Give flexibility instead of a strict 9-to-6 Monday through Friday schedule. (6 of 9 in series)
According to a recent Fox Small Business report, 85% of Americans say that their stress is a serious health issue. American millennials desperately want to find a healthy balance. They’re victims to some of the world’s worst divorce rates, and they don’t want their children to experience the same hardships. Part of their strong desire for meaning is fulfilled through flexibility that allows them to scamper away from the office for their daughter’s early Monday afternoon piano recital, to have lunch with their family on Wednesday, and to hit the gym on Thursday morning. The lines between work and home are blurred for Gen Y. They’re happy to make up time over the weekend and interested to work from their home office using Skype and Google Docs. Bring happiness to your millennials through flexibility and accountability, and you’ll gain deeper commitment, and, in turn, better results.
Collaboration-Conducive Work Environments | Building Trust with Gen Y Series
Situate them in workspaces conducive to collaboration. (5 of 9 in series)
Millennials are also known as “generation we” because of their strong social mindset. Despite growing up in the most individualistic nation in history, American millennials think and act quite socially. They know that better results and meaning come through collaboration. They’re used to the flat connected world and used to working with people from varying cultures. Gen Y knows that strategizing and executing with 3 or 8 or 21 varying perspectives leads to high caliber and balanced results. Consider setting up your office in a way that’s more conducive to collaboration and get increased productivity by letting millennials work and compete on teams.
Manage without Hovering | Building Trust with Gen Y Series
Avoid managing like a helicopter boss. (4 of 9 in series)
Gen Y’s distaste for institutions makes them a different experience to manage. Their objectives for meaningfulness and fulfillment make them best-off to manage with a coaching tilt. They find fulfillment and meaning in their own personal development, and managers can function as catalysts in the process. They need their managers to give deadlines and hold them accountable to deliverables, but they respond best to managers who come alongside of them, remove barriers, and give constant feedback. Millennials want this type of customized constant feedback from their leaders because it’s what they’re used to. They were told they were special as kids and received trophies even for 9th and 10th place, they’re accustomed to Amazon and Pandora learning and catering to their interests, and they like it when their text messages and Facebook statuses receive instantaneous responses. They desire their leaders to give customized honest coaching that helps them develop personally and get better professional results. Stay away from fear tactics, hovering over shoulders, and invading space. Find customized positive methods to assure results, and you’ll gain sustainable shared success.
Give More Vision and Less Step-by-Step | Building Trust with Gen Y Series
Assign work and give lots of vision, and less exact step-by-step procedures. (3 of 9 in series)
Gen Y gets become less engaged when given a roadmaps with exact steps. They have a penchant for problem solving and want challenges to face. Millennials are the first generation to grow up with the internet. They’ve spent their entire lives learning and trying multiple methods for accomplishing end goals. Scouring YouTube how-to videos, About.com explanations, experts’ websites, Yahoo! conversation boards, etc. are standard protocol for figuring out how to do something. Their minds are like databases of ideas, and they want to apply them through trial and error. If their leaders teach top suggested methods, give them responsibility, and trust them to deliver results on deadlines, they are likely to innovate more efficient methods and get high quality results.
Focus on Meaningfulness | Building Trust with Gen Y Series
By 2025, approximately 75% of the world’s workforce will consist of millennials (Gen Y), according to a study from the BPW Foundation. Companies that survive past 2025 will be those that develop the trust of the millennial workforce, while maintaining trust with previous generations. Companies that disregard the mind-frame and work-style of Gen Y will scare away top talent and consumer dollars.
In 9-blog series over the next few weeks, we will share 9 Gen Y trust-builders & insights into the milennial mind. Here’s the first one.
Redesign aspects of your organization in a way that focus on meaningfulness. (1 of 9 in series)
Millennials yearn for meaning. Without living through a draft or another major hardship, Gen Y desires more than stability and achievement. They want to work in organizations that are genuine to a meaningful mission. They don’t want to merely provide products and services. Rather, they want to use them as tools to help develop people and society. In addition to a meaningful mission, they want their organization to have a strong environmental, social, and corporate governance strategy (ESG), be known as a leader in corporate responsibility, and give back generously and purposefully to their communities. If your company doesn’t focus on meaningfulness and give freedom to create new avenues to make a difference, millennials will run the other direction – to your competitor companies. But, by paying attention to the value of meaningfulness, your company will develop trust and retain top young talent.
Leadership and Foresight from the Greatest Leader I Know | Trusted Leadership
What a treat to enjoy Thanksgiving at the farm with family! Pond hockey, broom ball, games, pecan and pumpkin pie (I much prefer pie over cake any day), fellowship, gratefulness, and even some time cutting wood for the stove. It is so good to work together and play together. Most of my five siblings and the seventeen grandchildren were able to gather and stay at the farm (all but my sister’s family, who live in Kenya and teach at a university there). Dad is 84 years old now and Mom is close behind. They are an example of intentional leadership.
On Saturday, Dad invited all of the farm families that rent land from him over to the house for food, fellowship and a “program”. The “program” was intentional. He built our well over a thousand acre farm from nothing, buying his first 80 acres while in college just after serving in the Korean War. Why did he bring together family and renters and have a “program”? To introduce his kids to the renters, to encourage open communication, to transfer leadership, and to provide a peaceful thoughtful process for when he is not around anymore. Dad is still in great health, but he is wise. His wisdom to give a clear plan for succession planning will take a whole lot of stress out or our future. Each of the kids have clear responsibilities and roles. It was significant that in front of everyone he gave leadership to his fifth child, the brother just older than me to be the point person for farm operations. While we know Dad loves all of us, Loren is the best person for that job. This public declaration of who the farm point person is gave clarity and empowered Loren to take that role even though he is not the oldest child, which may be a more traditional approach for that responsibility.
Two leadership lessons: First, think ahead and act ahead. Secondly, while it is true that empowerment occurs when a person is given the resources needed for a given task, it is equally important to empower leaders by publicly giving them the leadership role necessary to take on responsibility and have others quickly follow. This is a form of “Transfer Trust” – Since people trust you as leader, and you trust a given person to lead, when you publicly give the leadership role, others will more quickly follow that individual so that you are no longer needed in that role.
This week I met up with friend and author, Hayley Foster, pro on developing TED speakers. Her advice for speakers. You must have a core idea that is new. Ideas can change the world. Her best idea, probably formed because TED talks are meant to be so short, YOU CANNOT HAVE ANY EXTRA WORDS. Most Ted talks are 18, 12, or less than 8 minute talks. It is harder to give a short speech than a long on because it takes more preparation for a short one. If you are a speaker and If your story usually takes minutes to tell, make yourself tell it in 4 lines. Shorten and tighten. Great advice in this attention-span-deprived noisy world.
Steve Schussler Pays Attention to Detail | Trust in Marketing
Steve Schussler author and creator of Rain Forest Café, T-Rex and others at Disney is the ultimate example of staying fresh relevant and capable! At lunch this week I asked Steve how he creates such unique experiences. His first response, “Attention to detail”. Competency, consistency and commitment come together to create unmatched quality. From how he dresses to everything he creates, the little things make the big difference when you work the Steve Schussler! Is he trusted? Yes. From pro athletes to Disney to investors, Schussler is trusted with millions of dollars and more in brand equity.
Trust is the foundation of effective and authentic leadership. Without trust, leaders lose teams through attrition, or dangerously low engagement. Among the many qualities of trusted leaders, clarity is key: People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous. So, leaders who earn employee trust provide transparency around goals, plans, and expectations.
Sadly, one widely-used leadership tool puts leaders at risk for destroying clarity and trust – the annual strategic planning session. If you ever want to put your team to sleep, just say these two words: strategic planning. While I agree that “without a plan, you plan to fail,” many employees have developed knee-jerk skepticism toward annual planning sessions. Why? Most have taken days at off-site retreats and hours of analysis without doing much differently afterward. Few strategic planning sessions provide clarity around the specific actions and changes required to achieve the intended goals. Without a clear plan, employees are confused and become ineffective – leading to fear, frustration, and a lack of focus. And with every ambiguous strategic plan, trust in leadership erodes. We can’t have faith in a leader who has fuzzy plans or unclear expectations.
How can leaders create a strategic planning framework that builds clarity? One way is to practice quicker planning more often – one hour every 90 days – with a bias for action. While long-term strategic planning can assist certain functions, the world is moving too fast for long-range plans to stay relevant.
Quick Planning: Four Questions
Instead of an annual planning session, try 90-Day Quick Planning (90DQP). It gives leaders and their teams an actionable framework that provides clarity for participants, and leads to tangible results. Simply pick one to three areas of your business you’d like to address, then ask and answer four questions. It should take less than one hour to complete the process, performed every 90 days. I’ve used this same process for my company, for my family, and for losing 50 pounds of weight.
Questions 1: Where are we? If you do not know where you are today, you can’t know where you would like to be in the future. Many leaders like to use SWOT analysis, which is fine – but only give yourself 20 minutes to complete it. Most teams can identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats quickly. For my weight loss, I could easily see that I was 50 pounds overweight.
Question 2: Where are we going? Ask, in 90 days, where would you like to be? Would you like to be back to your high school weight, like I did, or double sales, or reach 100 more customers? Write a clear, quantifiable (numerical) goal of where you want to be.
Question 3: Why are we going? If the why is strong enough, the plan does not need to be perfect. If a building is burning and my kids are in it, I don’t need to know every detail – I’m going in because my why is so strong. When your team has a motivating and unifying why, they’ll do the little things differently. They’ll stay passionate and focused, and they’ll finish. Recently, I was with journalist Larry King, when a friend of mine asked him, “What is your favorite question to ask?” He said that his favorite question is why because “the why” motivates people. He said he can conduct an entire interview by simply asking “Why did you do that?” Why did I want to lose the weight? I wanted to look and feel better. But I realized that I also wanted to have integrity. In my work, I talk about doing the little things that make a big difference. But when I looked in the mirror, I felt like I was not living out that principle in this area of my own life. With a more compelling why, I increased my commitment to my goal.
Question 4: How are we going to get there?Why may be Larry King’s favorite questions, but mine is how? – How are we going to get there?
I recently worked with a group of health care executives. After a day of training and consulting, they decided the issue they needed to address most urgently was clarity. Their brilliant minds discussed what they would do to be clearer. Their first answer was: “We will communicate more.” I wondered what exactly that meant. So I asked, how? They huddled and then responded, “We will hold each accountable.” I’ve heard that before and seen few results, so I asked them again, how? They huddled once again. Finally, they came up with something specific they would do every meeting to build clarity. Keep asking how until your team commits to taking specific actions. If people do not start doing something differently right now, the plan does not matter.
Asking myself how? – over and over – was the key to losing 50 pounds of weight. When it comes to slimming down, everyone knows what to do. Eat less and exercise more. But that wasn’t working for me. I had to ask how? until I could pinpoint something specific that I would do differently. I came up with 15 specific “how’s” that led to me losing 33 pounds in 90 days, and 50 pounds in six months. For example, a doctor told me that most men in America would lose 30 to 50 pounds in a year if they simply would stop drinking their calories (8 oz. of orange juice has 110 calories). So I achieved clarity on how to drink fewer calories by asking myself how until I devised a list of things not to drink – and what to drink instead. I knew that if I picked up a glass of water or Fresca, I could drink it. If the glass contained soda or orange juice, I wouldn’t. I was clear on the how, and so were the results of my efforts.
Instead of laborious strategic planning once a year, try this 90-day challenge. Every 90 days go through the Quick Planning process for three areas of your business. Instead of approaching it skeptically or wanting to fall asleep, your team will find focus, energy, and motivation. With greater clarity around your 90-day plan and vision, you will gain the trust of your team – and bottom-line results will follow.
Forbes: The Most Valuable Business Commodity: Trust | Trust in Business
We own our failures, we learn from them, and we share them publicly so that others can learn from our failings as well, which has helped us to bounce back higher than before when we fall. We don’t believe in treading water. Employees who remain in one place (physically and emotionally) will grow weary.