“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.

The Unexpected Path to Great Leadership

A lot of thought has gone into what makes a great leader, but it isn’t always traits like ambition and creativity that come into consideration. In fact, the way leaders view the goals and aspirations of their employees can be as telling as their personal characteristics.

Managers who honor the aspirations of their staff—even if those aspirations may be unrealistic or impossible—have what it takes to become a great leader. Here is why you should care about the dreams and ideas of your staff, and how this can impact your potential as a leader.

Managers as Role Models

As a manager, you hold a lot of influence over your staff, both in what they do and how they think.  If an employee expresses a career goal or an idea they have, how you react has the potential to affect their optimism and their long-term plans.  So instead of shooting down an idea, take the time to get to know your employee and understand the motivations that are driving this idea.

The better you know your staff, the more able you are to provide insight and advice when it comes to their aspirations.  They’ll trust your opinion and show more respect for your leadership if you take the time to discuss their plans.  As a result, you’ll be more able to inspire action and innovation and will be a more effective leader over all.

Finding Value in Aspirations

When your staff members have ambitious and long-term goals, these can benefit your company as well as the employee.  In pursuit of their ambitions, they likely want to develop or improve their skills and branch out into new areas of expertise.  If you offer training or professional development incentives, you’ll have a more talented, productive team and a more competitive organization as a whole.

Even if you don’t have the budget for training or development courses, you can honor your employees’ aspirations by offering them the opportunity to take on new roles within the organization.  Do you have a customer service rep who has an interest in IT? Give them the chance to shadow your IT staff or try their hand at small tasks.  Similarly, if some of your employees have the goal of becoming managers, you can slowly increase their responsibilities and allow them to learn managerial skills on the job.

Honoring the career goals of your employees can allow you to grow your skills as a leader, and it can also greatly benefit your company in the long run. You’ll develop a talented, motivated staff that values your role as a leader and looks forward to their future with your company.

 

The Era of Millennial Multi-Tasking

Known as “digital natives,” millennials are known for being tech-savvy both in their personal and their professional lives. While this may come as a benefit in many situations, some employers worry that this dependence on technology can impair a candidate’s ability to prioritize their work and effectively multi-task without becoming distracted or side-tracked. Is this concern warranted, or does the millennial connection to technology make them better multi-taskers?

The Effect of Technology

Unlike previous generations, millennials grew up with a heavy emphasis on technology, both in school and as a source of entertainment. As a result, they developed a habit of doing several things at once—whether that’s IMing their friends, responding to emails, or browsing the web.

Given the ubiquity of technology in their lives, this comes as no surprise. Many millennials listen to music while they work, or leave a television on in the background. Even more have multiple browsers open and several programs demanding their attention as they work.

However, this practice doesn’t seem to affect their ability to concentrate. In fact, studies show that younger generations are more comfortable with multi-tasking than their older counterparts. They can perform complex tasks with a variety of ambient distractions, including music and nearby conversations, and can bounce back and forth between different activities without feeling distracted or overwhelmed.

As a result, millennials are particularly adept at careers in IT, communications, or marketing roles. They’re able to manage heavy workloads, fast-paced environments, and energetic workplaces that might distract non-tech focused employees.

The Harm of Multi-Tasking

Millennial candidates do need to keep in mind that there is a right time and a wrong time for multi-tasking. For instance, during assignments that require a high level of concentration, accuracy, or attention to detail, it’s best to eliminate other distractions and focus on the task at hand. In other instances, multi-tasking may involve social media or personal conversations with friends or family that can derail your focus and result in poor work performance.

Effective multi-tasking demands a balance between periods of intense concentration and periods of responsiveness to the demands of different tasks. To control your attention span, know when to close out of instant messengers or put your phone on “Do Not Disturb.” You can always take a temporary break from technology if you feel that it is becoming too much of a distraction during your work day.

Multi-tasking is a skill that many millennials possess, and it allows them to dedicate their attention to a variety of tasks at any given moment. However, if you find yourself facing distractions, take the time to step away from technology and focus on the task at hand. If you can identify your biggest distraction, you’ll be a more effective multi-tasker and a more productive employee.

Millennial Female Advantage

A lot has changed in the past few decades, and for women, this holds particularly true. Women are entering the workplace at an unprecedented rate, and as a result, are quickly becoming the primary income earners in their home.

This is impacting the way decisions are made and the power millennial women have in the workplace and within the home. In fact, a recent survey from U.S. Trust found that 31% of millennial women are the dominant decision-makers in their families, compared to 11% of Gen X women, and 9% of women from the Baby Boomer generation.

But this isn’t the only generational gender shift researchers are seeing. A study from PwC observed dozens of new changes within this growing segment of the workforce.

Presence in the Workforce

In the next decade, one billion women are expected to enter the workplace—nearly double the number that joined from 1980-2008. Add the fact that women are pursuing advanced degrees at higher rates than their male counterparts, and the potential for change within the workforce is tremendous. As companies begin to see higher rates of female employees, they’ll begin to see a demand for employer traits prioritized by female workers, namely:

  • Opportunities for career progression (reported by 53% of respondents)
  • Competitive wages and other financial incentives (52%)
  • Flexible working arrangements available (35%)
  • Good benefits packages including pensions, healthcare, and other benefits (33%)
  • Excellent training and development programs (27%)

As companies begin to respond to the need of this highly educated, highly motivated segment of the workforce, the structure of the workplace will continue to change.

The Millennial Mindset

As they begin their careers, millennial women are more confident and career-focused than previous generations. 49% feel that they are able to achieve a senior role in their current company, and 31% have left employers for not providing more opportunities for upward momentum. In fact, this is the most common reason women reported leaving their company.

This increased ambition and focus on developing their careers has allowed women to gain more earning power within their companies. In fact, PwC found that 66% of female millennials earn equal to or more than their partner.

The Outcome

These generational differences are allowing millennial women to not only shape their households, but shape the workplace as well. They have a greater purchasing power, the ability to make more financial decisions within the home, and more potential for career growth within their companies.

Companies are starting to take notice of the highly educated, driven female millennials that are entering the workforce, and are beginning to respond to their needs as a result. This is changing the way we work as a corporate culture, and many times, creating a more diverse, inclusive workplace.

Leadership Training

As Baby Boomers age out of the workforce, millennials are beginning to take their place as a new generation of leaders. This can have unexpected consequences for employers as their legacy workers leave, taking years of experience and knowledge with them. Is your company prepared for this big change? More importantly, are your millennial employees prepared to fill the shoes of senior employees?

Recognize Strengths & Weakness

While these two generations shared a work space, they benefited from a combined cultural intelligence that helped meet the demands of their company. But now that Baby Boomers are heading into retirement, employers must take a close look at the strengths and weaknesses of each of these demographics, and how that dynamic might change without its senior staff.

Millennials are often referred to as “digital natives,” given the prominence of technology in their day to day lives. This fluency in new technology brings a lot to the table, but it may come up lacking when a situation calls for experience over technical know-how. Generation Y employees are fast learners, however, so there are ways around this growing problem.

Plan for Leadership Training

If they haven’t retired already, your older employers are likely beginning to plan for their final years with your company. This window of time can be a valuable opportunity for getting your millennial staff up to speed. There are two ways you can take advantage of Baby Boomer knowledge and experience.

  1. Establish leadership training programs. Your tenured staff have built up a large repertoire of industry knowledge and practical skills that help them accomplish their goals. Give them a platform for sharing their ideas by providing group training, seminars, and other skill-building opportunities for younger generations. This will give your seasoned staff the ability to impart their accumulated knowledge on their peers, while offering newer employees insight into the information they need to build successful careers.
  1. Promote mentorships within the company. One-on-one pairings not only provide opportunities for your employees to get to know one another, but it also gives them more focused feedback on their professional experience. If there’s a particular area that they struggle with, or if they’re interested in gaining a unique skill, they can express these interests to their mentor who can then guide them through the learning process. These relationships can be enriching and rewarding for both parties

The departure of your Baby Boomers doesn’t have to spell disaster for your company. If you recognize the gap between skill and experience and take steps to close that gap, you’ll not only have a healthy company after the coming retirement wave, but your millennial employees will be well-rounded, talented, and ready to take on any challenges that come their way.

Go BIG or Stay Home: What’s Your Game Changer?

Let’s face it, there’s always something we could be doing better in our business. These changes may be different for everyone, but they can always be broken into two categories: minor adjustments or game changers. A minor adjustment may improve the way your business runs, but a game changer redefines it. It allows you to function on an entirely different level than you were before.

A game changer can be an action, a decision, a new system or process, or simply a new idea.

Have you found yours yet? If not, here’s how you can discover your company’s game changer.

Ask the Right Questions

In order to find your big idea, you have to know what you’re seeking. Define the industry you want to conquer in clear terms.

  • Who is the audience, and how do you want to impact them?
  • What are other industry leaders doing?

Next, take a hard look at your company.

  • What do you want to change about it?
  • Do you want more growth, a better image, more client loyalty?
  • What are your goals and how can you reach them?

During this step, you should also decide what you’re willing to sacrifice to achieve these goals. If your company has always been a “mom and pop” establishment, you might have to lose that title to become a truly innovative organization. You may have to abandon other ideas to change course entirely, and you may have to let go of employees who are resistant to change. If you decide what you’re willing to lose ahead of time, it will be easier to make the decision later.

Get Creative

Use inspiration from others when you need it, but don’t let it be your driving force. The best innovators are self-made, not copycats. Sometimes, however, we have to accept that perhaps we aren’t capable of ingenuity on our own. If this is the case, surround yourself with talent. Whether you’re hiring the brightest minds in your industry or cultivating talent among your existing team, you should strive for a culture of creativity to fuel your game changing potential.

Don’t Give Up

Success won’t come immediately. There will be false starts and disappointments, but with persistence you’ll find your “ah-ha” moment. The key is to take each discouragement as a learning experience, and build on your failures to achieve your ultimate goal. It takes humility to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, but with persistence, you can use both to reach your objective.

By asking the right questions, you can help create a blueprint of what your game changer might be. Once you tap into your creativity and perseverance, your path to this defining moment in your company’s story will become clear.

Are you ready to find your game changer?

Are You My Mentor?

The mentor/mentee relationship is an established part of our culture, from childhood Bigs & Littles programs to university fraternities and sororities. But in the workplace, where it’s arguably the most useful, this relationship can often be difficult to initiate and maintain.

Of course, the first step in establishing a productive business mentorship is locating your mentor. Here are a few tips that will help you find a mentor that’s a good fit for your personality and professional goals.

Let It Happen Naturally

We aren’t saying that you shouldn’t be proactive; we are saying that you should actively put yourself in situations that will allow you to find a mentor. Whether that means attending company functions or industry events and workshops, you have to be in the right environment to facilitate professional mentorships.

That being said, don’t try to force anything. When you meet the right mentor, allow the relationship to develop organically. If your personalities and interests match, you will naturally form a symbiotic partnership that is beneficial to you both.

Keep an Open Mind

If you’ve got a mental image of who your mentor might be, get rid of it. More often than not, you’ll be surprised when the right person comes around. They may be a different age, gender, or personality type, or even in a different industry than you initially planned. Having expectations may cause you to overlook the perfect mentor when that person finally arrives.

The relationship itself also may not go exactly as you planned. If it’s more or less hands-on than you anticipated, or geared towards a different aspect of your professional career, embrace those differences. They may lead you to new, unexpected places that can round out your experience and skillset.

Set Goals

While staying open and flexible, you should know what you want to get out of a mentor/mentee relationship. Whether that’s improving your skills, expanding your network, or simply establishing a support system, clarify these goals ahead of time. This will help your mentor understand how best to guide you, and give you a sense of direction as you gain experience.

Your mentor may also have something they would like to achieve as a result of your relationship. Be sensitive to their needs as well, and keep in mind that their goals may actually help you too. By working together, you can both benefit.

The process of looking for the right person can seem daunting, but if you approach it as an organic, open arrangement, finding your mentor may be easier than you think.

Where did you find your mentor? Share your tips and advice with those of us who are still looking.

Dan Talks with Lawpreneur Radio

Listen to launchbox’s founder, Dan Negroni’s interview with Lawpreneur radio.

A few highlights from the podcast:

Fail fast to succeed faster

– Dan thinks that failure is always good because we can learn from it.
– Listen as Dan shares that his biggest failures came from not listening to his gut rather listening to the people and experience that he has attracted.

Tell us something good

– Dan tells us that he experiences success everyday at Launchbox. He receives text messages daily from clients sharing their successes with him.
– Dan says that his greatest success are his marriage and his kids.

How do you support a Lawpreneur?

The name Launchbox comes from its two parts:
– Launch – to spark, to ignite, to jump or take action
– Box – the toolbox that you create from your experiences and your network

Launchbox is all about bridging the gap between the generations:
– They teach millenials real world skills that they can use to succeed professionally and personally
– They teach older managers how to work with and relate to millenials to lead both groups to success.