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6 Strategic Reasons For Membership Teams to be Involved with Social Media

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millenial

Why It’s Smart to Listen to Your Gen Y Employees’ Overshare

If Mattel were employing millennials, Barbie might still be in charge

It’s no surprise that members of Generation Y can cause annoyance in the workplace when their behavior is at-odds with the established norm. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s wise to brush these young employees aside. In fact, in between Gen Y’s disregard for hierarchy and tendency toward overshare lies information that could make or break your company.

A strategic inflection point is a point of massive change for a company. “Sooner or later,”  Andrew S. Groves- author of Only the Paranoid Survive- says, “something fundamental in your business world will change.” It happens when the old way of doing things suddenly shifts to the new. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Unfortunately,  it can put big companies (like Blockbuster) out of business, and threaten many others (like Intel). These types of large-scale changes render environmental scanning systems (put in place to help predict environmental trends) useless.

Why strategic inflection points and blind spots are important: MGA Entertainment created their line of Bratz dolls after noting a trend: young girls wanted dolls that looked more like their hip, older sisters. Mattel’s Barbie doll lost a full fifth of her realm almost immediately because Mattel didn’t catch on quickly enough. And Mattel didn’t even see it coming. Bill Gates even holds “Think Weeks” at Microsoft where employees take time to focus on the bigger issues facing the company. The hope is to uncover developing trends that will catch Microsoft off-guard.

Perhaps the Titanic wouldn’t currently be at the bottom of the sea had those in charge of the ship realized they were at a strategic inflection point, argues Brian Huffman, an associate professor of management at the University of Wisconsin- River Falls. “The Titanic’s fate seems less unlikely when one considers that the most experienced of the vessel’s officers  had begun their careers when commercial ships were made of wood and powered by wind and sail.”

But you shouldn’t just pay attention to Gen Y because they aren’t “old fashioned.” You should pay attention because, Huffman and Groves argue, CEOs are nearly always the last to see these big changes coming; the little guys see it first. In fact, the higher you are in the organization’s management, the less likely you are to catch onto environment-changing trends. Reasons for this include blissful ignorance, an unwillingness for folks to tell you, and “inevitably incomplete and distorted data” which reaches upper management. The biggest reason is quite simply that these managers just don’t consider that these kinds of game-changers could arise. The key, Huffman argues, is to include lower level managers in important conversations regarding periphery, as they are often the first to catch onto these kinds of environmental trends.

Is Gen Y making “mistakes” or providing information that could save your company? Andrew McAfee recently wrote a Harvard Business Review blog post in which he calls to attention two common mistakes of millennials at work. The first is Gen Y’s tendency to overshare. The second is acting “as if all employees are equals, and equally interested in airing the truth.” But really, the biggest mistake would be to rid Generation Y of these characteristics.

In fact, Gen Y probably could have saved Mattel’s market share by performing the exact same “mistakes” that McAfee discusses (had they been in the workforce between 2001-2004). They would be talking about trends openly, and they wouldn’t have been afraid to tell the big guys.  It’s also in the spirit of spreading ideas despite hierarchical constraints and encouraging potential overshare that Gates holds true to his “Think Weeks” that help keep Microsoft moving.

If your organization is the Titanic and you have a few millennials on board, your much less likely to sink. That is, if you take a moment to listen to some of what we say in between comments on what we’re having for dinner and our superpower of choice…

Posted on by colleendilen in Big ideas, Generation Y, Leadership, Management, The Future, Words of Wisdom 3 Comments

Meet the Nonprofit Millennial Bloggers Alliance

I’d like to introduce you to a team of hip, young rockstars… and by rockstars, I of course mean a team of nonprofit professionals with an aim to share ideas in order to strengthen the sector and cultivate discussion among emerging leaders.

I decided to start this very blog back in July after closely following the innovative thoughts and ideas featured on the blogs of several young nonprofit professionals. I cannot express my delight when one of these inspirational and forward-thinking bloggers, Allison Jones, contacted me a few weeks ago and invited me to take part in the Nonprofit Millennial Bloggers Alliance. We are a collaboration of young nonprofit bloggers aiming to collectively bring important issues facing the nonprofit sector to the forefront of thought through active engagement and the sharing of ideas.

Meet the Nonprofit Millennial Bloggers Alliance:

I encourage you to follow these folks on twitter, subscribe to these blogs, and join the conversation! The alliance collectively features a broad range of interests in the nonprofit sector, highlighting everything from civic engagement, social change, media relations, strategy, efficiency, philanthropy, and board development- all the way to gender, race, and just being a Millennial on the move.

I’m excited to be a part of this incredible group of bloggers, and I hope that you’ll keep an eye on these folks and lend your voice to the conversation. The alliance will surely be a success if it can provide a space for active discussion among all leaders. As the alliance continues to develop and ideas begin to form, please respond to these bloggers! Leave comments on posts and help us get the conversations started! We are all members of Generation Y with interests in the nonprofit sector, but I hope that the alliance will engage thinkers regardless of generation and sector. I’m thrilled to continue to develop partnerships with these great bloggers, and I’m simply giddy just thinking about the endless possibilities that may arise from this alliance!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”- Margaret Mead

Posted on by colleendilen in Blogging, Community Engagement, Generation Y, Leadership, Nonprofits, Social Media 4 Comments