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Young Lawyers are Leading Change in the Law Practice, Like it or Not

Change is coming one way or another. That was the conclusion of a recent report from Major, Lindsey, and Africa, a leading attorney search firm, in which they detailed their findings after surveying over 1,200 millennial attorneys. And while their survey was exclusively focused on law firms and the people they employ, we’ve noticed similarities about our clients inside law as well as those we work with across all kinds of industries.

There are three things we’ve deduced from the survey as being absolutely critical for employers to understand: 1) Work-Life Balance Rules 2) Lack of Authenticity and Transparency is a Non-Starter 3) Career Pathing is Your Duty

Just look at these results:

-Less than 30% of respondents described their firms as being very transparent about an associate’s career path.  Yet more than 80% of respondents still described transparency surrounding their individual career paths as being important to crucial to them.

-Only 20% of respondents classified themselves as being highly loyal to their firms. And of those, 54% still said they were not open to new job opportunities. It seems these things go hand in hand!

-When evaluating prospective employers, respondents cited these three factors as being most important in their decision: the employer’s commitment to fostering work-life balance, compensation, and professional development.

-If a respondent was open to new job opportunities, it’s usually because they were seeking better compensation, looking for a change in management or company culture, or wanted more work-life balance.

-More than 60% of respondents said informal mentorship has had a significant or crucial effect on their career. And almost 30% indicated that formal mentorship was irrelevant.

(Click here to read the full survey)

Did any of those results surprise you? They surprised ME and I do this for a living!

Like it or not, change is coming to your organization. So the question is: are you ready?

We’re going to break down how you can prepare your company to meet the needs of the worker of the future so that your organization can survive and thrive. After all, a company is only as good as its people. And if you can’t figure out how to give your best people what they want, they’ll find someone else who can – like your competition!

WORK-LIFE BALANCE RULES

We’ve been fighting to achieve work-life balance SINCE THE BEGINNING OF WORK.

Can we actually achieve work life balance or is it a myth?  And what the heck does work-life balance even mean? Because it’s different for every single employee.

One hack is to turn your organization upside down and ask each employee what work-life balance means to them. Understanding what your audience wants, a novel concept. Does it mean coming in early so they can leave early? Does it mean working from home a few days a week? Or does it mean not working a weekend, ever. Whatever it is, you’ve got to figure out what your employees need from you and then figure out how you can deliver it in a way that still serves your business goals.

There, now you have a system to find a way to help your employees achieve the work-life balance they crave. Remember, it goes both ways. You can give employees the better balance they want, in a way that meets your expectations.

LACK OF AUTHENTICITY AND TRANSPARENCY IS A NON-STARTER

Ah, transparency. Seems everybody and their brother wants the people, the government and the companies in their lives to be more transparent.  Science and data demonstrate people want the truth, as in can you be trusted.

So, you need to figure out how to be really real with your employees. And not just raw and authentic when it suits you – it needs to be baked into your company culture.  So entwined with the day-to-day operations that it is embedded in your culture.

How do you get there?

Friggin connect with your employees. Learn their story, find out what they want out of their job and their life, and understand what really matters to them. If you can achieve that you will create Trust.  Having a culture of trust and transparency and communication is what creates results.  See The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey:  (Strategy x Execution) Trust  =RESULTS . And not just any results, exponential results!

CAREER PATHING IS YOUR DUTY

In a world of on-demand learning, is it really any surprise that formal and forced mentorship is on the decline? We all want to learn at our own pace, on our own schedule, and with who we trust – which just doesn’t gel with a rigid mentorship structure.

Which isn’t to say that formal mentors themselves are out. We just want advice delivered in a more informal, of-the-moment way. So rather than formally defining our relationships with our employees in the workplace or relegating their career development to some far-off date on your calendar, practice delivering real-deal, authentic feedback. That means correcting the behavior when it happens, not during their annual review. It means taking time out of your busy schedule to commend an employee on a job well done – even when you’re so busy you can’t think straight.

We have to find a way to build more mentorship and professional development into the day-to-day culture of the workplace. And while you may be rolling your eyes and thinking, “Sure Dan, I’ll be sure to add that to my never-ending to-do list” the truth is, it’s critical you get this right. Employees who are listened to, supported in their role, given the tools to succeed, and encouraged to bring new ideas to the table do better work and STAY! It’s that simple.

Here’s the bottom line: if you want to survive in the years to come, you’ve got to figure out how to create and deliver:

1.  Work Life Balance

2.  Authenticity and Transparency

3. Career Pathing

It’s the only way.

Need help figuring out how to give your employees what they want in a way that still serves your company? Reach out to us for coaching – we’ll equip you with the tools you need to succeed! Click here to sign up for your free coaching session.

Solving the Professional Service Industry’s Millennial Challenge.

Houston, we, the professional service industry, have a Millennial problem. Millennials can expect their initial years in the industry to involve “paying their dues” through unengaging grunt work and brutal work hours with few opportunities for professional growth or training. The reward for surviving those monotonous early years is greater earning potential later in their careers.

Or, said another way, the professional service industry offers the exact opposite of what we know Millennials want from their careers.

And it is costing the industry millions of dollars every year.

On average, Millennials leave their employers after only two years on the job. This is wildly expensive for companies and leaves them with no talent in the pipeline to groom for future success in the industry. Though professional service companies must own some of the blame for their lack of appeal to Millennials, the issue is complex and it isn’t all the fault of the professional service industry itself.  So what is really going on with professional Millennials and what can be done about it?

To Invest or Not to Invest in Training for Millennial Talent

Millennial turnover is no small problem. For mid to large professional service companies, a high rate of turnover costs millions of dollars in direct and indirect costs.  

Employers are understandably frustrated. They feel that Millennials are graduating college without the necessary skills to succeed as professionals. Employers could close that gap by investing in training and professional development. But out of fear their young talent will leave anyway, they hesitate to invest in proper training and professional development opportunities.

This has created an endless negative cycle. Millennials don’t receive the training opportunities they value forcing them to look elsewhere for opportunities where they can learn and grow. This gives them a reputation for job-hopping, making employers even more hesitant to invest the time and money to train their young staff.

This is already playing out in law firms, which some think will be forced to break apart over the next decade due to a lack of up and coming talent to hand established firms over to after longstanding Boomer partners retire.

For companies, Millennials are an expensive and seemingly unfixable problem. But they are not alone: Millennials think the situation is hopeless as well.

Why Are Millennials Leaving?

We know that Millennials value work that is meaningful, provides opportunities to learn and allows them to make an impact in areas that they are passionate about. Yet, professional service companies continue their tradition of giving young talent long hours, dull work, a lack of opportunities to make a significant impact, and limited opportunities to work in areas of interest.

Millennials also rank salary below training and schedule flexibility when it comes to workplace perks. Yet, most companies continue to pay high salaries, are unbudging when it comes to flexible work hours, skimp on providing valuable professional development opportunities, and then throw up their hands in exasperation when their Millennials walk out on them.  

It really should not come as a surprise that Millennials are quick to leave the professional service industry given that companies have shown little willingness to cater to the needs and wants of Millennial talent. Senior Boomer staff who have spent their lives working their way up the industry hierarchy will exclaim that this is how it has always been! These Millennials need to toughen up!

This is a losing mentality for individual companies and the industry as a whole.

The professional service industry simply cannot afford to pass up on entire generations of talent because of an unwillingness to adapt to the needs of up and coming talent. Just like in any other industry, companies can (and must) make small adjustments to how they operate and invest in young, up-and-coming talent.  

How The Professional Service Industry Can Retain Millennial Talent

If current trends continue, many companies in the next decade are going to be forced to deal with a shallow talent pool as the most talented Millennials become frustrated and move on to other more Millennial-focused industries. Thankfully, there are practical strategies that companies can use to satisfy Millennial’s professional development needs, keep them engaged in their work and increase the likelihood that they stick around long enough for companies to see a return on their investment in young talent.

Pay Less and Train More

This bears repeating: professional development opportunities are the number one workplace perk among Millennials across all industries. It is possible for companies to invest more in training and decrease their risk of losing that investment simultaneously. To do this, some companies are lowering starting salaries and offering an increased emphasis on training opportunities as a perk to attract young talent.

At the end of the day, indulging Millennials in their desire for professional development is hugely beneficial for companies. Providing training helps close the skills gap, increases Millennial retention rates, lowers turnovers costs, and helps attract top talent that companies can groom for success in the industry.       

Alternative Career Paths

Not everyone needs to pop champagne on a private jet to feel fulfilled by their career. Companies need to provide alternative career paths for Millennials who may not be striving to summit the peak of the industry in terms of money and status, but who are more than capable of bringing value and passion to an organization.  

Creating alternative career paths often involves offering more diverse positions than were previously available. These new roles provide more opportunities for Millennials to focus on areas of the industry that interest them most and where they feel they can make the biggest impact. This is a draw to Millennials, even if that means they will be working for a lower salary. These alternative career paths may not offer the glitz and glamour of “making partner”, but they allow companies to appeal to a more diverse group of young talent and benefit from the value and passion they bring.

Adopt More Progressive Work Policies

No one is suggesting axing professional dress codes or adding ping pong tables and craft peer as office perks. But the service industry needs to begin to admit that if it is going to succeed, it needs to come out of the 1960s. That includes making greater efforts of inclusion, supporting greater work hour flexibility, and continued integration of digital and online tools that improve the experience of both the young staff and the company’s clients. The industry doesn’t need to be turned on its head, but it does need to work towards reflecting the world that its associates and clients live in.

The next decade is going to be critical for the  professional service industry. Gen Z, the generation after Millennials, has the job market in its sights, and the talent in Gen Z is going have similar expectations about the workplace as their slightly older Millennial colleagues. The professional service industry needs the best and brightest to succeed, but if it does not begin to evolve to appeal to young talent, it is going to be left fighting over the leftovers of the talent pool.

And for industry built around professionals, that is a scary thought.

One Personal Challenge that will Make 2017 your Best Year Yet

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

We call this your “brandstamp.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, your turn to try.

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

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

 

 

 

4 Ways to Coach Millennials to Drive Results and Engagement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

5 Questions Managers Should Ask Millennials to Connect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Chasing Relevance by Dan Negroni

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

Maximize Your Millennials As Next-Generation Leaders

This article was originally published on Forbes by Tony DiCostanzo



 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.  Stop whining and start caring

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

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

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

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

2. Be authentic and stand for something unique

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

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

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

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

3. Own your stuff

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

4. Make them opt in

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

5. Get on the same page

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

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

6. Mentor like a coach

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

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

Launch Your Plan Now

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Reason 1: Technology

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

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

 

Reason 2: First Brush with Millennial Nostalgia

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

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

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

 

 

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

Start Attracting Millennials like these LinkedIn Top 40 Attractors (Companies) Do…

LinkedIn recently released its first ever Top Attractor’s list: a list of the 40 most sought after employers in America. Here are the three common themes, which reveal why millennials love to work and buy from these companies.

1.) They are technologically and progressively relevant to the future economy

It’s no surprise to see Google, Facebook and Apple among the top 5 most attractive companies to work for. They played a significant role in the lives of millennials growing up, and continue to do so. “Google” has become a synonym for “search.” Apple, for anything including iPhones and MacBook laptops, and Facebook are used daily among millennials. The remarkable technological abilities, coupled with their relevance to the progression of how our society will advance, make these companies extremely attractive to generation Y.

Airbnb and Uber broke the top 10 also, and these companies are not even 10 years old! Airbnb and Uber have revolutionized the way the world, and millennials, view technology as a means to do business. These companies have disrupted and decentralized the taxi and hotel industry, changing the flow of billions of dollars into the hands of a new shared economy, which is attractive among millennials.

 2.) They stand for something visible and are uniquely differentiated

Salesforce came in at #2, which might seem surprising at first glance. However, Salesforce, whose mission is to help you “connect to your customers in a whole new way,” is transparent about who they are and what they stand for. They have an entire sustainability section on their website, detailing how they are saving the environment (while being tech savvy) through their cloud computing model. A win-win for millennial workers and customers.

Starbucks also broke the top 40, which is no surprise considering they’ve made the World’s Most Ethical Company list the past 10 years in a row. Starbucks is not only an attractive employer to millennials, but also an attractive hangout spot where they can connect by drinking their lattes, talking with friends and getting work done.

3.) They care! About both their employees and customers

A fun brand with generous benefits and great learning potential is the perfect combo that millennials find irresistible. Pandora, coming in at #16, provides various employee recourse groups and gives each employee 40 hours of paid time off to volunteer. McKinsey, coming in at #23, has a “Take Time” program, offering 5-10 weeks each year for employees to pursue interests and passions. Ingrained in these companies is a commitment to the wellbeing, personal growth, development and learning of their employees. Gallup finds that this major perk engages their employees and makes these companies most desirable among millennials.

Box, a tech company coming (#25 on list), offers free lunch and weekly yoga classes. LiveNation, the live event and ticketing company, offers employees the opportunity to attend live sporting games, concerts and festivals, a surefire plus to any millennial. These special perks are great and make it evident these companies aren’t just fixated on work, but that they also integrate fun and wellness into their culture. It’s more than just the freebie when you peel the layers—these perks also communicate, “we care about you and want to help you learn and grow personally and professionally.”

Integrate these 3 themes into your workplace today to attract top millennial talent like linked in’s TOP 40 Attractor’s List today!

 

 

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.

 

4 Important Questions You Should Be Asking & the 4 Actions They Will Make You Take to Win the Millennial Race!

“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.”

– Thomas Berger

 

The only way to get powerful answers is by asking powerful questions. Deloitte released a brilliant and insightful report about 10 questions you should be asking. We’ve taken 4 of these 10 key questions and shifted the focus on how they relate to your millennial workforce.

1.) What risks are my biases creating?

Every action we take is in accordance with our belief system. The beliefs we hold are much more powerful than we realize. They can cage us in or empower us; they can hold us back or push us forward. If you are biased by the myths that millennials are entitled, lazy, and selfish, could that be affecting your business? Considering that millennials are 60% of the world’s population (and that number is growing fast), this could adversely affect your operations, your relationship with millennial employees and your strategy moving forward.

The Deloitte report reveals, “during periods of great change, at the very moment rationality is needed most, the impulse to act without reason kicks in.” To act impulsively and think from a victim mindset is the easy thing to do. “My millennials don’t work hard. They don’t care at all.” But what if you take a different approach, taking responsibility for your workforce and finding ways to empower and engage them? Seek advice from people in your organization who you can trust, especially millennials themselves. Ask people outside your organization what they think. This will help remove any biases that may be holding your business back from excelling.

ACTION: Ask the Millennial and Manager so you can bridge the gap!

2.) Am I acting decisively when I see change around the corner?

The world is changing, and fast. Technology is altering the way we do business and will continue to do so over the next decade. If you don’t grab innovation by the horns and adapt to current and future trends, you will be left by the wayside. It’s evident that company culture, business ethics, virtual opportunity, and generational gaps are among us. But, as stated elegantly in the Deloitte report, “The problem is not just seeing around the corner. It’s also deciding when to take arms, and then taking them confidently.”

Boom. It’s one thing to notice a problem (or opportunity, depending on how you see it.) It’s another thing to take initiative and act. Three out of four companies do not have a plan in place to adjust to the millennial shift in both the workforce and economy. Great leaders make changes before the changes overcome them. Make sure your organization is equipped and prepared for the rise of millennials.

ACTION: Get a friggin plan together now, appoint a committee, DO SOMETHING TODAY!

3.) What’s your reputation worth, and who owns it?

Reputation is everything. It’s worth more than just dollars, and is measured in a variety of currencies like attention, trust and loyalty. Reputation defines the heart of your business. It reveals what you represent and how you fulfill the promises and expectations of your customers and employees.

We agree with the Deloitte report, which encourages a brand reputation program to help enhance, progress and preserve your reputation and business. “That program should engage employees as corporate ambassadors, constantly look for gaps in what is promised vs. what is delivered, and invest in systems to monitor and track external feedback across stakeholders.” What are you promising your millennial employees? A Deloitte Millennial survey revealed that 44% of millennials rejected a job offer because the company values didn’t match their own.[1] Is your company delivering on its moral values? Make sure you are transparent about who you are and what you stand for.

ACTION: Develop your brand story clearly, create it, be it, live it, live it with relevance. Don’t look back. Be your brand and millennials will make your brand relevant!

4.) Who digs in and challenges the assumptions in my strategy?

Having a devil’s advocate is essential for challenging assumptions, eliminating biases, surfacing blind spots, offering new perspectives and building a resilient strategy. As the old adage says, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” Assumptions can be wrong. By openly discussing strategy and encouraging a devil’s advocate to challenge strategy, you can remove possible flaws and weaknesses as well as adopt new ideas to strengthen your game plan.

The great part about having a diverse workforce is that every person has a unique set of experiences. Therefore, each individual may see a problem or opportunity that only they can see due to his or her perspective. As Alan Alda said, “Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in.”

ACTION: Push yourself now. Engage a millennial to push you and let them. You will be better, stronger and wiser, which will grow your business.

DO SOMETHING NOW: GO GROW YOURSELF!

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.

 

[1] Yakowicz, Will. “Half of Millennials Would Reject a Work Assignment That Clashed With Their Ethics.” Inc.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2016.