During times of crisis, when we feel out of control we seek to find something we can control. Perhaps, as Kit Yarrow, the consumer behavior psychologist notes buying and hoarding toilet paper provides a modicum of such control. However, there are lessons to learn from this behavior that can be more valuable in our recovery. @DoctorDarryl #CrisisCommunications #Tybeestrong
Taylor Hayes is the former publisher of the Ky New Era with more than 40-years experience. Working with the media requires understanding what the reporter needs are and what your role and responsibilities are. Mr. Hayes provides insights in this 7:30 video. #PayItForward #CrisisLeadership #CrisisManagement #MediaRelations #Workingwithmedia #UnitedAmerica #TeamTybeeStrong @DoctorDarryl http://www.ldarrylarmstrong.com FB – ArmstrongPublicRelations
Bring something of value to your customers and employees during a crisis. This value can be emotional, physical, or financial. It can be hope, reassurance, leadership, peace of mind for a given moment. People will remember what you do and how you make them feel not what you say.
#crisiscommunications #crisisleadership #crisismanagement #payitforward
Interview with Jim McCamy, a 30-year crisis, and emergency management professional provides you perspectives and insights from his experience and to update folks on what is going on in North Alabama. We have been fortunate to have built a successful consulting business in the past 25-years. The crisis communications and planning advice at this site may help you as a small business, or non-profit that is struggling to communicate with your employees and customers. If you find it helpful, please share it through your social media sites. Let’s all, “pay it forward.” http://www.ldarrylarmstrong.com – L. Darryl and Kay Armstrong #UnitedAmerica @DoctorDarryl #Crisiscommunications #Crisisleadership #Crisismanagement
“There are many things I wish someone would’ve told me before I started my career and emerged into adulthood. I wish someone who have told me that it’s impossible to separate your life from your career, no matter how much you try.” – Adunola Adeshola Contributor @ Forbes
Remember what we have learned from the previous articles about the sociological and psychological make-ups of Millennials?
Primarily, this generation has certain behavioral traits and expectations that are well ingrained based on their parental and societal upbringing. Their definition of a “sense of satisfaction” can be defined in three specific ways:
- They seek to “make a difference” in the world, as many of us did. However, they will engage with anyone at any level who can or will help them accomplish this outcome. Their social, supervisory and management skills are influenced by their technology rather than day-to-day social interactions. Therefore, they can be lacking in social and interpersonal skills and they can be hyperactive and always in a hurry to “git ‘er done!”
- They want to make a “real contribution” to an employer’s mission, vision, and strategies. But they need to believe in the organization’s mission, vision, and values. To engage them appropriately, you (the manager, owner, executive) must clearly articulate and explain your expectations in a well-written and defined job description, explain how you will measure their accomplishments, and clearly state what is not allowed behaviorally;
- They want to be “innovators”, leading their organizations to do things smarter, faster and better than anyone else. And they believe that they are the only ones who can do it. They want it all, and they want it now!
As Boomers and Xers, “realistic and pragmatic survivors” of the real business world, we have become skeptics and cynics in many regards. We have survived many social, economic, and political situations that the Millennials can’t even conceive of.
Although 60% of the future workforce will be Millennials, there are still plenty of Boomers and Gen-Xers in management positions who will do the hiring. It is best for us all to figure out how to work together through a collaborative approach thus, the Collaborative Informed Consent process.
On the positive side, Millennials can be:
- True believers in organizations and businesses where they work, if they see opportunities to accomplish “their needs and meet their ambitions”. Ambition is good. The flip side of this is that they believe they know much more about their (and often your) field of expertise than you do and will continually search and research different approaches, consultants and “experts” on the Internet for you.
- Desirous of global work experience – they cherish such experience but remember that they will often need to be coached and counseled in diplomacy and process.
- Technology savvy. They embrace the available gigabytes of processing power and interconnectivity because it affords channels of technological collaboration.
- They have the energy to burn and are often hyperactive.
As we learn to appreciate what the Millennials can offer, we need to understand that most Millennials will not last much longer than 3-5 years with any organization. They expect to change jobs many times, perhaps 5-10 times, in their lives.
Choosing to leave the company, or your family business for greater challenges and go “where they are appreciated and can fulfill their needs and ambitions” doesn’t mean that they are not valuable during their time with us.
Just don’t expect them to be there for the long haul.
The evolved Millennial sees each new job as an opportunity and learning experience in the building blocks of their resume and life.
Some of the insecurity and angst of Boomers and GenXers comes from the fact that many of the M-Generation would take our jobs tomorrow if offered because it simply looks like fun.
It doesn’t take them long to feel that they have learned all they need to learn in their current position. It’s nothing personal; it’s just the way they think.
Grunt work, teamwork, and collaboration with other generations are interesting to them only if they can do so technologically. So utilize this to the fullest degree.
We are not saying that it will be easy for us Boomers and GenXers to work with Millennials. Yet it can be accomplished with members of the M-Generation who are open to mentoring, coaching and counseling by the “old gray hairs.”
If we can tap into the fact that The Millennials truly want to “make a difference” by tackling big issues within our organizations such as poverty, environmental cleanup, best practices in management, or environmental sustainability, we can gain their respect and better utilize their talents.
Innovation, especially in the areas of digital communication and technology, is what they seek. This is where they shine. We need to acknowledge and appreciate this while also making sure that they allow us to guide them in understanding social and management style differences.
Getting along with each other and respecting our different generational styles can only help us all achieve what we want to achieve. Let them have free rein in innovating to a certain point, but make it very clear that “they” must respect (as “we” will) social and management style differences so that we can all just “get along” for the greater good.
They will need coaching and mentoring in face-to-face social skills and we owe it to them to help them develop in this area. They are “texters” and have issues with interpersonal relationships.
There are several things that we can do to satisfy the particular kind of meaning that Millennials wants to feel in their work.
First, Millennials want to be heard.
Like it or not, Millennials have ideas and opinions about the organization from day one. They want their ideas about the mission, the work, and the way to get things done to be taken seriously.
The traditional response in many organizations, “This is just the way it is done around here” simply opens the door to them to give you their alternatives, opinions, ideas, and suggestions in an unproductive way.
I recommend you be prepared to capture their ideas and suggestions because you might just learn something from their insight that benefits everyone and improves your project.
The need to be heard is not unique to just this generation.
Everyone wants to be heard and taken seriously. What makes Millennials different from other generations is that they want to be heard from day one before they have earned the privilege in the eyes of their older colleagues.
We waited… until we had gained experience, or understood the project, or had the gravitas to deal with the political, community, management or organizational implications of the situation…before we expected to be heard.
The good news is that research shows they are less concerned about whether their ideas are accepted or not. They simply want the opportunity to speak.
We recommend that you make it a consistent behavior to ask your M-Generation new hire what she thinks about an idea or an issue under discussion. Remember you are under no obligation to act on her ideas or comments.
However, listen enough and closely, and you actually may hear something insightful and valuable and worthy of integration.
The new hire will feel fully engaged simply because you asked for her input. And who amongst us doesn’t appreciate being asked?
Millennials also want to hear from you, and they want it immediately – not in annual service reviews.
These folks need and want more feedback about their work so that they know they are making positive contributions.
We all feel this way regardless of our generation; however, Millennials want immediate, as in “right now”, feedback not just annually but daily in some cases. This will be tiring and even exhausting yet this is what our research shows.
Those of us in the older generations are generally content with feedback through structured reviews with supervisors periodically throughout the year.
For Millennials, though, feedback based on clearly defined and explained expectations, and clearly articulated job descriptions should follow closely on particular projects or accomplishments. If you think about it, this makes a certain amount of sense.
So, “chill”, all you Boomers and Xers, you don’t have to follow these new hires around all day, reviewing every little task they complete. Rather, integrate and adopt the consistent behavior of offering the Millennial brief evaluative comments in the midst of his work and pointing out how his efforts relate to the larger mission and vision.
Another thing to remember is that Millennials want to express themselves through their work and will do so often very creatively.
Boomers and Xers have placed greater emphasis on accomplishment as the primary means of self-expression.
For Millennials, how they do their work is just as expressive as what they accomplish.
Expect to hear them say “what an awesome” job they have done because they believe their accomplishments are “awesome”.
The authors of The M-Factor note this is a generation with an intuitive sense of “personal branding.” Sure, everyone has an iPhone they say, but no one has an iPhone case just like mine.
Being unique and being noticed are powerful motivators for Millennials. One way to do this is to give them room to put their own creative stamp on their work, whether it is the décor of their workspace or the design of a newsletter, the creation of a new website, or the Internet marketing.
Another way is to let them own something, a project or responsibility, which is fully in their control and means a great deal to them. Proceed very cautiously and allow them opportunity to grow one small project at a time.
In summary, we have examined Millennials and their expectations about the workplace from several different viewpoints:
- Their relationship with their parents;
- Their sense of entitlement;
- Their need for speed and connectivity to the wired world;
- And their desire for meaning of their work and life.
For each of these areas, we have offered insight and ideas for “negotiating” through the challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities we will face in working with The M-Generation.
To be most effective at this interaction, and to supervise them, we must work smarter by understanding the unique and different behaviors and traits that are relatively fixed and permanent in this generation.
Don’t waste your time or their time asking how to change them. Accept their strengths and weaknesses for what they are. Realistically consider what behaviors you choose to challenge and what behaviors you will accommodate, and then make it absolutely clear what your expectations are. Be prepared to negotiate with them.
It’s important to define sensible, well-articulated, and mutually understood boundaries, standards and expectations for these new hires to live up to and abide by.
However, it’s equally important to learn how to adapt to what they want and need, if they are to be productive in the workplace.
Once you negotiate a balance between challenge and accommodation, you must then negotiate with the Millennials to focus on releasing the exceptional gifts and talents that the generation can bring to the workplace.
Most importantly, as the authors of The M-Factor summarize in their practical wisdom and with which I totally agree:
- Keep learning.
- Stay resilient and flexible.
- Maintain a sense of humor.
- Find a way to center yourself and remain calm.
This generation will bring unique talents to the workplace. Find the time and patience to utilize them.
The END of this book and the beginning of your adventure …
Dr. L. Darryl Armstrong
L. Darryl ARMSTRONG and Associates Behavioral Public Relations LLC
“We have met the enemy and he is us!” Pogo
“Most of us Baby Boomers and GenXers don’t recall creating a disturbance when we entered the market place. We’ve forgotten that the ‘Greatest Generation’ saw us as possibly the end of their dreams and their aspirations for our country. In the 1950s, the comic strip character Pogo even proclaimed we were the enemy!” – Dr. L. Darryl Armstrong, The Four Rivers Business Journal
The generational differences we have discussed thus far between The M-Generation and the rest of us indicate that there will be as much, if not more, angst with this incoming group of employees. Some might say we are facing the greatest crisis of the workforce in more than 60-years.
I am not so pessimistic. I am a realistic person and I do understand the challenges we face. As a behavioral psychologist for 45-years, I have seen the ebb and flow of behavioral issues in society and the workplace. So, buckle up for a good yet at times frustrating ride. We will survive this adventure even if at times we have our doubts.
We hypothesize that the M-Generation is simply a reflection once again of the turbulent process of generations getting to understand one another’s different behaviors and behavioral responses. Just as we brought our strengths and weaknesses to the table when we integrated into the work environment, so do the M-Generation new hires.
Many of my colleagues believe that the M-Generation will bring a new paradigm to the workplace that will be of benefit to us — expansive and engaging collaboration. Please allow me to explain.
Millennials want to find meaning in what they do. Now, such a desire is not unique to this generation, as many of us sought for “meaning of our lives” over the past six decades. And some of us looked for meaning in “sex, drugs and rock and roll” before zeroing in on careers and families.
Authors Lancaster and lman note that each generation has had a different view of what constitutes “meaning”. As Boomers, we found meaning in the “long climb upwards to success” by working hard, paying our dues, and playing “politics” in the workplace because we believed that ultimately we would achieve a position of prominence and influence. We delayed our gratification expecting a reward later rather than sooner. We assimilated a great deal of this thinking and resulting behavioral responses from our own parents who had been loyal Trojans, often to a single company for more than 50-years.
However, in the 1980s as I was on that corporate ladder climb, I found myself having to make difficult decisions. When employees were being swept aside to positively impact an organization’s “bottom-line”, I began to realize the concept of “delayed gratification” was probably not the best career decision for me.
When Gen-Xers came into the workplace, they had seen enough evidence to confirm their doubts about the so-called “long term benefits” of hard work and delayed gratification.
GenXers had witnessed dramatic increases in divorce rates and massive “downsizing” with terminations and layoffs from companies to whom Boomers had given much sweat, tears, and loyalty.
Xers watching the rapid market cycles of boom and bust and the globalization of business became convinced that it’s better to find meaning in the present moment and in something other than their job. It began to appear that their job was a temporary condition at best for many. They became skeptical of businesses and organizations with their seemingly meaningless commitments to their employees.
Therefore, Xers found meaning in work and life balance and invested as much energy in developing their hobbies, sports, passions, and relationships as Boomers did into growing their professional success.
So how did this affect ideas about what constitutes a meaningful life and work experience to the M-Generation?
First, Millennials want to experience meaning in their life and work now. This is difficult for us Boomers to understand probably because it makes us question the paths we have pursued and the costs we have experienced on that path to success. We delayed gratification, and we ask why can’t they?
On the other hand, many Boomers have told their Millennial children, “If you are going to work hard for a lifetime, find something to do that has meaning for you”.
We Boomers have told them that they should not put off meaningful satisfaction indefinitely. If it can’t be found in the here and now, it may not come at all. Unlike their Xer older siblings, Millennials are much less skeptical about organizations, businesses, institutions, and systems.
The M-Generation believes that it’s possible to experience just as much satisfaction on the clock as off. As we observed, they “plug in and wire up” and then go about doing their work while listening to their music or podcasts, surfing the Internet, or tweeting their extended family. They relish in multi-tasking, and we, as Boomers and Xers, question how they can handle this multichannel approach to life and work because it’s such a foreign concept to us.
My conclusion is this — we will survive this generational angst and our country will prosper under this newest generation just as the Greatest Generation survived us and we prospered!
What we must accept is we are not in “Kansas anymore” and we must as generations collaborate to find a way to make this new workplace efficient and effective. I believe that we must work together to determine a mutually productive outcome in our workplace.
An agreed-upon mutual outcome is developed through the process of Collaborative Informed Consent (CIC). CIC is a communication and engagement model of employee involvement that defines informed consent as a situation where management recognizes that informing and educating their employees about a project, problem, or training need and managing employee expectations while informing employees of the benefit of doing the work, accrues to everyone’s advantage.
Millennials Are Different – Part 7
“Recently a client of mine said, “What we need is a strategic plan!” This same client and his colleagues at the time were going through Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team training with me. I held my tongue and eventually quietly said, “You first have to break down silos and work as a team before even thinking about building a strategic plan, if you are going to be successful.” What we often find is, Millennials want to jump in front of the train instead of boarding it for the ride to the station. – Dr. L. Darryl Armstrong
What Baby Boomers and GenXers can learn from Millennials about being “wired?”
Born into the digital world, M-Generation employees are wired for speed and constant connection. Connected to friends, family, and even strangers, they are masters of multitasking for immediate information gathering often bouncing off the walls like a ball bearing shot into a steel plated room.
When technology becomes obsolete, they rid themselves of it immediately for the latest upgrade. The replacement is always the newest, fastest, slimmest and most fashionable.
Even though Boomers and GenXers are technologically savvy, we are awed by the ease with which Millennials navigate the complex and ever-changing digital terrain.
While you and I may “surf” YouTube occasionally, a Millennial will make and post his own movie in an hour and link it to everyone on his LinkedIn account.
Although we marvel at his skills, we also recognize the dark side of such technology and the impact that digital immediacy and constant connectivity can have on our employees and their audiences at large.
As Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, we’re concerned that the Instantaneous, perpetual availability of friends and entertainment means that an M-Generation employee could be slacking off instead of working. We can’t believe it’s possible to be productive and wired-in at the same time.
How she can get any work done with the music playing constantly in her earphones? Has the informality of social media left Millennials unmindful to professional workplace etiquette, appropriate styles of communications, and the boundaries between professional and personal information?
Lancaster and Stillman in the M-Factor book point out our concerns that the continual flow of digital content is eroding the M-generations’ attention spans and impairing their ability to concentrate.
We’re concerned that the Millennials have no criteria for distinguishing what is authoritative information from what is just one blogger’s opinion. Do they even understand that this is an important distinction?
Observing these digital natives, we may overly focus on their devices and the strange behaviors they conjure – heads buried in screens, fingers clicking out texts, and eyes darting around dozens of images per minute. These things, though, are outward expressions of what could be the defining personality of the Millennial generation – the concept of continuous collaboration.
“The M- Factor” predicts that the Millennial generation will be known as the “Great Collaborators”. And this can be a good thing.
For the M-Generation, work is usually a team sport and isolation from friends, family, and coworkers is the worst! Remember the TV-show Friends? The analogy here is most appropriate.
When you see them plugged into their devices, remember that they are probably using that device to connect with someone, to communicate something that matters to them, or to attend to a community of their own making, all of which may be business related.
Reconciling yourself to your M-Generation employee’s constant immersion in the digital world may begin with this recognition. To prevent conflict and crisis from developing, develop a greater appreciation for your wired and constantly plugged in employee so that you can make his weird, wired ways work for you.
Find a project that is a perfect match for his interests and his technical know – how. Let him drive it as fast as he wants. You may pick up a few new tricks and learn something about social media yourself.
This also may result in a teachable moment if his enthusiasm, efficiency, and innovations collide with organizational traditions, protocols, and habits. You can demonstrate how “faster is not always better”.
Finally, it is important to develop the habit of assessing an M-Generation’s work based on what she produces, not by how she spends her time. Between dramatic changes in educational paradigms and the rapid evolution of technology in the past 20 years, your new hire’s ways of being productive may not bear any resemblance to your ways of being productive. The completed project, however, is what matters.
He may spend more time at the coffee shop than at his desk. Based solely on casual observation, you can’t tell whether he is working or playing. You wonder about his work ethic when he outsources tasks and assignments to friends, family, or even large groups of online acquaintances.
As a supervisor, you could insist that he conform to a work style that looks more productive to you. However, a better alternative is to evaluate his performance based on criteria that you can both agree on, namely, well-defined outcomes. In other words, you must negotiate an arrangement that meets both parties’ needs.
Let your M-Generation employee know what needs to be accomplished when, and do this in an upfront, direct, and clear way and ensure they have a well-written and they understand their job description.
Then step back and let him tackle it in his own “unique and wired” way. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Millennials Want Meaning for Their Work – Part 6
“… 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.” – Lancaster and Stillman The M-Generation
You have hired, or if you run family businesses you may have “inherited” a member(s) of the M-Generation also known as a Millennial. You probably realize that it is essential you to better understand some of the behaviors, values and perspectives that this new hire may exhibit.
You may already have found some level of challenge and frustration. Let’s looks at the key criteria necessary to minimize conflict and enhance performance in the workplace 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/she 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 or managing upwards, or running the company just yet.
- 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.
- Some assignments by nature are off limits to M-Generation new hires. After all, with their need to share information and lack of understanding about confidentiality, letting them handle business sensitive information is probably not an option early on in their orientation. However, look for projects that require attention and with information that can be shared. Be clear and direct in your explanations.
- 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. What you and I perceive as “rewards” is often very different than what they see. It may be hard to for you to embrace the “level of praise” that has dominated Millennials’ lives. Remember that this immediate reward concept has been “hard-wired” and reinforced constantly and consistently in their young lives.
“I wish someone would have told me that there will be soul-crushing frustrations and soul-smashingly beautiful moments, and sometimes they will occur all at once. I wish someone would’ve told me that you will have to figure out your career, your finances, your current experiences, your childhood traumas, your relationships and your friendships all at once, there’s no one by one.” – Contributor @ Forbes
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.
Rewards for Millennials should be “personal and tailored” to the individual. For example, one supervisor told us that he had a new hire who was a Starbuck’s junkie. So he gave him a gift card to the coffee shop where he buys his morning coffee.
Here is a scenario suggested by the authors of the M-Factor. If your Millennial puts in long hours on the congregation’s fundraiser for a local women’s shelter, ask her to be the one to present the check to the shelter’s director. She will be very happy.
We have learned much from B. F. Skinner and Pavlov about Skinnerian approaches to behavioral psychology over the years. It is also true for Millennials. The closer the reward follows the work, the greater impact it will have on their future performance and behavior.
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.
As an example, Lancaster and Stillman note that you might have a casual dress policy for your church office, and yet be disconcerted by your M-Generation intern’s choice of board shorts and flip-flops for the weekly staff meeting. He may truly think this is appropriate. You will need to tell him that it is not…in a tactful manner, write and communicate your policy on a regular basis. Yes, Millennials just like all of us will slip back into their old behaviors.
Or perhaps, you left a voice mail for Ms. Millennial expressing concerns about an upcoming project and asked her to call you as soon as possible. Instead, she sent a reply via text to your cell phone, complete with indecipherable abbreviations and emoticons. While you appreciate the fact that you can reach her quickly day or night by text or email, you wonder if she is a bit too relaxed about keeping the office hours that you agreed on. Plus you don’t know what the heck she is talking about in that text.
Millennials are “texters” often times because they don’t have the necessary social skills to inter-relate. Often you will find them jittery in meetings, always searching their phone, and texting when they should be listening.
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 “folks” 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.
So, we recommend you start right now. Create your organization’s list of guidelines and rules. This will save time and aggravation later. You will not know what your M-Generation new hire doesn’t know until you see his/her blind spots and inexperience in action.
Each M-Generation employee is teaching you something about the assumptions that she and her peers are bringing into the workplace. This experience makes you better equipped to train her successors. Prepare now to do a lot of coaching as new situations arise, even though you can’t believe coaching on a particular point of etiquette is necessary.
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.
Millennials Teach Us About Networking and Are Always Doing It – Part 5
Trust is the foundation of every team. If I as a Leader have built no trust with my teammates I can’t build a team. Without trust we won’t as a team ever achieve true commitment, accountability, and organizational results. @DoctorDarryl #ChurchSafetyMinistry #Leadership #TeamBuilding http://www.ldarrylarmstrong.com