I have been bothered more and more lately by the gross generalizations many business leaders especially HR/TD/OD professionals are making about the Millennial generation.
If there is one thing that we know for sure, Millennials are more diverse than any other generation previous. I can accept that as a fair generalization.
As a result any attempt by our profession to fit the Millennials into a box should be disregarded as an exercise in futility.
I have yet to see anyone effectively articulate a decent description of the Millennials.
Barry Posner presented some fascinating research recently at the 2008 Leadership Challenge Forum that essentially concluded that when it comes to work all generations want the same thing.
Most workers in their right mind want the same things...they want to come to work and contribute to something meaningful, be compensated fairly so they can pay the bills and enjoy life, enjoy the people they are working with, and be appreciated for their contributions at work.
This should not be considered rocket science.
The interesting thing about generational research is that it all focuses on the differences between generations rather than the similarities.
For every one difference one finds between the generations their are two similarities.
The generational discussion is in my mind not much more than a office fad.
As Barry Posner said during his talk at The Leadership Challenge Forum 2008, "every generation has wondered and worried about whether or not the next generation will be ready and able to handle the demands, challenges, and opportunities they will be leaving behind."
Stop the fad at your desk.
The good news is that every generation will rise to the occasion.
Not to worry. When the opportunity presents itself ordinary people will step forward and rise to the challenge to become leaders. Regardless of the generation
A few months back I was talking to Carolyn Lawson, the Chief Information Officer for the California Public Utilities Commission, we were discussing the Millennials and stereotypes.
Carolyn's Key Point:
Millions of Millennials are now coming to work for you. Rather than spending your time trying to figure out why they are so different, spend time empowering them to utilize their many talents.
Your organization will live or die by it.