What Do You Want To Be Known For?

What Do You Want To Be Known For?
by Dawn Turner – May 2015

Is there a difference in work ethic across generations?

Some say that work ethic has decreased from Gen X to Gen Y. Others say that it varies by individual and their upbringing. Millennials need to be aware of potential generational biases and even seek to overcompensate in order to prove such theories do not apply to them.

To combat this type of thinking–whether you are a Baby Boomer, Gen X, Y or Z–ask yourself: What do I want to be known for?  A hard worker? A leader? Someone loyal and willing to do whatever the job requires? Next, think about what you don’t want to be known for: lazy, not being a team player, dishonest, disloyal, or a bridge burner.

Burning bridges

burning-bridgeAt a recent sports industry meeting, two people on the same day separately voiced similar complaints about the need to teach today’s young adults about how burning bridges early in their careers can come back to bite them. This got me to thinking about the generational attributes I have been reading about and what we can do to help educate future generations.

The first story I heard was about a young worker who moved from organization A to organization B. After being in the new position for six weeks, the worker received a call from organization A and decided to move back. This turned out to be a rather abrupt move that left organization B in a lurch. The second story I heard was about a recent graduate hired by an organization that they really wanted to work for. This person did a great job and was promoted after just a few weeks, only to decide to depart for a job with an external client.

In both situations the organizations put their faith and resources in these young workers, but were left in the lurch. Even though organizations move on, they will never forget how these two young workers handled these situations. The industry is so small, it is virtually certain word travels around to others. In any case, future interviews will be difficult because hiring managers routinely contact previous employers.

Short term vs. Long term

In the short-term these situations may not seem that crucial. But, it could come back to haunt them in the long-term. Let’s play this out hypothetically using the first example. Once the worker went back to organization A, they stayed there for five years until they got tired of the winter weather.  During that time the president of organization B decided to move to California and run organization C. Since the worker was seeking employment in a warmer climate they applied for a job with organization C. The new president of organization C saw their name come through and remembered how they handled things five years prior. They told their hiring managers not to bother interviewing this candidate and also told their friends at organizations D, E and F (also in California) that they would not recommend this worker. Organizations D, E and F shared this information with their friends at organizations G, H and I who then pass the information to organizations J, K and L. At this point it is very difficult for the worker to get an interview in the industry, let alone in their preferred state of California.

Here’s another real life example. A professional sports organization hired a college student for an internship. The intern turned out not to be very reliable and folks in the organization decided this person was not cut out for full-time employment. A few years later the former intern realized they were not mature enough to handle the work while they were an intern and called to apologize. When they called they explained how they have matured and are ready to take things seriously. Do you think the organization hired them for a full-time opening? No way! This is very unfortunate, because even though people may change, they already made negative impressions.

Who are you?

In my nearly 20-year career I have seen a variety of scenarios similar to these play out, not many of which are positive. The time to take personal responsibility for who we are and what we want to be know for starts now.  Am I a team player? Am I clear about my goals and aspirations? Am I easy to work with? Will my coworkers and managers give me a good review and 100% recommendation?

We should all ask ourselves these questions. If we present ourselves in the best way possible, it really doesn’t matter what the studies say about generations. What matters is who I am and how others see me.

Treating others how we expect to be treated should be toward the top of everyone’s list. As long as we always remember this, we won’t need to worry about making poor decisions that have negative repercussions down the line.

Cover table source: http://www.fdu.edu/newspubs/magazine/05ws/generations.htm



GenX and GenY: Tips for working with each other on the same team

GenX and GenY: Tips for working with each other on the same team
by Brian Erenrich – September 2013

Co-authored with David Quill.

At times it feels as if Generation X and Y have declared “war” on one another. Yet, instead of looking at the negatives (highlighted below), we need to focus on the positives and how we can collaborate.

So let’s look at the good, the bad, the ugly. But let’s also examine the opportunity for great teams to achieve great results with in the sport business industry.

Gen x vs. Gen Y

Generation X (born 1965-1981)

  • Enjoy projects with deadlines and little supervision (freedom)
  • Resilient
  • Critical thinking
  • Career first then work-life balance and money
  • Sales presentation: one speech with no feedback

Generation Y (born 1982-2000)

  • Narcissistic, entitled
  • Enjoy working on projects that involve multi-tasking and technology (engagement)
  • Education vs. experience
  • Impact now
  • Money and work-life balance then career
  • Sales presentation: work the room (many small conversations telling a story)

Similar values

  1. Intrinsic: interesting work, learning opportunities, being challenged
  2. Extrinsic: pay, promotions, status
  3. Altruistic: helping others, contributing to society
  4. Leisure: vacation time, work life balance
  5. Social: interacting with others, making friends

Advice for Gen X dealing with Gen Y (Gen Y Perspective):

  • Be patient! We want all the answers now but we don’t need them. Challenge us by asking questions to our questions.
  • Mentor us! We need to be guided. We think we have the answers but we really do not. Learning from you, will helps us in the long run.
  • Teach us how to perform tasks independently.

Advice for Gen Y (Gen Y Perspective):

  • Slow down, take notice of your surroundings instead of your 3 screens (cell phone, computer, TV)
  • Spend more time getting to know others face to face opposed to text and email
  • Concentrate on the journey not the end result or money
  • Be patient with others and yourself, in business there is little instant gratification, not everybody moves at your speed

When it comes to the values of both generations there are many similarities.  To succeed in sport business we need to work together and adapt.

With both generations bringing so much value from the old business world and new business world it only makes sense that collaboration is a must.

Learning from each other will not only enhance the work place but the sport business as a whole.

Becoming a great boss: The secret of managing millennials

Becoming a great boss: The secret of managing millennials
by Rocky Harris – April 2013

Does Gen Y get a bad rap?

gen ages
Source: www.lifecourse.com

The generation currently entering the workforce gets a bad rap. They are seen as entitled, spoiled and difficult to manage. They don’t follow rules. They expect to be rewarded without working for it.

While some of this may be true (see chart below), the truth is each generation is misunderstood and treated unfairly by the older generations. I remember when it happened to me.

Back to the future

The stereotype of my generation (Gen X) was we were underachievers known for cutting corners. Slackers.

In 2000, I was a recent college graduate interning at the San Francisco 49ers. One day I left early to attend a graduate sport management class at the University of San Francisco, about 90 minutes away. One of our seasoned executives said, “Typical youngster these days…sneaking out early. Has anyone in your generation ever worked a full day?”

Instead of letting him know I worked full-time for the 49ers with 12 hours of graduate courses and a part-time job on the weekends, I decided to leave without defending the truth or acknowledging his ignorance.

That day left a mark on me, making me dig deeper into why he would make a generalization without knowing me personally. That would be like me saying, “I’m surprised you’re still awake this late in the day old man. Isn’t it time for a nap?”

From that day forward, I realized like most stereotypes, creating generalizations about generations isn’t productive.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”550px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]”I employ the belief that every individual should be communicated to in a way that will yield results,” said Kristen Gambetta Director of Client Services for the Houston Dynamo. “While there are generational qualities that come into play, it is important to get to know the individual to learn how to effectively motivate him or her to action. If you put your co-workers in a box based on their generation you may not be getting the most out of them.”[/dropshadowbox]

Forgetting to remember

At one point in my career I forgot the lesson I learned.

When I first became a manager, I would complain about the generation below me: “They expect to be president of a team by the time they are 25 without doing any work to get there. They show up to work whenever they want rather than at 8 am when everyone else gets here.” Sound familiar?

I was guilty of doing exactly what I complained about when I was younger.  I stepped back and understood I painted everyone with the same broad brush. It wasn’t fair.

Managing differently

In a survey conducted by Lee Hecht Harrison, more than 60% of employers experience tension between employees from different generations.

A good manager or leader manages each person differently. Why? Because they’re different. Each employee is motivated by different factors. You have to know when to pull the right levers.gen Y traits2

What do you do with the 22 year old who thinks he can be team president at 25? Tap into ambition to get the most out of them. What about the one who gets to the office later than others? Look at productivity. As long as they stay late and get the work done, does it really matter when they arrive?

Even though this generation has a unique set of values, expectations, and approaches to work, so do people of ALL ages. The reason why people have a tough time understanding other generations is the same reason why managers have a challenging time managing employees: No two people are the same and they shouldn’t be treated as such.

John Wooden said, “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” The only way to correct without causing resentment is to figure out what motivates and treat them accordingly.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”550px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]“I find it unique to work with such a wide range in ages, said Houston Texans Senior Director of Communications, Kevin Cooper. “I find lots of knowledge can be exchanged between the generations. The ability to communicate and find common ground is where we need to be. There are modern problems that can use experienced solutions and older issues that require modern ingenuity. There in the middle–where  respectful dialogue lies–is where business can move forward.”[/dropshadowbox]

A message to millennials

My guess is the young men and women entering the workforce deal with these generalizations throughout their young careers. My advice is to not make the same mistake I once did. Don’t pass judgment on other generations. First, consider what motivates and drives those older than your generation. Second, as you progress in your career and start managing people, don’t be quick to judge the next generation behind you. And, third, always remember what Mark Twain said, “All generalizations are false, including this one.”

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”500px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

A take from the front of the class

Michael Lysko
Michael Lysko

As a Baby Boomer I’ve taught and coached Gen X and Gen Y. Here’s my take on Millennials:

  1. Don’t underestimate their work ethic and desire to succeed.
  2. When it comes to entitlement and career goals, I don’t think that they are any different from Gen X’ers in that they want to be recognized and rewarded for effort and achievement.
  3. They seem to have an inherent sense of fairness. They don’t trust the mainstream media to give an unbiased view.
  4. Media consumption patterns are much different than earlier generations–in that their interests are much more narrow and social media involves an exchange of ideas as opposed to an authoritative voice on the 6:00 news.
  5. Most respect authority, but are more willing to question authority when they feel strongly about an issue.
  6. Trust must be earned on an individual basis. It doesn’t exist simply because of your title.
  7. They may not expect to remain with a single employer for an extended period of time. They learned from their parents that circumstances can change quickly. They want to be in a position that allows the freedom to make choices that are in their own best interests. [/dropshadowbox]

Source of header pic: www.scottfilmer.com