Why Gen Y?

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I had the opportunity to hear Jason Dorsey speak last week and I recommend anyone who has the chance to listen to this kid… do so!  Who is Jason Dorsey you might ask?  He is “The Gen Y Guy”… a thirty-something who has made a career of educating business leaders on the Millennial generation (also known as Gen Y).  His website states who he is very simply:

Jason Dorsey is the leading generational speaker. He’s a best-selling author and award-winning entrepreneur.  And he’s a Gen Y’er who texts his mom every day.

He texts his mom every day… As a Mom of three kids who fall into the Millennial generation,  that sentence spoke an absolute truth to me and I knew immediately that Jason Dorsey had information on a generation of young adults that: 1) drives me downright nuts… and 2) creates a great sense of pride and respect in who these kids have grown up to be.

I was very excited to be given a copy of Jason’s book Y-size Your Business this week and after skimming through a few pages, I know it is going to be as entertaining and informative as Jason is in person.  Speaking of being excited… watching Jason jump up and down and clap his hands like a little kid reminded me that I have become way too serious in my old Baby Boomer age… it is time to jump up and down and clap enthusiastically… I will report in a later blog post if this new behavior has had my employer, employees, family or friends feel the need to have an intervention or two…

After listening to Jason and thinking about my own children, I have compiled the Top Five traits that both drive me crazy and which also could be used to power a business in a positive way:

  1. They are tech savvy.   Their iPhones are permanently affixed to their hands and thumbs… eyes always darting up and down from computer to iPhone (or other smart phone device)… ear buds in ears more often than not.  The attachment to their phones and text messages shows us that this generation knows how to connect to the world through technology and they have no fear in doing so.
  2. They are confident in their knowledge and abilities… yes, sometimes they run into the issue that they don’t know what they don’t know. They were raised by well-intentioned Baby Boomer parents who wanted our kids to feel good about themselves… to have great self-esteem.  The awesome thing about having a strong sense of self is that they (Gen Y’ers) do not allow mental barriers from having them speak up and sharing their knowledge and views.  In sales,  being confident is critical… so who better to sell your product than a millennial?
  3. They demand life/work balance.  Working over-time is not on the top of a Gen Y’er’s wish list.  When the work day is done, the work day is done… period.  For the Boomers of the world,  this infuriates us because we don’t sense the commitment to doing whatever it takes to get the work done.  I think we Baby Boomers can learn from the millennial generation… balance is healthy and we probably will not see the effects of burn out with the Gen Y folks as we have seen with the Baby Boomers.
  4. They are transparent.  Gen Y shares it all via social media… the good…. the bad… the indifferent… which is a bit scary but also refreshing.  Corporate speak is all about transparency these days… being transparent with employees so that they understand the business… being transparent with customers to build trust.  Who better to build a culture of transparency  with the character traits of the “Why” generation?  Yes,  we will need to help them understand the how of being responsibly transparent to keep people out of jail or lawsuits…
  5. They want to make a difference.  We may not always agree with their political views or how some see creating personal wealth as a bad thing but the bottom line is… most of the Gen Y group want to be a part of changing the world to be a better place… they have heart.

What are some of the other characteristics that you believe the millennial generation can bring to organizations to improve business results?

3 thoughts on “Why Gen Y?

  1. I so appreciate your comment #3 about work life balance. As a boomer myself, that issue has been a lifelong struggle for me. I would like to point out that working hard does not have to mean working lots of hours. That is a myth that way too many Boomers can’t see past.

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  2. Kristi, thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. I totally agree with you that working hard does not mean that we work more… it is about working smarter, using efficiency tools and “letting go” and I think the “letting go” is a bit hard for many of us Boomers…

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