Posts Tagged ‘blog’

Over the past few weeks i’ve been learning a lot more about the millennial generation (gen-y)

“…which means they’ll quit their job if you don’t treat them right.”

Over the past few weeks I’ve been learning a lot more about the Millennial Generation (Gen-Y). This is the generation after Generation X, and they seem to be quite the opposite. Where the Gen X group is highly independent, even off-standish, the millennial group is all about social interaction and keeping their options open. They bond through virtual and real interactions with each other on a much greater level than most of the generation before them (just think Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc).

At a recent USC Networking Day event Morley Winograd told us the Millennials are a clever group. They tend to be confident, even self-centered, and possess a great drive for achievement. In a work environment, decisions require consensus and they want to be recognized for their abilities. They also know that they can get that recognition in other places, which means they’ll quit their job if you don’t treat them right. So how do you lead such a group?

If your form of leadership is to dictate and hold people accountable to their job description, you may find that the Millennials don’t want to work for you. They prefer an open structure in order to come and go as they please, work the hours that they want to work, socialize with their friends, peers and colleagues, and keep running their busy personal lives while they’re on the job. This may sound like a cushy job to most of us but to the Millennials their job and their personal lives are the same thing.

Given that I practice servant leadership, I’m a bit biased as to why this form of leadership is ideal for the millennial group (not to mention that it has been working for the past four years). While plenty of forms of leadership exist, most leaders demonstrate hard and fast rules for how things must be done. The main premise of servant leadership is to empower others to do their best work, which is exactly what this new generation wants. Here’s the trick: when you empower somebody to do their best work that means letting them do their job in the most effective manner for them.

With the Millennials that are on my team I have found that by giving them a lot of freedom I get a lot of results. It truly doesn’t matter to me what time of day they work as long as the work gets done. Instead of demanding a 9 to 5 work schedule and only getting the minimum number of hours out of my team, they typically work harder out of their own free will and ambition. If I were to use any other form of leadership and dictate how they work I wouldn’t be tapping into their true potential.

Another reason servant leadership is a strong fit for the millennial group is because they prefer to make decisions by consensus. As a leader you always have the ability and right to make final decisions. As a servant leader, you empower your team to make the decision with your guidance and oversight. If your team is made up of Millennials then you’ll be giving them exactly what they want while leveraging their strong sense of social responsibility. Your only challenge then is to make sure their decisions are sound and match your vision.

Do you have Millennials on your team? Let me know how you are working with them, to realize your entire company’s full potential.

Thanks for reading,

Richard Walker                                                                                                                        (CEO/President of Quikforms)




Blackberries and wifi and blogs (oh my

Blackberries and Wifi and blogs (oh my!). And your list likely goes on – email, IM’s, forwarding your phone number, wireless everything and 24 hour news channels. While it might be trite, we truly live in a 24/7 world.

Many of us didn’t grow up in a world quite like it is now – with the plethora of options for being connected, getting information and communicating. It wasn’t that many years ago when email and cell phones were new. Now a cell phone that connects to your email is old news!

The challenges of a 24/7 world are many, but as a leader there are four that are especially important to consider – both as an individual and in your role as a leader.

•    We have the option of always being connected.
•    We are awash in information.
•    We have too many sources of information to choose from.
•    Many people are increasingly addicted to all of it.

One crucial step to thriving in any situation is to identify and understand the challenges you face, and then identify ways to overcome, benefit from or eliminate those challenges. The ideas that follow are meant to help you do all three of these things.

Your Seven Ideas

Remember that these ideas about thriving, not merely surviving. This may mean that one or more of them is a bit more radical than you have considered or even think prudent. While you have to use your own judgment, I encourage you to do more than consider these ideas – but actually try them!

•    Manage your expectations of yourself. How much time do you want/need/have to be a connected info-holic? (Please note that these are three different questions – ask yourself all of them). Consider your answers carefully, and then make choices about your own expectations of yourself in an informed way.
•    Manage your expectations of others. As a leader you may choose to be connected and/or be on your computer at all times of the day or night. Unless you have a conversation with your team, they likely will begin to model your behavior. Maybe you choose to do email or send links to ideas you find at an odd hour, that’s fine, but you need to explicitly tell others what your expectations are for them. Let them know that “just because I’m online at 5 am doesn’t mean you need to be” or whatever is appropriate in your situation.
•    Turn off Tuesday afternoons. Face-to-face communication and the phone are amazing communication tools, and sometimes you will get more creative work done if the TV or web browser or email inbox is closed for awhile. Whether you pick Tuesday afternoons, Friday mornings, or whatever, consider a time during the work week when you disconnect from your toys and tools – and if you are a leader to have others do it as well. Personal experience and a variety of organizational experiments show that productivity may go up dramatically during these times.
•    Find information sources and tools that work for you. Focus primarily on the tools that work for you. Use them appropriately and focus your attention on them.
•    Turn off at night. At least one night a week (preferably more often) turn off the cell phone and don’t open the computer. If you find yourself lost without the computer open, you need this advice the most. If you really want to be reading and/or learning, open a book. Encourage your team to do this too – especially if you find yourself getting messages from them at all hours of the night.
•    Chill out and think. This idea addresses all four challenges mentioned above. If you remember what it was like before Web 2.0, interactive cell phones and more, you know that you could still get real work done. If you don’t remember or weren’t alive yet, trust me, you can get real work done. This idea is to just relax a little bit. When you are disconnected and unplugged be good with that. You don’t have to have your Bluetooth headset on during dinner, and you don’t have to take (or make) a phone call while in a public (or private) restroom. Relax a little. Use your disconnected time to think, rather than react to your technology.
•    You can’t do everything (so don’t try). Even if you are really wired to technology, and even if you love it, know that you can’t know everything about everything, because everything is so much bigger than it used to be. There will always be one more video site, cell phone option, all news blog or website. Be OK with that and refer back to idea #4.

A final note. A smart friend of mine called as I was writing this article and reminded me that some leaders are on the other end of this spectrum – either anti-technology or at least not challenged by these issues. If this is you, you need to recognize that many of your team could use the ideas above. And maybe you need to be a little more open minded to learn some of the benefits they are gaining in this 24/7 connected world – without falling into the their traps.

Potential Pointer: The communication and information options that are available to you in our 24/7 world are amazing! Always remember those options are tools designed to serve your needs, not make you a slave to them.

Being a top sales manager means being above average, which translates to getting more done with less effort

Being a top sales manager means being above average, which translates to getting more done with less effort. That’s what distinguishes a top sales manager from a mediocre one. But how do YOU become a top sales manager? You apply the 80/20 rule.

But first things first – what exactly is the 80/20 rule? The 80/20 rule—or the Pareto Principle, named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto—states that 80% of effects is the result of 20% of the causes. For you this simply means that 80% of your sales will come from, roughly, only 20% of your sales people.

But when you apply the 80/20 rule in real life with the aim of becoming a top sales manager someday, you need to be prepared for the consequences.

For example, a good friend of mine who started a very successful business once told me a story about how the 80/20 rule could sometimes prove to be a double-edged weapon in real life. Famous as he was, this friend of mine collected thousands of followers on Twitter. But he only had time to follow a handful of people—20 or so, around that number anyway—which he deemed had actually something important to say.

Most took it that my friend was being a snob. Or was he?

Think about it. If you want to become a top sales manager someday, if you have dreams of being above average, you need to filter right here and now who and what you listen to. Not every piece of advice is worth gold. That’s what I meant when I said to apply the 80/20 rule in your life.

There will be lots of ideals, concepts and pieces of advice from different people trying to get in. But you don’t need all that noise in your life and in your career. As a general rule, you need to be constantly unsubscribing to stuff, and pick out only the ones worth listening to. Who you listen to, and what sort of advice would make a good impact on your career, is something you need to figure out on your own.

That’s what my friend is doing, and I’m pretty sure the kind of success he has achieved speaks for itself. There’s no need for him to listen to 10,000 fans chiming in every second. Call him a snob—okay, fine!—but remember that’s exactly the kind of attitude you need if you want to get anywhere in this business.

Just because a couple of your colleagues in the office think you’re a snob doesn’t mean you are. You are simple trying to live and breathe like a top sales manager. What are they doing?

To learn even more tips and techniques about sales management, visit my blog about sales motivation at

I love the end of the year

I love the end of the year. Why? Because of the holidays? Of course. But also because it’s an opportunity to reflect on the previous year, pull learning and have it support the next year.

Whether for myself or my clients, I find that the more reflective we can be at the end of the year, and the more intentional we can be going forward, the stronger our foundation for what’s next. Of course this isn’t limited to just year to year reflection, this also can apply to project to project, client to client, event to event, etc.

In fact, we can even take the big challenges, lost opportunities and fears of the previous year, pull the learning, and convert them into “Best Practices and Intentions” to help create a powerful New Year.

Why is this important? It enables us to come from a place of growth and power, to build deeper relationships and to create better results moving forward. It puts us in a self-responsible and intentional mindset that creates results, vs. an unintentional mindset that regrets (or avoids) “failures” or mistakes and waits for results.

Done individually, it honors ourselves and who we’ve been in our business, life and leadership the last year. Done with our team (or spouse/ partner/ etc.) it honors what we’ve done together, where we’ve grown, and what we’ll do next. It basically sets us up for greater success and yes, of course, greater engagement.

There are many ways to do it. Here’s one way:

1.         Reflect on this last year.

2.       Identify the most challenging events of the year for you (could be in your business, life, leadership, relationships, children, etc.)

3.       Pull the learning: What do you know now from that situation, that you didn’t know before? Where is the gift in that situation (as hard as it may have been)?

4.         What high level (or very specific) thing will you do differently moving forward as a result? What can be done better? What do you want to make sure you remember? What system may you need to create/shift? What does your mindset need to be? (I call this creating “Best Practices” (BP) for action or mindset.)

5.         Optional: For those of you who like structure, make a nice “Reference Sheet” with your Best Practices. (Years ago, I had a client who had theirs laminated and shared it with the team, years later, they still practice this.)

Of course you want to honor and identify the best things that happened as well. The successes, the wins, the delights, all of it (after all you can also capture best practices and mindset from what works!) [This is huge, by the way: don’t leave this out. This can actually be trickier to do than focusing on the challenges, but that’s a whole other article!]

Sound like a plan? Here’s the beauty, you don’t have to do it alone. Do it with a coach, a friend, your spouse or your team, you’re likely to unfold even more learning.

I did it myself and have posted some of my high level learnings (for myself, my team and my clients) that will serve us in 2009, on my blog. If you’d like more on this topic, simply follow the link below!

Here’s a quick taste of 4 of them:

1.         Creating white space in our calendar is essential for keeping a clear, creative, healthy and engaged mind. (“BP” Result: Monthly “White Space” Blocks – offsite, out of my normal element.)

2.       Taking care of our well-being is essential to our success and being able to be in full service of those around us. (“BP” Result: Clean eating, regular workouts and sleep are non-negotiable.)

3.       Matters of attitude, heart and spirit are contagious, so be responsible for impact and attitude. (“BP” Result: Honor the opportunity for practicing conscious engagement. Be aware of and response-able for impact, and do best to help things go right.)

4.       Gratitude makes the world go round, no matter how scary, uncertain or stressful life gets. (Result: Challenging or frustrating situation, relationship, project or feedback? Ask: What am I grateful for in this situation? What is the gift? Where is my opportunity for growth?)

These are some of mine, they’re also common themes I see with others. Can you see how pulling the high level learning and themes, and putting a “best practice/reminder” in place can turn a challenging situation into a productive one moving forward? See one that fits you? Feel free to integrate it. Nothing here for you? Create your own in a way that resonates for you.

The bottom line is this: Who knows what’s going to happen in 2009 with the economy, our businesses, our relationships, etc., who knows? BUT, there’s an opportunity to contribute to helping things go right for yourself and your organization and it’s amazing what can happen when you fully engage and take the reigns.

So, have you given yourself the space to reflect on this last year yet? Challenge: Between now and 12/31/08, set aside a couple of hours to give yourself the gift of reflection and intention. Most people do New Year’s Resolutions (and are disappointed when they’re off track by 1/20), what if you did New Year’s Reflections & Intentions and created best practices that could stick? What if?

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