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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

 

 

 

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 Steps to Work from the Inside Out and Create Relevance

Our team was presenting to leaders at one of my largest clients when one of the gentlemen in the back who had been with the company for three decades piped in.

“Look,” he said, “I had to do it this way. They should have to do it this way. They should just shut their mouths and do it the way I did it. I didn’t like my boss for fifteen years and I still did what I was told and…” I listened as “Angry John” went on, getting angrier and angrier as he went. I let him go a bit, and then calmly asked him to slow down and take a breath. And then I let him have it in a kind but direct way.

“How does what you did thirty years ago matter today? How is it relevant to anyone but you?”

He looked at me. He still looked tense. I continued.

“I don’t deny what you went through, but why do you want the same for them? We are talking about the present—today—and what we want to create for the future. What does what you did thirty years ago, when there were no mobile phones and you weren’t getting hundreds of texts a day, have to do with today and tomorrow?”

The room fell silent as Angry John looked at me and said, “I guess not much.”

Good guess.

Let’s be honest: What stands in the way of change are people, and too many leaders don’t include themselves as “people” complicit, let alone responsible for, the gaps between millennials and non-millennials in the workplace. Non-millennials see themselves as above it all. “Millennials are the problem and they should obey my golden rule: I have the gold; I make the rules—if you want my gold you need to follow my rules.”

I agree with that … to a point.

I am not about redistribution of wealth or egalitarian management systems, and I don’t want to change who anyone is. I just want us to create an impact and rethink the rules of the workplace for everyone. I want us all to be the best versions of ourselves, understand what that means, and leverage that to create better workplaces and results, both short and long term.

I’m not saying millennials aren’t complicit in widening this gap. Of course they are, but let’s be honest: What happens to us is principally because of us—all of us. If we want to get the best from our people, if we are to bridge this gap to create powerful relationships that take advantage of all of our strengths, we must accept that things have changed but we have not.

So how do we get started? We work from the inside out.

We must first know, understand, and manage how we are perceived in order to manage others. Trust yourself to be vulnerable, to work on yourself, to relish who you are, and then to share that with the world, and you will create the kind of relationships that deliver value to others and get results.

Simply put, the more you know yourself—truly know and care about yourself—the more you’ll be able to truly know, care about, and connect to the people around you and achieve the relationships you need and want. The good news is only five short steps are required to complete this work.

  1. Understand
the power of RELATIONSHIPS (how you connect)
  2. Know your STRENGTHS (who you are innately)
  3. Recognize your SKILLS, PASSIONS, and VALUES (what you know and what you bring to the world)
  4. Define your PERSONAL BRANDSTAMP (how you want to be perceived in the world)
  5. Develop and deliver your STORY (how you present yourself to the world)

Successfully complete these steps and you will effectively communicate who you really are and articulate your value in order to connect with others on an authentic level to bridge the gap with millennials in the workplace and marketplace.

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.

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!

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.

 

3 Ways to Fulfill and Retain Millennial Employees

Often tagged “the job hopping generation,” it’s a common myth that millennials are disloyal and don’t care about job security. With this viewpoint, why put in the time to train and develop your millennial workforce when they’re going to split in a year or two? From this perspective, it’s pointless. However, by understanding the concerns of millennials and looking at reality through their lens, a few important factors stand out that shatter this myth.

49% of millennials say they would like to stay with an organization for more than 10 years, according to research performed by the Center for Creative Leadership.[1] Many millennials actually crave job security. They grew up during the 2008 recession, witnessing devastating layoffs. They have the highest levels of student debt in history. They’re worried about raising kids or putting down a mortgage due to the possibility of being laid off.

By understanding the concerns of millennials, this job hopping “problem” can be turned into an “opportunity” to engage and fulfill employees for the long run. Here are three ways to help you fulfill and retain millennial employees:

  1. Constantly Communicate and Provide Feedback

Millennials grew up in the digital age of instant gratification and constant connection. Therefore, they’re used to receiving immediate feedback and having an outlet to tweet their opinion at the snap of their fingers. By maintaining relationships with millennials through regularly asking questions and making an effort to understand things from their perspective, feedback becomes conversational, as opposed to being confrontational. This creates an environment where millennials feel that their voice matters and that their opinion is valued.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that millennials want feedback; the problem is they won’t ask for it. Show appreciation regularly. When they make mistakes, let them know in a constructive, teachable manner. By making the effort to make millennials feel understood, valued and an integral part of your company, they will feel more comfortable speaking up. This relationship fosters loyalty and will help fulfill and retain your millennial employees.

2.) Display Advancement Opportunities

Millennials are young. They’re hungry. They’re ambitious. As a manger, you can help them see opportunities to advance and be promoted within the company. Likewise, you can offer lateral growth opportunities, allowing them to become skilled in a variety of fields. This will help your company develop a multi talented, capable millennial workforce that understands how different departments operate. This will breed understanding and insight into how to serve the best interests of your company.

From a retention standpoint, opportunity for growth causes a shift in the mindsets of millennial employees. By openly presenting advancement opportunities, millennials will naturally view their job and career over the long term. A secure, rewarding job with the possibility of advancing and learning new skills is a sure way to create long-term retention with millennial employees. Recognizing the importance of job security and growth opportunity will help attract a stable, loyal workforce.

3.) Allow for Balance and Flexibility

Lack of flexibility was cited among the top reasons millennials quit their jobs, according to surveys performed by Ernst and Young’s Global Generation Research.[2] Millennials see that technology allows them to be productive and get work done regardless of location. However, many older bosses (who didn’t grow up with digital technology) don’t understand this. Multiple surveys show that what millennials want most is where, when and how they work.[3]

By creating a flexible work environment, you can fulfill one of the highest demands of millennials. As long as a flexible, work-life balance doesn’t affect results, it should be embraced. Millennials are more likely to commit to a company long term if it allows for a flexible work-life balance.

Don’t be put off by the myth that millennials are a job-hopping, disloyal bunch. You can view your millennial workforce as a “problem to complain about” or an “opportunity to be embraced.” Through communication and feedback, openly presenting advancement opportunities, and creating a flexible and balanced work schedule, you can fulfill the wants and needs of your millennial workforce, while also creating an atmosphere where they will want to work over a long period of time.

Interested in learning more about bridging the gap between millennials and managers? Make sure to get your hands on Dan Negroni’s new book,  Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace.

Chasing Relevance by Dan Negroni

 

[1] Deal, Jennifer. “Why the Conventional Wisdom About Job-Hopping Millennials Is Wrong.” WSJ. Dow Jones & Company, Inc., n.d. Web. 22 June 2016.

[2] Schulte, Brigid. “Millennials Want a Work-life Balance. Their Bosses Just Don’t Get Why.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 23 June 2016.

[3] Schulte, Brigid. “Millennials Want a Work-life Balance. Their Bosses Just Don’t Get Why.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 23 June 2016.