“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. 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!
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.
 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.