After yesterday’s 5:00 AM wakeup call for #MCON, a random act of incredible kindness from @BTalisman, presentations by a slew of passionate, knowledgeable speakers and anywhere from 5 to 10 tabs open on my internet browser at once, my head was spinning from all that I learned, all that was confirmed, and all that I learned I needed to learn more about. To be honest, my head is still spinning. But I’m ok with that. I know that the conversation isn’t over and look forward to continuing to reflect, share and act on all that needs to be reflected, shared and acted upon.
I’ll share some of my key learnings (3 Do’s and 1 Don’t) from one of the breakout sessions that was particularly meaningful to me presented by Maya Enista-Smith, CEO of mobilize.org. In Millennials Creating Change in the Workplace, Maya suggests a number non-traditional practices that work and some that might not work. The following are included in that list:
Do Support Career Advancement
The statistic that, as millennials, we will change jobs 17 times in our lifetime seemed to surprise people. That fact seems to contradict our desire for career advancement, but thats just it: if we are in a workplace where we feel like there is room – and support – for us to grow, we’ll stay. If not, we’ll leave – and as reinforced so passionately by Scott Gerber, that’s on employers. We want to clearly hear what the opportunities are to grow and how to get there. Support our transitions, celebrate them with us and we’ll be completely invested in the success of our team and the organization.
Do Create Leadership Development Opportunities
We want to advance in our careers and we want support doing it. We’re willing to roll up our sleeves and take on new challenges. We also want to know how decisions are being made and we want to be part of the process. We want a seat at the table and to be able to execute on decisions that we are a part of. That point above, about us sticking with a particular company, that’s part of this too. We, and not just millennials, are much more likely to take ownership of something that we were part of deciding.
Do Participate Authentically in Intergenerational Mentorship
We know that leadership development means we need to learn. We value those with knowledge, expertise and a willingness to have a two-way mentoring relationship. We will lean on our mentors when we need to, and we’ll be able to reciprocate the gesture. Authenticity means a lot to us, so when we can connect to our mentors on some kind of a deeper personal level including values, dreams and passions, we’ll know that the relationship is meaningful and allows for powerful learning to happen.
Don’t call us future, next or emerging
I was struck that this was included in Maya’s list because this is something that I feel strongly about, too. That is, when do we stop being future leaders, next leaders or emerging leaders? How much time to we have to put in, experience do we have to have and dues do we have to pay? As exemplified many times over during MCON2012, we are doing incredible things already. Recognize us for the leaders we are today, and help us to become better leaders tomorrow. Leaders are learners, so we’ll continue to build our capacities to lead while we’re out there changing the world.