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Ordinary People Taking Action
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I have spent the last 10 years of my career interviewing, hiring, training, coaching and promoting millennials. I have spent just as long working with leadership teams, especially middle-managers and executives, on how to communicate with and support millennials. Yet, recently, the shift is turning – millennials are working their way into executive management positions. Yes, that is correct, millennials are at the tipping point where they are becoming the leaders.
Depending on sources, it’s said that millennials were born anywhere from around 1980 to the early 2000s. Some sources report the millennial span as 1976 – 2004. Doing the math, that means that some millennials are just tipping their 40s or late 30s – which aligns to enough experience to be entering the ranks of senior management.
Ten years ago, I found that my business experience combined with my age created a unique coaching position. I was “old enough” to connect with the executive team, yet “young enough” to connect with the millennials. I assumed the role of the “bridge builder” of communication between junior-ranking millennials and the more senior executive leadership. Ten years later, it is hard for me to believe the conversation about millennials is still a topic – but it absolutely is. Maybe even more so as they start entering senior leadership positions.
About a year ago, a colleague told me that I qualify as a millennial. When she said that, I really wanted to scream “no I am not!” I couldn’t believe my negative reaction to the idea of being part of “that group”. It was then that I learned of the research lumping those of us born in the late 70s in with the millennials. I was born in 1977.
I’ve spent the last year absorbing everything I possibly could about the millennial generation – TedTalks, articles by well-known publications, and many, many blogs. The consensus seems to be that this generation was born between 1982 – 2002. Yet, there is some data that shows the range starting as early as 1976. So, it’s confirmed – if I am not a millennial, I am on the cusp.
Along with reading and watching everything I could on this generation, I set out to talk to as many millennials as I possibly could. And, here is what I have learned:
I’m not a data researcher. I don’t have a “PhD” at the end of my name or work for a fancy research institution. Yet, what I do have is ten solid years of interacting with a lot of millennials. I have over 10,000 hours of reading, researching and watching them – and as some would say, I’m on the cusp of this generation myself.
Some may disagree, but I know that I wouldn’t hesitate to hire a millennial, given the list of admirable characteristics they exhibit. More importantly, I would hire anyone from any generation who possessed the six qualities I’ve listed above.
Before you discount an entire generation, spend some time getting to know some millennials. I bet you’ll find they are really rather awesome – once we stop labeling them - the entire generation.