Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Clear and Concise Message

Navigating through the myriad of stimuli that Gen Y faces is a daunting challenge. In our current day of age we are a generation that has access to an inexhaustible resource of information and mediums of communication. The level at which we can now communicate and "share" is in a sense global and covers almost everything you can think of.

So how does one create movement and grab the attention of the generation leading the masses in global communal sharing of information? It's through a clear and concise message.

Undaunted, simple, clear, and unchanging. I've been struggling a lot with various groups that I work with both professionally as well as personally. It seems that the economic downturn may have created a cause and effect, a reactive flux in what needs to happen because the cause was so immediate and clear. So many months after reacting and reacting I come to realize that I may have lost my focus and priorities.

Its important when managing or working through Generation Y to keep the message clear because we are constantly bombarded with data and new information. And when we are forced to work through these chaotic times Gen Y'ers tend to lose their focus or determination. For example I manage two stores currently, and I recently took a vacation. When I got back the clear and simple message was almost all forgotten and the store culture and work was fairly skewed by the leader I put in place. Granted I've only been at these stores for a short amount of time and it was expected to a certain degree, but it's interesting to me how aligned everyone got once I expressed the clear and concise message again.

There will always be a million things going on and as we get older . . . it becomes 2 million things but if you can message the main priority clearly, concisely and create consistency you can create traction with a diverse group of highly action oriented, capable but terribly entitled and frenetic group.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

change takes time . . .

I've had some great conversations in the last few days with a number of people who have really impressed on me the functionality and the simple truths of the generational gaps. I wanted to write about some of the thoughts that were shared and some of the revelations that I have had from them.

The first major point that I learned was that our preceding generation is not necessarily savvy with the usage of all the mediums of technology or at least at the rate at which we progress with new technology. I was talking with a friend/colleague/mentor about the frustrations I had with the inefficiencies of some of the methods that we would use to execute our business and various other volunteerism groups. I felt that the major loss was in communication and hierarchy systems that caused bottlenecks and politics vs the end goal achievement. His reply to me was that as much as there needs to be amiability to accept change in technology and grow with its resources; the end truth is - change takes time and traditions are not as easily broken. If you really want to achieve an end goal then I would also need to realize that I'm actually hindering the end goal by not comprimising to the systems in place.

It was a very eye opening moment for me, to realize that I could with my good will and intentions be the reason that the end goal could be hindered even in the slightest. I still feel very confident about my idea of what a more efficient method could look like but by trying to force change without thinking of my audience I was in turn slowing the end goal down.

The next idea that I learned the last few days is that as generation Y'ers we tend to be much more public and out spoken. Call it righteous or opinionated but the very fact that I'm writing this blog so publicly and confidently about tactics and my point of view on such an abstract topic as business, management and generational differences is in itself proof of that. There have been so many times where I have given the feedback that I need to work on my composure and or tact when working with people. Granted that I can't say for sure if I'm loved and respected by my staff, supervisors and peers but I can say that I rarely hold back what is on my mind. It feels too natural to me to be honest with my thoughts and opinions to any audience. When I'm not sure I ask, when I don't agree I disagree, when I enjoy something I recognize it, and I will speak my mind the same way without reservation or fear to whomever I'm working with. This in idea is great but in applicability it is also troublesome and can detriment the organization's flow of operations immediately.

Not everyone is open to feedback, open thoughts, direct engagement without politics and its not necessarily the way the world works. Change takes time and in order to effectively achieve the group's end goal its very necessary for generation Y to learn to these systems and processes and utilize them as the change happens if the result is to achieve a goal.

My last reflection on this topic is that the value of achieving a goal has to be more important than doing something the most efficient way, especially when the frustration of the inefficiency only creates further inefficiency. It goes both ways- and as time progresses so will change.