How do I engage the next generation of employees and customers? That’s the question I get asked most these days.
Fine, I’m paraphrasing. What I really get is “$$##@! %^&$#! millennials what the $#@!# *&^%$! hell?”
To which I reply, “So what you’re asking is, ‘How will you empower your team to deliver value and results to you as a leader, and to themselves, the company, and your customers?’”
“Yes . . . I guess.”
“So what are you going to do about it?”
To which I get one of the three following three responses. Which one sounds like you?
- (Okay, let me know how that works for you.)
- Wait and see. (You’re like people who think they don’t need insurance because they’re healthy. Even if millennials are not the majority of your employees, they are or will soon be your customers.)
- Act! (Okay, good! You are like the people I love to work with.)
Acting starts with shifting our mindsets, not theirs, and trusting ourselves. When we shift our focus to connecting and delivering value to others, we win with our clients, employees, spouses, partners, kids … we become guides and mentors of the next generation and ourselves. That’s how we bridge the gap between generations in the workplace.
And at Launchbox, B.R.I.D.G.E. is also an acronym for our overlapping and integrated six-step plan that unleashes the power of you to understand your own relevance—to address disconnects and become completely relevant as a guide, mentor, and leader with and to millennials:
- (B)UST MYTHS to identify and break through underlying assumptions about employees that create barriers by not making those assumptions when dealing with other generations.
- Create (R)EAL-DEAL AUTHENTIC, caring relationships with your team by connecting authentically and creating real emotional connections, showing genuine interest and caring for others, and sharing your friggin’ self.
- Demonstrate an “(I) OWN IT” mindset that forces you to be personally accountable and responsible for driving results by understanding your strengths and your story, taking personal ownership for what and how things happen to you, and having personal accountability
- (D)ELIVER VALUE through understanding, mentorship, and coaching of others by making it about others – remembering you are not the hero of your own story.
- Keep (G)OALS IN MIND based on a shared and embraced vision by creating a shared vision, shared purpose, and shared goals that align those of individuals, the team, and the company.
- (E)MPOWER SUCCESS through leveraging strengths, paving the road to success, and giving feedback and recognition the right way.
When you B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap, you build genuine and caring relationships that increase engagement, productivity, innovation, results, and profits to empower you and your people to connect, mentor, lead, motivate, and add value at the highest levels.
B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and you’ll have the right tools and skills to be a better manager and to develop your millennial employees for the benefit of the company. You’ll also have a more connected, productive, fun, enjoyable, and significant professional and home life.
Don’t be fooled by the apparent simplicity of those six steps. B.R.I.D.G.E. is easy to say but hard to do. Or as my former boss in the auto business told me, “Dan, it’s all simple; it just ain’t easy.”
To get started in the right direction, all you have to do is what my bosses in that auto business asked me to do: show up. Show up and do what needs to be done on your end to B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap with your people and write new rules for the workplace of the future. Yes, you—you need to show up and show how much you care.Not just for a day. But sustainably for months and years for everyone your life touches—not just millennials.
That’s how you find your own relevance and create great relationships.
What are you going to do right now to create and empower the next generation of leaders? How can you become one yourself and be their guide?
Need help answering these questions and getting started? Let us help you stop chasing relevance and make it happen. For more on the power of relationships, check out Part One of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace TODAY.