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11 posts from September 2013

September 27, 2013

A mom is always a mom

No matter how powerful you become in life, no matter how old you are or far from home you travel, mom is still mom. Adele Sandberg reminded me of that when I interviewed her earlier this week before a live audience to kick off the 2013 Book Festival at the David Posnack JCC. Adele is the mother of Sheryl Sandberg, the high powered COO of Facebook and author of Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Sheryl's book has sold over 1 million copies. She has been on the cover of Time Magazine and on almost every major talk show and news program to discuss the message of her book: gender equality in the workplace.

Yet, when Adele talked about the criticism of the book before it was even published, she spoke like a mother defending her young child(those bad people dared to say something nasty about my daughter!)  And, when she boasted a bit about the book's success and her daughter's work to encourage young women to reach for their dreams, she spoke like a proud mom. It was really quite endearing and put work and life into perspective -- for most of us, our parents are our supporters, no matter how old we get.

If you meet Adele and hear her speak, you immediately understand why Sheryl has become so accomplished. The program opened Tuesday night with an appearance from Sheryl via video. In it, she called her mother her inspiration. I can only hope my daughter refers to me that way one day.

Here's the article I wrote, which summed up the evening.

Sandberg’s parents reinforce ‘Lean In’ message

 

The Sandbergs, Adele, right, and Joel, left, pose with Debbie Hochman, center, director of cultural arts and adult program at the David Posnack JCC, in Davie, Tuesday, at their Jewish Book Festival. The Sandbergs are parents of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, who wrote the popular book Lean In. MARICE COHN BAND / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

As Sheryl Sandberg sweeps the world on her book tour for Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, reaction in every global market has been significant, her mother, Adele Sandberg, told a crowd of more than 250 people at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie Tuesday night.

Sandberg, who lives in Miami Beach and traveled on the tour with her daughter to several U.S. cities, Korea and Japan, said she believes the reason for the book’s success is that the message of female empowerment is universal. “Gender stereotypes persist all over the world. Women are so hungry for an equal chance, even in the most undeveloped countries,” she said. “Wherever Sheryl spoke, the venue was too small.”

In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, encourages women to make their voices heard at the workplace. She writes that she has been called bossy, a term that rarely, if ever, is applied to men in business. “Every country that Sheryl goes to, the word ‘bossy’ exists is in their language, and when Sheryl learns that word and says it in their native language there’s a huge reaction,” Adele told the audience, offering advice to parents: “Don’t call your daughters’ bossy, say ‘my daughter has executive leadership skills.’ ”

Sheryl opened the event Tuesday night, a kickoff of the 2013 Jewish Book Festival, via video calling South Florida “my community,” her mother “my inspiration,” and the lack of equality in leadership at companies worldwide a problem that “hurts all of us.”

Adele called it a risky career move for her daughter to write a book about women in business and said it took courage. Writing this book is Sheryl’s effort to lean in, Adele said. “It’s an important message, and she’s happy for the conversation, negative or positive.” She called the book, which has sold more than a million copies, “a wake-up call.”

“We must pay attention to gender stereotypes and what they are doing in our workplaces and our homes.”

Adele also addressed negotiation style, noting that men can tell their boss they deserve a raise while women who try it are called boastful. Now, she says, women are using Sheryl to fortify their negotiations, “They say Sheryl Sandberg would be disappointed in me if I didn’t ask for a raise,” adding, “Sheryl has CEOs complaining that she is costing them money.”

In the seven months since the book’s debut, the Lean In movement has flourished. There are approximately 250 corporate partners with the Lean In Foundation (large corporations such as Coca Cola, Amazon, Target and small businesses and non-profits). There are 9,000 Lean In circles in 50 states and 50 countries. The book has been translated into 11 languages — with another 19 languages in the process of being translated. Adele noted that as part of the book tour, Sheryl has taken her message to young girls, too, organizing meetings at disadvantaged high schools in cities on the tour where she encourages the girls “to reach for their dreams.”

In response to an audience inquiry, Adele, a former teacher and community activist, addressed the tension between working women and those who stay home to raise their kids. “Sheryl says we have to respect each other’s choices, we have to put a stop to the resentment or guilt and work together.”

At the conclusion, Joel Sandberg joined his wife on stage to share his perspective on Lean In and his thoughts on reaction from men. “The book educated me a lot, even though I have a wife and two daughters who are great achievers. I think men who have the most interest are those with daughters or managers who are concerned with losing talented women.”

Debbie Hochman, director of Cultural Arts at David Posnack Jewish Community Center, said the discussion around Lean In appealed to the audience of all ages. “We saw this as an opportunity to bring the community together to around a topic people are talking about and they can relate to.” Hochman said Adele drove the book’s message home. “You can see that she’s a mom who is proud of what her daughter is doing.”

 

 

September 26, 2013

How to make difficult workplace conversations easier

Q. When does your personal business become a workplace issue? 

A. When it affects how other's respond to you.

Here is my article in The Miami Herald on the topic. I think it has some great tips. If you've had to have a tough conversation in the workplace, how did you approach it?


A few tips make tough workplace conversations easier

One morning, shortly after ABC News contributor Tory Johnson stepped off the set of Good Morning America, her boss called her into her office. Barbara Fedida, the highest ranking female executive at ABC News, told Johnson she didn’t look as good as she could and offered to connect her to a stylist that would give her a makeover.

“She never used the words ‘fat, diet or obesity,’ but her message was clear: I needed to lose weight,” Johnson says. “Let’s face it: On TV, looks matter.”

They matter in other workplaces, too. Awkward conversations around personal appearance and behavior are increasingly happening in businesses of all sizes. From weight concerns to body odor, inappropriate outfits to annoying behavior, managers find it daunting to tackle these uncomfortable discussions with workers. Yet, sometimes there’s just no avoiding it.

Such conversations can go in several directions. For Johnson, a Miami Beach native, it led to shedding more than 70 pounds over 18 months, mostly because she says she was ready to hear the message. “If you want someone to change, offer solutions; don’t threaten them. And, don’t expect overnight results. Change happens over time in small increments.”

Handling the difficult conversation requires skill and empathy and works best when the person initiating it has a good, trusting relationship with the employee. “When you love your job and respect the people you work with, you are more receptive to hearing something from them,” says Johnson, who has published her weight loss story in a new book, The Shift.

Even when there’s mutual trust, a soft entry tends to work best: acknowledging that you are about to bring up a sensitive matter and offering a solution or encouraging the other person to come up with their own.

The assumption should be that the person is oblivious to their appearance or behavior problem, which turns out to be a great conversation opener, says Scott Garvis, president of Dale Carnegie South Florida. “You could say something like, ‘You are probably not aware of it, but you are judged in the business world on how you look, how you act, what you say and how you say it.’ ”

A few years ago, urged by the rest of the staff, Garvis had to tell an employee he talked too much. “It was not fun. I had to give myself a pep talk to remind myself I was doing him a favor.”

Garvis says it helps to cushion an awkward conversation by showing empathy. Offer up an example of your own blind spots or mistakes and emphasize that someone spoke up to allow you to make changes. “I’m here to be the person for you that this other person was for me.”

Managers who dread these conversations often get nudged into them when other employees complain about the uncomfortable behavior, dress or habits of a co-worker. At one workplace, a manager’s bushy nose hair became so distracting to his staff during presentations that executive speaking coach Anne Freedman was asked to have the difficult conversation with him about it. She says she approached it by addressing the positive first. “I pointed out that the company was investing in him to be a better presenter and said that when you are making a presentation you need to look your best from head to toe and allow others to think of you as a star.”

 Freedman, founder of SpeakOut in Miami, says in almost any difficult conversation, you need to get across that what you are recommending is going to help the person with his or her relationships with other people.

Choosing the right place for the conversation is important, too. If your office seems intimidating or too public, arrange a private meeting. You might also consider inviting the employee for lunch or a cup of coffee.

For Adam Cronin, a personal trainer, the uncomfortable conversations were with clients and he held them outside the gym. He asked clients to take a walk with him, told them he was changing genders to become a female and urged them to continue on as clients in his new exercise facility.

“When you are going to have a conversation that is difficult, half of it is the set up — being in an environment they are comfortable in and letting them know you are going to talk about something that’s difficult,” Cronin says. Reactions were varied. “I knew that would happen. Going into a difficult conversation, you have to be prepared for any outcome while remembering you are doing what you need to do.”

Even with a well-framed approach, the person on the other end might become angry and defensive. If so, remain calm, respond in a way you can be proud of later. “Make it clear that your concern is professional, affects others and that you’re not making a personal criticism,” Garvis advises.

In many workplaces, the new tough conversations increasingly involve bad behavior around tech use. Those can be particularly tricky, especially when they involve someone senior to you in the organization.

Laura Berger, an executive coach and leadership consultant with The Berdeo Group in Fort Lauderdale, said she was asked to help staff at one company tell a CEO his incessant smartphone usage during staff meetings was offensive to his team. Berger forced him to role play with her. “You want them to sit in the shoes of someone else and observe,” she said. Then, she posed a question, “What do you think is a most effective way to modify your behavior?” She suggests, “Let them come up with ideas to solve it.”

While difficult workplace conversations take courage, the consequence of not having them can be costly. An overwhelming majority (85 percent) of employees at all levels say they experience workplace conflict to some degree, spending as much as 2.8 hours per week dealing with it, according to a CPP Inc. study. Managers tend to postpone these talks, or skirt the real issue, hoping the concern will go away on its own, says Berger: “That almost never happens.”

September 23, 2013

Would you choose a staff lunch over a bonus?

Free lunch

 

 

Cash or camaraderie with your co-workers...which would you choose?

Let me tell you about what went on at ShortStack, a company that designs a suite of digital tools to create customized Facebook pages. From its inception in 2011, the founder, Jim Belosic, took the staff out for weekly Friday lunches. One day, the company's CPA told the founder that as staff was growing in number, he would be better off putting an end to free staff lunches and giving each staffer a $3,000 bonus check. 

Instead of deciding himself, Belosic asked his employees. The answer, he says, was immediate and unanimous: Keep the lunches. Belosic said it shocked his CPA that his workers chose camaraderie. At the lunches, he says staff mingle in a way they don't get to in the office and that going out allows co-workers more ways to get to know each other. 

"You can learn a lot about someone from their car, from the music they have on to whether they have sports equipment or a child seat in the back. One of our lead engineers is very focused. He looks mean, but when you talk to him at lunch, he's a pussycat. People don't know that unless you have those opportunities to get to know each other," Belosic told Fast Company Magazine.

Last week I wrote about how important social interaction with co-workers is to millennials. Some of us older workers want it, too. If I had the choice, I think I would vote for the staff lunches. I love to feel like there's camaraderie in my workplace, particularly because most of us spend more time at work than home. Having friends at work, people you enjoy talking with, makes most of us more likely to stay.

What are your thoughts? Would you rather your boss spend money on creating informal social interaction among the office team, or would you rather have the cash in your paycheck?

 

 

September 20, 2013

Your guide to becoming impressive

Promote yourselfI don't want to Dan Schawbel to get a big head but I am willing to give him a little ego stroke -- he sure knows how to promote himself. Dan, a millennial who has become an expert in personal branding, has an effective way of reaching out to the media and promoting his latest endeavor. This time, his new accomplishment is a book called, Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success.

Dan aims his book at young workers who want to get ahead in their current jobs. I picked up all kinds of smart strategies from the book and I want to share them with all of you. I think they apply regardless of what generation you belong to or where you work. Remember, when you're struggling for work life balance, there are small moves you can do each day to make you shine.

Here it is, your guide to being impressive:

* Become indispensable at work. Learn as much as you can about the place where you work or industry you are in and then become an expert at something. 

* Know how to navigate your way through a changing economy. That means being able to work with people from different generations, having lots of connections, taking your career into your own hands and understanding that all it takes is one person to change your life for the better.

* Know what skills are important to move up and most in demand, and go get them.

* Sharpen your writing, listening and presenting skills. (observe others who you think do this well)

* Dress for success. Forty-one percent of employers say that people who dress better are more likley to get promoted.

*Build your online brand. Do this proactively by making deliberate postings that position you the way you want to be seen. You need to stay top of mind and continually remind poeple that you're out there and doing great work.

* Make others look good -- especially your manager. Take credit for what you do, but give plenty of credit to others who are doing great things.

* Have an amazing network at work and beyond. Be genuinely interested in others and use your current connections to help you expand your social network. 

* Be a person with outside interests. By being well rounded, you have more to talk about, more opportunities to make connections and a bigger platform to increase your visibility.

* Don't be afraid of lateral moves. Look for places within your company where you can really add value and offer up new ideas.

* Be a person who tries new things. Spend time outside your comfort zone. 

*Do one thing every day that will advance you.

Once you become impressive, Dan feels promoting yourself effectively is absolutely essential to career success. He believes self-promotion is a subtle art and the most succesful people master it. Do you agree or do you see self-promotion as obnoxious? 

 

September 18, 2013

What does work life balance mean to a Millennial?

Some of my best friends today are former co-workers. For me, the people I work with are as important as the job I'm doing. That seems to be even more true for young workers today. They want work life balance and a life outside of work, but they also want their workplaces to feel like a second home. While we all may feel that way, millennials are more likely to quit if they don't have that type of work environment. 

But workplaces can't afford for them to quit. We need them -- their enthusiasm, their innovative ideas, their technology skills. So employers and managers are going to need to make some changes, to make their workplaces more fun and collaborative. 

Today, in my Miami Herald column, I wrote about millennials and their definition of social workplaces. If you're making a good salary, is it less important that you like the people you work? If you have a great life outside of work, do you care whether your workplace feels like a second home?

Keeping millennial workers happy is just smart business

 
Cirle Founder and CEO Richard Awdeh, M.D., seated center, leads an afternoon "scrum" with employees of the medical technology incubator on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 in Miami. At right, Eli Chen, an electrical engineer, adds figures to a dry-erase board the length of the meeting area. Other employees attending the meeting are, clockwise from lower left: project technical lead Shradha Prabhulkar, PhD; operations manager Natalie Nixon; project engineer Ben Clapp; biomedical scientist Tingjun Lei; and project managers Sachin Bhandari and Michelle Ingrosso.
Cirle Founder and CEO Richard Awdeh, M.D., seated center, leads an afternoon "scrum" with employees of the medical technology incubator on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 in Miami. At right, Eli Chen, an electrical engineer, adds figures to a dry-erase board the length of the meeting area. Other employees attending the meeting are, clockwise from lower left: project technical lead Shradha Prabhulkar, PhD; operations manager Natalie Nixon; project engineer Ben Clapp; biomedical scientist Tingjun Lei; and project managers Sachin Bhandari and Michelle Ingrosso.
 

By Cindy Krischer Goodman

Each morning, Michelle Ingrosso, 22, huddles with her co-workers at Cirle, brainstorms with them on a blackboard, and chats with them online as the day unfolds. When the workday ends nine hours later, she often heads with them to dinner or for drinks.

The camaraderie, she says, is what she looks for from the people she works with and allows her to do a better job. “I’m not just an employee, I’m part of a team.”

Today, millennials like Ingrosso want to integrate their work and personal lives even more than previous generations. They want their workplaces to be like second homes, their co-workers to be their friends, and their bosses to be their workplace parents or mentors.

While the big push in creating social workplaces has centered on ice cream-making contests and costume competitions, experts say the future is going to require a more strategic approach to building a “fun” culture that encourages camaraderie, loyalty, and dedication.

Researchers say millennials’ expectations for social connections at work set them apart. A survey by Millennial Branding shows this young generation has a team-oriented focus and enjoys collaboration.

“They were on sports teams growing up where the teams were rewarded and want the same feeling in the workplace,” says Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and management consulting firm. “If they are able to make friends at work, they are more likely to stay with your company and be happy doing so.”

There are significant business reasons why employers should want millennials to stay and be happy. The millennial generation — people born between 1982 and 1993 — numbers about 80 million in America, slightly larger than the baby-boomer generation. By 2025, millennials, also known as Gen Y, will account for more than 75 percent of the global workforce.

Employee engagement, particularly when it comes to millennials, is a top priority for businesses, such as accounting firm Ernst & Young, where 60 percent of its employees are young workers. Karyn Twaronite, EY Americas inclusiveness officer, says her organization has taken a proactive approach to managing its increasing millennial population.

“We try to put in more formalized opportunities for networking and teaming inside and outside of the office,” Twaronite says. For example, the firm encourages community involvement by teams and puts younger workers on projects involving more experienced staffers so they can expand their networks and look for mentors.

Nikolai De Leo, 25 and a staff member in the transaction advisory services practice at EY in Miami, says the payoff is big when companies foster more social interaction. “If you get to know someone on a personal level, you’re more open to their ideas or anything they would teach you on the professional side.”

Those deeper relationships, he says, are what will keep him at the firm. “Liking the people you work with is huge.” He finds getting to know a manager on a personal level also allows him more opportunity to earn trust, and that pays off, too. “You can have the freedom to operate independently and have a better workplace balance once you gain their trust.”

Through research, EY learned that its millennial workers want to be themselves at work, have their voices heard, and have give-and-take relationships that are not just work-focused with managers. “That’s incredibility important to them,” says Twaronite. Now, the firm is training its managers to respond and give more guidance, like a parent would, and show young workers a path to upward mobility. The firm also is coaching its Gen Ys to ask for specific feedback.

 

 

September 16, 2013

Cutting Corners to Achieve Work Life Balance and Sanity

Cutting corners

 

My kids complained at dinner the other night that I rarely cook from scratch. I buy boxes or packages where I can add fresh ingredients but I don't have start from the beginning. I'm not a good cook. I try to cram a lot into my day and I'm looking for ways to get a decent meal on the table as quickly as possible. In other words, I cut corners. Should I feel guilty about it? 

I study people who are successful, productive and happy. They have one thing in common. They cut corners, too. They aim to be great at what they do for a living, but they don't get bogged down if they're second best in some aspect of their lives -- as long as they're great at the things they most care about.

This weekend, I read an excellent interview in the New York TImes with Debora Spar, the president of Barnard College and mother of three children. Spar just wrote a book called "Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection." In her new book, she argues that at every stage of life, women are straining to reach impossible standards. Spar says she looks back at her life and sees areas where cutting corners would have helped her be saner. I think most of us could do that, right?

Spar introduces women to the term "satisficing." It means to settle for something that is second best. In the interview, she says, "You dont' want to go out there and say women should settle for second best. But sometimes second best is much better than fourth best or worse. Women in particular feel if I didn't become the top CEO or perfect mother, I've somehow blown it."

As Sheryl Sandberg pointed out in her book, Lean In: we need great women to run our PTAs and we need great women to run our public companies. It likely is not going to be the same person who does both.

Spar points out something in the NYT interview that I see happening as well. The pressure is starting early on young girls to be Wonder Woman -- to get the perfect SAT score, to have perfect GPAs and perfect resumes. She thinks females internalize this need to relentless pressure to be perfect more than males. I'm not sure how true that is because I see my son and daughter experiencing the same pressure to be super achievers.

But I do like Spar's advice to women: "Don't get taken in by women's magazines that show bathrooms or living rooms that look simple and Zen-like but have to be maintained constantly." I know all too well that having a beautiful house where pillows stay in place and clothing stays off the floor takes work -- so does serving a gourmet dinner. "Men's magazines don't seem to do this. They seem to be about things that are fun, not things you have to spend lots of hours on and then fail at," she says.

In an article Spar wrote for The Daily Beast a year ago, she hit it right on. We have to let go of our guilt and our fear....

"Today, part of what keeps women from the top ranks of their professions is a fear that they will not perform well enough..Part of what makes women unhappy at home is a related fear that they are not quite good enough—that their kids don’t practice piano for at least two hours a day, their closets are a mess, and the brownies they brought to the bake sale weren’t entirely gluten-free. It’s madness."

Spar, who loves statistics, found women were still devoting nearly 40 hours a week to family care: housework, child care, shopping. Men, by contrast, spent only 21, most of which were devoted to fairly discrete and flexible tasks like mowing the lawn, washing the car, and tossing softballs with the kids.

She did point out, to be fair, that men have leapt pretty dramatically into a rapidly evolving rearrangement of roles doing more housework and primary child care.

But she notes, men are better at cutting corners at home. "These men may do the household chores differently than their wives would. They may leave the playroom messier or abandon more socks in the dryer. But, given the vast changes afoot in household organization, those socks might just be worth sacrificing."

By now, after years of trying, I think lots of women and men are realizing that no one is going to pull off being a gourmet cook, successful business person, parent of the year, fitness buff, home decorator. If we understand we can not excel across the board, and stop trying so hard, we'll be happier and saner. That's the message Spar is trying to get across and I like it.

So where do you need to settle for second best...or cut corners...and how do you do that well?

Outsource home tasks. Use technology for efficiency at work. Buy clothes that are flattering rather than obsessing over falling short of your fitness goal. Serve pre-made fried rice (even if your kids complain!)

Women in this country are struggling far more than is necessary. I'm with you all the way, Debora Spar. Let's figure out where we can "satisfice" for a better work life balance and still be great at the things that count the most.

 

September 12, 2013

Is Employer Liable for ‘Creepy’ Coworker?

Creepy

 

I used to have a really creepy co-worker. He would talk all day about his strip club adventures and his efforts to court a stripper. He would slip the topic into any work-related conversation. I tried to keep my distance from him and so did most of the women in the office. 

Since then, I've noticed almost every office has a creeper. In some workplaces, the creeper is manageable. In others, he or she goes too far. When it goes to far, your work life can become miserable.

But at what point is an employer liable for an employee who is a creeper? 

Diversity Inc. has devoted an entire round up to real life work scenarios where an employer has been held liable or let off the hook for creepy behavior by a manager or fellow co-worker.

Here are a few court findings:

* Persistent matchmaking by a co-worker might seem creepy but it's not officially harassment. Laincy v. Chatham County Board of Assessors 

* Apologizing in advance for any offensive conduct doesn't let a supervisor off the hook.Hoffner v. Associated Lumber Industries, Inc.

*  Knowing an employee is an offensive “pest” yet taking no effective action can get an employer in hot water.Hollis v. Town of Mount Vernon 

* If the person complaining about a boss being a creeper fails to provide any details and cooperate when the company tries to follow up, the company may not be liable for harassment. Crockett v. Mission Hospital, Inc.

 

In bringing a case against an employer, there are many variables -- some cases are worth pursuing. Have you seen creepy behavior go too far in your workplace?

 

 

 

September 11, 2013

Why managers and millennials need each other

I'm fascinated by the future of work. What workplaces look like when today's young employees are managers? Are today's managers smart enough to engage and prepare the managers of the future? 

Today, I used some new research to tackle the topic of how and why millennials and managers need each other. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what's going on in your workplaces. Are managers flexible in how they manage young workers?

 

Millennials offer a lot to employers but have their own expectations, too

 
 

Andrew Paton, 35, is a retail sales director at Dade Paper and manages many young Millennials. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, Paton, was walking through Dade Paper's warehouse talking with 28-year-old Jessica Sanchez, the supply chain coordinator. EMILY MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

Is moving on from an employer the only way for a young person to get ahead in their career?

It may if something doesn’t change for millennials in America’s workplaces.

Look around your office and it’s likely you will see young faces who want an entrepreneurial culture where their ideas are listened to and their voices heard. But new research shows managers often feel millennials want too much too soon and don’t know how to keep them on a career path that keeps them engaged.

“I think there’s a disconnect because older workers come from a time when you have one career for life and corporate loyalty, and millennials just want to make an impact on day one,” says Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, a consulting firm that helps companies understand the potential value of millennial workers.

Frustrated, young innovators often take a “move up or move on” attitude. Indeed, Schawbel’s research shows America’s millennials will have an average of 11 jobs between ages 18 and 34.

Eric Schecter, 27, has had four jobs. He says he tried to fit into traditional companies but considers himself an entrepreneurial spirit. He most recently worked as social media director at Carnival Cruise Line for two years. In January, Schecter left to become a partner in two innovative start ups — The GiddyUp Group and Skynet Aire. “I was looking for the lifestyle outside of a big company, where I can do my own thing and travel and set up companies where I can work from anywhere in the world.”

Schecter says as an employee, he saw the disconnect between the generations. “Millennials want to be able to move at a quicker pace in their careers, to leverage technology and do away with less efficient processes, and that’s hard to do in a bigger corporation where older managers are used to doing things a certain way.” While some big companies are empowering young employees to try new approaches, “it’s still a really slow process,” he says.

Clearly, managers are having trouble understanding the value millennials could bring. New research shows a majority of young employees believe their bosses can offer experience and wisdom. Managers, on the other hand, largely view millennials as having a poor work ethic, being easily distracted, and having unrealistic salary expectations, according to the Gen Y Workplace Expectation study released Sept. 3 by Millennial Branding and American Express.

But, given that three-quarters of the workforce will be millennials in slightly over a decade, companies need to keep young entrepreneurs working on the inside if they’re going to stay in business and succeed, Schawbel says.

In most workplaces, managing millennials falls mostly to Gen Xers, (ages 33 to 50) many of whom also oversee older workers. Andrew Paton has worked at Dade Paper, a 75-year old Miami company, for more than a decade. At age 35, he manages employees of three generations. Paton has seen from the resumes he receives that when millennials feel stifled, they move on quickly. For him, the challenge is setting criteria for promotions and raises to keep his entire team engaged. Where his older workers want to be evaluated on goals and numbers, his younger workers want to be recognized for their ability to solve problems. Seeing the gap, he tries to keep his young sales force engaged by being flexible.

He also recognizes his 20-something workers want to incorporate more technology into their jobs, which he encourages, as long as they also work to strengthen their soft skills. “We want creative thinking, but we want them to learn the old-school way of doing business, which is about face-to-face and personal relationships.”

Most managers agree with Paton that millennials need to bolster critical soft skills to advance. In the workplace expectation study, almost 90 percent of managers said the top skill for a young employee was his or her ability to prioritize work, followed by a positive attitude and teamwork ability.

On the other hand, expectations around soft skills are oftentimes unclear to young workers, the research shows. Millennials polled said they often felt they weren’t getting enough feedback from their bosses and there were differences around the timeframe for raises or promotions. Three quarters of managers polled said it would take about four years for an employee to move to the management level; by contrast, only 66 percent of millennial said it should take that long.

Jeremy Condomina, a 27-year old business analyst and computer system trainer at Dade Paper, says his generation struggles with the concept of proving themselves at work. “Often we try to push the envelope because we have an entrepreneurial spirit that the older generation doesn’t have. In college, we’re taught to share our ideas and expand on them. But in companies, it’s money and lives at stake and innovation is slow. It tends to frustrate millennials and make them feel ignored.”

Condomina says his solution was to take a position where being innovative was built into the job description. His job is to analyze work flow and business processes and try to find ways to improve it. “It gives me the freedom to be an innovator.”

Schawbel says the number one thing that managers need to do to keep millennials engaged is set expectations by telling a young employee what specifically to do to become a manager in a set number of years. “That’s key. Those expectations are so important, and nobody is setting them, which is why turnover is so high.”

Nikolai De Leo, a 25-year-old with Ernst & Young in Miami, says millennials not only want to know their path, they want to learn why they’re doing a task a certain way and that what they’re doing isn’t menial. “Recently, my manager explained the bigger picture, how my work helped in the grand scheme. That’s the best management style.”

Schawbel says he wants to encourage millennials to see that there are ways to get recognition and find career success without jumping ship. In tandem with the new research, he has released a book aimed at millennials: Promote Yourself, The New Rules for Career Success. He encourages young workers to become “intrapreneurs” within the corporation by taking risks, selling their ideas and seeing opportunities where others don’t.

“If you see an opportunity your company is not taking advantage of, do your research and build a presentation. That’s how you stand out,” he says. “The idea is to get people within your company to see you as a future leader.”



 

 

Why managers and millennials need each other

I'm fascinated by the future of work. What workplaces look like when today's young employees are managers? Are today's managers smart enough to engage and prepare the managers of the future? 

Today, I used some new research to tackle the topic of how and why millennials and managers need each other. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what's going on in your workplaces. Are managers flexible in how they manage young workers?

 

Millennials offer a lot to employers but have their own expectations, too

 
 

Andrew Paton, 35, is a retail sales director at Dade Paper and manages many young Millennials. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, Paton, was walking through Dade Paper's warehouse talking with 28-year-old Jessica Sanchez, the supply chain coordinator. EMILY MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

Is moving on from an employer the only way for a young person to get ahead in their career?

It may if something doesn’t change for millennials in America’s workplaces.

Look around your office and it’s likely you will see young faces who want an entrepreneurial culture where their ideas are listened to and their voices heard. But new research shows managers often feel millennials want too much too soon and don’t know how to keep them on a career path that keeps them engaged.

“I think there’s a disconnect because older workers come from a time when you have one career for life and corporate loyalty, and millennials just want to make an impact on day one,” says Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, a consulting firm that helps companies understand the potential value of millennial workers.

Frustrated, young innovators often take a “move up or move on” attitude. Indeed, Schawbel’s research shows America’s millennials will have an average of 11 jobs between ages 18 and 34.

Eric Schecter, 27, has had four jobs. He says he tried to fit into traditional companies but considers himself an entrepreneurial spirit. He most recently worked as social media director at Carnival Cruise Line for two years. In January, Schecter left to become a partner in two innovative start ups — The GiddyUp Group and Skynet Aire. “I was looking for the lifestyle outside of a big company, where I can do my own thing and travel and set up companies where I can work from anywhere in the world.”

Schecter says as an employee, he saw the disconnect between the generations. “Millennials want to be able to move at a quicker pace in their careers, to leverage technology and do away with less efficient processes, and that’s hard to do in a bigger corporation where older managers are used to doing things a certain way.” While some big companies are empowering young employees to try new approaches, “it’s still a really slow process,” he says.

Clearly, managers are having trouble understanding the value millennials could bring. New research shows a majority of young employees believe their bosses can offer experience and wisdom. Managers, on the other hand, largely view millennials as having a poor work ethic, being easily distracted, and having unrealistic salary expectations, according to the Gen Y Workplace Expectation study released Sept. 3 by Millennial Branding and American Express.

But, given that three-quarters of the workforce will be millennials in slightly over a decade, companies need to keep young entrepreneurs working on the inside if they’re going to stay in business and succeed, Schawbel says.

In most workplaces, managing millennials falls mostly to Gen Xers, (ages 33 to 50) many of whom also oversee older workers. Andrew Paton has worked at Dade Paper, a 75-year old Miami company, for more than a decade. At age 35, he manages employees of three generations. Paton has seen from the resumes he receives that when millennials feel stifled, they move on quickly. For him, the challenge is setting criteria for promotions and raises to keep his entire team engaged. Where his older workers want to be evaluated on goals and numbers, his younger workers want to be recognized for their ability to solve problems. Seeing the gap, he tries to keep his young sales force engaged by being flexible.

He also recognizes his 20-something workers want to incorporate more technology into their jobs, which he encourages, as long as they also work to strengthen their soft skills. “We want creative thinking, but we want them to learn the old-school way of doing business, which is about face-to-face and personal relationships.”

Most managers agree with Paton that millennials need to bolster critical soft skills to advance. In the workplace expectation study, almost 90 percent of managers said the top skill for a young employee was his or her ability to prioritize work, followed by a positive attitude and teamwork ability.

On the other hand, expectations around soft skills are oftentimes unclear to young workers, the research shows. Millennials polled said they often felt they weren’t getting enough feedback from their bosses and there were differences around the timeframe for raises or promotions. Three quarters of managers polled said it would take about four years for an employee to move to the management level; by contrast, only 66 percent of millennial said it should take that long.

Jeremy Condomina, a 27-year old business analyst and computer system trainer at Dade Paper, says his generation struggles with the concept of proving themselves at work. “Often we try to push the envelope because we have an entrepreneurial spirit that the older generation doesn’t have. In college, we’re taught to share our ideas and expand on them. But in companies, it’s money and lives at stake and innovation is slow. It tends to frustrate millennials and make them feel ignored.”

Condomina says his solution was to take a position where being innovative was built into the job description. His job is to analyze work flow and business processes and try to find ways to improve it. “It gives me the freedom to be an innovator.”

Schawbel says the number one thing that managers need to do to keep millennials engaged is set expectations by telling a young employee what specifically to do to become a manager in a set number of years. “That’s key. Those expectations are so important, and nobody is setting them, which is why turnover is so high.”

Nikolai De Leo, a 25-year-old with Ernst & Young in Miami, says millennials not only want to know their path, they want to learn why they’re doing a task a certain way and that what they’re doing isn’t menial. “Recently, my manager explained the bigger picture, how my work helped in the grand scheme. That’s the best management style.”

Schawbel says he wants to encourage millennials to see that there are ways to get recognition and find career success without jumping ship. In tandem with the new research, he has released a book aimed at millennials: Promote Yourself, The New Rules for Career Success. He encourages young workers to become “intrapreneurs” within the corporation by taking risks, selling their ideas and seeing opportunities where others don’t.

“If you see an opportunity your company is not taking advantage of, do your research and build a presentation. That’s how you stand out,” he says. “The idea is to get people within your company to see you as a future leader.”



 

 

September 10, 2013

Work life balance, time management and sex

Penelope Trunk, one of my favorite bloggers, often writes about what I'm thinking and might be too embarassed to say aloud.

Yesterday, Penelope hit on the topic of time management and sex. In her first marriage, she admits, she barely had sex, which is a mistake she vows not to have in her second marriage. So, she keeps tabs. But the problem she encounters is one that many women face. Our nights have become as busy as our days, particularly when we have children. 

For working moms who rush home from work to spend time with their families, the evening is the only time that we can finish things up. We talk to our kids, look over homework, put them to bed and then -- we retreat to our home offices or our laptops to get to whatever we didn't get to earlier. I do this ALL the time.

But for me and many other women, the evening also ia the only time my husband and I can spend time together.

Trunk writes that for her and her hubby, "It’s the time we talk about schedules, we watch TV shows on Netflix, and sometimes, if everything goes well, we have sex."

Now, this is where the problem lies. How many of you have had an argument with your husband about being on your computer at night and not paying him attention (and this includes sex)? Is your hand raised because mine is way up high!

Because of the ease in which we can log back into work from home, it's tempting to let our work creep into our evenings.

Penelope says calls sex "the hardest time mangement decision of my day." She writes: "sex and work and kids don’t go well together because the only time that’s left over for sex is the time when you are done taking care of kids and have to make up the lost work time. There’s a reason that you have a lull in your email during dinnertime and then it picks up after kids go to bed: it’s all the parents of the workforce fitting in family time. And not sex."

Not long ago, I was chatting with a woman who consults mom entrepreneurs. She told me she worries about the health of marriages because so many women are up at night clacking on their key boards -- and not having sex or even having a simple conversation with their spouse. ( Men, of course, do this too)

Maybe we all need to heed Penelope's warning, keep tabs, and think more consciously about time management and sex. Maybe we need to make time for our spouses because if we don't, sex often becomes the first to go, and marriage is soon to follow.

Thanks Penelope for the reminder!