Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Are You Preparing Millennials to Lead?

Then You Need a New Set of Tools.

Photo Credit: Bigstock #86408645 Millennial Teenage Girls through Smith Durante

Telling a Millennial that they need to stick to a five to ten year business model will be met with complete skepticism. Here’s why.

The reason the business development cycle is three months out instead of five years is due to several influences: digital devices, email and big data have given us the power to get more work done in less time with more accuracy.

Technology has also given us the ability to work from anywhere we want regardless of location even on a modest budget. Skype for instance gives a small business access to international videoconferencing for pennies. This allows smaller startups to compete for the same low hanging fruit that well-established behemoths used to ignore.

As Olympian Vince Poscente puts it, like it or not,
we are in the age of speed.”

And with that said, any coach, regardless of generation who is still clinging to the 20th Century models will not survive the milieu of coaches about to join your ranks.

And besides, Millennial business owners want to move fast.

But here is where Millennial coaches and business advisers will have the hardest time; cracking the generational mindset of older established business professionals. Let me explain, if we go back in time, to the 70s no one was seeking the advice of a 25 year old. Age determined rank in the boomer world, and that ideology of age+experience=trust is present to this day.

Inside EVERY Baby Boomer’s head is something I have labeled the Career Path Paradigm. At 20 a person was to start in the mail room. Know your place in the organization. Sit down. Shut up and listen. Hard work and sweat would get you noticed. No one is interested in what a 20-something has to say. At 30, you might get noticed and move up in rank. Stability starts at 30. You were supposed to get married and buy a house and start a family. By 40 you get a middle management position and 50 gets you the corner office and a title and keys to the executive washroom.

Although this model is over, Millennial Coaches will have to overcome this very real belief still sitting in the nooks and crannies of anyone over 50.

If you are a Millennial Coach selling to a Boomer, I suggest you enter with a diverse team made up of Gen X and Boomers. Even if it is just your advisory team, do it f you want to make the boomer comfortable.


Learn more about this topic:

Watch an exclusive webinar
from Brad Szollose & Nathan Smith on Are Millennials Destroying Business As We Know It?



What about coaching the Millennial-owned startup?

Two close business associates invited me to a breakfast meeting. The topic? Could I groom a Millennial business owner? Although the young man was a genius at 28—his entire business centered around a multi-million dollar app he had developed. His entire business was a digital product. As they filled me in, I realized the young wunderkind was intelligent, but sloppy, said inappropriate things and was inexperienced at business structure.

My job is to groom this young man for the C-Suite. I have one year to get him ready.

Since I have a deep understanding of Millennials, my job will be simple. For the rest of you, here are a few tips;

1) Millennials are friends with their parents.
Use that to your advantage.

What that means is as children they were privy to conversations that previous generations never had with their parents. This included getting career advice and mentorship lessons since they were 5. In other words, Millennials weren’t raised by parents, they were raised by advisers. The hierarchy in the household was flattened in favor of collaboration.

To work with this generation, become a partner in their success. Sounds exhausting but a Millennial will need far more "hands on" than other clients. Why you may ask? Well, although they had deep relationships with their parents and teachers growing up, they may not have the same business polish that was expected of Gen X and Boomers at the same age.

Huge chunks of knowledge is missing from their experience. And you as a consultant, a coach, (or mentor), will need to explain why things need to get done in a certain way in a particular order.

2) Harness their innovation before they get cynical.

Because Millennials are not trained in traditional business methodologies they break the rules. BUT, they don’t know they are breaking the rules. This is a good thing because like any breakthrough entrepreneur, innovation is what wins the day.

But show them that creating cool products can also go hand-in-hand with traditional business structures. A Results Only Work Environment is best for creating an environment that Millennials respect, but at the same time, celebrate the importance of deadlines and systems. In a ROWE environment output is 32% higher than traditional business hierarchies.

Celebrate Innovation and counter intuitive solutions. THAT is what Millennials do best.
The new Holacracy trend is great and all, but unless you have money to burn through before that first product takes root, I suggest sticking to a ROWE model.

3) Build Fast and Sell…BUT, Prepare them for the Long Haul as well.

While you show the Digital Native that you aren’t their grandfather’s business coach, build a rapport that is based on results. Building a start-up into a viable company for acquisition is every entrepreneur’s dream. And it is a hot trend. BUT, teaching valuable business lessons that create a lasting legacy is far more important for the future of your business as well as theirs.

You see, we all work in the One Off environment. But how would you like to be rehired years later when that young entrepreneur is a leader at another company? Or creating a deep dive array of coaching services that grow as the organization grows? For myself I’ve had to add 9 month and one year programs to my consulting simply because I realized one workshop, a keynote or a 6 week engagement weren’t really enough to create a sea change. For a broad transformation that is felt throughout the organization, I needed a team, and my team needs to get inside the organization for 9 months minimum.

Long term, versus short term.
Which do you think is better?

Also, don’t wear a tie. Millennials like to be comfortable at work, and so should you. I wear a Hugo Boss suit with a fitted dress shirt and a silk handkerchief with expensive sunglasses. Even Millennials in flip-flops appreciate casual elegance.

So get in there. There’s money to be made, and companies to help build.

Brad Szollose

Global Business Adviser and Consultant
on Millennials and Workforce Performance Strategies

This Blog Post originally appeared on the Smith Durant Blog: 

Thank you. If you wish to know more about Smith Durant, Nathan Smith, Michael Durant, Lee Constantine and the work we are doing on their logo below:


Learn more about this topic:
Watch an exclusive webinar
from Brad Szollose & Nathan Smith on Are Millennials Destroying Business As We Know It?

Brad Szollose is a global business adviser and the foremost authority on Generational Issues and Workforce Engagement Strategies.

Author of the award-winning, bestseller Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia, Brad is a former C-level executive of a publicly traded company that he cofounded that went from entrepreneurial start-up to IPO in three years; the first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company K2 Design, experienced 425% hyper-growth, due in part to a unique management style that won his company the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.

Known for his humorous and thought-provoking presentations, Brad’s keynotes and workshops are highly interactive, heart-warming, and filled with high-content information that challenge assumptions and help leaders and managers create a better work environment for innovation to thrive.

Today, Brad helps smart companies like Dell and MasterCard, understand just how much technology has transformed a new generation, and how that impacts corporate culture, management interaction, expectations, productivity and sales in The Information Age. 

* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author

"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.