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Listen to Gen Y

I had an aha moment this week.

Between Impact99 and some events at several clients, it has occurred to me that Gen Y has some intelligent things to say.

It wasn’t that I have been dissing Gen Y, or maybe deep down in a part of me I don’t talk about often I was. Ok, I’m still part of a generation that values the wisdom of grey hair and pay more attention to those with it.

But let’s face it. We don’t have to do everything old school. Watch any old black and white movie depicting “modern psychology” or “human relations” and you’ll realize that many of our firmly-held beliefs about human behaviour and how to deal with it in the workplace will be viewed in the future as crockery.

Let’s make “workplace trust” the operative words for now.

Successful organizations are made of people who trust their employer. This trust ranks higher and has more influence on an organization’s success than the employer’s trust of the employees.

Human resources management seems overly focused on developing things so that the employer trusts the employee.

This suddenly seems patently wrong.

And I learned this from Gen Y. How did they get so smart? Or better yet, how did I get so thick?

Well for one thing they haven’t had to sell their soul for the job. Wait, that didn’t sound as nice as it was intended. Maybe that’s my Gen X coming through, seething at the sacrifices I made. I like the notion that I am happy when I really am in control and that the control benefits everyone.

There’s a part of me that says that it is time to truly reverse the organization chart and get rid of dues paying and void experience. There is no experience for the future workplace. Let’s just start over.

Will that work? Yahoo and Zappos say no. A whole host of other organizations say the opposite.

Time for more dialogue. But in the meantime, yeah for Gen Y.


  1. This ‘aha’ moment supports why I advocate coaching, peer coaching, mentoring [which should be based on what one has to share not what age group one falls into] and learning pools in organizations. When well done, these practices help to dispel stereotypes, reduce miscommunication, reduce conflict, improve organizational knowledge retention, increase respect, develop relationship skills etc.

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