Prachtig hoe een begenadigd spreker als Simon Sinek het vraagstuk omtrent de jongst werkende generatie Y binnen organisaties eens aan de kaak stelt. Ondanks de focus op de minder favorabele eigenschappen en de lichte stigmatisering is dit een helder filmpje met een mooie boodschap. Hieronder een korte samenvatting en mijn interpretatie van de woorden van Simon.

“Millennials (born between 1985-2000) were dealt a bad hand.”
As a good leader of those millennials, or any generation, you need to practice your empathy. As all generations have grown up in a different time they will behave in alternate ways as your own generation. Without empathy, working together is doomed to fail. And in quite some companies, that is the case…

Simon shares 4 main observations around this millennial generation: Parenting, Technology, Impatience and Environment.
Parenting: (failed parenting strategy) The self confidence of millennials is quite low. Social skills and coping skills are not well developed as this generation always got what they wanted. They have been told, over and over again, that they were special. Extraordinary human beings. If you’ve been hearing this for a while, you start to believe it. And guess what: the moment they start working they are not treated as those special geniuses they thought they were. They have to start at the lowest rung of the ladder, don’t have no-one to guide them (as their parents used to do) and are supposed to find out about the whole system by themselves. No parent to complain to the teacher any more…
Technology: We live in a time of constant gratification, social media are designed to give us a dopamine kick any time we check our social apps. And precisely dopamine is known as one of the most addictive substance we know. Once you have experienced it, you only want more. We think it brings us happiness, and we want happiness now, we want our shots of dopamine every 6 minutes. That’s the frequency by which this generation checks their phones. And that is killing for ones focus, creativity, actually anything that brings you into a state of concentrated flow.
Impatience: Millennials are intrigued by finding their dream job. And if they do not find their dream job fast a burn-out, bore-out or depression is luring. This generation confuses finding a dream job with finding a purpose in their life. It is not a scavenger hunt, not something you can ‘find’. It is something you experience by working hard and being dedicated to something you actually care about. This generation needs to find some patience. They need to work hard; that makes for fulfilment and joy.
The environment: corporate culture is still focused on short-term economic gain. Making as much as possible in the shortest time possible. Not really an environment that supports this young generation in their quest for purpose. We need to distinguish companies who play the infinite versus the finite game. Where the finite players focus on short term success, the infinite players actually focus on sticking to their vision, their long-term goals. That kind of culture actually enriches this young generations’ experience.

To conclude: this generation can have a lot of influence on the way we are working. They have to take ownership and create the atmosphere they are longing for. They have to be their own leader. The only way this generation can reach that is to take care of others. To build relationships. Repair the world around us. To not compare themselves to others, but to only compare yourself with yourself: in order to advance and become the better version of yourself. That’s how you lead. That’s the road to fulfilment.