Humans (People) Really Really Matter: The Workplace of the Future Needs Humans (Real People) Now More Than Ever

“Humans (People) are underrated.” Elon Musk tweeted those words back in 2018, but they still ring just as true in 2020. Humans (People) ARE underrated. Especially in the workplace. In the keynotes and workshops we’ve delivered for organizations around the world who want to get a handle on what the future of work will be, we posited that all these discussions about the future overlook most important person: the worker, yes the People.

Back in 2016, the World Economic Forum predicted that Emotional Intelligence would be one of the top 10 skills people needed to cultivate in order to thrive in 2020. Well, it’s 2020 and guess what? In the midst of a global pandemic, remote work, and social distancing, we need People more than ever. But when the threat of COVID-19 is gone, we won’t stop needing People. The need for human skills (emotional intelligence, creativity, people management, etc.) will only continue to grow as our workplaces become increasingly automated.

 

Machines Don’t Erase the Need for Human Workers – They Create a New Need

A new article from MIT Sloan Management Review (Brynjolfsson and Beane) looked at the role of robots in our workplaces and made some surprising conclusions for our post-pandemic world. Chief among them is the idea that the workplace of the future will more than likely involve humans working alongside machines, rather than machines putting humans out of a job. In their interview with CNN, the researchers remarked that “there is a whole spectrum of having humans and machines work together. You can choose different points on the range in this division of labor, but in almost every case, you want humans doing some of the task.”

To summarize their findings, machines are great at doing certain things for us. Things that are repetitive and don’t require creative problem-solving. But that’s not all that happens inside our workplaces. We’re constantly challenged by unique problems, situations, and team dynamics. Things happen every single day that no machine could ever be programmed to deal with. But we humans are uniquely suited to solving the unpredictable. So rather than replacing our jobs, machines instead create a new need for humans in the workplace of the future – alongside new career opportunities.

 

New Jobs Will Emerge

Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum released a new report analyzing the workplace of the future to make predictions about the jobs of tomorrow. They identified seven emerging professional clusters and the necessary skills we should be cultivating for careers in each. In the summary of their report, they made the following remark: “While disruptive technology skills such as data science and AI skills will certainly be critical to the future of work, so will caregiving, leadership, and the ability to provide learning and development. In other words, the transition to the new world of work will be both human- and tech-centric.”

Machines aren’t going to replace us. Instead, they are paving the way for us to assume new roles – roles best suited to our own very human talents and skills. Our Strengths and Story. The most successful managers of tomorrow will be able to effectively integrate and leverage the best of both worlds inside their organizations. Yes, that means investing in your people, reskilling them, and ensuring they have a pathway to learn and grow. But we know how to help organizations do that. We’ve been doing it for years with our clients in all kinds of industries – and we can help you, too.

 

We’ll Have to Learn New Skills

We are living through what’s been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that as many as 375 million people will need to change their occupation by 2030 – just ten years from now! Which means there’s going to be a lot of people in the world who’ll need to go back to school, get retrained, reskill, level up, or otherwise dramatically alter the work they’re doing today.

Increased investment in automation and technology means we’ll have to lean harder on those things machines can’t take from us. Those soft skills we’ve been talking about for years – emotional intelligence, relationship building, connection, communication, trust. All things that you can’t program into a robot. They don’t come easy to some of us and they can be hard to teach. But nothing is impossible when you have a proven system that works. We have that system plus tips and tools to help you and your organization succeed and help you find your relevance.

 

We’ve been saying it for years and we believe it still: People matter now more than ever and they’re going to matter even more in the workplace of the future. If you want your company to grow and thrive for years to come, you need to put your focus on people right now. Use our 3-hack system to help: turn your workplace upside down to ask your people what they want and need from you, help them find meaning and purpose in their work, and reskill them for what’s to come. People are the heart of an organization and no amount of technology is going to change that.

If you need help equipping your people and your organization to succeed in the workplace of the future, reach out to us to learn how we can help through our customized workshops, personalized, on-demand coaching, keynotes, and more.

Mastering the 3 Components of Resilience

We are all are experiencing trauma right now, at all ages in all generations. But as we struggle, at least we are all together. No one is unscathed by the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must all pivot our businesses and ourselves, and lead our teams through the trauma. We’re lonely, grieving, depressed, sad, in shock, uncertain, anxious – in short, we are overwhelmed, exhausted, and scared. And we wonder constantly how and if we’re going to make it through.

I’m here to tell you that you ARE going to get through this. It won’t be easy, it’s going to hurt, and you’re going to be challenged more than you’ve ever been challenged in your life. But you will make it through so long as you cultivate this one crucial skill: resilience. 

Also sometimes called “grit,” resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.” It’s a measure of how well you can bend, flex, and bounce back when you get knocked down. It’s a measure of your ability to triumph in adversity. And it’s all about shaping your mindset though training. We need this trait right now.

But fear not because science shows us that resilience is something you can cultivate and teach to others. So for your teams, families, clients, and the world let’s start with identifying and mastering the three components of resilience:

1. Confidence

When we talk about confidence in relation to resilience, we’re really talking about the unwavering belief that you can influence outcomes in your life. That you DO have control, even when things feel completely out of your control. Of course, you can’t control everything. You can’t control when the current pandemic will end, when we’ll get to go back to life as normal, or even whether you get sick or not. But you can control yourself, your emotions, your decisions, and how you show up when things get touch.

To master the confidence component, focus on this simple list daily:

-Check-In: Check in with yourself about how you’re doing. Be honest about what you’re feeling, then set aside the beliefs that don’t serve you.

-Breathe: When things get tough, we get tense. When we’re tense, we often forget to breathe. But our brain needs plenty of oxygen to do what it does best: think clearly and find the opportunities. Make sure you’re taking deep breaths throughout the day. You might even pick up a practice of meditation.

-Mindset: What you think, you become. If you’re thinking negative, unhelpful thoughts about yourself, your team, your business, or the current crisis, get rid of that talk track. Replace destructive thoughts with things that are positive and empowering. Be mindful of your power to be present.

-Accountability: Hold yourself accountable to shaping your mindset every single day. Do not let yourself slip into bad habits or ways of being. You get to choose how you show up every day, so choose to be a leader.

-Hardiness:  Understand that some of us are innately more positive; however, learn what you can about yourself to be strong. Move through your negative feelings and practice the act of reframing your own power. Use whatever you can to thrive. No judgment! Face the reality, seek tools, and push through it.

2. Commitment

When things get tough, it’s easy to take the easy way out. To shrink back from whatever is causing our stress and look for the path of least resistance. But when things get tough, we need to recommit ourselves to our lives, to our relationships, and to our work. Resilience by its very definition means that we are staging a comeback. That we got kicked in the teeth, we’re down, but we’re not out.

To master the commitment component, you need to first start with your belief system. What you believe in and what provides you with purpose, interest and meaning. The belief that your work and effort have real meaningful impact. This is best when it also serves others because as humans we want to contribute. Use these tips to help:

-Context: In the midst of crisis, it’s easy to lose the context of our work. But we can’t lose sight of to how we fit into the bigger picture. Whether as a member of a team or the CEO of a business, we must connect ourselves into the larger context to find engagement and meaning, which are the next two items on our list.

-Engagement: With everything that’s going on and the constant stream of news updates, it’s hard to stay engaged with our work. But if we want to increase resilience, we must be able to filter out distractions and stay engaged. Set limits for yourself when it comes to looking at the news and social media so you don’t go too far down the rabbit hole.

-Meaning: To increase our commitment to ourselves and our own future success, we must find what we do meaningful. We need to connect back to our why (per Simon Sinek) in order to find our way through the chaos. Why does what we do matter? What is the benefit to people or society or industry? Who do we help?

-Authentic: Adversity can bring out the worst in us or worse, cause us to put on a mask and show up inauthentically. But that’s not what our people or our customers need from us. They need us to be real with them, to be honest and vulnerable so that we can build greater connection. People need people. Be the person that people need.

-Story: Recommitting to our work and ourselves comes from doing the deep work to understand who we are, articulate our story, and own it to demonstrate the value we have to give to others and the world.

3. Creativity

The third and final component of resilience you need to master is creativity – even in the face of challenge. We lose our creativity when we get stressed, when we get overwhelmed, when we get tired. But creativity is one of the foundational components of resilience for good reason. Creativity helps us be flexible, create new opportunities, and discover new pathways through the changing landscape. We need some of that now.

To master creativity, you must consistently demonstrate these things on a daily basis:

-Welcome Challenges: The name of this one says it all. Welcome Challenges. Instead of seeing hardship and challenge as something negative, we must welcome it gratefully into our lives as a catalyst to become better.

-Frame as Exciting: We must see all hardships as something exciting, as an opportunity to continue to live our purpose, and achieve even greater success.

-Growth Mindset: In Carol Dweck’s seminal book, Mindset, she teaches about the concepts of growth vs. fixed mindset in depth. But having a growth mindset simply means you believe you have the capacity to learn, grow, and change.

-Reinvention: Mastering creativity comes from our ability to reinvent our careers, our businesses, and ourselves. To adapt, survive, and thrive no matter what challenges we face. This is the way we learn to bounce back better than before.

I’ll say it again: resilience is something you can cultivate and teach to others. But it requires a focus on these 3 things: confidence, commitment, and creativity. As you begin to master the three components of resilience, focus on getting better every day. Better, not best. If you make small improvements consistently, you will develop greater resilience.

Need help understand the three components or any of their sub principles? Check out our keynote on the Path to Create Resilience for the Worker of the Future.  Want to learn how to better cultivate resilience in yourself and/or teach it to your team? Reach to us – we’re offering complimentary coaching right now during the pandemic to help you get through this. All you have to do is book your call with us.

3 Steps to Effectively Lead Your Remote Team Through Crisis

Our employees are overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed out. And that was before the Covid-19 crisis! Now they have a whole new mess of problems to deal with: worrying about the virus, fear about what will happen to the economy, working remotely for the first time, trying to manage their kids at home, struggling to adapt to new technology, increased conflict with their partner from being cooped up inside…it’s A LOT. Meanwhile, we’re trying to get them to be as productive as possible and G.S.D (Get Shit Done).

If you’re anything like the clients we’ve been talking to over the last few weeks, you’re struggling just to keep your own head above water let alone be the kind of leader your remote team needs right now. While there’s no manual or precedent for dealing with a large-scale global epidemic in this modern age, we’ve been coaching our clients on how to pivot and adapt their businesses while leading their teams to success. No matter what industry you’re in or what catastrophe you’re facing, there are only three things you need to focus on as a leader to effectively manage your workforce and cultivate high performance.

1) Decrease Fear

Your people are scared. They are facing the unknown just like you.

As their leader your most important job is to decrease their fear. Even if the future looks bleak, your people want to know you have a plan to take care of them and see them safely through this storm. They want to know they can count on you, that you’ve got their back, and you’re here for them. 

One of the most effective ways to decrease fear is to ask your people what they want from you. Start by listening and leaning in. It may be different for every person, but you owe it to them to take the time to ask great questions, be an even better listener, and find a way to meet them where they are. Then authentically contextualize your mission and vision in a way that employees can relate to and find meaningful. And communicate, communicate, communicate. Take a look at our 4 C’s of Connection in Virtual Work – scroll down to get a free copy of our Remote Management Toolbox.

2) Increase Safety

Along with decreasing fear, you need to increase every team member’s sense of safety. When you start by turning your workplace upside down and listening to your people, you’ll have a good sense of where to begin.  Understand that people need people and that we are interconnected beings. The biggest challenge is the lack of community and perceived empathy.

But even more importantly, you’ll have taken a big step toward decreasing their sense of isolation. If your team is working remotely for the first time, they’ll quickly start to feel alone and adrift in the world. It’s up to you to make sure your team is connecting to you and with each other on a regular basis. Have at least two real connections per week that asks how they are doing.  And make sure to use video – verbal communication is only 7% of total communication!  Additionally, appoint a communication czar to make sure it works well with your team.

Start now. Implement daily or weekly video calls. Create a Slack channel where people can check in with each other during the day. And spend time demonstrating you care by coaching your team members through their specific challenges. Let them help each other and create a buddy system. 

3) Solve the Emotional Component

In times of turmoil, it’s normal for emotions to run high. As a leader, you need to make sure you’re helping your team process their emotions in a way that is healthy and productive. Make sure you’re regularly addressing these five areas on your check-ins with your remote team:

1) Self-Care: Discuss the importance of self-care and share strategies for individual success.  Routines, schedules, and how to deal with kids at home and connections.

2) Learn: Make sure your team has the tools and resources to support their learning and development with new skills for the virtual workplace and great communication tips.

3) Growth: If there is down time, encourage personal and professional growth along with real creativity.  What are some great ideas they can come up with for themselves to add big value for a future which will be super different and better than what we’ve experienced?

4) Mindset: Share practical ways each person can work on reframing their thoughts and help them through any mindset blocks. Remember, we need connection and help.

5) Connect: Illustrate the importance of connecting person-to-person and encourage team members to communicate over phone or video instead of email and text.

If you focus on just these three things and follow our hacks and tools, I guarantee you will see dramatic improvement in the performance and productivity of your remote team. While we are all being challenged to work differently, there is NO reason your team cannot continue to execute at a high level.

Need help implementing these strategies? Looking for personalized help for your organization? Reach out to us – the first session is always complimentary! We can deliver virtual keynotes, online workshops, and remote high-performance coaching to help your team continue to succeed and thrive. 

We also recently hosted a webinar on this same topic – click here to watch the replay. It will only be available for a limited time so don’t wait to watch!

Download our Remote Management Toolbox including Our 4 C's of Connection to help you lead your team to success!



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Deepen Relationships and Improve Communication With Our GPS Communication Strategy

The workplace of the future may look a little different, but one thing that’s not changing? Humans. We will STILL matter. In fact, we will continue to matter more than ever.

Which means we have to find a way to connect, to get along with each other, and to communicate effectively. It doesn’t matter if your team works remotely, has different shifts, or spends all day inside a single shared space – relationships MATTER. 

My favorite exercise to deepen relationships and improve communication is something we at launchbox call our GPS Communication Strategy.

GPS stands for Gratitude, Permission, and Share Experience.

I’m going to break down what those three things actually mean (and how you use them in real conversations), but we’ve also got a great worksheet for you to download that goes along with this exercise. You can grab it by skipping down to the bottom. Or you can also follow along as I take you through our GPS Communication Strategy!

Gratitude

Begin by framing your conversation with gratitude. Communication is critical and gratitude is fundamental to having great conversations. Gratitude shows people that you care and that you have their back…even when you have to have a tough conversation with them. Perhaps most importantly, it gets them in the mood to start listening to you!

Sharing gratitude sounds like this:

-“I enjoyed having lunch with you.”

-“I found that advice you shared during our conversation the other day to be helpful.”

-“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to learn and grow in order to serve you and the team better.”

-“The way you handled that interaction with a customer was awesome!”

-“It means a lot to me that you made time to show me that trick with the new program.”

-Or just a simple “Thank you!”

Permission

Before you get to the tough stuff, make sure you ask permission. Asking permission to share your experience demonstrates respect and tells the other person that you really care about them. 99% of the time, they’ll say yes without hesitation

Now the #1 thing I hear when I share this strategy with a room full of executives and managers is, “Dan, if I’m a boss why would I ever have to ask permission?”

And there’s a couple reason why you want to do that. Besides demonstrating respect and showing that you care about the person, it cedes a little bit of control to them. When they feel like they have more control, they’ll be a little more comfortable with what comes next. And it sets the listener up to really hear you!

Asking permission sounds like this:

-“Would it be okay if we discussed what happened yesterday afternoon now?”

-“I want to help you grow and deliver value to our customers. Can we go over a few things?”

-“Are you open to some feedback on your presentation?”

Share Experience

Okay, now it’s time for the tough stuff. Start by assuming positive intent (API) on the part of the other person and make sure that what you have to say is delivered without judgment. Stick to the facts, don’t make any assumptions about what was going on in the other person’s head, and make sure you deliver the message clearly.

One way to do this is to describe the situation and what you observed or experienced. Another way you can do this is to share a story of when you felt the same way and what you learned from it. 

Share experience sounds like this:

-“I’ve been able to experience your mentorship in this particular way – is that the way you wanted to come across?”

-“What you just said to me came across as harsh. Did you mean it that way?”

Have you used the GPS Communication Strategy in the workplace or at home? Let us know in the comments below. And if you haven’t grabbed our free worksheet designed to help you have great, other-focused conversations, just fill out the form below to get your copy!

Want a little help implementing this with your team? Reach out to us – we love working with companies and teams to help them bridge the gap and build connection!

Want to build better relationships in work and in life? You have to make it about others first - the audience is the hero of your story! Use these tips to change the conversation:



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Why Workplace Stress is a Worldwide Epidemic That Prevents Us From Being Happy at Work

In America, we’re famous for working. Working long days with little time off and taking pride in it. So it should come as no surprise that many of our employees are overworked, stressed out, and burned out. And it’s costing us dearly in terms of lost wages, lost productivity, and lost impact. According to a study from Mental Health America, almost 70% of workers reported missing some days at work each month due to stress. But it turns out that workplace stress isn’t just an American problem: it’s a world problem.

Take this recent article from The Atlantic, which explores stress and depression in the Japanese workplace. While work has grown more global and connected us in ways we could never have imagined, it’s also caused a clash of cultures. And it has forced rapid change on both sides of the generational divide.. Which leaves a generation of workers in Asia who are being forced to assert their opinions and establish themselves as individuals without ever having gained the skills to do so. In essence, they are suffering the “consequences of a nation transitioning from a culture of collectivism, in which they have to accept their rank within a family, to a capitalistic workplace where they have to forge their own path.”

For the last year, I’ve been fortunate to travel to Singapore many times to conduct in-person training workshops for a client. I’ve met many wonderful, talented, and bright Millennials and Gen Z employees over the course of my travels in Singapore. And I’ve also experienced firsthand how the challenges facing the worker of the future don’t just exist inside the bounds of the United States.

Technology is changing absolutely everything about the way we live and work. And one of the primary ways it’s changing the workplace is that it’s putting increasing emphasis on employees as individuals. It’s not enough to follow the rules, blend into the crowd, and get the job done. Now we’re told we need to bring our best selves to work every single day, exceed expectations always, and find ways to stand out from our co-workers. That creates massive amounts of anxiety as we question if we’ll actually be able to keep up with the pace of change, if we’ll have the skills necessary to compete and succeed in the future, and if what we’re doing actually matters anyway.

After training more than 20,000 Millennial and Gen Z employees and their managers around the world, we’ve come up with a 3-hack system employers can use to combat the crushing wave of workplace anxiety:

1. Turn Your Workplace Upside Down

Start anywhere, but principally at the bottom and actually talk to your employees. Find out what they’re struggling with, what they need help with, and come up with a plan to support them as individuals. Remember that one size doesn’t fit all so take the time to talk to each employee one-on-one or at least do a survey. Demonstrate you care by listening and asking great questions.

2. Create Meaningful Work

While all work isn’t necessarily meaningful, make sure your employees understand how their assignments and role fits into the larger picture of the company. Make sure they know why something is being done and what goal is being served. Make sure they stay connected to the vision of where the company is going and the impact you’re having on the world around you. And help them grow – that is meaningful at its core to them.

3. Reskill Your Employees on the Basics/Emotional Intelligence

While we can’t control what the future world of work will look like, make sure you’re providing your employees with opportunities to grow and develop crucial, transferrable skills like emotional intelligence. As technology continues to shift the landscape of our world, we know people are going to matter more than ever. Make sure you’re supporting your employees to become better, more empathetic humans.

To learn more about our 3-hack system to guarantee workplace success, click here to read our recent blog.

As an employer, you’ve got to figure out how to help your employees relieve workplace stress. It costs you too much in terms of lost labor, employee turnover, and poor productivity to continue to allow your employees to fight it out on their own.

Need some help? Reach out to us to schedule an exploratory call with one of our experienced coaches!

How to Have Other-Focused Conversations

Whether it’s a raise, an opportunity to be mentored, or just figuring out what the heck your employees need from you, if you don’t ASK, you don’t GET!

We spend too much time thinking about how to get others to give us what we want, when the answer couldn’t be more simple.

If you just ASK for what you want in a way that makes it about others, you will win.

Need help figuring out how to make your conversations other focused? Click below to download our free handout that’s guaranteed to change the way you communicate with others both in and out of the workplace.

Want to build better relationships in work and in life? You have to make it about others first - the audience is the hero of your story! Use these tips to change the conversation:



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Hire Right! What to Look for in your Next Rock Star Employee!

Hiring is a skill that doesn’t come easy. But like any skill, it can be learned and improved if we are aware. Most of us don’t want to admit what we’re not good at it. Because acknowledging that we’ve made some bad hires forces us to wake up and realize (i) we screwed up and, (ii) we definitely need to fire someone. Maybe ourselves, lol.

Most companies hold onto employees that aren’t the right fit for far too long. And that’s costing your business big time! Not just financially either. Having the wrong employees on your staff hurts your productivity, erodes engagement and trust and your company culture, and ultimately inhibits results.

There is good news!   You can avoid all that if you learn how to hire the RIGHT PEOPLE in the first place. And we do that by asking GREAT QUESTIONS during the interview.

What Type of Person Are They?

I’ve had the privilege of working with companies like Qualcomm, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Inuit and let me tell you, it doesn’t matter how good the candidate looks on paper or what credentials they have. If they’re not the right type of person for your company or team, they’re not the right fit period.

During the interview process, you need to figure out what type of person they are, what their strengths are, and what their whys are. We have a great PDF below with all the questions you should be asking to help you figure these things out, but two of my favorite questions are:

-What’s the biggest misconception others have about you and why?

-What three words would you use to describe yourself and why?

Both of these questions will help you confirm or deny your initial assumptions about what sort of person they are and also help you understand their level of self-awareness. It also lets you get into the “real” authentic person not the rehearsed interviewee.  To see how powerful these questions can be, try them out with yourself and with the people that you know well – you will be surprised at the results!

Are They Positive and Optimistic?

As quickly as our lives move these days and as quickly as the world of work is changing, there is NO room for negativity. You need to be hiring positive, optimistic people who have a can-do attitude. People who are positive and optimistic are more likely to seek solutions to challenges, rather than allowing themselves to become stumped or stuck. And that’s exactly who you need in your company – people who are going to just figure it out on their own and find the help they need to get it done.

To evaluate a candidate’s pre-disposition towards turning lemons into lemonade, a few of the questions I love to ask are:

-What do you think about failure?

-When you’d have obstacles in your life, what have you done to overcome them?

-What characteristics or behaviors do you believe have contributed to failure around the positions you’ve held in the past and why?

After you ask these questions, listen closely. Sometimes you have to read between the lines of the candidate’s responses so make sure you listen for clues that indicate whether they respond more positively or negatively to being challenged.  And, also ask targeted follow up questions.

To conclude, when you’re hiring you’re primarily looking to answer just two questions about every candidate: what type of person are they and are they positive/optimistic. It’s not rocket science and yet we get so caught up in fact-checking their resume and making sure they have all the technical skills, we forget to ask the questions that will help us figure out who the person sitting across from us actually is!

So, before you make your next hire, make sure you download our free PDF with the kinds of questions you should be asking every candidate. Just fill out the form below to get it. And if you still need help, please reach out to us for coaching!

Want to save your company time, money, and frustration by hiring the right candidate? Fill out the form below to grab our free download with all the questions you need to be asking during the interview process to ensure you're making a great hire.



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“How Do I Get Paid What I’m Worth?” – A Short Lesson in Coaching Millennials How to Ask the Right Questions

It was and remains my favorite classic millennial question.

I was speaking at USC with graduate millennial students, teaching them how to connect to get the job they want by using our Inside/Out technique of understanding your strengths and story in away that it provides value to others. A down and dirty guide on how to get the job, promotion, girl/guy, sale, etc.

As a leadership keynote speaker I have the honor to help people help themselves by demonstrating how to win by making it about others. I covered all the basics and the secret formula that I know to be true as a millennial expert and coach. 5,000 millennials that have passed through our programs this year can attest to it working. I no sooner finished the brief lesson on the importance of identifying strengths, implementing the WIFThem mindset (“What’s in it for them?”), and owning your actions, when I asked for a question. And low and behold, a young college male in the front corner of the room raises his hand. There it was, the moment of truth, as to whether they really heard me and learned something.

“Well,” he said, “I got stuff but really, just tell me, How can I get paid what I’m worth?

I was surprised by his question. It was audacious and bold, in typical millennial fashion, only because it was the exact opposite of what we had just discussed. So I paused, took a breath and began. “Do I have permission to coach you?”

The millennial nodded yes, and I responded, “What is exactly the value you bring to the employer and how do you articulated to them initially and then through your work?”

After a few moments of silence, while the millennial was thinking of how to respond, I chimed in again.

“Dude, do you get it? I mean really? You’re asking the wrong question. What you should be asking is, how do I demonstrate what I’m worth in the market place so someone wants and needs me to come work with them, and teach and guide me and help me get really, really good at this work thing? The thing is, you can’t demonstrate it until you’re there. Focus on first gaining the skills to become valuable to the market place.”

As a millennial expert who has coached thousands of millennial employees, what this college student asked represents a typical trait of millennials. They are hungry for success. They want the grand prize (some say “trophy” but that is just plain caddy, lol) …and they want it now, now, now. They see friends and peers posting job promotion pictures on Instagram, celebrating at parties on Snapchat, and hearing about other millennials “striking it rich” on Facebook.

What happens as a result? Millennials feel entitled to earn higher wages. They are impatient and have FOMO (fear of missing out) on the success that they think all of their friends are experiencing right now. So, like the graduate student showed, they ask employers all the wrong questions because they don’t get it. They don’t get that hard work, learning skills, and demonstrating value all precede getting paid anything by the market. You need to be valuable to an employer to get paid anything, and moreover, you for shit sure better be able to explain what that is what you do and why it is so special.

This is where the magic happens. Dilemma, they don’t get it. Challenge: we need to help them get it. SO DO THIS: we, as millennial coaches, bosses, parents, and teachers need to step in and embrace the opportunity to guide our next generation leaders. While millennials’ drive and hunger for success is great, they need to check in with reality.

According to the Millennial Leadership Survey, over half of millennials surveyed already think they have the right skills to be a leader. Wow, because we know that not even remotely close to 50% of successful Boomers, Xer’s or Silent Generation have the real deal skills to lead. So how could millennials, who are new to work life, possibly get it? Not to mention they understand they need work: 43% of millennials said that their weakest leadership skill is having industry experience and 41% said technical expertise.

See the conflict? Millennials think they already have the skills required to lead and earn more in the workplace, yet their lack of experience (and awareness of it) proves otherwise. As a millennial coach in the workplace, use these three strategies to teach millennials how to demonstrate their value in the workplace.

1) Take Initiative

In a recent School of Greatness podcast episode, host Lewis Howes talked with Adam Braun, founder of MissionU and Pencils of Promise, about higher education and performing well at work. Braun touched on an important phrase that demonstrates how millennials can show value, as opposed to asking for it: “Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness.” In other words: take initiative. It’s better to take calculated risks you believe will work and ask for forgiveness if they fail, rather than always wait to be told what to do and have your ideas rejected.

A good employee waits to be told what to do. A great worker reads the situation, predicts what needs to get done, and takes initiative to create a solution. Encourage your millennial employees to show, not tell. By doing so, millennials can effectively demonstrate their value.

As a millennial coach, you can inspire your millennials to take initiative by being supportive. Create an environment that fosters open feedback and transparency. Welcome new ideas and encourage innovation by instilling a go-getter mindset.

2) Showcase Strength by Leading From Strength

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Each of your millennial employees has a unique skillset that can be of value to their organization. As a millennial coach, make it your responsibility to help your employees identify these strengths so they can lead with them. Workshops and strengths finder assessments are great ways to teach millennials how to understand their gifts and use them effectively in the workplace.

The best leaders in the workplace know what they’re best at, continue to hone in on those skills, and lead from their strengths. By learning how to access and showcase their strengths, millennials can demonstrate their leadership potential, while optimizing their unique skillset for the greater good of their company.

3) Invest in Growth

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, over half of millennials rank the “opportunity to learn and grow” as “extremely important” when searching for a job. Millennials want managers who will invest in their growth so they can become capable, reliant, and talented leaders who can demonstrate their value to the marketplace.

“Millennials do need to be convinced why and how an organization will help them learn, grow, and develop, and further their careers.” –Harvard Business Review

As a millennial coach, create a leadership program where millennials can learn important skills like communication, relationship building, and technology-specific skills via online training. Millennials are looking for managers who are invested in their growth and areas to succeed that align with their natural interests and talents.

Understand what millennials want so you can help get them there…but make sure they grasp important business realities first. The millennial question of “How do I get paid what I’m worth?” is ridiculous…and it shows that Millennial coaches need to step in and help them understand why and how to reframe the question instead of just whine and complain. Help us change the question.

Teach your millennials how to demonstrate their value. Encourage them to take initiative and lead from their strengths by investing in their growth. This is how we can create future millennial leaders!

Are you looking to create next generation leaders who know their strengths and can deliver value? Check out our online tools, resources, and workshops!

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.

Step Up Your Game, Develop a Personal Brand

Great branding doesn’t just apply to businesses. In fact, you can develop your own personal brand and jumpstart your career in any industry. But your personal brand isn’t about a good color scheme and font; rather, it involves identifying your strengths, values, and passions and using these attributes to build your professional presence. Here’s how you can create your own personal brand and give your career the boost it needs.

Identify strengths & weaknesses

During interviews, you’re likely asked about your strengths and weaknesses as an employee. But when you’re building your personal brand, you’re digging much deeper than these questions suggest. Identify a few things that you do particularly well. To get yourself started, you can ask yourself the following:

  • During your past successes, what was it that made you so successful?
  • What skill do you find yourself using the most in challenging situations?
  • What are some strengths others have identified in you?

Once you’ve created a list, narrow it down by deciding which skills you would enjoy using on a daily basis. This will help you identify a long-term brand path that will be both successful and enjoyable.

Network

Climbing any career ladder requires a little help. Fortunately, you have a built-in support system with your coworkers and upper management. Start by establishing a mentorship with senior staff, or by helping others around the office with small projects.

You never know who might lend a helping hand, so make connections in unexpected places to build potential in your professional network. If you make a habit of adding value to your work relationships, this will become something you’re known for and word travels fast of helpful, enthusiastic professionals.

Blend personal & professional

A great way to build your personal brand is by getting more involved with extracurricular activities around the office. Is there a party planning committee? Ask to join. You can also create your own social groups, whether you’d like to organize a monthly company outing or a book club among coworkers. This pro-activity and positive attitude will add a richness to your personal brand that will help keep you at the top of your game.

Get noticed

Finding ways to stand out can be difficult, but if you’re charismatic, open-minded, and willing to take advantage of new opportunities, you’ll find yourself getting noticed by your superiors and your coworkers alike. Be careful that you don’t have any traits that can negatively impact your personal brand, whether that’s tardiness, lack of professionalism, or unreliability.

Changes won’t happen overnight, but if you maintain these good habits over a period of years, you’ll successfully build your own personal brand and establish yourself as a person worth working with. Plan for the future with a well-developed, carefully designed personal brand.