Millennial sense of entitlement, and enhancing performance in workplace

What is the single greatest complaint leveled against Millennials?

Many employers would say a “sense of entitlement” that is entirely out of proportion to this generation’s age and experience.

As the authors of “The M-Factor” say, “This generation shows signs of being far too impressed with their own value and importance.”

Competition In BusinessNow, I acknowledge this trait is tempered by individual personalities. While one Millennial may exude “cockiness and arrogance” that turns off even his/her peers, another one is a model of humility.

Despite their intelligence and competency in many areas, the Millennial has a lot to learn. But, in a different time in a different way, didn’t we all?

Millennials may expect to advance quickly. Once they have mastered their current responsibilities, they want to be promoted to higher positions or greater responsibility NOW.

They often have a very low tolerance for the mundane work that usually falls to the lowest rung of the workplace ladder. They don’t understand the concept of seniority, and to them that is an anathema of their value system. They value capability over experience and believe that a fresh, young perspective is always more valuable.

The ideas of “doing your time” within a role and job and “paying your dues” just do not make sense to them and are at odds with their expectations.

In my mind, members of this generation can be overly-sensitive. This can certainly be a factor in their employment lives.

Let’s remember that many of the parents of the M-Generation believed and practiced that praise and self-esteem were the first priorities in parenting and teaching realms. The child learns that if you play on the little league baseball team, you get a trophy for showing up. Turn in your homework, and get a gold star for turning something in with your name on it regardless of the content.

While effort is important and trying your best is important, life, and certainly the business world, does not necessarily hand out trophies for these worthy attributes.

This article looks at the key criteria necessary to minimize conflict and enhance performance in the work place when working with Millennials.

First, when recruiting and interviewing don’t promise more than you can deliver.

When hiring a member of the M-Generation, be realistic about the work that he will do.

Present a potential M-Generation employee with an exact description of the job. You want to make sure that he/she understands that the job may not include conducting the weekly briefings.

Second, take advantage of the positive view of the M-Generation’s desire to do more and to tackle larger responsibilities.

Take advantage of their eagerness and strong desire to be involved, and reward these traits whenever you can.

Always give M-Generation employees specific parameters to work within, clarify what they will be held accountable for, what the schedule and deadline is, and then let them engage.

Finally, determine what “reward” is in the M-Generation new hire’s mind.

For the Millennial, rewards don’t have to be big to be meaningful. A simple gesture will go a long way. Recently in talking with an Assistant Chief of Police, he told me his Millennials want to be called by their first names, asked about their family (yes, you will need to remember the wife’s name and the kids’ names), and they want to be praised for being to work on time.

Baby Boomers and GenXers are often confused and bewildered by the simple things that Millennials don’t know about living and working as an adult.

Research shows that the most common problems include unfamiliarity with workplace etiquette, what are appropriate communication venues, and what boundaries should exist between professional, personal and private matters.

However, our biggest concerns may be associated with the M-Generations’ use of social media. Often Millennials are not discrete about what they post on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The photos and comments they may put online after a weekend beach trip with their college buddies may cause you some alarm.

To deal with this behavior and not exacerbate the situation or create high blood pressure for yourself, you must learn to accept that is the new “norm” while learning how to negotiate a mutually acceptable working arrangement with these employees.

Does this mean we will just have to agree with such behavior? No.

Although we believe these “kids” should know this stuff already, they don’t. The smart thing to do is to understand the Millennial sense of what is appropriate. Then take the time to communicate the guidelines and rules – written and unwritten – for professional etiquette and interaction in your organization.

The upside to all of this is that most Millennials enjoy being coached and mentored – remember they had a unique relationship with their parents and teachers in this regard. Offer them pointers and tips on workplace etiquette.

You will probably find that they are grateful for advice that will help them move up the professional ladder and achieve the greater responsibilities that they want. It can be a win-win situation.

L. Darryl Armstrong is a crisis prevention and management consultant. He is reachable at 1-888-340-2006 or drdarryl@aol.com. His website is www.ldarrylarmstrong.com. He is available on a limited basis for speaking engagements and workshops.

Sources: The M- Factor: How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace” by Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman (Harper Collins, 2010)

PWC.Com – Millennials in the Work Place – Reshaping the World https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/managing-tomorrows-people/future-of-work/assets/reshaping-the-workplace.pdf

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Promoting a consistent message and visual identity is critical to success

branding-art

Art source: www.aboutbranding.co.za

Most companies simply will not allow haphazard uses of their logos or brands. Break those rules and you are in serious trouble.

Promoting a consistent message and visual identity is critical to “branding” and maintaining controls around variance of messages.In fact, once we have standardized our systems (think purchasing,hiring, interviewing, community outreach, media engagement, crisis and issues management, communications) we are able to be more efficient, effective and save time and money.

When variances show up on the bottom line, we can check them against our standardized processes.This is what our financial people do on a regular basis. This brings standardization to the organization.However, most companies still don’t standardize their leadership best practices.

 

They may have dozens of ways to interview and hire, solve the same problem in five different ways in various divisions, and simply spend a lot of time and energy needlessly identifying and solving the same problems repeatedly in many different ways.

Those companies who do standardize their leadership processes and training create a path forward map to help every leader in the company to be successful. In simple terms: Develop your road map and follow it, or as I tell clients who seek strategic planning assistance from me, “Write your plan based on best practices and work your plan.”

Why don’t companies do this?

Research shows that many companies don’t have a unified leadership process in place because:

  • The leaders don’t have the training they need to succeed.
  • There is no objective accountability system.
  • The “dots are not connected” for employees in respect to purpose, worthwhile work and making a difference.
  • The companies are not using a sequenced mapped approach.
  • There is no process for managing high- and middle-level managers.
  • There is no process in place to address the problems with low performers.

To determine if your company needs to standardize your leadership system, Quint Studer in his book, “Results That Last,” suggests we ask ourselves such questions as:

  • How many different ways do we have to interview a candidate?
  • How do we know that when our leaders have left a meeting we have accurately and completely conveyed the messages we want them to carry back to the employees?
  • When employees are asked tough questions, how do we know they are not giving us just the answers they think we want to hear?
  • How do we measure the performance of our employees in such a way as we can determine they are low, middle or high-level performers?
  • What process do we have in place to assess the performance of employees and their accountability against the overall organizational goals?

Six ways to improve our leadership programs

Leadership programs can be standardized and improved.

When we standardize our programs, we provide a path forward map for all our leadership, which saves time and money and makes organizations more successful.

How do we do this?

1. Use a common agenda. While Studer recommends that all agendas be organized around his “Five Pillars of Excellence,” (People, service, quality, finance and growth) even more important is that for every meeting there is a standardized agenda used by all leaders in the organization. By using such an approach, we can align all staff to our organizational goals, which then allows us to help them connect to the organization’s vision and mission. This approach also gives us the means to communicate to our team the critical success factors within the organization and in their individual work areas.

2. Align your evaluation process to Studer’s five pillars or the organization’s critical success factors. When developing goals for our organization, they must be objective, measurable, meaningful and aligned with the organization’s pillars or critical success factors. They must also be focused on results.

3. Provide consistent packets of information. When leaders leave meetings, they should have a prepared packet of information they can share with their employees so that everyone hears the same messages. Studer notes that many companies use “Flip and Tell” books to package the information.

4. Choose a single method of interviewing and hiring employees. All applicants should be asked the same three or four behavioral-based questions no matter what job they are applying for in the organization. It would be prudent to choose questions geared toward values and ownership.

5. Collect tough questions from leaders. Every leader should be asked on a regular basis to share with the team the tough questions they hear from their staff. Then work with your leaders to develop a consistent set of answers that will be used by all leaders. This develops a consistent message that can be communicated by everyone. Consistency builds confidence and provides employees evidence that the leaders have the information needed to answer their questions.

6. Make sure your leaders are trained in basic competencies to perform. Many leaders are not comfortable delivering messages without appropriate training.

Those companies who annually train their leaders in such competencies as meeting facilitation, negotiations, conflict prevent and resolution and presentations skills are more successful because they are providing the essential training all leaders need.

Research shows that repetition is essential to build integrity and credibility within an organization. Great leaders never tire of repetition. When leaders become better at using their skills, they become more efficient and effective at doing it. They will get better with practice.

Organizations that use this six step approach have longer lasting results, improved organizational efficiencies and greater innovation.Key points to remember:

  • Stop the variances. When an organization has variance in its leadership approach it produces inconsistencies within the organization making it more difficult to achieve excellence. Alignment among the managers and employees improves performance and enhances customer and employee satisfaction.
  • Standardize behavior. Leadership behavior is challenging to quantify and many organizations find it a challenge to standardize behavior. Many organizations fear that by doing so they will intrude on the leader’s autonomy and creativity. However, organizational goals come down from the top and include clear visions and missions. Any single leader’s independence is less important than the organization’s mission.
  • Eliminate barriers. Barriers that can get in the way of standardizing leadership behavior include: Lack of critical mass; lack of a balanced approach; insufficient training; no objective accountability; no path forward map which connects the dots; no process in place to manage middle and high level performers; no system to address quickly and efficiently low performers; an inability or unwillingness to standardize best practices across the organization. These barriers must be systematically eliminated.n Identify and eliminate inconsistent practices.

Carefully scrutinize all your practices in interviewing systems, messaging to employees, leader responses to crises, varying leadership performances and ineffective leadership evaluations.

Every organization should strive to create a self-sustaining culture with energy and vision to achieve excellence, Studer says. This can be accomplished by renovating your leadership evaluation system, applying key leadership behaviors, which will inspire self-motivation (the most powerful motivator of all), and developing standardized processes which will hardwire excellence into your organization.

Sources: “Results That Last” by Quint Studer

Dr. L. Darryl Armstrong, Armstrong and Associates, is a consultant and counselor. He can be reached at drdarryl@aol.com or 1-888-340-2006 or http://www.ldarrylarmstrong.com

I am really proud of the Ky Press Association and its leadership …

David Thompson at the Ky Press Association has just announced they now have an app – the cost $0.00 – want to know more?

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to work with the Ky Press Association on a strategic planning initiative.

We had worked with the Ky New Era for several years and KPA asked for our assistance. Anytime we engage a client in strategic planning I have my trepidations and concerns.

This uneasiness comes from the fact that we have a very engaging, collaborative and highly-intensive discovery and strategic planning process.

Our process requires front-end “therapy,” individual member and unanimous Board agreement to be actively engaged in each step to maximize the effort and it requires them to hear the good, the bad and the ugly that we find.

Then they must ensure us they didn’t just hear what we found but also are willing to work with us to correct the deficiencies, develop an agreed upon plan of action and then implement that plan while being held accountable to their membership and to themselves to excel at the implementation of their plan.

You can see where such an intensive and extensive process can be threatening and easily meet resistance at various steps. Many Boards and executives, we have found over the past 20-years simply “go-along” with such an effort with no real intention of doing much with the plan afterwards.

Not so for the Kentucky Press Association.

When David Thompson and his team and Board engaged with us we never expected them to have such great successes from their efforts.

Why did they have such success – they not only thought outside the box, they not only listened to the criticisms and suggestions of their members and the public, they not only engaged in alignment and brainstorming they also methodically set out to “brainstorm solutions”, then to  take action and to be held accountable for implementing the plan and continually revising it and updating it. That is quite the commitment!

The process re-energized the KPA staff and executives and their Board. Their latest app development demonstrates that once again planning your work, working your plan and engaging your team collaboratively to solve problems – not just pontificate and complain about them – can lead to great success.  This is where understanding the strategic planning process pays benefits for the long-term.

The KPA team and its Board has far exceeded what many clients can and will do with such a planning effort. They continue to break new ground, find new ways to solve problems and are not hesitant to travel different paths to get to their success.

Their latest achievement is an example of such a commitment to excel and be a model for their industry.

David Thompson at the Ky Press Association has just announced they now have an app – the cost $0.00 – want to know more?  Here goes from David at KPA:

THERE’S AN (KPA) APP FOR THAT AND FUNCTIONING

We have our first KPA App, courtesy of New Media Director David Spencer. We had gotten proposals to spend $5000 to $8000 for a KPA App and David was able to design one that didn’t cost anything

It’s website-based but when you “Add to Home Screen” on your iPhone, it looks, feels and acts like an App. David has a friend with an Android and had him test it. He says it functions the same as the one on the iPhone though it’s slightly cosmetically different.

Our first one is the Reporter’s Guide to Open Meetings and Open Records. That’s the long piece, folded up that we’ve done for reporters to keep in their billfolds. Now they will have it on their phone.

To put it on your iPhone:

a. go to http://www.kypress.com/foi in your iPhone’s browser

b. when that shows up, save it as “Add to Home Screen”

c. then check where your other apps are located and you should see KPA/FOI. That’s it!!

Be sure to share this with all your reporters so they have everything they need to know about Open Meetings and Open Records on their cell phone.

Questions?

Feel free to email David Spencer at dspencer@kypress.com or call him at 800-264-5721.

NAM MEMBERS LIKE IT

Davis says, I sent an email to editors yesterday and also shared the app with my NAM colleagues around the state and U.S.

Some comments:

That is fantastic.  I’m going to copy you.     Thanks, David.

Laurie Hieb – Executive Director
Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association

Wow – that is plain awesome!!!!

Beth Grace – North Carolina Press Association

CONGRATULATIONS to KPA, David T and David Spencer and most importantly to all your Board members who are continuing to pursue your strategic plan to accomplish these “out-of-the-box” ideas to benefit the association and its membership!!!

Until next time …

Joe Elgar, Bellman – Receives “Golden Eagle” recognition – Marriott Renaissance LAX

From the back of the bay on Eddy Creek, Ky – Many of you know that a part of our portfolio at L. Darryl ARMSTRONG and Associates Behavioral Public Relations LLC is customer service training.

As part of that portfolio, we give two awards: “The Stinking Fish” for abysmal service and “The Golden Eagle” for exceptional service.

We don’t often give out and certainly not lightly “Golden Eagle” customer service recognition awards.

Sadly, we just don’t see that many examples of exceptional customer service anymore in many industries. However, when we do see it we believe in commending those responsible.

Exceptional customer service is a combination, we believe, of learned and taught behaviors and are used by those folks that have a true sense of serving.

This article is about the exceptional service of a bellman named Joe Elgar.

I would suspect that if Marriott General Manager of the Year Scott McCoy could clone Joe he would do so.

A year or so ago, after a long and very difficult week of work in California, my wife and crew stopped at the Marriott Renaissance-LAX to spend the night. My wife and the crew were headed to the East coast to work and I was headed to the Midwest. All of us were exhausted yet very happy that our work was appreciated by our client and the schools we had been working with.

I came down with something pretty nasty, although I am not sure what it was but by 10 p.m. I was in severe distress.

We had already turned in our car because we were leaving at the ungodly hour of 6:30 a.m.

As the evening wore on I became more ill with severe stomach issues, a fever and a headache. Finally, I relented and about 1 a.m. in the morning my wife called down to the front desk to see if someone could secure some over the counter  medicine for me to at least give me enough relieve to get through the night and crawl on the plane.

In steps Joe Elgar, the bellman on duty.

My wife is always pleasant and very nice in any request she makes unless pushed otherwise and she knew I was not in any condition to even talk on the phone. Her pleasant demeanor and the customer focus of Joe led to Joe taking his break time and go to the nearest all night pharmacy to get me some medicine.

Although this sounds like a minor request think about it for a moment – an employee, who doesn’t know anything about us and who has a limited break goes out of his way to assist a couple whom he doesn’t know from miles away. A couple that he probably never expected to even see again.

I was so grateful that I generously tipped and thanked him the next morning for his service although I confess I was still in such distress I could barely hold my head up and be polite.

Bellman Joe stepped to the plate and I was able to get to my next client – fortunately a day ahead of the need – sleep 21-hours and be on my feet to do my gig.

When Kay and I stepped into the Marriott LAX a few weeks ago, we turned our bags over to the folks out front and who showed up at our door to deliver them, who remembered us and we became reacquainted – none other than Bellman Joe!

Same great personality, same wonderful smile but now off of the late shift finally 😉

We had a delightful reunion; he certainly remembered all the details of the event and was even kind enough to give us a free breakfast the next day before we flew out again at the ungodly hour of 06:30.

Joe Elgar went above and beyond anything that he had to do for us and I would suspect for anyone who is in need — assuming, of course, they are polite and civil in their discourse.

Service personnel are often overlooked in our society– yet I recall a lesson my Grandfather taught me when I was but 6-years old.

He took me to a barbershop to get my haircut. The janitor of the shop was there and he was whistling and sweeping and joking with the locals.

My Grandfather joked back, asked about his family, called him and his wife by name, talked about his garden and his old war injury. Not one other person in the shop paid this gentleman any attention.

Every time I went back to that shop with my Grandfather I observed he did the exact same thing.

Then one day several years later my Grandfather died.

At his funeral was a large display of the most beautiful roses any of us had ever seen – a display that if bought would have cost well over a hundred dollars in 1960 money. There was no name on them.

All the family was perplexed yet they all also loved the arrangement because roses were my Grandfather’s most favorite flower.

I went back to that barber shop shortly after my Grandfather passed away.

The old gentleman janitor was sitting there smoking his pipe. I called him by name and asked about his old war injury and reminded him who I was.

His face lit up and he smiled and joked with me. He started telling me stories about my Grandfather and his generosity and how at times my Grandfather inspired him to stay focused on his work instead of becoming depressed — depression was a serious issue for the old gentleman.

He told me how my Grandfather had inspired and helped him build his own greenhouse where he grew roses – roses that kept his and his wife’s spirits high even when times were bad.

And he told me something else I have always remembered, “Son, your Grand Dad was the only person whoever spent any time with me when he came in here. Everyone else seemed to not even notice me. He was a genuine man that understood each of us have our jobs in life – none no better than anyone else – just different. “

Before I left I asked him why he didn’t come to my Grandfather’s funeral. He smiled and said that he couldn’t because his wife was sick the day of the funeral but that he hoped we enjoyed that lovely arrangement of roses – which he had grown in his own greenhouse, picked and arranged and had delivered to the service.

We should remember as the old janitor said, we each have our own jobs in life – some are just different than others.

Joe Elgar will go far in life – make no mistake about that. His focus on the customer, his winning smile and demeanor, his desire to fulfill his role is a rare thing these days – we wish you well Joe and award you our “Golden Eagle” for exceptional customer service  — we do hope to see you again on our next trip.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.  — Albert Schweitzer

A Week for “Golden Eagle” Awards

What do Frisch’s Big Boy, IHOP, Curly’s and Miss Peggy’s have in common?

If you were to answer they are all restaurants you would be correct. More importantly though, if you were to answer that the customer service of each of the servers who waited on me at these establishment was excellent you would be more than accurate you would be right on target.

Frisch’s and IHOP one in Louisville, KY and one in Clarksville, IN, Curly’s in Lackawanda, NY and Miss Peggy’s in my hometown of Princeton, KY all have a similar quality – good food, reasonable prices, and excellent service by well-trained and polite servers. At each establishment I was welcomed, felt comfortable, engaged by the server, always had my drink refilled promptly without asking and felt right at home.

You know I teach guest services and I always wish that I had captured these moments on video.

I have not given a “Golden Eagle” Award for Exemplary Service in many months and this week offer kudos and awards to each of these fine establishments.

Congratulations and keep up the good work. The level of service and quality of food at a reasonable price is commendable yet making me feel right at home is extra-ordinary and appreciated.

The Failure to Communicate

Too often I hear that old line – I think we have a failure to communicate – it always distresses me because IF this is really the issue and we know it then why not fix it? I propose that one of the reasons is that we all forget that to communicate there must be a communicator and a listener, who provides feedback to what the communicator is saying. Can everyone in a situation be communicated with? Is communication repeating the same message over and over until it sinks in? Are we born to communicate properly or do we learn these skills? All these are topics we will explore along with the need to strategically plan our communications efforts in our next book.

The Lost Art of Writing Thank You Notes

With all the Occupy this and that and all the hoopla around it reinforcing modern society’s drive to teach and seemingly even reward rude behavior, I would just remind my business colleagues and graduating students that the one thing that can and does set you apart is the old-fashioned handwritten “thank you” note.

Saying thank you for an interview, a job well done, or the opportunity to discuss the possibility of work through a handwritten missive is becoming a lost art. However, research and experience  shows that people remember you when you take the time to send them such a note of appreciation.

Oh yes, send them the “old-fashioned” way as well through the U.S. Postal service. In this age of tweets and Face Book and LinkedIn, such notes are “jewels” to be treasured and remembered.

Remembering to say “thank you” will help open doors for you that the best education and contacts can’t – who knows it might even get you a real job.

Collaborate or Cooperate?

So, one of my clients has just sent a request to several of his colleagues proposing some unique ideas that can be mutually beneficial to both parties, perhaps.

I often explain to my clients that there is a difference, in my mind at least, between asking someone to cooperate with you and asking someone to collaborate.

Cooperation typically is when the other party will agree to at least play nicey-nicey. We see cooperation all the time on the playground when kids play in the same sandbox yet stay to themselves. They are cooperating by not interfering with each other’s play activity.

However, collaboration means to co-labor. Co-laboring with another party can be difficult at times because both parties have to agree to stay at the table, roll up their sleeves and work toward a mutually beneficial solution to a problem.

Co-laboring is often time consuming, frustrating and complicated by the needs, wants and desires of the parties at the table yet when an agreement is reached it is typically in the best interest of all parties. Co-laboring is when the 3-year old and the 5-year old build the magnificent sand castle at the beach and together are proud of their achievement!

My client will have to give some, the co-labors will give some and ultimately the outcome of the often elongated discussions and negotiations will result in a win-win for everyone.

Collaborating needs to be done more often in Congress!