, you should pay attention. What they accomplished are hints to what your business might do to attract millennial customers.

 

Reason 1: Technology

Millennials were the first generation to grow up with technology being an influential part of their lives. Pokémon GO offers the best of both worlds: the joy of playing an addictive video game combined with the experience of interacting with others in the real world.

While technology has created a world where many millennials prefer to stay inside and immerse themselves alone in their screens, Pokémon GO has brought them together. Certain hotspots in the game attract more users, resulting in more physical, face-to-face interactions. The wild success in such a short time conveys that millennials do want to get out of the house and meet other people. By leveraging the inherent desire for human interaction along with a fun, addictive app, other companies can mimic this strategy to capture the attention of millennials. Forbes estimated that Pokémon GO is bringing in over $1.6 million in revenue per day in the United States alone.

 

Reason 2: First Brush with Millennial Nostalgia

Another reason this game has struck gold among generation Y is because it’s nostalgic. Pokémon became popular in the late 90’s, both on television and in video games (think back to the dinosaur age of Nintendo 64 and Gameboy.) The game has awakened positive, childhood memories among millennials. The familiarity of the app has proved to be a hit, and as the New York Times put it, “Millennial’s First Nostalgic Blast.” The game’s success has blazed a trail for other companies to leverage nostalgic games and memories of generation Y to create future products.

While it’s too early to tell if the game will plateau soon or become a “one hit wonder” for Niantic, the makers of the game, Pokémon GO has given businesses and marketers a look into the future of what millennials love.

The world is changing, as you can see from Pokémon GO, and those who understand and adapt to the interests and attention of millennials have a real opportunity to create  economic value and winning products and services.

 

 

[1] Lancaster, Luke. “Mobile Users Spent More Time on Pokemon Go than Facebook.” CNET. N.p., n.d. Web.

Celebrating Independence TODAY: Empower Your Team to be Interdependent

On this day 240 years ago, thirteen colonies broke away from Great Britain, forming a new nation, the United States of America. The earned independence and freedom we celebrate today is what makes the U S so incredible. Like the founding fathers, launchbox views independence as a necessary trait for next generation leaders.

The problem is that millions of millennials may not really understand independence. It’s not their fault. Think about it: although they ooze independence they may not actually get it. Here are some of the astounding facts:

  • for the first time since 1880, young adults ages 18 to 34 are more likely to live with a parent than in any other arrangement.[1]
  • 25 percent of people ages 25 to 29 live with a parent, up from 18 percent a decade ago[2]
  • 43 percent of millennials aged 30 to 33 are still financially dependent on their parents[3]

In his international best seller, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey brilliantly describes the process of maturation: dependence  → independence   interdependence.

  • Dependence is the stage where we are reliant on others to take care of us, a state of weakness and powerlessness. Called childhood.
  • As we grow into adulthood and learn to do things on our own, we become capable of taking care of ourselves and start becoming independent. Called young workforce (millennials).
  • Once we learn independence, we then become ripe for working at the highest level where the greatest human achievements occur: interdependence. This is where independent, capable individuals come together as a team to achieve a common goal or purpose. Like the connection of Youth and Experience. And this is where the magic happens. Called teams.

But before any group of individuals or organization can achieve interdependence, all members of a team must first learn to be independent. So let’s be grateful this 4th of July and demonstrate it by giving. Giving the commitment to teach our young millennials in and out of the workforce how to become a become confident communicators, and as a result, independent rock stars that deliver for the Team.

1.) Teach them how to communicate by using the WIFThem method

When I first heard that millennials were bringing their parents along for job interviews, I almost lost it. But this sad truth reveals that many millennials simply don’t know how to communicate. They don’t know how to showcase their skillset in a manner both relevant and valuable to whomever they’re speaking to.

At launchbox, we use the WIFThem approach. WIFThem stands for “What’s in it for them?” In other words, effective communicators understand how to deliver information in a way that’s relevant and important to the person they’re speaking to. Here’s an example of a statement without, and then with, WIFThem:

Average communicator: “I can analyze a spreadsheet.”

Vs.

WIFThem communicator: “I can process complex, quantitative data and info to help leaders give detailed advice to clients and managers.”

See the difference? By teaching millennials to use the WIFThem approach, they learn to communicate how their attributes will be of meaning and value. Let’s do us all a favor and make sure no more parents are attending their millennial (adult!) kid’s interviews.

2.) Show them how to deliver their story

We all must be in the story business. The best speeches and business books present ideas and lessons through stories. The best commercials and advertisements convince us to buy certain products because the stories they tell resonate with us on an emotional level.

At launchbox, we ask three important questions that help people of all ages identify who they are so they can communicate their story effectively and powerfully:

  1. Who am I?

  2. What is my experience?

  3. What value do I bring?

The answer to these questions can manifest in a variety of ways. But regardless of the answer, these questions will help someone uncover their identity and core. By answering these questions (however that looks for you personally) you are already on your way to delivering a powerful story.

Effective communication is key for a person to become independent and any company to become interdependent. As you celebrate the independence of the United States of America today, utilize these concepts in your home or workplace to develop independent, high performing millennials today!

Chasing Relevance by Dan Negroni

Want to learn more about how to communicate effectively, deliver your story and become an independent all star? Grab a copy of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace.

 

[1] Clair, Ben St. “Seven Habits Study Guide/Paradigms and Principles.” – Wikibooks, Open Books for an Open World. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2016.

[2] 2 Clair, Ben St. “Seven Habits Study Guide/Paradigms and Principles.” – Wikibooks, Open Books for an Open World. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2016.

[3] Henderson, J. Maureen. Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 03 July 2016.