The wait is over. The eagerly anticipated 2nd part to Megan Mackeigan’s The Next Generation is with us! If you didn’t read part 1…… Maybe go back and refresh your memory first. Its not to be missed!
As a Sandler Trainer I have become addicted to the work that we do. Anneli put it well when she said, “Watching my colleagues change through Sandler and its ethos, I gradually got more involved with the company. Every day I loved what I saw more and more, so have never looked back.” I feel the same. We have the privilege of helping people enjoy and be better in their careers. At Sandler we talk a great deal about being a “product of the product”, so by going to our Sandler conferences in the US three times a year, I have the opportunity to learn more and become better in my own career. It is a privilege I don’t take for granted.
Anneli and I are in Sandler for the long haul. We have the belief that a profession in business development has exceptional rewards, and we know that we have to be dedicated, consistent and productive to reap the benefits of it. We both agree that we battle the reputation of our ‘Y Generation’ that has us lacking the ambition and commitment that the Boomers had when they were our age. The consensus has become that those born in the 80’s and onward have a feeling of entitlement to a lifestyle and income that we are not willing to work for.
Anneli is inclined to agree that the perception of the ‘Y Generation’ in the workforce is not always a positive one. “Sometimes there is a perception of our generation that when they are job searching they become very picky but have little process to strategically find a position they will enjoy. Some may say that when they do have jobs they are unwilling to do the difficult behaviours, and often experience the employee mentality. The Y Generation was brought up in such a way that in some cases it is the culture of their being. They were taught there is no such thing as a ‘job for life’. How can our generation be expected to work hard if no one expects them to stay long term and is not willing to invest in their career success?”
We both agree that while there may be some Y Generation individuals that fit this stereotype it is impossible to group them all together. Not all Y Generations are settling for jobs they’re not passionate about, working just hard enough not to get fired and feeling satisfied with maintaining the status quo. Just look at the number of young, successful entrepreneurs in Halifax. Look at groups like Fusion. Young, vibrant, motivated business people who are working hard to achieve their goals. Y Generation business leaders are emerging in markets from Halifax to London every day.
Those in the Y Generation who break through the stereotypes know that to be successful, they must be confident but humble. They are willing to change and adapt. If they learned it one way, they understand that’s not always the best way for every situation. They are innovative and open to trying new approaches. They ask for help, and understand that no one rises to the top alone – success is a group effort. They manage their expectations. Do they have goals? Of course. Are they realistic? Yes. Smart Y Generations leaders know we’re not going to drive the Mercedes and have the corner office overnight. Your 20’s are for paying dues. It’s what most people do and the initial grunt work is a path to learning and achieving credibility and respect.
If you’re a Y Generation looking to make a big change in your life or career I highly recommend reading The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. It taught me to put success into perspective – take yourself to the next level, but don’t cruise past the steps along the way. Every small step is an experience that makes you better and keeps your feet on the ground. Live in a mindset of success – but define success carefully. For me it’s not a fancy car or lavish stuff – it’s getting better at what I do every day. It helped me understand that there is great success in my future if I am willing to work for it, and to enjoy the journey along the way.
To those managers who have Y Generation business leaders on staff: you’re working with a new breed. These are technologically advanced, social media hungry, networking, money motivated machines. They want the rewards and will work for it, but you have to give them structure to achieve it. I don’t mean micro-managing, but full disclosure managing. A partnership built on trust, that isn’t just about supervising, but about mentorship, training, and coaching. You have got to understand what their personal goals are so you can help them get there and show them how the job is a means to that. We want to be a part of the bigger picture; you’ve got to let us know there is a place for us so we feel we belong.
My hope is that companies will hire Y generation employees and encourage them to treat the company as if it was their own. Anneli and I both have a vested interest in our companies because we want to be a part of the succession plan. We want to continue with what was started. Would more Y generation employees develop a long term mentality if they embodied an entrepreneurial spirit? Could the culture of, “it’s good enough to stay” disappear if Y generation professionals felt like they had something significant to contribute, and were able to experience increased levels of success by working harder? Anneli and I think yes, but it has to start with the business owners showing their Y generation employees that they are a valued part or the company and there is opportunity for more – if they’re willing to work for it.
Written by Megan Mackeigan and Jay Mackeigan.