Earlier this month I was privileged to speak to about 200 college Juniors and Seniors at the Lynchburg College Anderson Leadership Conference. It is a special program on a Saturday that has become a popular and well attended special event at the college. I am a 1985 grad/alumni and The Anderson Leadership Conference is made possible by an endowment established in 1990 by Crantford V. “Andy” Anderson, Jr. and his wife, Jeri, in memory of their son, Chip, a 1985 graduate of Lynchburg College. The Crantford V. “Chip” Anderson III Endowment, administered by the Office of Student Activities, provides funding for activities that foster leadership among high school and college students. As a leadership development junkee, I was thrilled to be asked to speak, and truly honored and touched to realize the event was in memory of my classmate.
I spoke about the generations, and tried to offer the future grads some insights into what they can expect from the multiple generations in the workplace, and also provide some business basics tips I have picked up in the research I've been doing on the subject the last year. I was impressed that 200 college young adults attended a Saturday program; and most were well dressed killing the perception that Millennials do not know what appropriate dress is. I was also impressed in how they can actually communicate with one another as well as adults, again extinguishing another myth that their social networking and tech savvy upbringings have somehow eliminated their ability to use verbal communications skills. I am extremely optimistic about the future of industry if these participants are any indication of what our schools are educating and unleashing onto society.
The more I am around Millennials, the happier I become that it is their turn. And I am grateful to hand the reigns over to this new generation, and feel it is my calling to help them be effective and successful.
My advice to skeptical Gen X and Boomers: Encourage them, talk to them, tell them what is expected, ask them about what matters to them. Here is a Coaching Action Plan that may help you if you are managing Millennials.
What motivates them? Learning Style (auditory, visual, experiential):
Five words they use to describe themselves:
Top three values:
Social Media preferences:
Frequency of contact:
Preferred communication vehicle and style:
Competency and Skills Strengths:
Competency and Skill Gaps:
- Engage them and they will do well.
- Ignore them, and they will leave, or worse - stay and check out.
- Respect them and they will return it.
- Relate to them and they will be yours.