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7 More Lessons We Can Learn from Millennials

7 More Lessons We Can Learn from MillennialsIn a recent Harris poll, 67% of Millennials (age 18-34) want to start their own business. However, they are also saddled with student loans that have come due. They still want to do their own thing, but for the meantime, they are satisfied with becoming employeepreneurs – working a day job while trying to build something on the side.

As leaders, employers, and managers, with this type of ambition towards work, what lessons can we learn from Millennials that can be applied to every generation in the workplace – Traditionalists, Boomers, Generation X, Millennials (aka Gen Y) – to keep everyone engaged, communicating, and reaching company goals?

Here are the original 7 lessons we can learn from Millennials.

 

What are 7 MORE lessons can we learn from Millennials?

Ownership – Millennials want to start their own companies because they want a sense of ownership. They want to lead. Colleges and universities are doing a better job of teaching leadership skills, either in the classroom or through extracurricular experiences, and Millennials want a chance to test their leadership skills. By providing an opportunity to lead, be it a project, a presentation, or a sub-product, it gives Millennials and other generations an opportunity to own something without a formal title of a leader, such as manager, director, or vice president. Ownership increases engagement.

Rule Maker – Entrepreneurship in Millennials is strong because they like to set their own rules. They willingly question the status quo and become agitated by “dumb” rules. Questioning the status quo is not a generation restriction. All generations can speak up, hack the rules, and reinvent arcane processes. What rules are waiting to be broken?

Untapped Talents – Millennials look to start businesses to utilize their untapped talents. Chances are there are many employees of all generations in your organization who have underutilized gifts. Discover the additional skills beyond the accounting, coding, or graphic design that they were hired to do. Use those abilities to further the company’s cause. What are your organization’s hidden assets?

Play Big – Millennials want to make a difference in the world. They want to play big. They want to put their own dent in the universe. Some members of every generation want to stand up, point to something, and say, “I did this.” Find those people in your organization who want to do big things. Put them on the important projects and let them do what they do best. Whose number will you call when the game is on the line?

Learn While Doing – Millennials don’t have all of the answers. Really, they will admit it, but it’s often behind closed doors. What they do have is an unabashed passion for learning. They use the Internet, search engines, and YouTube videos to figure it out. They tinker and toil until they get it right. They view a lack of knowledge as an opportunity to learn. All generations can take this same approach. We don’t have to have all of the answers before we start down an uncharted path. All generations are capable of learning, if they are open to it. What do you want to learn today?

Passion – Millennials desire to start their own companies because it fulfills a passion. Unless yours was the only job they could find, they initially had some passion for your company. Some glimmer of hope existed in their soul to want to work with your company. Each employee, of all generations, had some passion for your organization at one point. What if we could tap that passion to put spirit back into the business? What if you could reignite that kindling of passion that you once had for the business? How will you inject passion into your company’s soul?

Recognition – When Millennials’ heroes are people like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg and not pop stars or athletes or politicians, they desire to start their own companies to achieve a level of fame. Recognizing employees, regardless of generation, is critical to engagement. They want to feel the love. They want to know that their work is valued. They want to know that they are not just another number in an HR database. Who are the rock stars in your organization?

 

(image courtesy of ITUPictures)

About the Author:  Todd Brockdorf, is the author of Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World – (Harrogate Publishing 2012)  

He works with organizations, leaders, and frustrated professionals to stand out from the crowd. Connect with Todd on LinkedInTwitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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Why Do I Feel Out of Control?

out of controlThe reason we feel out of control is because we have no control. The solution? Routines. Consistent, repeatable routines.

Many people wake up, hit the snooze button, shower, get dressed, throw food at the kids, drive to work, get tossed in 50,000 directions, come home, eat dinner, put the kids to bed, and fall asleep watching TV. Sure, that’s a routine.

It’s a tornado routine. Everything is spinning from the moment it starts to the moment it passes by. What if you changed your routine to a hurricane routine? Everything is spinning from the moment it starts, there is a brief pause in the middle, then it starts spinning again, until the moment it passes by. At least there is some time in the middle where you have a few minutes to stop, gather yourself, and prepare for the second half of the maelstrom.

What if we took it a step further and aimed for a thunderstorm routine? In that scenario, there would be some calm, things would go to pot, then it moves on and there is calm again.

Let’s go further. What if we structured our day such that there is a gentle breeze routine for most of the day? Occasionally, the wind would pick up. There might even be a few strong gusts. Eventually, those subside and we return to the gentle breeze that we had.

How is This Gentle Breeze Routine Possible?

“But my life isn’t like that,” you say? Why not? It’s because you didn’t structure it that way. As I said in a previous post, “If you choose not to take control, others will make decisions for you.” You are paid to make decisions for your area of responsibility. You choose how best to structure your day. You choose to schedule a few minutes into your day to stop and think (yes, even folks with only a 30-minute lunch break – eat for 15, think for 15). It’s up to you.

Stuff Comes Up

Of course “stuff” comes up. Deal with it as appropriate. Understand the expectations or reframe the beliefs. Just because someone says, “Jump,” doesn’t necessarily elicit the automatic response of, “How high?” Does it really need to be done right now (as in stop whatever you are doing and handle it right this second)? Or, can it be done after you finish whatever is on your plate at this moment? Can it be delegated to someone else to handle while you work on other tasks? If someone truly feels that it needs to be handled “right now” and you know that it can wait a few, help that person reframe their beliefs through patient, empathetic understanding.

Achieve Nirvana

You choose how you react to situations. If you let the situation make your blood boil, that’s your choice. If you react in a calm, rational manner, that’s also your choice. If you choose the latter, the other person who is creating the situation may respond with a similar gesture and calm down as well. You can only control yourself.

Establish Your Routines

There is no one right routine to achieve success. According to Fast Company, when they asked CEOs about their morning routines, each one had a different method that they employed. The gist is that it doesn’t matter what are the routines, it’s that they are consistent and repeatable. Maybe you check email first (personally not recommended). Maybe you exercise. Maybe you write. Maybe you take care of your biggest goal for the day. Whatever is your routine, define it, do it, repeat it.

 

How do you structure your day?

Let me know in the comments.

About the Author:  Todd Brockdorf, is the author of Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World – (Harrogate Publishing 2012)  

He works with organizations, leaders, and frustrated professionals to stand out from the crowd. Connect with Todd on LinkedInTwitter, Facebook, and Google+.

 

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Tell Better Stories to Stand Out from the Crowd

stand out from the crowdIf you find yourself in a commoditized situation, tell better stories to stand out from the crowd.

Over the summer, I visited Detroit’s Eastern Market, a weekly farmers market. There were many local farmers selling their fresh fruits and vegetables. Some producers offered produce that was seemingly picked that morning. While others sold product that looked like it was one step away from the grocery stores, all packaged in plastic, complete with SKUs and the annoying stickers that can’t be easily composted.

In a market where everyone seemingly has the same goods, how do you stand out from the crowd?

Tell better stories.

While everyone else is standing at their stall, engage passersby.

While everyone else is hawking tomatoes, offer heirloom varieties.

While everyone else is selling vegetables, share organics.

At Eastern Market, I met Danny Lutz, a local farmer from Yale, Michigan. At first glance, his small stall had similar vegetables as all of the others. But, as you approached his tables, he greeted you warmly. Examining his produce, you could tell it was different. It was organic. And fresh. And the heirloom tomatoes were big and ripe and juicy.

It was then that Danny explained about his tomatoes and their heritage. He continued on about his farming practices and the soil and his new tractor. He even invited the family up to the farm and offered to let my kids ride on the tractor.

I was hooked.

After a conversation with Danny, you understood why his business card says, “Passionate Organic Farming.”

Of all of the vendors, and there were hundreds, he told the best story.

In your business, when you offer similar products and services as your competition, what story are you telling? What messaging do you use to differentiate yourself?  What are you known for in the marketplace?

Telling your story more effectively than the other guys helps you earn the deal, makes the sale, and gets the girl.

What’s your story?

And those heirloom tomatoes? They were some of the best I’ve ever had.

About the Author:  Todd Brockdorf, is the author of Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World – (Harrogate Publishing 2012)  

He works with organizations, leaders, and frustrated professionals to stand out from the crowd. Connect with  Todd on LinkedInTwitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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Dreamer or Actioner?

Dreamer or ActionerI love dreamers. It’s good to dream. Actually, it’s great to dream. It proves that you are thinking bigger plans, trying to improve you lot in life, attempting to change something for good. It shows that you care. It shows that you’re human. It shows that you bleed.

But I love “actioners” more. What’s an “actioner”? An actioner is someone who takes their dreams, creates a plan, and follows through on that plan. They pluck their dreams out of the clouds and walk them onto the streets. They take concrete steps to see their dreams through. In other words, they do something about it.

Actioners are those who will be “successful” in life. I will leave you to define “successful.” Those who dream, but do nothing about it, will continue to live a life of mediocrity. They might have an uneasy feeling deep down inside, but really, they are satisfied with a life of “Average”. Unconsciously, they are exactly who and what they want to be.

For those who are Better than Average, those who stand out from the crowd, those who want to leave this world a little bit better then when they arrived, this uneasy feeling gnaws at them. It tears them up when they can’t work on their dream. It pains them when they are forced to do something else. It’s like their internal Chesapeake Bay Retriever, itching to go outside for a run.

The Law of Attraction can only take you so far. The mindset is right, but it misses one critical piece – action. Wishing/hoping/wanting is a good start. But the next step is critical. Take that step. Success attracts success. Become an actioner.

I leave you with a simple question: How did you work on your dream today?

(image courtesy of friend Charmaine Hammond of TheOriginalTeamToby.com)

_____

Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
Author, Speaker, Consultant
[email protected]
Download Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World

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3 Powerful Questions to Stand Out from the Crowd

questionTo learn continuously, ask questions constantly. This is the very cornerstone of learning.  Many people already ask a lot of questions; some to the point of annoyance. However, those who stand out from the crowd ask a better quality of questions.

In today’s answer-oriented society, we have a dearth of good questions. We want information now, in digestible, low-calorie, high-fiber chunks. If the answer cannot be found on the first page of Google results, then it doesn’t exist or isn’t worth asking.

But it’s ok. It’s not your fault. Society teaches us to be Average and average people ask average questions. Average people ask “what?” or “when?” The socially inclined ask “who” (as in, “Who will see me there?”).

The Better than Average, those who stand out from the crowd, ask a different type of question. Their questions begin with “how?” or “why?” They probe for a deeper understanding of the issue. They want a greater context to provide better meaning. They want answers that aren’t readily found on the Internet. And sometimes, the answers they seek are high in fat, but a good fat, like Omega-3 found in salmon.

3 Most Powerful Questions

The Better than Average use the following 3 most powerful questions to get to the root of the issue:

  1. Why?
  2. So what?
  3. Who cares?

Once you can answer those questions, you will have a deeper understanding of your subject.

_____

Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
Author, Speaker, Consultant
[email protected]
Download Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World

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