July 07, 2014

Unplugging from technology: a daughter's perspective

On several occasions, I've asked my son a question only to realize he's glued to his smartphone screen and hasn't heard a word I've said. It's hard competing for a teen's attention when his entire social circle can be access by a few touches on a screen. 

One of the struggles with work life balance today as a parent is making time for our kids when our kids want to make time for us. My guest blogger today is Jamie Goodman (no relation to me).  Jamie's parents got divorced when she was 2 and her brother was 7. The kids now live in St. Louis. Over the years, her father, Rick Goodman of Pembroke Pines, he has talked to his children on the phone, and they've visited him in Florida. However, he found when they were with him, they were tweeting and texting and not talking with him as much as he hoped.

So, he invited his daughter on a summer trip abroad to connect more with her. Before leaving on the 24-day trip to Europe, Rick set some ground rules. Jamie had to leave technology behind. No smartphone and no computer.  Jamie journaled during the trip and her resulting book, "Jamie’s Journey: “Travels with My Dad,” recently climbed to #4 in the parenting & relationships category on Amazon.com.

 I hope you enjoy Jamie's perspective as much as I did.

Rick and Jamie

 (Above: Rick Goodman and daughter, Jamie)

 

When my father approached me with the idea to travel the world for twenty-four days without technology, my initial reaction was, “You’re joking, right?” Well, I assure you he was not, and after three months of planning we were to begin our journey.  Throughout our trip we had our fair share of arguments and moments where all we wanted to do was escape one another, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t have changed my experience for the world.

Each day my dad and I documented the sites we had seen, the fights we had, the lessons learned, and advice to other parents and kids. For example one piece of advice I give is that, “ Most of the time dads can be annoying, so enjoy the days he isn’t. They don’t happen too often!” These short entries and pieces of advice paved the way for what is now my book entitled “Jamie’s Journey: Travels With My Dad”. 

Our trip, unplugged from technology, allowed me the opportunity to learn more about my dad and gave us the chance to reconnect and create a stronger relationship. From our journey I learned many things, but the most important being that you are never too old or too young to connect or reconnect with someone. It’s never too late.

Though my dad has lived in Florida almost my entire life, he has never missed a day of calling my brother or I. My dad never gave up on his relationship with his children, and this trip allowed me to show him that I had not given up on trying to reconnect with him.

For the next thirty days I am asking all of you to reconnect with one another, to put down your cellphones, computers and escape from technology. The only way we can truly connect with one another is to interact face to face, and that doesn’t happen when technology is involved. 

Click here to see Jamie and her dad on the news talking about experiencing one on one time. 

Rick's take away:  "It's never too late to reconnect with family members. There are so many ways to connect on a daily basis.(if you both leave behind your smartphones) You don't have to spend a lot of money. You can go to local attractions together."

So readers, hearing what Jamie and Rick got out of the experience, I'm wondering...Would you be able to take on Jamie's challenge? Could you go for 24 days without your smart phone?  

October 02, 2013

What a reverse mentor could do for you....

For those of us with teens, they are our reverse mentors. If we're not too ashamed to ask them, they have a lot to teach us about how their generation thinks, works, reacts and communicates. It's going to get increasingly more important for those of us in our 40s, 50s and 60s to stay hip and in touch. This is critical if you are in charge of making business decisions. 

One solution is to find a reverse mentor -- someone in your company or outside of it to give you insight. It's a mutually beneficial relationship because you're giving them the wisdom of experience.

Today, I wrote about the topic in my Miami Herald article and I'm hearing from lots of readers who want young mentors. Don't be shy...look around inside your business and outside of it for eager 20-somethings who would consider it a thrill to show someone older what they know.

Reverse mentoring: Students teach executives about social media, tech and more

 
 
 
Magali Ferber, a University of Miami senior, is mentoring Adrian Cristiani, managing director of retail banking for Citi Latin America.
Magali Ferber, a University of Miami senior, is mentoring Adrian Cristiani, managing director of retail banking for Citi Latin America. SHANNON KAESTLE / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

My 12-year-old son has taught me that his generation participates in social networking entirely on their phones. He showed me how to post a photo on Instagram, follow others, tag people and spark conversations on the small screen in my hand. Over the last few years, I have become smart enough to realize that the younger generation is way ahead in adapting to the newest ways of communicating and connecting and that there’s no shame in asking them to teach me how to keep up.

Many in my generation do fabulous in their career paths and soar to the top of businesses or organizations. Then they hit a wall — keeping up with technology and a new mindset.

The wave of 20-somethings heading into the working world know how to amass Twitter followers. They know how to text-message with their eyes closed. And they know how to digitally connect with influencers who can send business their way. Now, older workers must look to them to teach us how to be innovative.

In a trend called reverse mentoring, companies are pairing grizzled veterans with young up-and-comers. The arrangement works to retain eager millennials and keep older executives technologically and socially relevant. It’s going on at big companies including Cisco, Johnson & Johnson and Mars Inc., where formal programs are in place. It also has taken off at small companies, where informal reverse mentor relationships are born from mutual respect and candor.

Reverse mentoring is gaining traction for all the right reasons, says Terri Scandura, a professor of management at the University of Miami School of Business Administration. Even baby boomers who might bristle at the idea of being mentored realize the value in learning what motivates Gen Y and how to market to them, she says.

Last week, Citibank became one of those one of those businesses to tap into the digital wisdom of the younger generation. It launched a program that will pair 15 senior executives from the bank’s Latin America regional office with 15 graduate and undergraduate University of Miami business students. The duos will meet at least once a week for six months to work on specific projects that will take a fresh look at mobile payments, communicating with millennial generation customers, social media, the digital retail business and creating compelling job pitches for young talent.

“Our senior executives need to clearly understand trends and what motivates the new set of young professionals,” says Jorge Ruiz, who is based in Miami and is the head of digital banking for Citibank’s Latin America office. “They are not just our future clients but also our next leaders.”

Citibank is keeping tabs on how this program goes, Ruiz says, with the hope of expanding to other regions in the near future. It is one of the first companies to reach out to a university for reverse mentors.

For Citibank, going outside the organization was appealing to the senior executives with regional responsibilities in Latin America. The biggest obstacle to reverse mentoring is pride. Ruiz said using students as mentors instead of young workers brings in a fresher perspective and a different relationship than being mentored by someone a senior executive might manage.

Magali Ferber, 20, is among the University of Miami students who are participating. Originally from Uruguay, she attended a French high school and thinks she has a lot to share about the global daily tech routines of Generation Y who buy iTunes songs at warp speed. “We are going to work together to figure out how they can adjust the way they work and products they offer to serve my generation’s needs,” Ferber says of her pairing. Already she sees opportunity for a personal return, too — confidence and experience from relating to a senior manager. “I think it will empower me to express my ideas.”

For young workers, reverse mentoring is not only an opportunity to network at high levels, it can help managers understand the way their young colleagues might prefer to work — their desire to work unconventional hours or check in from home or Starbucks. “If a senior manager can connect and understand that a younger worker is creative but works differently, it’s a positive,” says Jennifer Sabatini Fraone, associate director of marketing for the Boston College Center for Work & Family . “Maybe a young worker doesn’t like to answer phone calls because he sees another more effective means of communication.”

To be successful, reverse mentoring needs buy-in from top-level brass.

At The Hartford, CEO Liam McGee jumped on board when he saw a need for the company’s management “to become more fluent in social media, mobile computing, the cloud and other digital technologies our customers and partners are using.” He launched a program with 50 mentees across seven states paired with millennial mentors at the company. The payoff was significant: a new program for telemarketing via social media and mobile phones instead of traditional land-line phones, an update to the social media usage policy and a rising comfort with electronic sharing capabilities and collaboration that resulted in two patents written and filed. The younger workers benefited, too. Of the 12 original mentors, 11 were promoted within a year. A report on the program says that the value of reverse mentoring is “the affirmation in all sectors of a company and across generations that the next big idea can come from anywhere.”

Even small business owners are finding value in turning to the new generation of workers for guidance for everything from useful smartphone apps to improving a brand’s online presence. Older workers could scout professional groups or chambers of commerce for young mentors. Or small businesses could consider joining with others to create a formal program.

Adrian Cristiani, 46, managing director of retail banking for Citi Latin America, says that whether you work for a small or large company, it helps in overcoming resistance to be mentored as a team. He has been paired with Ferber at UM but his entirely Latin America management team is participating in the reverse mentoring program. Personally, Cristiani wants to understand why millennials make certain buying decisions and why they use certain tech tools and not others. “I think we can design around that as opposed to develop tools, push them through door and see who is going to take them.”

Reluctant managers are finding it can be a badge of honor to have a junior mentor as the trend takes off at a range of companies. Cristiani says he feels fortunate: “I don’t think of anyone that would not benefit from it, if you are willing to leverage what you learn and react.”

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 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.”



 

 

June 05, 2013

College grads: Using free time in your 20s to make it pay off in your 40s

These last few weeks, work life balance has been elusive. I've been crazed with the wind down of the school year and ducking from editors who might want more from me. I long for the days when I was in my early 20s and had the time to more easily invest in my career. 

So, if I was a college graduate, how would I spend my free time? I tackled that question in my Miami Herald column today.

 

Advice to graduates: Combine networking with true passions

 Andrew Lucas / MCT

By Cindy Krischer Goodman

balancegal@gmail.com

In the boardroom of large public companies, where few women sit at the table, there’s a dysfunctional dynamic going on. The female directors say they are left out of strategic decision-making because those conversations often happen on the golf course and they don’t play golf.

After learning about this in the Harvard Business Review, I brought it up with a female CEO who wishes she had mastered golf and said she would advise new college graduates to learn the sport. I wonder though, will professional networking and back-door decision-making in the future even be done on the greens? Or will it be done some other place entirely that requires a different skill?

With work/life balance an increasing concern, how should today’s college graduates optimize their free time now to build the right networks, learn the right skills and lay the foundation to become successful leaders in the future?

Advice from high-level professionals varies greatly, and there’s acknowledgement that today’s formula might not be the recipe for tomorrow.

Most of today’s board members and CEOs began their careers when email and social networks didn’t exist. This 2013 crop of college graduates, an estimated 1.8 million people, enters the workforce with highly developed digital skills, multitasking abilities and an expectation of work/life balance. And, even with the hiring outlook still bleak, many prioritize the nature of the work over compensation when considering a job, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

One South Florida professional advises college graduates to master multiple languages and leave the country rather than spend that time learning to golf.

“Your 20s is the ideal time to raise your hand to take on a project in Portugal or enroll in a business program in Spain,” says Bonnie Crabtree, senior client partner and office managing director of Korn/Ferry International’s Miami office. Contacts in other parts of the world and a different perspective can become valuable in your later career, she says.

Crabtree says her firm recently researched the backgrounds of board members at the nation’s top public companies. “International experience really shows up in statistics.”

Sometimes knowing what you want to accomplish can shape your early career strategy. J. Preston Jones, interim dean of the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University, often networks on the golf course, playing alongside university presidents, community leaders and fundraisers. He advises graduates to identify the ultimate job they want and study where and how those who now hold those positions built strategic relationships.

“If the decision makers are playing golf or fishing or climbing the Himalayas, those are activities you should consider adding to your repertoire of things you become passionate about.” Doing activities you enjoy, outside the workplace with other professionals makes business fun, he says. “You are not only bonding but welding relationships.”

Using your 20s to position yourself as a leader can also pay off. Community, charity and political organizations are the lunch clubs and golf courses of tomorrow. Getting involved in Make A Wish, the Cuban American Bar Association or the University of Florida alumni group can put a college graduate or new associate in front of judges, senior vice presidents and business owners.

You can’t just be a member. You have to chair a committee or run events. You want others to see you as a leader,” says Jill Granat, senior vice president/general counsel of Burger King Corp. and president of the Burger King McLamore Foundation. But she cautions that you need to choose an organization you are passionate about or you will come off as superficial. “Don’t do something you don’t like.”

Granat also advises positioning yourself as a leader inside your company, too, by showing you are flexible and seizing opportunities. “You need to be willing to make your mark where the company needs you. You might want to do X, but if you are willing to do Y, you will get a foot in the door.”

Of course, today’s college graduates feel more comfortable than prior generations building connections online. Building and maintaining social networks are worth the time investment. But that is only one step of the process, says Mary Leslie Smith, a partner in the Miami office of Foley & Lardner and the newly installed president of the Dade County Bar Association. Be bold and invite people to enjoy experiences with you, she says.

“I just went with a client to a Madonna concert and now we have that experience that we enjoyed together. You can’t get that by connecting on Linked In,” Smith explains, adding that building a vibrant network in your early career includes forging relationships at all levels. “Ten years from now that associate next may be a general counsel who becomes a client. The more friendships, the more relationships you build, the better.”

Smith also believes one of the best time investments a young professional can make is financial education, particularly for those without business degrees. “Learn to read a financial statement, the key terms in the stock market, how to read a prospectus. It will pay off for you.”

It may seem overwhelming, but start now building a community invested in your success — mentors, sponsors or supporters. Jennifer Moline, senior vice president of finance and accounting at Terremark Worldwide, says it takes courage and a time investment to ask for advice and listen well, which becomes increasingly challenging later in your career. She suggests making a list of everyone you know and ask them to introduce you to successful people who have careers that you are interested in. An introduction by someone who knows you is most effective. “Don’t ask for a job, ask for advice.” Throughout your career, keep your network of supporters informed of your progress, which can be done on social networks, she says.

With this advice in mind, I wanted to dig deeper with Boris Groysberg, a Harvard Business School professor and author of the HBR article on women in the boardroom. Groysberg said while golf has proved key in board culture today, even he is not convinced it will pay off when college graduates are leaders.

“Having cutting edge skills is what’s going to be most important,” he said. To get those skills, he advises young people to scout for companies that will develop them by moving them around within the organization. In addition, he advises them to determine their strengths and then cultivate them. Though the likelihood of reaching the top is small, he says, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “If you combine what you’re passionate about with your strengths, it can be a satisfying journey.”

 

 

 

 

May 15, 2013

Millennials think being an entrepreneur is the path to work life balance

Millennials, people in their 20s, are used to being overscheduled. They don't mind working hard, they just want to do it where and when they want to do it. Today, I wrote about how Millennials view entrepreneurship and how it will change the workplace for the rest of us. 

Young entrepreneurs redefining work world

 
 
Anthony Summerlin, 26, sits in front of his computer, watching sports games and analyzing them. He then sends out a daily sports report to his customers via email.
(Anthony Summerlin, 26,  sends out a daily sports report to his customers via email. )
WALTER MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

On a recent college tour with my teenage son, a professor at a Florida university gave him pointed advice. “Don’t expect to get a job at a company. You’re going to need to be an entrepreneur.” My son didn’t react. While it caught me off guard, he took it as a given.

As college graduates don their robes and caps, they are a generation headed into the real world with a different mindset than my generation or the one before me. They know they may need to forge their own path, and they aren’t intimidated by it.

Today, Millennials, the generation in their 20s, view entrepreneurship as a way to get the freedom to work when and where they choose. They are optimistic and idealistic — and at 80 million strong, they’re going to change the way we all work and think. Empowered by technology, many already have their own side gigs going, biding their time until they can leap out on their own and create the lifestyle and work/life fit they want, according to a new study, “Millennials and the Future of Work.’’

“Even though Millennials view entrepreneurship as presenting obstacles, most of them believe the benefits outweigh downside,” said Dan Schawbel, whose Millennial Branding firm commissioned the survey with oDesk, an online workplace. “They want to be in charge of their own destiny.”

This new Millennial mindset is being stoked by the Internet and encouraged by universities. It will force employers to create entrepreneurial opportunities within their companies.

Out of college just a few years, Anthony Summerlin, 26, already is an entrepreneur. After graduating from the University of Miami, he first went to work in his father’s business, a wholesale auto dealership. But he recently saw an opportunity to go out on his own. Summerlin had been analyzing teams and offering his advice in a public forum on a sports website. He built up more than 2,000 online followers and decided to turn his hobby into an income stream, publishing a website, SweetJones55.com, and a daily sports update, that he delivers electronically to customers’ inboxes. He has more than 1,000 subscribers paying $400 to $1,000 each, and works from his Miami home on his own schedule.

“All I need is a computer with Internet access and I can run my business from anywhere,” Summerlin says. “I love that if something were to come up and I don’t want to work one day, I don’t have to. I love the freedom of being my own boss.”

With the exception of health insurance provided by his parents, Summerlin is making it mostly on his own, earning six figures. For others his age, getting a business going that can sustain them doesn’t come quickly and often requires parental support. Many Millennials are still living at home, are on a parent’s insurance plan and have funded their businesses with start-up money from family.

This generation that grew up involved in after-school activities and told to follow their passion may have student loans, but they want to make money doing things that interest them. And, there never has been a better time to chase a dream. Today there are plenty of young role models and little need to plunk down cash for equipment and real estate. The only thing you need is a computer or smartphone, a connection to the web and a good idea.

It’s no wonder that 54 percent of Millennials say they either want to start a business within the next five years, or have already started one, according to a study funded by the Kauffman Foundation.

Chris DelPrete, 22, tried the traditional route, working for Capital Grille as a chef. Seven months ago, DelPrete says he “wanted to see what else the business world had to offer” and struck out on his own with a food truck, Miami Press Gourmet Sandwiches. “I wanted to do things my way, the way I thought was the right way.” DelPrete quickly discovered the power of the Internet, using social media to broadcast his truck’s whereabouts to customers. He already has more than 700 Facebook followers. DelPrete said he’s paying back his dad, who loaned him money to buy the truck, and is on target to make a profit by the end of his first year in business.

However, DelPrete discovered independence comes with long hours; 10-hour days are not unusual. “It’s been fun and rewarding and, at times, hectic.” He encourages his peers to take the same leap he took.

Like DelPrete Millennials are seizing opportunity, wherever, whenever they see it, and that may be while they’re still in school or working a full-time job.

Of course, entrepreneurship is risky. About a third of new businesses fail within the first two years, according to the Small Business Administration. But it helps that Millennials are easing into their ventures. Odesk, a marketplace to match freelancers with work opportunities, found 21 percent of its users are making money on its platform while still in college, some making as much as $40 an hour for tech work and $30 an hour for non-tech projects.

And 72 percent of its freelancers — who consider themselves entrepreneurs — are making money while at regular jobs and want to quit within two years to work for themselves. “They are willing to trade traditional work experience for something that provides more freedom and flexibility,” said Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk. “They don’t want to be confined to a cubicle.”

Erik Bortzfield, 24, considers himself in the pre-stages of entrepreneurship. Bortzfield left a job with stability and benefits to work for a Boca Raton start-up, an ecommerce optimization software company where he was given equity. He says he has seen an advantage in working first for other employers — mostly figuring out what mistakes not to make and where his strengths lie.

“I would love to be on the beachfront running my company, but I know it’s a long road to get to that point. My plan is to see this company through to end, walk away with money and a means to start my own company.”

The Millennials’ bend toward entrepreneurship isn’t completely by choice. Unemployment is high for this age group and those that do have jobs aren’t loving them. Millennials report low levels of satisfaction with their careers at the stage they are at and are expected to have 10 jobs by the time they are 40, according to Schawbel’s Millennial Branding.

Across the country, universities are reacting. More now offer entrepreneurship programs and hands on assistance. Florida International University even has considered making an entrepreneurship course mandatory for all graduates. “We see that it’s very appealing to them control their own future,” says Seema Pissaris, a Professor of Entrepreneurship with the College of Business Administration at Florida International University. “The technology is available, and innovative ideas are coming their way. Every week something else catching on and it spurs their ideas.”

If traditional employers want to attract this innovative group, they will need to react, too. “They’re competing with a student’s dream to have their own venture,” Pissaris notes. To compete for this innovative talent, both Schawbel and Pissaris say employers will have to create ways for the entrepreneurial mindset to exist in corporations — give a project to a team and let them run with it, or change policies to promote independence.. A PWC survey of Millennials found they want the option to shift their work hours or work in locations outside the office.

“Some organizations have started to react to this trend,” Pissaris says. “The more successful organization absolutely will react.”

 

 

July 25, 2012

Why Gen Y Doesn't Understand Face Time

When I talked with Amanda DelPrete a few days ago, I had an "aha moment." I finally understood the viewpoint of Gen Y and how crazy it seems to them that managers want young workers to put in face time. Amanda explained to me that in college, she could watch lectures from her dorm room via the Internet. She could turn in assignments via email. She could communicate with just about anyone, anywhere from her college library or the nearby Starbucks.

She came into the workplace with the notion she could do her job anytime, anywhere as long as she could connect to the Internet. So, when a 40-something boss insists she come to the office every day, even when she could work from home and be more creative, Amanda wonders "what's with the insistence on face time?"

That's a question young workers are asking every day in workplaces of all sizes, in all industries and in all cities. At the same time, their bosses don't understand why these young workers don't see the incredible value of bouncing an idea off co-workers, chatting up a boss in the hallway or eating in the employee lunchroom.

Today, I explored the topic of face time in my Miami Herald column. What's your take on the face off over face time? Are bosses going too far in insisting that their staff be in the office all the time? Are young workers overdoing it by feeling entitled to work remotely?

 

The Miami Herald

Working at home vs. the office: The face time faceoff

By Cindy Krischer Goodman
balancegal@gmail.com

   Erik Bortzfield is a 23-year-old software marketing manager who believes that workers should be able to work remotely.
  Erik Bortzfield is a 23-year-old software marketing manager who believes that workers should be able to work remotely.
It’s a blue sky day in South Florida and Erik Bortzfield, a software marketing manager, would love to be ocean side on a beach chair connected to the Internet via laptop and aircard. A year out of college, Bortzfield, 23, has discovered the rules of the workplace typically don’t allow remote working, but he is convinced his generation will make it happen.

“When people my age start to own and manage companies, I think you’ll start to see a noticeable change,” he says.

The desire to work wherever, whenever has heated once again during the summer months as younger workers want to kick back a bit but find their boomer bosses clinging to an old-fashioned obsession with face time.

It’s not that Bortzfield and his young counterparts across the country don’t see value in coming to the office some of the time. But because they are networked, they believe reporting to an office from 9 to 5 every day in order to call and send emails to people in other places makes absolutely no sense. Many are asking: “Why are bosses insisting on face time?” — and planning for the day when they will make the office rules.

Millennials will be change makers, says Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Millennial Branding. By 2025, Generation Y will make up roughly 75 percent of the world’s workforce, a Business and Professional Women’s Foundation study shows. With such a large presence, expect them to put pressure on companies to shift how people work, Schawbel says: “Gen Y wants to rip apart work styles and create new relationships with the office that are more flexible.”

Amanda DelPrete, a 24-year-old PR account executive, says her generation wants to use the technology advantage. In college, she and her friends took one or more courses online or sat in their dorms watching the live stream. “It was not mandatory for us to be physically in class,” she says. “Now, we come into the workplace and there’s an insistence on face time and we don’t get it. We’re more creative in our own space than in an office with no windows.”

Leadership consultant Jane Goldner says “overwork” also has fueled this generational conflict. When workers are expected to finish a project from home at midnight, they wonder why they aren’t permitted to complete other assignments from home during daylight hours. But older managers still put a high value on being seen in the office. They not only expect face time, they reward those who hang out in the office.

Goldner says boomer bosses trying to lead this new chaotic environment and still keep a handle on things will need to find a middle ground acceptable to all. Rather than just insist on face time, they will need to explain why it is important. “Without it, you might not be building the alliances you need to get ahead.” Even more, she adds: “When you work virtually, you don’t development face-to-face interpersonal skills. That’s a huge skill set missing in the workplace.”

Lizanne Thomas, partner in charge of Jones Day’s Atlanta office, says she’s made a specific effort this summer to work with law school interns and young associates on communication skills honed from personal interaction with partners. “I don’t want them to hide behind email or the written word. I want them to interact with me.”

Thomas said she has made a clear case for face time and doesn’t want lawyers to habitually work from home. “Work product is enriched by collaboration. You have to noodle it and discuss it face to face.” While the firm does offer flexibility for certain circumstances, Thomas says, “I would not expect the lawyer who wants to advance successfully to routinely choose to work from home or the local Starbucks.”

Richard Fleites, an information technology professional, believes the generational conflict over face time remains a trust issue. There remains a belief that if you’re not in the office, you’re napping or downing martinis during business hours, he says. His department at a healthcare organization has just revised its flexibility policy — allowing remote working one day a week rather than three. “It was disappointing because I think they got scared that employees were going to slack off. But at least I still have that one day and that’s a big perk.”

Sorraya M. Solages, a 34-year-old attorney with Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith in Fort Lauderdale, says some new to the legal profession believe the insistence on face time is all about older lawyers who don’t want to give younger lawyers a break. She’s discovered getting the flexibility is possible — but it has to be earned. She’s worked from libraries, hotel rooms, court rooms rather than return to her office. But she’s proved her value. “You’re not going to start day one and work from home one morning a week. If you become trusted, you get more flexibility.”

By understanding Gen Y-ers’ need for workplace flexibility, companies are better able to recruit and grow young talent for the future, workplace experts say. Adam Shapiro, a Miami attorney, says he’s much happier as a lawyer at United Auto Insurance Company where he can work from the courthouse or home at times rather than at a big law firm where the emphasis on face time at the office during and after hours was much greater.

Meanwhile, Bortzfield, the software marketing manager, looks forward to the day when he’s the boss: “If it’s the nicest day of all time, I’m going to say, ‘Everyone work from home or wherever today. Let me know if you need anything.’”

 


 

 

April 25, 2012

Are You Ready for Generation Z in the workplace?

You think your work life juggle is tough? Try being a teen who works, goes to school, participates in sports and community service and gets good grades. I talked to some who are doing that quite successfully. They're proving that the iGeneration may be the most impressive generation.

Instead of writing the traditional Take Your Child to Work Day story, I wanted to talk to teens for my Miami Herald column who actually had jobs. When I did, every teen I spoke with told me having a job has matured them. Whether they need the money or like the money they earn - or both- these teens are getting much more than a paycheck. I always have wanted my kids to think of school and good grades as a priority. What I discovered is work experience can be just as valuable.

These teens are teaching their employers a thing or two about what the next generation of workers expect. If want want happy employees, workplaces are going to have to accommodate the iGeneration -- and that could mean some drastic changes in how we do business.


The Miami Herald

A new generation in the workplace

By Cindy Krischer Goodman
balancegal@gmail.com

   Tiffany Fernandez is a teen who works for clothing designer Alexis Barbara in her Miami design shop.
Patrick Farrell/ The Miami Herald
Tiffany Fernandez is a teen who works for clothing designer Alexis Barbara in her Miami design shop.
Overwhelmed with school exams, Tiffany Fernandez picked up her cellphone and did what any teen might do to let her boss know she can’t make it to work — she sent a text message.

Tiffany, 17, has held her job for two years as an assistant in Miami clothing designer Alexis Barbara’s office and brings her generation’s mind-set to the workplace. Tiffany considers the tiny touch screen in her hand, her cellphone, crucial to business communication. She will use it to discuss scheduling with her supervisor, receive receipts from vendors and negotiate a pickup time with her mom.

“In business, you have to be on top of everything,” she says.

This week, as the nation celebrates Take Your Child to Work Day, some teens are going beyond a daylong glimpse into the working world. Members of the iGeneration, born after 1990, are landing their first jobs, and bringing their obsession with online connectivity and multitasking into the workplace.

There probably isn’t a company in America that isn’t wrestling with managing different generations. Baby boomers, Gen X, millennials: they all seem to want something different. Now, here comes the iGeneration, also known as Generation Z, with its own distinct way of walking, talking and working. Generational expert Cam Marston predicts a need to manage expectations on both sides.

“They will have to get used to email and, God forbid, picking up the phone and calling,” says Marston of Generational Insights. “But at the same time, employers will have to get used to the fact that they may choose to text message even if they’re standing next to you.”

Most of the teens I spoke with who have jobs know they are fortunate. Many of their peers want part-time or hourly work but are being turned away. The increase in minimum wage and higher unemployment among adults has caused experienced workers to claim entry-level positions, leaving fewer jobs open for teens. Indeed, about 4.2 million 16- to 19-year-olds hold jobs today, compared with 5.8 million five years ago. The majority of those jobs remain part-time positions.

It is that realization that has affected how teens approach work. Even so, they want the workplace to accommodate them — their schedules, opinions and style of interaction — just as their technology does. Yet most are open to the lessons the business world may offer.

“I learned that when they give me something to do I have to make sure it’s completely right or someone will attack you for it,” Tiffany said. “I hate being reprimanded. When I do something, I’ve learned to double-check it, that a mistake is not a joke. It has matured me a lot.”

Lee Orlinsky, 17, took a part-time job at Einstein’s in Plantation about a year ago, and says he, too, has learned from real-world business experience. “It’s very different to go from being the customer to helping the customer.” Lee said. He has also discovered that having hundreds of Facebook friends doesn’t teach you interpersonal skills and sometimes you have to interact with co-workers and customers “whether you like them or not.”

Yet, Lee realizes he brings something to the workplace even the millennial generation doesn’t always offer: “I can relate to the teens that come in.”

Even more, Lee has helped move supervisors toward the style of communication the iGeneration expects. Much like Tiffany, he will text message his supervisor to learn his work schedule for the week or express a conflict or interest in extra hours.

“It’s easier for her, she doesn’t have to stop what she’s doing to talk to me,” he said. “She can text me back on her own time.”

Like the generations before them, teens are grappling with balancing work and their personal lives. Kalif Fletcher, 17, plays basketball for Piper High in Sunrise, maintains a full-time class schedule, has a girlfriend and works as a sales specialist at Levi’s outlet in Sawgrass Mills mall. Kalif said school is his priority, but he feels more independent and more mature since he started earning a paycheck a year ago.

“I learned that if you work hard, you stand out,” he said. With dreams of being a chemist, Kalif also learned he wants fulfillment from work, which was not necessarily a priority for prior generations like the boomers. “Whatever job I have, I’ve got to be happy.”

Read more...

 

 




Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/24/v-print/2766056/new-generation-in-workplace.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/24/v-print/2766056/new-generation-in-workplace.html#storylink=cpy

March 10, 2012

Should Peyton Manning Expect Loyalty?

Peyton_manning_0307


The media is abuzz in South Florida, tracking every move Peyton Manning makes and speculating whether he will join the Miami Dolphins. The guy must be used to media attention but still looks a little shocked at the circus scene that's playing out.

Just a few days ago, the  NFL’s star quarterbacks was cut loose by the Indianapolis Colts after 14 seasons of  brilliance.  I watched the awkward press conference and monitored the reaction as many Colts fans took to social media to direct anger and frustration at team owner Jim Irsay for letting the franchise icon go.

But should anyone be angry anymore about the lack of employer loyalty?

Both Manning and Irsay suggested that this outcome was forced by circumstance -- Manning's injury and the contract that both parties had agreed to -- and stated that their relationship remains strong. After Irsay spoke, Manning addressed the media as well as Colts fans in Indianapolis. "I do love it here," Manning said, holding back tears. "I love the fans and I will always enjoy having played for such a great team."

To me, the message this emotional parting sent to the public is that no one -- not even the great Peyton Manning -- can expect job security.

Sports is a business.Colts fans, like the rest of us, would like to believe that businesses value their employees. But CEOs do what they need to do for the business.

If there's one thing this current recession showed us, it's that superstars can lose their jobs, too. Over the last few years, I've received tons of email from shocked and devastated employees, who gave their blood, sweat and tears for businesses that closed or restructured or downsized. Suddenly, they found themselves out of work and having a hard time coming to grips with the lack of loyalty.

This new generation of workers watches the Peyton Manning press conference through different eyes. It understands that a job is temporary. The Millenials are always on the lookout for something better and who can blame them!

Can the rest of us come to grips with the new reality? Loyalty is dead on both sides. Job security is last century and very soon Peyton Manning will put on another team's jersey and go to work.

Readers, do you think this new reality has changed the way we work and live? Are we less willing to give a job our all, or more eager than ever to prove ourselves the best so opportunities will come our way?