Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What Leadership Needs To Know About Millennials— Their Expectations of Becoming the CEO -NOW!

In our previous blog articles, we addressed what is millennial employee and some tips on how to address their concerns and needs.


            One point that many leaders either don’t know or forget is that millennials want to become the CEO on about day 4 with the company!  No foolin’, that is the expectation of many young millennial workers.  In some cases, they can handle it, however, in most cases; some additional seasoning is normally required.


            As a leader, you need to be prepared for this phenomenon the day that you either hire a millennial or the day that you are promoted and now have millennials working for you!  This is especially true of the dynamic, hard charging employees who are proud of their work.  OK, now what?  What do you do when this point is identified to you?


            First of all, you need to be brutally honest with millennials.  They can detect BS 4 miles away—this will NOT work.  You are going to need hard, focused, pointed answers to each one of their questions.  Do NOT assume that any interaction is pro forma, i.e.  We are “just going through the motions” with them.  This includes the on-boarding process, the job description discussion, the establishment of measureable and achievable goals and objectives and how those goals and align with not only division but also corporate goals also.  Be prepared to be able to show the alignment and interaction of all the goals.  Further be prepared to be challenged and questioned on each point.  The questions are normally not of a confrontational tone, but they are pointed and extremely well focused.  Again, no BS.  If you don’t know—admit you don’t, then find out and report back to the millennial who asked the question.


            For many baby boomer leaders, this discussion is a lot harder than before.  I have a colleague who said he always came away “whipped” from one of these talks.  This is a very senior executive who has led large organizations—he is a great leader, however, the millennial discussion always gave him a good workout!  He never ducks the chance to have the discussion, however, he prepares robustly for the talk.

            Most millennials will recognize after a career chat that they are NOT ready today to be the CEO, however, does not mean in 6 months that you will not have that conversation again.  What will be asked of you is for you to provide the training and experiences so that when that conversation comes in 6 more months, the millennial is ready to advance forward.


            My personal experience with many millennials is that they will readily accept your advice, provided it is good and solid.  They will work and do what you state, however, the millennial expectation is that the game plan you designed for them will fulfill not only your goals as a senior leaders, but also the millennial goal to move forward. 


Interestingly enough, I have found some millennials who were really “amped up” to be CEO’s.  OK, we gave them tough, demanding and challenging assignments in preparation for that day.  Once they found out and through firsthand experience that doing CEO type matters is not always what it appear to be, their expectations changed as well.  Long, hard hours, weekends, nights, Sundays, numerous social functions, a constant tether to the IPAD and smartphone--- everything that CEO does but they did not see caused some to “slow down” a little.  Some were very clear that if that is what the CEO has to do, then “No Thanks,” not for me—at least now.


Millennial employees are fun to work with!  They want a challenge!  Give it to them—you will be surprised with what they give you back.  The results will be normally very superb!

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Workforce is Changing Before Our Very Eyes—How Do We Adapt? Part 2

In our last blog post, we identified new characteristics of the Millennial worker.  If you were perplexed and challenged by what we wrote, you are not alone.  It is common for many baby boomer managers and older workers to think, “Just let me do my job, get my time in so that I can retire and get out of here!”  Well, as usual, things are not normally that simple.  Leading the Millennial worker isn’t simple either.


            OK, this is not tough, however, you may have to change your mindset and be willing to adapt to change.  Change is hard, but not impossible.  In today’s world, change is the only constant in life.


            If you are the manager/leader or co-worker, here are the steps to begin insuring that both you and the new Millennial worker are successful.  After all, it takes all of you to win the battle and the war!


  • Step 1—Embrace change, the new environment and the new worker.  It is all that you can do.  Some reading on the Millennial generation, using GOOGLE to find relevant articles can  be a good start.


  • Step 2-- Have a focused, in-depth discussion with the new Millennial employee during the initial on-boarding process.  Ensure that he/she knows the expectations of the firm, i.e., dress, attendance, comportment with colleagues and clients, etc.  And maybe chat a little about the culture of your company.
  • Step 3—Listen very, very carefully to the questions that you are asked.  Each question has a point to it—make sure that you know, understand and answer the question.  In some cases, you are not going to know the answer and will have to get back to the employee.  If you say you will do so—DO IT!  This is a time that you are being watched.
  • Step 4—Provide the best technology possible.  If the computer you are providing is the old desk top with Windows XP, which will NOT work.  Don’t embarrass yourself or the firm—get the newest, fastest laptop or tablet and give to the new Millennial employee.  He/She will now how to operate it—even if you don’t0—they will.
  • Step 5—The “Why” question?  Be prepared to answer and address the “why” question.  Here is one time that you don’t need to be defensive, however, now may be the time to make some real changes because your new Millennial asked Why?  If change is required, do it!  After all, the new millennial has ideas also.
  • Step 6—Hours—Most Millennials are used to working lots of weird and different hours.  Does it really make any difference, as long as the job gets done?  Do you have to have everyone outside the door so that you can see them?  These are all deep, penetrating thought questions; however, the prima facie answer is usually, not always.  If someone wants to work a weird shift, as long as the work is done and done well, do you care?  Think about this answer—it is not as hard as you may think; however, it is easier than you may think also.  Remember, the Millennial worker wants responsibility as well as respect.  Give it to them; you will receive it back exponentially.
  • Step 7- Mentorship—This is one of the key  expectations that a new Millennial employee is seeking—mentorship.  This takes work—focused dedicated effort on your part as the supervisor; however, the results are well worth the time involved!  I have always made new employees develop a 5 year rolling  “game plan” focusing on the following areas:
        • Career
        • Family
        • Fun/Recreation
        • Spiritual
        • Financial


This can be a rolling 5 year Gantt chart.  The key is to have some specific focus areas with defined goals that both you and the employee can review.  This works well—try it!


  • Step 8- Reflection and Review.  If you do all of the above steps, you will find that you have a new Millennial employee who has an attitude of gratitude for you, your company and the industry in which you work.  And you’ll have a very productive employee as well!



Leaders must create the organizational environment for success.  Meeting the Millennial worker’s expectations  are fundamental to having success with Millennial generation employees.