Wed 12 Jan 2011
In my blogs I always try to highlight great examples of Millennials doing good & being Millennials. Last week, I came across a blog on Fast Company written by Simon Mainwaring titled: “Using Social Media to Mobilize Millennials“. In the blog, Simon talks about two projects that take a unique & highly Millennial spin on an existing practice. That practice is social causes & our need as humans to give back and help others less fortunate.
The names of the 2 projects are Pando Projects & Loudsauce. The first puts the Millennial brainpower to help young people that have an idea for a business but need help putting the business plan together. Each project gets a website, promotional fundraising & volunteer management tools to kickstart the project. The project is still a pilot but it shows the power of social media as people support projects based on the personal tie they have with that particular cause. If you look at the 15 pilot projects, it clearly shows the interest that Gen Y has for causes and making the world a better place. I particularly loved the projects that also had a multi-cultural component to them as it shows how the future of the US will be more ethnically and racially diverse than ever before.
The second project shows the incredible market savviness that Millennials possess. Loudsauce lists a series of campaigns for causes & based on your preference you donate money to fund advertising for that cause on TV or billboards & then you spread the word using social media such as Facebook & Twitter.
What struck me in both examples is the creativity they display by leveraging 2 of the 5 unique skills & traits that Millennials bring to any situation. The 2 skills are their collaboration or crowd sourcing approach to things & their use of technology. I believe Millennials are extremely lucky to be living in a time where technology provides access to so much that was not available in just a few years past. The way they use technology & harness it is unique to them & extremely powerful. On top of that, Millennials are natural collaborators. I’ve shown many examples in my blogs of Millennials coming together to get things done. They are wired to do it & because it’s natural to them, they harness that collectivity in ways prior generations can’t begin to fathom.
I agree with Simon on his take of the future. The unique skills of the Millennials layered on top of their affinity to get involved in social causes, layered on top of the technology available to help them do that will make them the ”founders of companies and industry leaders that will transform the products, services and role of brands in near future”.
But where will that leave corporations? For the first time, we have a generation of smart, collaborative young people who, at an age where other generations were forced to look for corporate jobs to get experience, have an option to start their own companies & use the collective brainpower of their peers to help them succeed. As corporate leaders continue to rely on outdated principles & techniques that hinder their ability to see the goldmine in their Gen Y staff, they may decide to opt out of corporate and start their own companies.
They have the technology, the social media & the brainpower of their fellow Gen Yers to provide them with the acumen & funding they need to start & grow their own businesses. That combination has never been available to other generations. Can corporations compete against that especially as so many Millennials are getting disillusioned by corporate & its leaders on a daily basis? What kind of talent will be available to corporations? Will the best Gen Y talent be willing to put up with all the hassles of corporate or decide to try their luck & start their own companies & bring on other bright & motivated Millennials?Will corporate be left with a mediocre talent pool going forward or will they be able to attract, retain & leverage the best of Gen Y?
Interesting questions that will be addressed at time goes on. If you want to be that corporate leader that can attract & retain top talent, you better start now First step, let go of the status quo, of your comfort zone & get uncomfortable. Let go of outdated styles & techniques that blind you to the potential that Millennials bring. Ignite experimentation in your group & make that connection with your young workforce. That will give you a good head start. Remember leading successfully in the 21st Century requires leaders to C.A.R.E. – Connect, Adapt, Reshape & Experiment to keep the best talent engaged & commited.
Are you doing that today?