This is part 1 of a 3 part series around The Future of Organizations.
The world is being dominated by mobile technology, social platforms, and lightning fast data at the push of a button. People are walking around with their faces in their phones and their fingers tapping like hamsters striking the pellet bar. It's a different picture than 20 years ago, where people looked at each other instead of a cell phone.
Research Fact: On average, people look at their phones 150 times per day in any setting- a restaurant, walking down the street, at work during teleconferences, etc.
Organizations are being impacted by these factors. Globalization is showing up in full force due to easy connectivity and quick data access, causing exponential growth and crazy business opportunities. As a result, business leaders are faced with a huge multicultural learning curve while scrambling to figure out the "catch up" strategy. Who's responsible for this major disruption?
Well, everyone is blaming the "Millennials".
Who are these intriguing people? According to the public at large, millennials are those people born in between the 1980's through early 21st century. Some say 2000- turn of the century, others push it out to 2004.
I sat at lunch with colleagues in the learning industry recently, and the hot topic at the table revolved around millennials in the workplace. A familiar story evolved:
Millennial enters workforce.
Expects the silver platter treatment.
Wants to know where the trophy is for showing up to work on time.
Asks for a promotion after 6 months on the job.
Eventually leaves or becomes disengaged shortly afterwards.
As my mind thought, my mouth spoke. "Didn't we create this? We raised our kids on the premise that we didn't want them to suffer like we did. We gave them everything and made life easier for them. We used positive talk and rewards instead of beating their butts. When they lost the big game, we told them it was okay because EVERYONE IS A WINNER. Then we bought them ice cream or a prize to reinforce that behavior. We are accountable."
This story is not new to any generation. Just as our parents taught us, we have taught our children, and they have learned well. A new challenge emerges everytime a generation comes of age and enters the workforce. Older generations have a habit of reacting with shock and disapproval, forgetting that they actually cultivated this whole scenario.
The reaction we see is a classic example of resistance to change.
These brilliant "trophy winning" young people are genuinely responsible for driving the technology age. They are also teaching us something about connectivity and a having a sense of community. We need to trust that our work is paying off, it just looks different than it did for Gen X'ers and Baby Boomers.
We have taught millennials how to run the show.
Next: What Millennials Can Teach Us About Connectivity