Don’t believe everything you hear…

From a principal’s publication 1815: “Students today depend on paper too much. They don’t know how to write on a slate without getting chalk dust all over themselves. They can’t clean a slate properly. What will they do when they run out of paper?”

Millennial’s have received very bad press!

It’s not millennial’s it us, as we get older we become setting always and expect others to learn our way of doing things. I was part of the baby boomer revolution, I had long hair tinted glasses and yes smoked weed. The generation before me wanted me to change, to fit in to be part of what they thought was normal “whatever normal is!”

Recently a number of books have been published identifying “how to work with” and “what’s wrong with millennial’s” – that is nothing wrong with millennial’s. They different from us, thank goodness because based upon the results we haven’t done a such good job. They are fresh thinking and different and because that different and don’t have the same values and beliefs as everyone else that thought of as difficult and selfish.

If you are a manager or leader or even perhaps you work with a millennial is easy to believe that you know the right way and if they don’t comply it’s even easier to criticize. They are different and yet have some wonderful traits but you will not see them if you constantly criticize cajole and try to make them do it your way.

They are educated and they (Millennials) are on track to become the most educated generation in Western history. That does not make them street smart, but educated and opinionated. Tech savvy – the first generation to grow up constantly connected to the world, and are what the Pew Research Center has labeled “Digital natives in a land of digital immigrants.” They instinctively know how it works where as many leaders are still in a funk about technology!

They see the big picture (Millennial generation) and have a strong sense of community both on local and global scale. Compared to “ME” generation, Millennials focus on larger societal needs rather than individual needs. When it comes to health, social, economic and environmental issues, Millennials are the most conscious generation to date. They care about their impact on the world at all levels and want the companies they work for to care also. It’s not all about career and the money!

Startup inspired kids, they have the spark of creating deep within them. They grew up on entrepreneurship watching Steve Jobs lead the renewed Apple, Mark Zuckerberg create Facebook and other young innovators disrupt traditional industries. They have so much to contribute, watch out they are coming.

They are “Pragmatic Idealists” – sounds like an oxymoron, but they understand how much work is needed to manage climate change, pollution and race, and financial inequality. What great values to hire and learn from. They don’t just accept the status quo and they will challenge the system if there’s something can be improved and this ruffles feathers of existing management, what is powerful stimulus for everyone.

They prefer merit systems to others (e.g. seniority), recognition and reward motivates them.

As you can tell I am a fan of the millennial’s and yes, they can be challenging, and they are exciting and bring a lot of value to any business. For more information on millennial’s I recommend that you follow the links below for deeper reading. In the mean-time enjoy the change that’s coming your way for it’s not going to stop. Adapt or die is a perennial truth about business and leadership.

Conclusion: the principals quote from 1815 is a great reminder to stay curious and realize things change, always have and will continue do so – adapt or die.