The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only constant in life is change.” While I’m no philosopher, he certainly got that right! Just compare our world now to Heraclitus’s time. Hell, a lot has changed since I entered the workforce – and I’m no dinosaur!

So if we know the world is constantly changing and will continue to change, why do we keep putting things off for the future? Why do we keep telling ourselves that when the workplace of the future finally “arrives” we’ll just figure out how to adapt? Why are we not prioritizing developing our employees, our companies, and ourselves NOW so that we can make sure we WIN in the future?

As we’ve been talking about the worker of the future, you might have thought to yourself, “Okay Dan, I hear you, but why I should care about this right now? What’s so different about this moment in time that I should drop everything and shift my focus to worrying about a future that’s not even here yet?”

For starters, you don’t need to worry about the future if you’ve done the work to prepare for it. It’s only those who haven’t put in the time that need to worry! But to answer that question, to discuss why it’s so important that we care about creating the worker of the future right now, we have to look at a few things that are true about this moment in time:

Key Industries Are Being Disrupted

My wife is a Realtor and a damn good one at that. But whether real estate agents will eventually go the way of travel agents and she’ll be out of a job is up for debate.

“It’s a people industry,” they argue. “Nobody wants to buy a house from a computer.”

Well most people never imagined we’d push a button to have a perfect stranger come pick us up at our house and look where we are now.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Where there’s a need, or where we can create a need, there’s opportunity. Every industry has its own pockets of opportunity that could lead to significant disruption and choosing to ignore this fact is the equivalent of burying your head in the sand and pretending like it isn’t happening.

Every industry that hasn’t already been disrupted is ripe for future disruption. And the industries that have already changed will continue to do so. Speaking of Uber, I recently learned that in response to companies like Bird and Lime offering alternative, on-demand transportation options, Uber has also gotten into the scooter-sharing game. It acquired Jump Bikes in April 2018 to the tune of $200 million. Because even the disruptors can become disrupted!

We’re More Connected Than Ever Before

A 2015 study by Bank of America found that 71% of smartphone owners sleep with their phones either on their nightstand, in their bed, or in their hand. That figure is likely even higher now! The fact is, for the majority of us the phone screen is the last thing we see at night and the first thing we see in the morning.

And do you know what’s on those phone screens? Apps. Facebook. Instagram. Gmail. What’s App. Slack. All these things that allow us to be connected to others 24/7/365. This connectivity has not only dramatically changed our personal relationships, it’s changed the way we work.

Walk into an office six or seven years ago and it wasn’t unusual to find that most companies had a policy about their employees having their cellphones on their desks. Now? Bosses are sending their employees Instagram DMs and expecting them to respond if they’re on the clock. Or not on the clock because the lines between where our workday begins and ends have become incredibly blurred.

Used to be that every business had the same forty-hour workweek to get things done in. But now that we are all connected at the push of a button, it is always game ON.

The Speed of Life and the Speed at Which Things Change Has Increased

You’ve probably heard this old riddle before:

“There is a pond with lily pads in it. Every day the amount of lily pads in the pond doubles. If on the 30thday, the pond is completely full, on which day was it half full?”

The answer? The 29thday.

Just like those lily pads, the rate of change has been growing exponentially for hundreds of years and we are now at that 29thday! Earlier I mentioned how much had things had change since the time of the ancient Greeks. Now think about this: the first personal computer arrived in 1975, the Internet in 1991. Now we carry an Internet-connected computer around in our back pocket and use it to share cat videos with our friends on Facebook. How’s that for rapid change?

This culture of disruption and the increased connectivity between each and every one of us means that the speed at which things change will only increase. If you can’t keep up and your competitors can, you will lose. Period.

Trust is More Important Than Ever

It only takes one tweet with a screenshot of a supposedly private conversation to go viral and ignite a PR firestorm for your company. If we do not do right by our customers and convince them at every opportunity (and I mean every opportunity) that they can trust us, we open ourselves up to enormous amounts of risk. Your customers have a choice about who they buy from and who they work with. Companies do not have the power anymore. Consumers have all the power.

But it’s also not just about the customer. Employees want to work for companies that are real with them. And if you don’t deliver, they will find another company who can. It’s that simple. So you better pay attention and give them what they want because employees matter. Yes, you need the customer to buy from you, but it’s the employee that handles the customer and delivers the experience that gets the customer to come back and tell all their friends.

So now do you agree that it’s time we shift our focus to attracting, creating, and retaining the worker of the future? Because if you don’t, then whatever you’re prioritizing instead isn’t going to matter in five or ten years. Your company will struggle and probably get crushed by the competition who figured this out and made it a priority.

 

Need help? Sign up for your free coaching call and let’s figure out how to help you and your team win!

 

Who is the most important person in a business? If you ask most experts, they’ll say it’s the customer. However, really great leaders like Richard Branson will tell you it’s the employee. Which is absolutely correct. After all, it’s always the employee that takes care of the customer and creates the experience that brings the customer back. So why, when we talk about the future of work and the workplace, do we leave out the most critical asset, the worker of the future?

Probably because training and building amazing employees is one of the hardest things in business. People and relationships are tough!

But don’t stop reading here. It’s one thing to know your employees are important and another thing to actually walk the talk and do the work to treat them that way. Your future success will depend on how well you can understand, train, and build your employees to become the worker of the future. In a 2018 talk at BetterUp Shift, Josh Bersin, founder and principal of Bersin by Deloitte, told the audience that, “The future of work actually has little to do with technology, AI, or algorithms. It’s all about people, organizations, and how we manage people within these organizations.” And he’s absolutely right! People are people and they will always be the differentiator in growing our businesses.

So when we look ahead to the future, instead of asking ourselves questions like:

  • Will my job be obsolete in ten years time?
  • Is this booming business venture a momentary fad or something more?
  • Will a machine take my job?
  • If the workplace of the future changes drastically, will I be able to see it coming or will I be caught unaware?

Let’s focus on what we KNOW AND CAN control: our relationships with our people and how we can grow them to become the employees we need both now and in the future.

As Robert Bernard Shaw once said, “Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” Rather than worrying about what the workplace of the future or the future of work will be, let’s focus instead on creating the WORKER OF THE FUTURE from the inside/out with a few simple steps!

 

Who is the Worker of the Future?

In his book The Future of Work, Jacob Morgan argues that there are five emerging trends:

  • New behaviors shaped by social media and the web
  • Collaborative cloud technologies
  • New generations of workers with new attitudes, expectations, and ways of working
  • Greater ability to work from anywhere, anytime
  • Increased globalization and connection to diverse peoples

These trends aren’t just hypotheticals; they’re already permeating our workplaces and rapidly changing how we work. And not just in a few industries either. These workplace trends affect all of us, no matter who we are, where we are, or the type of work we do. To survive and thrive in the new future of work, we ALL must become the worker of the future. And we know that people are people and the thread is within: People are the workers of the future even when everything else changes around them. So, listen right here, right now. Universities, colleges, businesses, please, and I mean f*&^%n please, start creating the worker of the future by training them on themselves and relationships that add value to others.

So if you’re a worker (whether manager, front line, C- level) what will you do today to recreate yourself as that worker of the future? How will you navigate these trends? Who will you be while you’re doing that and how will you go about developing yourself to meet the challenge?

Here are a few tips:

  • Know yourself
  • Learn your story
  • Create trust
  • Build solid relationships, starting with yourself
  • LEARN and GROW: update all those skills you need to survive today.

And if you own or run a business, then figure out how to teach and train all your employees these methodologies. We all know they don’t come to you with them naturally, they’re not teaching them in college, and there’s no school on creating the worker of the future. So go ahead and beat the competition and be that for them!

 

What Skills Will the Worker of the Future Need to Succeed?

Aside from the technical skills needed to complete their work, the WORKER OF THE FUTURE will need other skills that I would argue are much more important. After all, technical skills are relatively easy to acquire and train. These other skills aren’t so easy to come by and require significantly more time and energy to develop.

  • The worker of the future must be:
  • Obsessed with learning and growing
  • Authentic and vulnerable with others
  • A great communicator
  • Knowledgable about what their “why” is and what they have to contribute to
  • others
  • Flexible
  • Innovative
  • Entrepreneurial (even if your ambition is more intrapreneurial in nature)
  • Collaborative
  • Self-motivated
  • Certain of who they are
  • Able to tell stories that connect
  • A leader
  • Trustworthy

Did you notice that the four skills at the top of the list are concepts we’ve been talking about for years?! As a matter of fact that is what we do and who we are. We believe are at the precipice of creating and building theWORKER OF THE FUTURE!

 

What Can I Do Now to Ensure I’m Becoming the Worker of the Future?

Whether you’re an employee who wants to ensure you always have a job, a manager who wants to keep climbing the career ladder, a freelancer who wants to make sure you’ll always be in-demand, or an entrepreneur who wants to build a business that people can’t get enough of, you need to start by ensuring YOU are becoming the WORKER OF THE FUTURE.

To do that, you start by focusing on yourself. Yes, you need to cultivate those thirteen skills on the list above, but you need to understand yourself first. Because you can’t help others and you can’t have the impact you want, without getting real about who you are, what your story is, and what you have to offer in the workplace.

If you’re serious about becoming, hiring and/or training the worker of the future, you need to invest in yourself now to make sure you will win in the years to come.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Focus on What You Can Control.
  2. Deepen Your Relationship With Yourself.
  3. Know Your Story and What You Have to Offer.
  4. Develop the Thirteen Worker of the Future Skills You Need for Success.
  5. Make it About Others.
  6. Always be Learning and Growing

Want to know the secret to not only attracting talented millennial employees to your company, but retaining them? Hint: it doesn’t involve installing a pool table, adding an on-site gym, or allowing them to bring their dogs to work.

No, if you want to attract the very best employees for your company and keep them for the long haul, you need to get serious about creating an employer brand.

An employer brand is the brand that speaks to your employees. It’s not aimed at the customer, but rather the people who work for you. It should definitely be aligned with your customer brand, but they serve different purposes. The employer brand is meant to both attract AND retain talented millennial employees.

So how do you go about cultivating your employer brand? Start by making sure you fulfill on the four things millennials want from their employers. Millennials want what we all want: to learn and grow, to work for an organization that is real and transparent, to have their managers and bosses offer great feedback so they can improve, and to do fulfilling work that gives them a sense of purpose and contribution. But what makes millennials different than other generations is that if these needs aren’t being met, they are much more willing to change jobs and go someplace else.

To illustrate how you can incorporate the things millennials want most from their workplace into your employer brand, take a look at how four top companies are getting it right with their employees:

 

How Google Provides Space for its Employees to Learn and Grow

You’ve probably heard of Google’s “20 Percent Time” policy. Google allows their employees one full day a week, or 20% of their paid work time, to work on a project of their own choosing that they’re passionate about. Now the project still has to be Google-related, but Google deliberately allows space for its employees to learn and grow. And what’s more, the 20 Percent Time policy isn’t just hollow words on a mission statement: it’s been embedded into their company culture and employer brand since 2004.

Now a 20 Percent Time policy might not be feasible for your company, but there are others ways you can create space for your employees to learn and improve. You can offer a mentorship program, have them take some online courses, or send them to a conference or workshop like Strengths & Story which teaches them about themselves and articulating and creating value for others. When you take an interest in your employees and their career development, you make it about others. And when you make it about others, you will win.

 

How Amazon Takes Authenticity Seriously

It’s hard to go a day without seeing Amazon in the news. The global giant has found a way to impact nearly every aspect of our lives by changing the way we shop for books, music, products, and even groceries. But Amazon isn’t quite the looming Big Brother figure it’s often made out to be. A 2017 study from Cohn & Wolfe named Amazon the most authentic brand in the US. And while that study was comprised of consumer feedback, a recent two-year study of Amazon employees from Kununu found that “Amazon’s employee satisfaction rate exceeds the national average in 12 categories”. Which is a big deal because some of the categories they were scored on include things like company culture, gender equality, and diversity. What this suggests is that the authentic consumer brand Amazon is putting out to the world is also consistent with their internal employer brand.

The fact is, millennials want to work for a company that walks the talk. They want you to be real with them. They want to know your plans for the company and what your vision is for their role within it. And they want to know that your public stance on gender equality, employee development, diversity, etc, isn’t just a sound bite. They want to know that their bosses and managers take that public stance into every interaction with their employees.

 

 

How Patagonia Uses Feedback to Drive Employee Performance Goals

Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and supplies giant, has over 1,500 employees at stores across the US. But to ensure they keep all of their stores working towards the same common objectives, they use a program called HighGround, which allows employees to set goals within the system and receive feedback from their managers on their workplace performance. The program is not required, employees opt-in to using it, but it has more than an 80% adoption rate among the company’s employees and of those, most report that they prefer this more streamlined system to the old ways of receiving feedback. And what has installing this system of feedback done for the company as a whole? Well, for the last three years, Patagonia has taken top 100 spots in the annual lists put together by Great Place to Work, was ranked #6 on the 2018 World’s Most Innovative Companies List, and continues to post annual revenue growth.

Having a system in place for your employees to set goals, receive guidance on reaching those goals, and get feedback from their managers and bosses is vitally important to your company’s overall success. After all, a company is only as good as the people within it – so invest in your people by providing a way for them to communicate and receive feedback! Make use of a program like HighGround. Have schedule quarterly performance reviews. And train your employees how to give and receive constructive feedback on a daily basis.

 

How GoFundMe Gives its Employees Purpose and Contribution

Since 2010, GoFundMe has grown to become one of the world’s most trusted fundraising platforms. Over 10,000 people start a GoFundMe on the site every day to raise money for everything from emergency medical bills to travel expenses to non-profit causes. To hear the transformative stories of real people who have been helped by these fundraisers, you need only listen to an episode or two of their new podcast, True Stories of Good People. So to say that the employees of GoFundMe get a sense of purpose and contribution from their work, isn’t a stretch. For a company like GoFundMe, it’s in their DNA and part of their employer brand.

While your company may not be directly transforming people’s lives the way GoFundMe does, you can still find a way to make purpose and contribution part of your employer brand. Regularly share your client testimonials with your employees. Encourage them to ask for immediate feedback from the consumers they help to experience the real-time effects of their work. Make giving part of your company culture by donating a portion of your profits to a non-profit. Set aside a day to volunteer as a company. Or encourage your employees to use their technical skills to give back to the community. Giving your employees a sense of purpose and contribution isn’t just reserved for social good companies like GoFundMe – you can and should make it part of your employer brand!

 

Need more help developing your employer brand? On March 27th, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into the employer brand during our webinar with Steven Bellach from Bottomline Marketing. Click here to register for the free webinar.

I recently got back from a week in Singapore – a week that was bookended by two of the world’s longest flights. And I mean that literally. At 18.5+ hours, the flight from LAX to Singapore is one of the longest commercial flights you can make!

When you travel a lot as I do, you have a ton of thinking time, especially if you can’t sleep on planes like me. You also get to meet all sorts of people. People at their best and at their worst. The best rocks and the worst well, not so much. And when you’re meeting people at their worst, it’s usually because you’re bumping up against their fears – fear of flying, fear of enclosed spaces, fear of missing out (FOMO), fear of whatever. Fear can make people unpleasant, if not downright impossible to deal with. And what’s sad is fear holds people back and prevents them from connecting with their fellow travelers – we’ve all heard those stories of a chance meeting on a plane that changed someone’s life or career forever! So the big question is, how do we move beyond that fear and negativity?

Clearly, the workplace is also a place where you’re likely to meet people working from fear. It shows up differently for all people and sometimes doesn’t even look like fear, but unless you bust through it, it will continue to keep you from achieving the success you want for yourself, your team, and your company.

Over the 36+ hours I spent on a plane at the end of January, I had a lot of time to reflect on what holds people back in life and in their careers. After training over 14,000 millennials, I’ve found that most people struggle with the same five things. Occasionally, I’ll get a client with a unique challenge, but by and large most people get hung up by the same damn things! The good news? They’re all things we can coach you through!

 

Fear of Failure

Fear of failure holds you back because when you’re afraid to fail, you’re afraid to risk anything. You reject opportunities for growth or advancement because it means stepping outside your comfort zone and opening yourself up to failing. So you stay in the same role even though you have nothing left to learn. You stay at the same job you hate because you’re afraid to fail in a new role at a new company. You daydream about starting your own business, but never do more than dabble because you’re afraid to fail in such a public way.

But here’s the thing. If you want to get a promotion, start your own company, change careers – you need to accept that risk is part of the package. As the old saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You HAVE to risk failure and lean into the uncertainty in order to succeed. It is simply not possible to stay “safe” and crush your goals at the same time. You have to be bold and take action, regardless of the outcome.

 

Lack of Confidence

If you suffer from a lack of confidence, you will have trouble connecting with others and asking for what you want whether that’s a promotion, a new role, or the sale. Instead, you wait for these things to be handed to you. You hope that if you work hard enough, your boss will notice and give you the raise you’ve been thinking about. You tell yourself that if you’re nice enough to the prospective client, they’ll just decide to give you their business.

But it doesn’t work like that. You NEED to learn how to connect with others, articulate your value, and ask for what you want in a way that serves others. We call that “WIFThem”. ..What’s in it for them. Which again goes back to working on the relationship you have with yourself so you can know your story and what you have to give to others.

 

Feeling Unworthy

Somehow we’ve got it into our heads that being self-deprecating is the same as being humble. It’s not.

It might seem innocent enough to brush off a compliment or make a joke that puts yourself down, but over time, you begin to reinforce the idea that you are unworthy of the accolades, praise, and compliments of others. And when you feel unworthy of what you’ve already been given, you will shy away from opportunities to do more and be more. Which will never move you closer to your career goals.

Instead, you need to own it!!! We all have something to contribute so figure out what you have to give to others and own every inch of it!!!

 

Fear of Being Found Out

Also known as imposter syndrome, many people I’ve coached are held back by an intense fear that “other people will find them out”. That if people get too close, if they spend too much time with them, they will discover that they’re not as talented, smart, creative, innovative, imaginative, etc. as they’ve made themselves out to be. That once people take a look under the shiny hood, instead of the performance engine they expect to find, they’ll discover the car’s leaking oil and held together with duct tape. So they stay in hiding and keep people at arm’s length.

But if you want the career you’ve always dreamed of, you need to find a way to show your value and be vulnerable, which is one of the key leadership traits for success. Once you can share who you truly are, you’ll be able to make it about others. You can’t make it about others if you can’t be vulnerable and connect with them to find out what they truly care about! So until you let go of this fear that you’ll be found out as a fraud, which you won’t, you’re going to struggle to connect and move forward in your career.

 

Inability to Take Action

Some people are held back simply by their inability to get out of their own way and take action! They get so overwhelmed by the thought of changing jobs, starting a new career, or going the entrepreneur route that they stare at the mountain of decisions that need to be made and choose to do NOTHING. By the way, this fear usually relates to one of the aforementioned fears being buried down deep…but we won’t put you on the couch just yet.

Here’s the thing: you might think you’re abdicating or deferring the responsibility by refusing to make a decision. But you’re still making a choice. You’re choosing to do nothing about your current situation and you’re choosing to do nothing to move you closer to your goals. So if you’re telling yourself that you DO really want the promotion or the job, then you have to DO something about it. You cannot sit back and hope things just work out in your favor.

 

So what’s holding you back? And how are you going to bust through it to get the life and career you want? If you don’t know, then start by scheduling your exploratory coaching call or signing up for our next Strengths & Story workshop.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Take Risks. Lean into Uncertainty.
  2. Be Bold. Be Vulnerable.
  3. Own Your Value.
  4. Connect With Others and Make it About Them.
  5. Choose Action.

After training over 14,000 millennials around the world from the United States to as far away as Singapore, I’ve discovered that millennials all want the same four things from their employers. The good news? It’s not rocket science. The bad news? Most employers are still not getting it right with their millennial and gen z employees.

Millennials around the world face unique pressures from their governments, culture, and society, but they’re pretty united on what they want out of life, especially from the workplace. Just take a look at this Reddit thread from the summer of 2018 – I’m sure you’ll notice that a lot of the ideas floated by the millennials in this thread sound identical to things you’ve heard from the mouths of your own millennial employees.

The problem of connecting generations is not an American problem, but a global problem. And whether you have a mom-and-pop shop or own an international powerhouse, you need to pay attention to the things your younger employees want from you in order to better connect with them. Getting it right with all your employees is the real key to company growth. So if you want to grow in 2019 (and I bet you do!) you need to learn and implement these four concepts in your workplace:

Millennials Want to Learn and Grow

Millennials want to learn from you, gain real skills, and grow their careers. They are looking for employers who can mentor and guide them or at the very least, make sure they’re getting the education and developmental support they crave.

If you’re not up for mentoring your employees (though I highly encourage you to be that for them) there are tons of resources you can provide them with instead. Earlier this year we talked about the eLearning Revolution. Allow them to sign up for webinars, online conferences, and even courses that will either further develop their skills for the role they have or help them move towards the job they want within your company. You can also send to in-person conferences, seminars, masterminds, networking groups, or workshops to support their professional development. Once a month we teach Strengths & Story here at launchbox – click here to send them to our next workshop. We can also come to your office and work with your team directly.

Millennials Want You to Be Real With Them

As digital natives, the average millennial can sniff out BS a mile away. They’ve seen it ALL. Every sales scheme, fake photo, doctored video, or piece of fake news out there. By default, they expect that people aren’t being honest with them – so it’s up to you to BE REAL!

Millennials want to know your real-deal vision for your company, your plans, goals, and how they specifically fit into that picture of the future. They want to know if there’s potential to grow with your company and if there is, if your vision for their role aligns with their own personal goals. Again, they want to learn and grow and need to know if your company is the place for them to do that. But they can only be sure of it if you get real with them and communicate authentically and transparently about where you’re going.

Millennials Want Great Feedback and Communication

Millennials want authentic feedback from you and clear communication about your expectations for them. They are trying to better themselves both to serve their own goals and yours, but they can’t do that if you’re not straight with them. Learn to deliver honest and consistent feedback daily and coach them to do the same for you. Yes, you deserve great feedback, too! Feedback is how we all learn and grow.

You also need to teach and model good communication skills for your millennial and gen z employees across all mediums: face-to-face, phone, email, and text. For some of your employees, your business might be their first “real job”. So don’t be surprised if they don’t communicate in a way that’s appropriate for the workplace. But it’s up to you to teach them! Don’t be the boss that gripes about them under your breath without doing anything to fix the problem. If you don’t help, then you’re PART of the problem!

Millennials Want Purpose and Contribution

Perhaps above all other things on this list, your millennial employees want to feel that their work has purpose and that they’re contributing in some way, whether it’s to your company or the world at large. For some companies, purpose and contribution are embedded into their very DNA. It’s easy to see who they serve, why they serve them, and how they’re making a difference. But for other companies, it’s not so clear-cut. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook though. Your millennial and gen z employees want purpose and contribution. And it’s up to you to give it to them or risk losing them to another company that will.

Not sure how to connect the who, what, why, and how of your company to topics of purpose and contribution for your employees? We can help. We can assist you in discovering and developing your personal story and by extension, your company’s story. When you know who you are and what you stand for, you can better articulate what your company is and what IT stands for. The clearer you can make the vision, the better you’ll be able to help your employees find their own purpose and contribution within your company. Because they’re right: the best way to motivate people and retain them, is to give them the sense that what they do actually matters.

 

Having trouble connecting the generations in your workplace? Reach out to us at launchbox to discuss how we can help!

 

Want to get promoted at work this year? Turns out, it’s not just up to your boss to decide whether you deserve it. There are things you can do to ENSURE you’ll get the promotion! But it all goes back to the two topics we’ve been talking about over the past two weeks: UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF and MAKING IT ABOUT OTHERS. When you know yourself and can communicate it to others in a way that benefits them, you are sure to get promoted. It’s that simple. So if you want to climb the career ladder this year, make sure you put these five actionable tips into practice:

 

Tip #1: You Must Understand the Power of Relationships

Relationships are the most important life/work skill you can have because everything you do is focused on connecting with other people. You must build relationships not only with your boss/employer but also your peers and clients. At launchbox, we’ve worked with many managers, CEOs, and entrepreneurs. One of the things they all consider when promoting an employee is how well that person works with the rest of the team and how well they connect with the clients and customers.

But you cannot begin to truly connect with others until you’ve done the hard work of building a relationship with yourself. That’s the first relationship you should focus on. Which leads me to tip #2.

 

Tip #2: You Must Understand Yourself and Your Strengths

Your strengths are something you’re naturally good at. They are the things you bring to the table to the benefit of your employer and their company. And they’re not hard skills like knowing how to design a logo or understanding python. They’re things like your innate leadership ability or your work ethic. These are strengths you might not even be aware that you have on the surface, which is why building a relationship with yourself is such an important part of the work you need to do to get a promotion. Knowing your unique strengths will help you articulate your value to your manager and cement your place on the team.

 

Tip #3: You Must Know Your Values, Skills, and Passions

The Platinum Rule is treating others how they want to be treated. So along with knowing your strengths, you must know your values, skills, and passions because you need to figure out how to apply them to others. At launchbox, we call this WIFThem: what’s in it for them. You need to be able to communicate how your unique values, skills, and passions add up to a win for your boss. For example, in a discussion about your skills don’t just say, “I’m a people person”. That doesn’t add up to a win for your employer. But if you say, “My skill is that I can connect with other human beings immediately which leads to stronger teams and better client relationships for your company” that’s a win! When you communicate your skills, passions, and values in a way that is other-focused, you will get that promotion.

 

Tip #4: You Must Know Your “Brand”

Brands aren’t just for companies. You need to know and be clear on what your “brand” is. Brands are about who you want to be and how you want to be perceived in the world. At our Strengths & Story workshop, we can take participants through the process of choosing a few brand words for themselves. You can do this, too. Pick three words that define your personal value and how you want to be seen by the world and then hold yourself to them. In business, great brands succeed because they know who they are, what they have to contribute, and then they deliver on it over and over again. Learn from them. Know your brand and consistently demonstrate it to your employer.

 

Tip #5: You Must Learn How to Tell a Connective Story

Finally, to get promoted at work you must learn how to tell a connective story. And not just any story. The story you tell others about yourself must provide value for them so you can connect with them. Remember even though you’re talking about yourself, it’s not about you. Not every story is for every situation. You need to tailor your story to suit your audience and their needs.

Telling a connective story is also not just about what you say. Listening and receiving feedback is just as important as the words leaving your lips. People love people who want to help themselves so be open to receiving suggestion and even criticism. As hard as it may be for you to hear what they have to say, allowing the other person to talk will help build a connection. And when you can connect and make it about them, you will win.

 

Need help? Call (858) 314-9867 to make this the year you stop hoping for the best and start working for it! Sign up for individual coaching and claim your promo code for our next Strengths & Story workshop on January 22nd!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Know the Power of Relationships
  2. Build a Better Relationship With Yourself
  3. Tell a Connective Story

Over the winter holiday, in a snow-covered house in the mountain town of Deer Valley, Utah, my family gathered for a week of skiing, eating delicious food, and spending time with great company. But it wouldn’t be a Negroni holiday if there wasn’t at least one spirited discussion about how to succeed at work and in life.

One evening, I had the pleasure of defending my position that building relationships is the most important life/work skill any employee or person could have. My host had a different viewpoint, firmly believing that technical skills were more important for success.

“Technical/schmecnical” I said, “Anyone who gets hired should have those basic skills, otherwise the company or hiring manager would be a moron.” To further back my stance, I pulled out my phone, and pulled up this Ted Talk on what makes a good life, by Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger.

In my book, Chasing Relevance, I quoted key insights from the longest-running study on adult development. Directed by Waldinger, the study tracked the lives 700+ men over a period of seventy-five years. Every year, researchers checked in to ask about their work, home lives, health, and happiness.

What they discovered supported the idea that relationships are the most important thing in life: when you have better relationships with yourself and also with others, you’re happier, you live longer, and you even become more successful monetarily.

After we viewed the video clip, I continued to argue my point like only an ex-New York lawyer can and eventually my host capitulated.  He did have one additional question for me though: what relationship would I prioritize over all others on in 2019?

My real-deal, no-BS answer on how to achieve business success is simple. If you want to crush it (yes, that is a technical term) in 2019 then you need to learn how to build a relationship with yourself.

Yes, you. Really!

Your relationship with yourself is the primary relationship you need to focus on in 2019 and always.

Want to know why? Check out the rest of this article that was featured on GLG’s website. And if you need help building a better relationship with yourself, shoot us an e-mail at dan@launchbox365.com or call us at 858.314.9867.

Our preliminary posts on being grateful and using gratitude have been insightful. One millennial friend told me that he started a gratitude journal that he completes nightly before bed and that he reminds his employees of the same daily.   Others just have said right on, or I agree, or, duh, who could argue.   Well of course in this world we will get some folks on insta or social arguing with us, but who cares, I believe gratitude leads to everywhere!   Do you? Well, do you want to have your best year yet? Start by leading with GRATITUDE in every interaction. Showing gratitude will take you further than almost any other skill you can master in life. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, valued, and important. And showing gratitude at the start of every conversation or interaction is a subtle way to make it about THEM.

In his 1936 classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie argues, “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. As humans, we are wired for self-preservation and self-interest. This has not changed from Carnegie’s time and it will not change in the future. We are programmed to look out for ourselves first and constantly be seeking to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” So when you use a person’s name, when you lead with a grateful thank you or explanation of what you mean to them, you appeal to their basic nature and you make it about them. And if you make it about them, you will win. Full stop.

But showing gratitude is not about being fake or inauthentic. Particularly if you’re dealing with millennials, the other person will know when you’re not being real with them. So, when you lead with gratitude, make sure you’re thanking them the right way with real deal, authentic expressions of how grateful you are to have them in your life.

In business and in life, most of the time you will find yourself interacting with people from one of the following three groups. It’s important to know how to properly express gratitude to these people, which will make a tremendous difference in your relationships. I challenge you to read through the examples below and start and/or end every conversation you have today with gratitude!

 

How to Show Gratitude to Your Peers

What better way to build trust than to build up a peer with genuine gratitude? Try stopping them in the hall and saying, “It is super rewarding to have you on my team because __________. I am glad we are working together on this project.” Or “I appreciate your friendship, especially the way you ____________. It means a lot to me knowing you have my back.”

When you show gratitude to a peer, they are likely to reciprocate. Perhaps not at first, especially if leading with gratitude is a bit new to them. But eventually, they will. And the cool thing about this is, particularly when it comes to peers, it can lead to new opportunities in the workplace or in life. Peers are one of your best resources to tap into for new job opportunities or to make new connections.

 

How to Show Gratitude to a Mentor

Mentors are mentors because by definition of the word, they get great benefit from teaching and helping others. So, if and when you let them know how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them, you make their day! It is amazing how many people say, ‘no’ or stare blankly, when I ask someone we are coaching if they actually let their mentor know what that person meant to them and the impact they have had.

The next time you get on the phone with or see your mentor in person, take a moment to express gratitude by saying “I want to tell you how much I appreciate your insight and advice, even if it’s not always what I want to hear. I am grateful to you for taking the time to invest in me, it does not go unnoticed.” I bet even the toughest mentor will be smiling from ear to ear when they hear that!

 

How to Show Gratitude to Your Employer or Boss

Bosses are people, too! Now, they hate kiss-ass stuff, we all do, but genuine feedback and gratitude for what a boss does for you will go a long way. Try saying “I am grateful to learn from you” or “Thank you for the assignment you gave me” or “Thank you for the feedback on that last project, I appreciate you taking the time to help me improve and do better”. These types of expressions of gratitude also show self-awareness and emotional intelligence (EQ), which are two of the most important life/work skills. And this type of gratitude further contributes to and helps build the relationship you have with your boss. Remember: your boss isn’t just the person who pays you. A boss can help you leverage opportunity within their organization and when you’re ready to move on, provide a great reference for you.

 

Try it. Notice the difference. And then make gratitude your M.O. Through practice and repetition, you will start to make gratitude a habit. And then you will win in the workplace and in life.

For years, attorneys have used traditional approaches to mentorship. The familiar, apprentice-type relationships where experienced, tenured lawyers provide advice to the new lawyers in their firm.

Reverse Mentorship Is the Key to Success for Millennials and Their Law FirmsWhile mentorship programs are common in most firms, technology, an evolution of social norms, and the economy have changed the world and millennials comprise a new generation of lawyers that want something more, and they are willing to work for it. Millennials want to be heard and should be heard to enhance succession planning and firm sustainability.

Firms have good reason to listen to what millennials want. Millennials are the largest cohort of the workforce. In today’s world, millennials’ perspective, approach, and relevance are sorely needed for future law firm growth. However, millennials are also leaving the professional industries faster than ever before. Many firms already know they need to change how they conduct management and mentorship to help attract and retain millennial talent. They just don’t know how to ensure the next generation of law firms and law firm leaders can successfully emerge.

Enter reverse mentorship! Reverse mentorship is a concept that provides millennials and more experienced lawyers the platform to teach one another about the business and practice, and also to share new ideas openly. Through reverse mentoring, millennials can thrive and contribute in ways that will launch their careers like never before while still learning valuable lessons from the more experienced members of an organization. Intrigued? Not sure where to start? No worries—we got ya covered!

Understand the Millennial Myth

Young lawyers who want to bring reverse mentorship to their firms should first understand how senior lawyers may perceive them, and they should learn to articulate their value to the organization.

The nature of employment, motivation, and service are completely different from when senior lawyers came up through the ranks. That difference, however, has unfortunately painted the whole millennial generation with negative stereotypes, such as being whiny, lazy, entitled, and unprofessional. The truth about millennials is that they are misunderstood.

Their whining? That comes from a desire for their work to be meaningful. Lazy? Only if you can be lazy and also be one of the most entrepreneurial generations in history. Entitled? More like burdened with college loans, super smart, questioning, and committed to authenticity. Unprofessional? Again, is being different unprofessional? It’s thanks to millennials that many companies now promote work-life balance, require an innovative and transparent approach to problem-solving, and are integrating new technologies.

Opportunities to learn and share ideas across generations quickly bust generational stereotypes. Through open communication, what was once misinterpreted as just a “whiny millennial” can be understood as the voice of someone who wants to contribute in a significant way to the success of the company. What was once seen as “unprofessional” is quickly understood as a new way to achieve better work-life balance.

Millennials want to contribute, help, learn, and grow in an organization. As a profession, we need to ensure that senior lawyers are aware of how much millennials can contribute to the future of the legal profession. Reverse mentorship can achieve this goal.

Discover How Reverse Mentoring Will Bridge the Generational Gap

As the world continues to rapidly change, law firms need to ensure that they remain relevant and have a solid succession plan. Business leaders who are out of touch with younger generations can wreak havoc on a company. Being in touch with the next generation’s likes, dislikes, thoughts, needs, and values is part of a winning strategy to retain millennial attorney talent, and also to attract them as clients.

The truth is, to stay ahead of the game, law firms need millennials’ help in planning for the future.

There’s no better teacher than experience. Just in the same way that a senior partner can pass down lessons learned over the years, young lawyers know social media inside and out as we practically grew up with a screen in our hands. If the goal of mentoring is to pass on your experience to others, no one has more experience with social media than us. In many respects, we can help our firms achieve our goals more quickly, efficiently, and intuitively. You just have to trust us.

—Ethan Wall, President / The Social Media Law Firm

Reverse mentoring programs can also benefit bar associations. The Marin County Bar Association was recently awarded an American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Affiliate Star of the Quarter for its mentorship program that featured a reverse mentoring component. When asked about the inception of the program, then President Dorothy Chou Proudfoot, who initiated the project with the Barristers and Diversity Committee chairs, said:

I was looking for a way to tweak our own somewhat lapsed mentorship program to attract good mentors to participate. In 2017, at the first Barrister’s Happy Hour of the year, we had a great discussion with the Barristers in attendance about how organizations and individuals could promote and enhance the budding careers of Barristers and encourage involvement through opportunities such as featuring them as speakers, and the idea basically took off from there.

As is often in life, the simplest solution to cracking the scary millennial code is the most effective strategy: communication. Senior lawyers can use reverse mentorship to sit down and have real, honest conversations with their young talent to learn how their business, both internal and external, can better appeal to and serve millennials. Reverse mentoring provides the best opportunity for everyone in a firm to feel valued and respected.

Get Tools to Create a Reverse Mentorship Environment

So, you’ve decided you want to try to implement reverse mentoring in your organization. How do you get it done? You need a thoughtful plan that involves building key relationships with people who can make reverse mentoring a reality in your organization. Here are a few steps to help you get started.

Create Mindset. To create a positive mindset that will be open to reverse mentoring, you must start with an honest self-assessment. The best way to become confident in connecting and building relationships is to truly understand who you are and how you add value. Not sure where to start? See if your organization offers any self-assessment tools or trainings, or check out the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or the Clifton Strengths assessment.

Communicate Authentically. Once you understand yourself and have a mindset of helping others, you’re ready to start connecting and building relationships with decision-makers. Identify a senior lawyer in your firm to be your mentor and schedule time with that person by suggesting coffee, drinks, or lunch. This is a great way to start an informal discussion on the work you’re doing, how you’re accomplishing it, what difficulties you’re facing, and how those challenges can be overcome to better serve the organization.

Keep Building the Relationship. Make sure you are always focused on building relationships. One effective strategy for strengthening relationships and building trust is to ask questions such as:

  • How can I help you finish this project?
  • Was the work I did on X helpful in finishing the assignment?
  • Was there anything I could have done to make this project easier for you?
  • Do I have your permission to share an idea I have for improving X?

Be direct, but thoughtful. As you begin to have these newly framed conversations with your mentor, you’ll begin to see common themes or challenges come up and either learn how your mentor overcame a similar obstacle, or use it as an opportunity to brainstorm new ways to tackle it. It’s a great opportunity to build positive and productive interactions between generations.

Now that you have done your prep work, you’re ready to pitch a reverse mentorship program. When you’re approaching the idea of a reverse mentorship to your mentor, remember the Platinum Rule: Treat others how they want to be treated. Make the conversation about them and the organization and not about you. Share your vision of how reverse mentorship will be an effective tool for sharing ideas, identifying more efficiencies, and opening up communication to help everyone in the firm. Come prepared with a thoughtful proposal that will help get your mentor onboard with the idea. Remember that everyone at the firm is busy and free time is a luxury, so make sure to provide the best value in the shortest amount of time.

When making a pitch, we suggest coming up with both formal and informal methods for developing a reverse mentorship program. You could consider enlisting the help of an experienced organization or come up with your own less formal ideas for starting a reverse mentorship. No matter what approach you decide to implement, reverse mentorship benefits everyone and can provide a treasure trove of unique insights that might otherwise go unheard.

Who could argue with that?


by Dan Negroni and Joann Grages Burnett
Originally appeared: American Bar Association

Recently I had the honor and privilege to be interviewed by Phil Blair from Manpower on UCTV.  We had a thoughtful and fun conversation on how companies and individuals can better understand millennials and how to hire them with more clarity and intention.  Here are the top 4 things that came from our chat and things you should keep in mind to accelerate along the learning curve to better understand how to maximize your engagement with millennials.

Each Side is Accountable

In order for the workplace to really create results, both sides, the millennials and managers, need to become next-generation leaders and be able to bridge the communication gap.  It works best when both sides are held accountable for doing so.  Managers must take second to ask the Millennial what kind of feedback or training would help them the most to success in their role.  And vice versa, Millennials must also be accountable for sharing their value and the question to their manager; how can I best serve you?

Technology Changed Everything

Technology has changed the way newer generations receive, process, and share information.  Information is on-demand and available whenever a Millennial wants it.  This has led to a faster pace of life that Millennials are naturally more comfortable with.  As such, Millennials have an expectation that everything should be available and accessible when they want it and how they want it.  If you’re aware that this need and expectation exists and if you’re able to provide information to them when they want it they’ll more favorably respond to you.

Help Millennials Articulate Their Value

Millennials are amazing, they just have a difficult time articulating their value.  Be their guide and help them learn how to tell their story and articulate value to your internal and external customers.  It’s actually easy to train millennials to share their story better. We’ve done it 10,000 times, but they need your help to do so.  Be available to give them the tools they need to be able to communicate about themselves that shares how their skills provide value to others and show them how to make it about others, not themselves.  The solution is to teach them how to build better relationships.  These skills are not being taught it in high school, college, and definitely not in the workplace because everyone assumes you should know how to build relationships once you get a job.  Let’s stop complaining that they don’t have the skills to build relationships and guide them to do so!

Shift Your Mindset

The stereotypical manager perspective is I have the gold (control your salary) I make the rules.  Both sides, the manager and the millennial, need to adopt the platinum rule.  Treat others how THEY want to be treated.  Both sides need to understand the other’s perspective and treat them in a way that best serves them.  Use the platinum rule, regardless if you believe you control the gold and control the rules.  To have a good culture everyone must treat one another with respect.  This will also increase Millennial retention.  If you can shift your mindset about millennials and understand that they’re not bad, they’re just different.  Another good idea to build a stronger culture of inclusion for Millennials is to incorporate them into your sphere of influence and treat them as a peer and listen to their ideas.  See our blog on how real mentoring is helping connect the generations.  You can also apply the kaizen approach to spark engagement and conversations from both sides.  Progressive companies understand these approaches.  For example, they don’t just offer food and travel options because millennials demand it and it keeps everyone at work longer (that’s part of it), they do so because it increases productivity and builds a stronger culture when people are congregating more often.  People are social beings.  Providing opportunities for communication and collaboration by bringing people together in casual settings helps build a stronger culture that attracts Millennials.

At the end of the day, the key to successfully managing the increase in multi-generational interactions is strong communication skills.  Furthermore, 80% of jobs found are through people you know.  It’s becoming more critical than ever to learn how to build strong communication skills to build the relationships that’ll get you and your team of millennials to the next level.