Millennials – Managing, Motivating & Retaining Them

Not everyone would agree, but I love when things change. I especially am excited about change particularly when the changes being applied optimize and improve what they are being applied towards. Having worked with thousands of people during my career, the most exciting generation of people I have encountered are the millennials. Why? Because they are so open to embracing change.

Managing people is probably one of the most challenging tasks to take on, especially to be able to manage them well and unselfishly. Yes, unselfishly, because in order to be a superb manager, you need to put the interests of those you are managing ahead of your own. When you do this, those who you are managing will at first potentially not notice, and when they do, they will then be surprised you are doing this, as this is not a management technique applied or embraced by all managers.

If you think of managing people from the perspective of acting as a coach or mentor, it allows you to mentally shift your thinking and begin to strategically adopt management methods which put your staff needs ahead of your own. When you put others needs ahead of yours, empower them to stretch beyond their comfort level, yet provide them with a safe zone in case of failure, people will respond and perform at a new level you might not imagine them to do so. This management concept works extremely well with millennials, as they are so open to trying new things, and actually crave doing so.

One of the best ways to motivate millennials is to ask them for their opinion, and how they might go about mapping out how to accomplish their role with limited direction from their manager. When you provide a millennial with freedom to in essence design their path forward, they will be more motivated in their role, as they feel they have a heightened sense of controlling the direction they are able to head towards. What you also might be surprised by, is that they will also be more willing to collaborate with the management team and their team peers because they do not feel the pressure of traditional methods of management constraint.

There are numerous books that have been written about motivating people in the workplace, but most of these books are based on motivational techniques which have been around for decades. Although many of the motivational techniques are still relevant, many of them will not be effective when they are applied to the millennial generation. I know this, because I have also managed, motivated and retained hundreds of people from this generation.

Unfortunately, this generation has gotten a potentially undeserved reputation for being selfish. I think this generation is misunderstood, and has been too easily labeled as being selfish due to management techniques not working on them. This is why management techniques to apply to the millennial generation are in need to being revised and adopted. The millennial generation is motivated by things which need to be factored into helping them to be successful. They care about our environment, eating healthy, taking care of themselves and doing what is best for society more than they are given credit for. When employers and management techniques are factored into account for these type of motivational examples, a true paradigm shift will occur.

The days of employees working at a company for more than 5-10 years is becoming a thing of the past, as most employees are averaging lengths of employment sub these numbers. Due to a highly fluid flow of millennial employees changing jobs so often, this puts enormous pressure on companies to try to retain them, even for 2-3 additional years. One of the largest expenses a company has is recruiting and on-boarding new employees. If they have to continuously do this, the strain on having to fund this company expense can have a severely negative impact on their bottom line. So, how do companies address this challenge?

One of the ways companies who have low millennial retention rates can turn this scenario around, is to create a culture that is appealing to them (e.g., offering them clear or varied career paths to consider, opportunities to engage with the local community during work hours, helping them to understand their innate strengths via specialized coaching, access to internal mentors on a regular basis and greater flexibility with when and where they work). Ironically, the things that appeal to the millennials, can be equally appealing to the rest of the employees, with some modifications to account for their culture and career satisfaction too.

Embracing instead of chafing against the millennial generation and the way they are managed, motivated and retained must be factored into a company’s structure of how to run a modern company. When this occurs, a company becomes far more appealing to work at, and in turn competitive in the industry they are competing in, especially since a significant amount of their employees are from or will be from the millennial generation.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at.

We also work with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. If you want results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

Start your day with comedy. It makes a big difference.

Chances are you have not regularly started your day off by laughing, but what if you did? I’m a huge fan of live comedy shows, but all of the live comedy shows I have gone to take place in the evening. Fortunately, there are ways to consume and enjoy listening to comedians any part of the day either via the internet, Sirius radio or any of the cable comedy shows you can queue up on-demand. The best thing about listening to comedy is that the majority of the time, I find myself laughing about what the comedian is talking about, and generally feel much happier and better after I do.

Comedy is a great stress relief, and sometimes you might begin your day with more stress than you expected. So, a quick remedy for this is to shut off the news, and instead find a comedian to listen to instead. I’m not saying you need to listen to comedy for hours, as the positive effects of listening and laughing can be gained in as few as 5-10 minutes.

If you think about it, comedians are a bit like food, as they come in so many different varieties. Finding the type of comedy you like can be a fun experiment, and if I’m still leveraging the food analogy, there is no concern about consuming too much of it. It’s all good for you, kind of like eating healthy.

Over the years my comedic genre has varied, but there are a few comedians who have always made me laugh, such as Steven Wright who has an incredibly dry sense of observational humor everyone can relate to, followed by Jim Gaffigan who is self-deprecating and has a variety of interesting personas he works into his routine. Nick Di Paolo is also one of my favorites, as I started listening to his humor when we were both students and friends at the University of Maine. However, Nick’s humor is not for the faint of heart, and if you do not mind a large dose of crudeness and a complete absence of political correctness commentary served up as humor, then you will appreciate why he makes me laugh.

As we know, workplaces are generally serious places. However, in my opinion, and based on what I have observed over the last two decades, I seriously believe there should be either dedicated or impromptu time carved out for people to have a chance to enjoy humor, or have some fun which allows them to laugh. As I mentioned earlier, you do not have to listen to comedy for hours to laugh, and sometimes you can watch comedic YouTube videos, read comedic stories or cartoons to have the same impact.

Since most businesses are for profit organizations, they are highly focused on achieving financial metrics which will allow them to reach profitability. How each business goes about reaching their goals is what separates the strong performers from the ones who come close to only breaking even or achieve only marginally impressive financial gains. The companies I have been involved with who have been enormously financially successful, are the ones who have a healthy blend of being serious about their achievements and splicing in the right dosages of fun and humor. This is typically driven by company culture, and I have written about the importance of developing the right company culture to assist with financial success as a key performing indicator.

If you have not considered weaving in a bit of humor at the beginning of your day, or at work, I strongly encourage you to consider doing so. Try this for a minimum of two weeks personally, but commit to infusing fun and humor into your business for at least a quarter. There are not guarantees in life, but I strongly believe you will take new delight in seeing what the end results are…financially. Have you already tried this? If not, what are you waiting for? Get going.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Regardless of the industry you are in, or the business stage you are at, Market Me Too expertly bridges  teams and provides companies with proven techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our results speak for themselves. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Finding Motivational Energy

Generally, when you need to be motivated to do something, it can seem like a daunting task to accomplish. Why? Because it is far easier to procrastinate than it is to be motivated. Does this sound familiar and something you can relate to? If so, you are not alone.

The good news is you can quickly get past the procrastination stage you often get stuck in. You can also do this by applying some of the motivational techniques I regularly apply, and share with others.

An example of applying motivational energy comes from a recent experience I had working with a sports team. The team was coming off an emotional two game loss, breaking their five-game winning streak. Half way through their next game, and with extremely low field player team energy, and what looked like was going to be a third consecutive loss, I talked to the team at halftime.

What I talked to them about was their attitude and the negative mental energy I could literally feel being emitted from them. I asked them the rhetorical question – “Do you want to lose this game, or do you think you have what it takes motivationally to win this game?” I told them I truly believed they had what it took to win the game. I said this with the fact they were down by five goals, and a strong likelihood the other team thought they had an easy second half win ahead of them.

When the team took the field at the beginning of the second half of the game, I told the bench players they were going to have to do something they might not have done before. What I told them is that they were going to need to transfer their positive physical and mental motivational energy to their teammates on the field in order to win the game. As you might imagine, after having said this I got some interesting looks. However, I also told them at this point of the game, they had nothing to lose by trying this, except possibly losing their third straight game.

As soon as the bench started to amp up their energy and cheer on their field teammates, you could feel an almost sudden shift in the game momentum. Literally within minutes of the bench transferring their positive energy to their teammates, the team began scoring and playing like the winning team I knew they could be. They were also applying what I will refer to as their ‘human strength roles’ on the team, and each of them knew what this meant. However, this was the first time they were truly applying this concept, even though we had been talking about the power of their “human team role” for weeks.

At the end of the third quarter, and coming off of a five-goal deficit, the team exploded with delivering double the amount of goals they had in the first half. They also ended up winning the game with a comfortable four-point lead. The other team was completely shut down. They were also stunned by the new momentum and motivational energy provided by the bench members. What made the difference in the second half of the game, was the fact the bench team members were able to successfully transfer their motivational energy to the field players, who really needed it.

This same concept of transferring the energy you put into procrastinating can be thought of like a mental on/off switch. You will literally need to give yourself a pep talk to do this, or perhaps ask someone else to do this for you. However, when you do this, you can literally shift your mindset away from not having motivational energy, to finding even a small spark which will ignite the rest of your motivation.

By committing to focusing your mind, energy and attention to what you want to accomplish, anything is possible. Even when it appears all of the odds are stacked against you. This same concept can be applied at work, or everyday life scenarios. I guarantee if you sincerely try doing what I have outlined, you will see far different and better results than you thought were possible. If you do not believe me, just ask Coach Wright, or any of the 27 young men on my sports team, or any sales person who has ever worked with me before. Happy “belated” Mother’s Day.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

This article is dedicated to Coach Sean Wright, Coach Mike Marshall, Coach Chris Harrington, Coach Ken Boyer and the entire Chelmsford, Massachusetts High School Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team.

Baggage Handling – Physical and Mental

Helping my family recently move made me realize how easy it is to accumulate items. When I was in the process of unpacking many them, I kept thinking do they really need this item, and will they miss it if it never makes it onto the shelf or into some new junk drawer? What if the item simply disappeared? Would they miss it, and is it more of a sentimental token with no real intrinsic monetary value? These same questions can be applied to mental baggage, but I think it is harder to actually get rid of this type of clutter.

Have you ever experienced the feeling I get when I go into a home that has been staged for sale, or perhaps into a freshly designed office or hotel room? I’m referring to the feeling of not being encumbered by sheer clutter and an overwhelming amount of physical stuff. Yes, the stuff has a physical weight to it, and there is also a mental weight you can experience when there is too much of it. The same is true with mental clutter. It too has a weight value, but it is harder to quantify. However, if you had to quantify the weight value, there are definitely mental topics which are heavier than others, and you know what they are.

I realize thinking about mental clutter can seem ethereal, and we do not often talk to one another about this, but it can be really toxic if we are not careful with monitoring the levels of it. Sometimes our mental clutter feels more overwhelming than other times, and typically there are topics or situations which will enhance this negative feeling. In a business environment, the mental heaviness can come from a number of places, but it is generally coming from the top of the organization and trickling down through the management team. When this happens, it’s as if the managers who should be acting as “filters” or “drains” are not doing their job. When this happens, the toxic mental baggage they are dealing with is not being properly filtered or drained, and their teams are getting a straight dose of their mental baggage which they are paid to deal with.

So, if you are in a role which serves as a filter or drain, do you know how to make sure you are doing your job well enough to keep the mental baggage and clutter from not clogging? Whether you do or don’t, here are some ways you can help to ensure both the physical and mental baggage you get paid to keep control of stays in control.

  • Just like actual drainage systems, you too need an outlet to ensure that your filter and drainage systems are not in need of human Draino. You can accomplish this by making sure you monitor the human pulse measurements on your team are at the right gauge level (e.g., take the proverbial temperature of the person or team you are managing to see that it is at a healthy level, in other words, talk to people and ask them how they are doing).
  • By keeping your communications open and transparent, you will also prevent mental blockage.
  • Offices are plagued with stuff. Whether it is office equipment, personal items strewn about a person’s work space or actual physical piling up of discarded office items (e.g., paper, chairs, broken or unused equipment). By taking the approach that each week is ‘spring cleaning’ time, you will help to keep the levels of actual clutter from getting to the point of causing the space to feel heavy. When an environment feels heavy, people are less productive and less motivated to work in that space.
  • When you give physical things away, you will literally feel lighter and happier. Having too much stuff bogs us down, but giving it away, especially when we are not using it anymore, is highly effective in terms of lightening our emotional baggage attached to physical items.

Commanding more control over both your mental and physical baggage is a goal I strive to reach on a daily basis. Some people are far better at this than I am, but when I do feel like I have a sense of control on baggage of either type, I am much more satisfied professionally and personally. See if you feel the same way by taking on the challenge of reducing your physical and mental baggage.

 

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: My first business book called Wisdom Whisperer, is now available via Amazon. Pick one up, or get one for your friend or colleague. I’ve been told this is a great gift for upcoming college graduates, but it is also highly suitable for people in all stages of their life and careers, as the book format is like a buffet, and you can choose to read or not read the topics which suit you best. In support of gift giving, for a limited time, Wisdom Whisperer’s price is currently $16.99.

Persistence – A Business Super Power

Being persistent can produce amazing results, but it also takes dedication and patience. From my perspective, this is one of the greatest traits a business person can possess.

Some professions require greater amounts of persistence to obtain the experience or education to reach the top level in their field

Most people generally feel satisfied when they reach their goal.

What they all have in common is their internal drive or persistence.

Is being persistent an inherent trait, or can it be learned, perhaps by modeling the behavior of others?

Of course, there are varying degrees of persistence, but the most common level is one that allows a person to remain hyper focused on reaching their goal.

So how does one go about staying focused?

Some folks who have trouble getting focused rely on medication for help.

Others have used meditation, yoga, cardio workouts, or even diets that include nutritious food and elimination of sugar and highly-processed foods.

Whichever method works to help become more focused and then, eventually, more persistent is up to the individual.

The key to being persistent is also to surround yourself with people who can and will support you in the quest to reach your goals. Negative Nellies need not apply.

Identifying positive, can-do, people may be a challenge for some.  The easiest way to find optimists is to do some exploratory work.  Here are a few to get you started:

  • Would you describe yourself as a positive person? NOTE: This is to determine if they are capable of being supportive. If they are of the negative persuasion, chances are they will see all glasses as half full. Time to keep searching.

 

  • What helps you to focus and be persistent?

 

  • How did you pace yourself when you had a long journey ahead to reach your goal? Could you remain persistent for a sustained period of time?  What were your tricks?

 

  • Do you know anyone who has already achieved the goal(s) I am determined to reach?

 

  • Would you be willing to help/guide/support me during a certain identified time period?

For some folks, like me, it’s helpful to create a vision of the goal – one to keep in mind throughout the quest.

I have been writing professionally for years for technology-oriented companies, as well as numerous other firms in a variety of industries.  When I found out one of my articles was going to be published in Money Magazine, I recognized it as an acknowledgement by a publication I respected. One that reciprocated their respect for my business knowledge. I did not have a particular topic in mind when I started writing business articles, but instead envisioned reaching an audience that could relate to what I had to share.

Reaching this level of professional acknowledgement has taken me years. I had been persistently pursuing this goal for about a year. Prior to setting the goal to have my writing appear in a professional business publication, my dream was just that.  But as the saying goes, a dream without a goal is just a wish.

Thanks to my persistence, I have earned the recognition that comes after working for years in what could be referred to as the professional trenches. The fact my article debuted on Halloween was a real treat!

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: My first business book called Wisdom Whisperer, is now available via Amazon. Pick one up, or get one for your friend or colleague. I’ve been told this is a great gift for upcoming college graduates, but it is also highly suitable for people in all stages of their life and careers, as the book format is like a buffet, and you can choose to read or not read the topics which suit you best. In support of gift giving, for a limited time, Wisdom Whisperer’s price has been reduced to $16.99.