The Millennial Dilemma

“Dream Big, Start Small, Listen with Intent, be in the Present moment, but most importantly Start”

Millennials, have probably been the talk of the town since many reports started focusing too much on them, and I must say, I feel for them. There was a sudden surge of “How to work with Millennials” and this topic was discussed in many conclaves, conferences, meetings, and you would see all the speakers (Not sure how many themselves implemented what they suggested 😉) talking about how to manage millennials. Interestingly, many millennials reached out to me and wanted advice on how they should deal with this. I was more than happy to help but I chose the route of coaching rather than prescribing and what followed was absolute magic.

It’s been a year since I was coaching them, and some of them have entered the Entrepreneurship journey, while some have embraced the corporate life, whereas some are still trying to figure out what to do and in the meanwhile have picked up a hobby that can help them achieve their long term vision. Needless to say, all of them are pretty happy on their journey so far, which I hope lasts for a longer period of time, however I noticed some very unique characteristics that I think should be written in the form of a blog post.

There are always 2 sides to a coin thus what will follow are my observations & experiences that I have got while working with Millennials. I’ll share both sides of the story and then of course, would love to hear your thoughts:

Experienced people: Millennials must understand that things take time and they need to have patience for achieving their goals.

Millennials: Why can’t we have both, i.e. Speed and Success? Let us experience it and learn rather than following a set path. You have learnt from your experience and we appreciate sharing that with us, but help us understand and let’s discuss the solution rather than prescribing it to us

Experienced people: They must take one step at a time and can’t have variety at every step they take. Monotony will have to be accepted

Millennials: We don’t mind doing that if it aligns with our vision. Has anyone ever tried to ask us what we feel rather than keep advising on what should be done and what not? You may have had experiences where people don’t ask you about your vision, your goals, but does that mean we also have to go through the same experience? Why expect us to change?

Experienced people: They have to get used to the Organizational Culture and can’t change everything as soon as they enter the organization. They have to learn to live by the rules and slowly work around how they can bring about a change

Millennials: Then why were we told during the interview that you’re being hired for bringing about a change in the culture and we youngsters are the one’s who can initiate that change? Why wasn’t everything communicated to us clearly right at the beginning so that we could then make a choice about whether we should take this journey or not

Experienced people: Decisions take time and they have to respect hierarchy. They cannot just skip levels and share ideas because they think it’s the best idea. Every idea needs introspection and careful planning to execute. You can’t just think of something and start executing it immediately because you think it’ll work

Millennials: If we don’t experiment, how will we learn? I’m sure in your experiences, you have also learnt by experimentation, so why not let us experiment? Everyone makes mistakes and learns from them so why not us? Why are we being treated differently?

Experienced people: These millennials don’t understand value for money. We have struggled in the past to create a financially stable environment for ourselves, which they don’t value because they have access to everything that we never had. They should understand our struggles and experience it to know why we’re saying these things

Millennials: Well, is it our fault that we are born in this era? We understand your struggle, but our level of struggle is different than yours. You may have had a tough life, but does that mean even we should go through that just for your satisfaction? Value for money, as a phrase is pretty subjective, so we have our opinion on that and so do you. Can’t we leave it at that? Why do these things get enforced upon us?

And I can go on and on… The point I’m trying to make here is that every generation has its own set of challenges and the way they deal with is different. I did make a point earlier about not prescribing anything, but I thought I’ll share my experiences as to what can both the sides do to make it a win-win combination. Honestly, if both the generations leverage each other’s strengths, they can do wonders. Here’s what I prescribe:

For the Experienced People:

  1. Convert your experiences into stories and narrate the stories to the millennials for them to resonate with it. Ask them what would they have done, in that scenario, with the limitations that you had
  2. Give them the freedom to experiment in a live simulated environment and let them experience the repercussions of the experiment. Maybe you’ll get amazed at the results and start believing in them more.
  3. Coach, don’t prescribe. Aligning their values, beliefs and goals to that of yours and ultimately to the organization’s is something that is still missing, which is leading to frustration. Running an assimilation program helps
  4. Accept, that your thinking is different and theirs is different so trying to control their thought process isn’t going to work. The best you can do is have a conversation to understand what it means to both of you and then decide on the way forward
  5. Place Ego and Rigidity aside (Easier said than done), to become more flexible and accommodating

For the Millennials:

  1. Learn from the experience of the older generations and don’t argue for the sake of arguing. While I understand your frustration, focus on the intent of what is being said rather than pick on the words
  2. Structure your thoughts and channelize your energies towards achieving the milestones in your journey rather than completely negating the prescriptions and going to the extreme of a Yes or a No.
  3. Let Reflections take over impulse and give it a thought before you experiment. While experimentation is good, the chances of you getting demotivated are higher if things don’t work out. If you don’t get too excited with success and demotivated with failures (Which is tough to decide) then go ahead, else people’s experience will help
  4. Do what you want, but give other’s points of view, a thought, as to they must be saying things from something that they have experienced
  5. Assumptions are the biggest derailers, so stop assuming and work with data present with you. This will help you to make a decision faster. Not jumping to conclusions will help you with more ideas on how you can be successful

Well, these were some of the things that I wanted to share based on my observations and experiences with Millennials. There are a lot more, but I’d restrict that to a one-on-one discussion if you wish to understand how your journey can be more fruitful. Both generations have their pro’s and con’s, however, while leveraging strengths can make it a deadly combination, focusing on limitations can increase stress levels manifold. Connect with me in case you feel you need to understand how you can leverage your strengths and become your version 2.0. Remember, “It is difficult to manage the thoughts in our head with the feelings in our hearts because only one of them is right”.

Would love to hear your thoughts!!!

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