Archive for Multi Generation Workforce

SoapBox: Atlanta Growth, Next Gen and Income Disparity

soap boxImpressive growth agenda from Hala Moddelmog, CEO and President of the Metro Atlanta Chamber in her recent Buckhead Club appearance. It’s exciting to think about what we can accomplish as a business community, and that these three things are high on the radar of many leaders here.

Fair warning though – her Atlanta boosterism (a centuries old tradition here) and soapbox stands have activated mine!

There are five hot areas of world growth for jobs and GDP; Atlanta is carving a big swath in all of them.

• Fintech – 70% of the world’s credit transactions have ATL back-office handlers
• Cyber Security – 25% of the world’s is here, and we’re partnering with the best in Israel
• Mobility – it is not too much to say our fair city is North America’s capital
• Health IT – again, the capital, with 225 start ups trying solutions for this highly disrupted sector
• Film and TV – #3 in the country, #5 in the world. Crazy number of studios being built and at capacity before they open their doors!

Our job as business leaders is to encourage businesses at all stages of growth that are in or supporting these sectors.

Next Gen (they don’t like to be called millennials) are already 50% of our workforce, and will be 75% soon.

For those of you who have been kvetching about them, I’d like to say, with all due love and respect – get over it! We want them!

There is a general drive among this age group (roughly 19-35 years old) to want to fix problems. Aren’t there plenty of those? Don’t we want to do everything we can to unleash the talent and energy of our next generation?

Atlanta’s leadership wants them to move here and feed our tech industries, buy their homes, raise their children. The Metro Chamber put on a great effort at South by Southwest this year to raise awareness of all we have to offer and get this upcoming generation of leaders to Choose ATL.

Finally – and here’s the real soapbox…

Atlanta is recognized all over the world for its social justice history, and is the headquarters of many world famous institutions working to better the lot of humankind. We are also a leader in income disparity. A person born in poverty here has a 3-4% chance of moving up. Here, in the city that’s consistently recognized as one of the best to do business in. We know that low pay can generate higher profit, but, as Hala pointed out, that’s short-sighted. We need skilled, healthy workers who can focus on their work, not worry about a roof over their heads. Ultimately, for our businesses to thrive, they need a thriving economy. And a thriving economy needs a well-functioning society.

The owners I work with want to be contributors to both their communities and their bottom lines. It can be a supportive circle that truly lifts all boats. I am thrilled to see the Metro Chamber speaking out and working to address the costs of great income disparity to us all.

Posted in: Multi Generation Workforce, SoapBox

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Give More, Get More – Employee Motivation at its Best

In the past few weeks I’ve heard a lot from Boomers and Gen X about how hard it is to manage the upcoming generations. And, yes, there are now 2 younger generations in the workforce – Gen Y (the millennials) and Gen Z (mostly interns right now).

In an interview a couple of years ago, Jack Welch observed that a common goal, a higher purpose, will make your company an exciting place to work and give younger employees a reason to work with you. You’ll also get “discretionary effort” – that is, that little bit of extra creativity, focus, energy that makes all the difference.

Once you know where you’re going, tell them how you’re going to get there, and make sure they know what behaviors are expected of them.  Then if you see them doing what you want, let them know! It’s not a secret!

“Create role models,” Welch advised. “If you see millennials grabbing onto an idea and doing what you like to see, blow the horn, cue the band, and shine a spotlight on it.”

To get crystal clear about your vision, your expectations, and who needs to be on your team to get there, you couldn’t ask for a more effective set up tools than the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS). Contact me to learn more; if EOS resonates with you, I’ll give you 90 minutes of my time to explain the process in detail, then you can decide from there how you’ll implement it!

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Posted in: Millenials, Multi Generation Workforce

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Jump the Leadership Chasm

shutterstock_155633888Greg had a big people problem – well, person problem. He had built his engineering firm from 3 people to 35 with the help of a good friend’s son. Justin was hired to sell and market – and boy did he! A typical millennial, he was excited to work events where he found customers and great connections. Greg was the closer. Back at the office Justin pivoted to automate the delivery of customer-ready documents. When a different kind of project came through the door, he found an app to manage work flow so his engineers could stay focused on design and specs, then, back out the door again to beat the bushes for more business. Greg and Justin were twin whirlwinds in almost perfect sync.

Then the business grew. Great, right?

If you’ve been there, you know what happened next. Greg needed Justin to focus on what he was hired for – a marketing plan, a sales plan. Justin agreed, but thought Greg’s approach was a little old-fashioned. They hired other people to manage operations and projects. Justin continued to attend events and be great at networking. No plan surfaced. Greg’s frustration met Justin’s “different ideas” about how to plan, but it was hard for them to tell exactly where the breakdown was. The friendship began to deteriorate. Employees got conflicting direction.

Enter the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS). As the leadership team used the Accountability Chart™ to clarify roles they would need to grow to the next level, Justin realized he didn’t want to let go of operations… or sales… or being Greg’s go-to for everything.

Greg:  “We had a conversation that had been brewing for a year. It cleared the air. The next step was painful for all of us.”

Justin:  “Lynda helped us gain the clarity we needed to go our separate ways. I’m grateful that it came to light in a way that kept our relationship whole.”

And now? Someone who loves to market and manage sales has taken over that seat. The team feels more productive and the company is 2 months ahead of its sales targets. Justin continued in a non-leadership role, finishing a couple of projects he was working on while the whole team activated their networks to help him find another company in more of a start-up mode. Justin is thinking that he can make a good living helping companies during those critical first five years – “not everyone thrives with that kind of crazy, but I do!”, he says.

Use the discipline of an accountability chart to define the seats you need for you to get what you want out of your firm in the next year. To learn how, call or write me. I’ll give you 90 minutes of my time so you can see how EOS can help you get the right people in the right seats to attain your vision!

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Posted in: Business Coaching, Leadership, Millenials, Multi Generation Workforce, Planning

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It’s So Hard To Find & Keep Good People

As unemployment rates have gone down, this complaint has become more common.  Whether it’s tied to a feeling that the younger generation doesn’t fit the workplace (see previous post) or the anguish of watching a great hire crash and burn, getting and keeping great people for your company is usually one of the top frustrations we hear about from business owners.  I’m sorry to say that it may not be economic conditions or the educational system – it may be you… The good news is, this is a huge issue in most companies so you’re not alone – and it can be fixed!

Okay, how?

It's Magic!Take a deep breath that includes a lot of patience – you’re going to need it. One big answer is Process.  Then Structure. I know – boring. Not magic.

Well, let me take that back! It is magic!

Having a process to recruit, hire, and develop employees will force you and your leadership team to get clear about what’s working and what isn’t. Included in that process is a speech about your company values – your real, we-reek-of-them, they-are-core-to-who-we-are, values. Try to scare potential employees off! If they don’t love your values, they won’t love working with you and you won’t get what you want out of them. The magic comes from being on the same page and not having to fight about what is important.

Ditto for structure.  Talk to everyone about your vision every quarter.  Where are you going? How do you plan to get there?  What do you expect from them to achieve that vision?  Define roles and accountabilities, give every person a number to hit.  Now expectations are clear.  Energy is unleashed.  Those who don’t have the capacity or desire for their roles will flush out.  You probably won’t even have to fire them (very few leaders can stand firing people). Your best people will thrive. Your dreams will thrive. It really is magic.

Remember the deep breath? The patience? Implementing structure and process consistently is where the patience comes in. It takes guts, and determination, and persistence. But you’re an entrepreneur, so you have that. You might not have time to learn the best ways to implement, you may need help staying with it, keeping it consistent.

There’s a great book, Traction that gives you a simple, complete set of tools to take away 80% of the frustration called people. Download the first chapter here.

You’ll be joining 2200 other business owners who have found renewed joy in growing their companies.



Posted in: Millenials, Multi Generation Workforce, Structure

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“This Younger Generation Is Going To The Dogs!”

hieroglyphicsThat’s a quote from a bit of graffiti Napoleon’s soldiers found while excavating in Egypt.

The graffiti was from 800 B.C.

There were other comments on that wall – the younger generation apparently didn’t respect their elders, had no work ethic, and were not following tradition

Sound familiar?

We hear a lot now about what a challenge it is to manage those self-indulgent millennials in the work force.  And from millennials about how difficult it is to communicate with those workaholic boomers, or me-generation Xers.  My mother used to tell me that every generation faces its own challenges, and gets equipped for those challenges out of necessity.  In the process we pick up traits from the way we are taught, the social atmosphere, and the big events that shape our world.  And yet, at the heart of it all, every individual wants some version of happiness, some way to fulfill their drive and dreams.  Find a way to channel that into how you’re building your company and you’ll have incredibly productive, creative employees who will realize their dreams while they’re helping you realize yours.

To make this possible, get very very real about your values and the roles that people are held accountable for.  Then ask good questions, and listen carefully.  This is where the common ground between generations can be found.  Individual strengths and weaknesses, filtered through the traits that get identified with “those younger (or older!) people” can be used to build a team with the strength of multiple perspectives.  Yes, generalization about millennials make them sound like grade school children run amok.  Get closer.  Listen.  Many in this generation have strong community values, and will lend all their creativity and energy to an endeavor they feel part of.  Watch them light up when they actually hear clearly from you as a leader where you’re trying to go.

Last week there was a great article about Mic – “a media site created by and for millennials” – if you’re struggling with how to integrate millennials into your workforce, take time to read about their perspective and look for how their strengths can help you.

Want to know how to get the best out of your employees, and give your best too?

Contact me for a free 90 minute consultation.

Posted in: Millenials, Multi Generation Workforce

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When Generations Collide

partner conflictsRick got in a confrontation with Al over offering processors the option to work from home 2-3 days a week. Al insisted it was necessary to retain young workers. Rick felt they were losing control and productivity would suffer. Rick is in his 60s, Al in his 40s, the processors in their 20s – different stages of their lives, different generational approaches to work. Quite a stew. At one point Rick threw up his hands; “do what you need to do” and stomped off. They’ve been great partners in building their business, and have rarely gotten so heated about an issue, but there have been increasing tensions as they’ve grown from just 5 people to 30.

While both partners were inclined to paper over the peace, the remaining two people on their leadership team insisted that they bring the issue into the next leadership team meeting. There they dove into the issue of people working from home, using the IDS™ tool we teach in EOS®. During the Identify part of the process, it became clear that the confrontation was rooted in an increasing discomfort for Rick with the way younger workers were fighting to balance their lives with work. To Rick they didn’t feel committed to the company he had worked so hard to build, to them, he was a curmudgeon and a workaholic. Al’s time and energy was being increasingly drained by trying to be the peace-maker.

It was an eye-opening Discussion (the D in IDS™) for everyone on the leadership team. More importantly, a simple Solution (the S!) emerged. Jon, who as the holder of the Finance/Administration seat worked on most people policies, took on the to do item of researching work-at-home policies that had been effective in other companies. Rick decided he would do some research on his own to try to better understand the millennial generation at work.

Every team has it’s tough spots, and in the context of business its easy to think of communication as a “soft” something that we don’t have time to focus on because we need to get on with the “real work.” The leadership team recognized a brewing problem between their founders and had the courage to call them out. Several clients have had these kind of intergenerational communication issues this month (sometimes I think they get together and create a monthly theme for me!). The system of tools we call EOS® gave them the way to navigate touchy conversations in an open, honest, business-focused way. This was especially helpful where the leadership team includes family members!

Posted in: Multi Generation Workforce, Partner Communication

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