Working

If you read it as I did, I suspect you’ll find this post at The Fiscal Times simultaneously interesting and depressing. Here’s its main argument:

Gallup defines the 76 million millennials as people born between 1980 and 1996 – now the largest generation in the U.S. And they are from a different planet than, say, baby boomers. Baby boomers like me wanted more than anything in the world to have a family with three kids and to own a home — a job was just a job. Having a family and owning a home was the great American dream.

Millennials, on the other hand, place “my job” equally or even ahead of “my family” as their dream. So, because their life is more focused on work, they need to draw more from their work environment. They have their best friends at work — including best friends who are customers. They want meaningful work and to stay with an organization that helps them grow and develop.

Everything has changed.

What does all of this mean for reversing world productivity trends? It means that we need to transform our workplace cultures. We need to start over.

To summarize Gallup’s analytics from 160 countries on the global workplace, our conclusion is that organizations should change from having command-and-control managers to high-performance coaches.

The change will immediately save massive costs by wiping out the wasteful practice of filling out forms and checking management boxes.

Why “high-performance coaches”? Because millennials demand development over satisfaction. They demand ongoing conversations over annual reviews. They demand strengths-based discussions over weakness-based “gap” discussions that produce zero results.

I think there is no prospect for that whatever, at least not in the near term. Among other reasons I was hired to do just that, provide high-performance coaching, by my present employer. I’m not being allowed to do it because it’s just in too great a conflict with the business’s principles and policies of operation.

The reason I don’t think there’s much prospect for it is generally weak management. Top management is generally there for the wrong reasons, jealous of its prerogatives, and its objectives are opposed to a paradigm change from work as punishment to work as collaboration. Despite being a 21st century business the company I’m working for is the most 19th century company I’ve ever worked for.

6 comments… add one
  • Andy

    I think it’s really difficult to compress the hopes and dreams of 76 million Americans (A population just slightly less than Turkey, or over 10 million more than the UK or France) into a neat little box. The millennials talked about in the media are not the millennials I know, particularly the couple dozen I trained and mentored during my military & government service. I’d have to do more research, but I get the sense that the popular characterizations of millennials we hear in the media come from a small subset o the whole.

    That said, it’s not surprising that millennials focus more on work – they are young and the trend of people in the US getting married later and having kids later was one started by the Boomers.

    I also agree with you about management. I know a lot of people who have gone from military service to the private sector and many are shocked by stultifying management practices. It says something when people who are accustomed to working in the formal military hierarchy find themselves in a weird medieval version in corporate America.

  • When I started working nearly every manager was former military. It’s not hard to explain. The guys who fought WWII and Korea were in their forties at that point. The oldest were in their fifties.

    Offhand I’d say that most of today’s managers have not had much formal training in management as such.

  • As to Millennials I really have no basis for making a generalization. All I know is what I read in the newspaper.

    My personal experience has been that Millennials are more like Baby Boomers than they are like Generation X except they have less ability to be self-starters.

  • Andy

    I think you are right about the self-starting part. I’d attribute that to helicopter parenting combined with propaganda from the education-industrial complex.

  • TastyBits

    @Andy

    … military …

    For the Marine Corps, the idea of a Marine being a child until 25 is nonsense, and the other branches are probably the same.

  • TastyBits

    I do not particularly like the Millennials, but a lot of their problems are due to their parents belief in nonsense. If one thinks that adulthood begins at 25, I am not sure why he/she would expect adult thoughts or behavior until 26 or beyond for the late-bloomers.

    Once their parents no longer pay their bills, reality will force them to grow-up, and note, this is not age dependent. Look no further than the hippies. Also, they are the future leaders. At some point, they will be the leaders and decision makers.

    Interestingly, the government they prefer cannot be supported with the cool new companies built upon the tax-free model. Amazon with taxes is just Wal*Mart. I saw an article about taxi cab drivers being bankrupted by Uber, but the city is losing the fees and taxes as well.

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