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Generations making a difference together

Generations making a difference together

generations and purpose


Talk about diversity of perspective and opinion! Five different generations in the workplace provide just that. And smart employers will jump on the opportunity to build loyality, commitment, and purpose while also contributing to the bottom line.

Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, and Millennials or Gen Y, those born 1977 and 1997, often are portrayed as two generations that don’t always see eye to eye in the workplace.

In their formative years, Boomers were influenced by the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution, space travel, and the Cold War with Russia. Millennials were influenced by digital media, school shootings, terrorist attacks, and 9/11.

Despite these differences, though, these two generations may share something in common that could help bridge the generation gap.

What’s that?


Leveraging differences between generations


Both groups long to find a purpose in their careers beyond a paycheck.

Everyone has been made for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in every heart. ~Rumi

Millennials worry about how much money they earn, but also about how they earn it. They gain satisfaction from their work when they feel they are contributing to something larger and more valuable than the company’s earnings.

Baby Boomers, idealistic in their youth, somewhere along the way became part of the system they fought to change. Now, nearing retirement, many look back and wonder what kind of legacy they will leave. They’re reigniting their earlier desire to add meaning to life.

As we see it, tapping into the two generations’ longing for meaningful work can create an improved outlook for businesses.

Here’s a few reasons why we think smart employees should tap into this opportunity:

⇒ Everything a company says and does contributes to building its brand. Because of this, the actions and attitudes of employees are central to the brand experience for the customers.

⇒ Too many companies begin their pursuit of success by focusing on profit. A better route to sustainable success is to flip traditional business thinking upside down and start with purpose. Purpose drives performance, and performance drives profits.

⇒ Customers feel better about buying from or working with brands they connect with in some way. When they connect with the purpose for why a company exists, customers feel as if they’re a part of something meaningful, just as the employees do. This deeper relationship adds value to every interaction that customers have with the company, which builds loyalty for the brand.

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. ~Simon Sinek

When there’s two generations—one older, one younger—and both are seeking greater meaning at work, well, there’s an incredible opportunity.

However, that opportunity to build both employee and customer satisfaction can only be realized if a company’s purpose and values align and connect with employees on a level beyond the bottom line.


Today’s contributors are Jackie Dryden, author and Chief Purpose Architect with Savage Brands, and Bethany Andell, author and president of Savage Brands.

Image credit before quote added: Pixabay




Believing these 6 job reference myths can hurt you

Believing these 6 job reference myths can hurt you

job reference preparation


While there are many factors for the job seeker to consider in landing that new job, one element that’s often overlooked is particularly critical—and that’s job references.

Your employment references will surely be vetted by prospective employers and can ultimately make-or-break the hiring decision.

Unfortunately, job seekers are too often unaware or misinformed of how job reference vetting really works.


6 job reference myths


Here are 6 false perceptions that explain why countless job seekers go for months, or years, without landing that next job.

Myth No. 1: Companies cannot say anything negative about a former employee.


While countless companies have policies dictating that only title, dates of employment, and salary history can be discussed, their employees—particularly at the management level—frequently violate these policies. Former supervisors are particularly notorious in this regard, e.g. the boss with whom you had philosophical differences was jealous of you or perhaps even have harassed you. Incredibly, approximately 50% of our clients receive a bad reference, despite strict policies in place.

Myth No. 2: HR always follow the rules.


Most corporations direct reference check requests to their Human Resources departments, and they are trained to ensure that nothing negative will be said about me. Most HR professionals do follow proper protocol.

However, be warned: some do not.

When asked whether a former employee is eligible for rehire, some will indicate they are not and may go on to explain why this is the case. Even if they say “not eligible” and offer no further explanation, a potential employer is unlikely to take the risk of hiring you without knowing the reason why a past employer has described you as ineligible for rehire.

Myth No. 3: Assuming HR has nothing negative to say about me, I should be “OK” with the hiring company reference-wise.


Prospective employers have figured out that former supervisors are much more likely to offer revealing commentary about former employees. Your supervisor(s) knew you personally and has formed opinions about you, favorable or otherwise. When asked for their opinion, supervisors frequently forget, or are unaware of, company policies that typically instruct them to refer incoming reference inquiries to HR.

Prospective employers invariably seek this supervisory input. (How many times have you been asked “May we contact your former supervisor?”)  For this reason, it’s critical that you are aware not only of how HR will respond to reference inquiries about you but how your former supervisor(s) will respond as well.

Myth No. 4: I should have my references listed on my resume and distribute them together.


You never want to list your references on your resume or indicate “References Provided Upon Request.” You don’t want companies that may have little or no interest in hiring you bothering your references.

What’s more, you may be wrongly assuming that the references you list truly “have your back.” Countless job seekers offer up the names of references that ultimately provide lukewarm or unfavorable commentary about them.

Instead, you should cultivate your management references carefully, treat them with respect, and update them periodically as a courtesy. In addition, you should have a list of your references readily available (in the same format/font as your resume) to be given to prospective employers. When you offer this list—in a highly professional manner—at the conclusion of an interview, you create a very proactive (and favorable) ending impression.

Equally critical is to have a third-party reference checking organization check your key references. When that step is taken, you learn what previous employers will offer about you to potential new employers. This check ensures that your key references—organizations, previous supervisors, and HR representatives—are truly offering supportive commentary about you.

Myth No. 5: Thinking that a former company against which you took legal action isn’t allowed to say anything negative.


The former employer may have been instructed not to say anything definitive, however, don’t assume they’ll skip the chance to make your life difficult. There have been countless instances in which a former boss or an HR staffer has said, “Hold on a minute while I get the legal file to see what I am allowed to say about this former employee.” Most employers are uncomfortable hiring someone who has a legal history. That discomfort may dash your job prospects.

Myth No. 6: Even if I have a negative reference, there is no way for me to prevent a company from continuing to share it.


There is something you can do.

Your first step is to obtain documentation that a reference(s) is indeed problematic by utilizing a professional reference-checking firm to document both the verbal input and the tone of voice being offered by your reference. Once a problem reference has been confirmed, the reference-checking firm can identify an employment attorney well versed in assessing possible legal options. One such legal option is sending a “Cease & Desist” letter that suggests that if the reference-giver continues to offer such negative input, legal action would be contemplated against the firm.



Today’s contributor, AllisonTaylor and its principals, have been checking references for corporations and individuals since 1984.

Image credit before quote added: Pixabay





Be a company where good people want to work

Be a company where good people want to work

want to work


Are you an employer spending lots of time puzzling over what you need to do to attract millennials? Concerned about retaining those young people once you hire them? Thinking you need to change your workplace culture?

If so, you’re not alone.

Many companies adjust their corporate culture to better appeal to the generation that’s expected to make up half the global workforce by 2020. A generation that’s said to be uncomfortable with rigid corporate structures. A generation that expects rapid progression and wants constant feedback.

If you’re desperate to recruit millennials, have you stopped to consider that how you’re looking at the situation is all wrong?

When companies talk about attracting and retaining millennials, they often take a surface approach. By that I mean, those companies treat millennials uniquely, but that’s not the way they should do it. There’s not one approach you should take with your overall workforce and a separate one to take for millennials.

Your company will enjoy more success if you don’t try to be all things to all millennials. Instead, aim to be an employer of choice where all good people want to work.

An organization will do fine provided it’s willing to get to the core of what it believes in and then holds true to those beliefs. Part of that exercise involves providing a sense of organizational clarity. Clarity makes people want to work for an organization.

Both millennials and those of other generations appreciate clarity. When companies don’t have clarity or are untrue about their purpose, employees become lost. They disconnect and become more likely to look elsewhere for jobs, regardless of their age group.


Be a place where people want to work


To attract all good employees, including millennials, and keep all of them around for the long haul, companies should:

  • Be clear about their vision.

The most critical ingredient to achieving business success is having clarity.

Having clarity means an organization is clear about its purpose, vision, and the roles of those who carry out the purpose and vision, regardless of what generation the employee belongs to.

  • Communicate often and well.

Successful companies explain to their employees and job candidates how things are done at the company and what is expected of them. Once people are told how things are, they can opt in or opt out. Usually they’ll opt in. If a company fails to be clear about their expectations and beliefs, people will opt out.

  • Keep things positive.

Keeping an upbeat atmosphere is essential to a company’s culture and to keeping employees happy. If employers can find a way to encourage a positive outlook and attitude, employees from every generation will be more motivated and will perform their jobs better.

Companies can have practices that engage millennials, however, there must be a holistic view of who the company is and what the company culture is. Having that alone is a hook for millennials—and those of any generation. A company doesn’t have to change their company culture to bring millennials in.



Today’s guest contributor is Brad Deutser, president of Deutser LLC, a consulting firm that advises leaders and organizations about achieving clarity, especially in times of transition, growth, or crisis.

Image credit before quote added: Pixabay




Dealing with a generation that wants to change the world

Dealing with a generation that wants to change the world

generation makes a differencee


There’s a new generation in town, and it’s one that employers better get ready for. That generation is 23 million strong and will be flooding the workforce by the end of the decade. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Generation Z.

Generation Z:

  • Is a confidence-filled group that doesn’t want to miss a thing.
  • Has the shortest attention span of any generation.
  • Isn’t quite as open as its predecessors—the millennials—from whom they learned that not everything needs to be shared online.
  • Wants to change the world.

If employers treat those in Generation Z (born in the mid to late ‘90s to mostly to Generation X parents) like they treated Millennials (born in the early ‘80s to mid ‘90s, to mostly Baby Boomer parents), it will backfire on them. Generation Z is unique, and they best get ready for that.

My experience has shown me several differences in perspective that exist between Millennials and Generation Z.

  • According to research done by McKinsey, Generation Z is on a search for the truth. “Gen Zers value individual expression and avoid labels. They mobilize themselves for a variety of causes. They believe profoundly in the efficacy of dialogue to solve conflicts and improve the world. Finally, they make decisions and relate to institutions in a highly analytical and pragmatic way.”
  • According to author and generations expert David Stillman, you won’t find those in Generation Z frequenting Facebook or Twitter as much as their predecessors. Keenly aware of software monitoring, Gen Z are more likely to share their worlds on apps such as Snapchat or Instagram.
  • Being culturally connected is more important to Generation Z than to Millennials. Many more Gen Zers suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) than Millennials do.
  • Those in Generation Z, often dubbed digital natives, have grown up with smart phones, tablets, 3-D, 4-D, and 360-degree photography, which means keeping the attention of a Gen Zer is harder than ever. Their average attention span is eight seconds. Compare that to the 12-second attention span of Millennials.
  • Millennials are driven to succeed by helicopter parents who watched their every move. Generation Z receives encouragement from parents who urge independent thinking, want them to achieve on their own, and are fed up with not receiving equal pay for equal success at work.
  • According to an article in Forbes, “millennials may be entitled, but Gen Zers are hyperaware of entitlement and working hard to forge their own path. In fact, according to a report from Adweek, Gen Zers are eager to educate themselves: 33% watch lessons online, 20% read textbooks on tablets and 32% work with classmates via the Internet.”
  • Social entrepreneurship is important to Generation Z. Why? They’re driven to volunteer and often choose a career in which they can make a difference. There are those who hope the
  • Generation Z children were raised in classrooms focused on diversity and collaboration. According to Forbes, “A recent MTV report indicates that 91% of surveyed Gen Zers use technology to gain perspective on people different from themselves, and they believe tech can help them manifest their big ideas to improve the world.” Millennials are often described as the “me-generation.”
  • Gen Zers tend to be more private than Millennials. Perhaps that difference is a result of seeing the downfall of previous generations in the recent Great Recession.
  • Because Generation Z feels pressure to gain corporate experience early, they are competing with Millennials who are more likely to wait to gain that same type of experience. The good news for Millennials, who are more likely to chase jobs in the corporate world, is that 72 percent of those in Generation Z wish to take what they learn and apply it to their own business. Only 64 percent of Millennials have the same goal.

As McKinsey points out, the orientation of Gen Zers should be of significant importance to companies and prospective employers. “Companies should be attuned to three implications for this generation: consumption as access rather than possession, consumption as an expression of individual identity, and consumption as a matter of ethical concern.”

Smart employers will start getting ready right now.

Today’s LeadBIG contributor, Matt Stewart, is co-founder of College Works Painting, which provides real-world business experience through internships for thousands of college students each year.


Image credit before quote added: Pixabay






Make your employees your secret sauce

Make your employees your secret sauce



Services have become the key to a company’s success. Look at Google, Twitter, or Uber and see how they’re extending their reach and growing their business through new services.

What’s crucial about getting this new shift right is for businesses to understand that a service economy is about people. The people who are key to making success happen are the managers and employees within the business itself.

Employees are the true intellectual capital of the company and that means businesses must invest in their people.

4 ways to make your employees your company’s secret sauce


That investment can take many forms, but I see four ways that a business can turn their employees into their secret sauce for success.

Take a look:

Align employees to a common goal.

No organization works well if everyone is a maverick going off in his or her own direction. It’s important to communicate what the goal is and to make sure everyone is on the same page.

All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible. ~Orison Swett Marden

Create a nurturing environment.

Any business should want to motivate its employees to excel. One way this can be done is through rewards and recognition, so that employees know that their hard work and efforts are appreciated.

Today many American corporations spend a great deal of money and time trying to increase the originality of their employees, hoping thereby to get a competitive edge in the marketplace. But such programs make no difference unless management also learns to recognize the valuable ideas among the many novel ones, and then finds ways of implementing them. ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Harness employees’ intellectual horsepower.

It’s important to get the most out of employees, and one way that can be accomplished is through helping them build their skills. Certification programs only not train employees at all levels of the organization but also promote their personal growth.

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence. ~Abigail Adams

Drive exceptional thought leadership.

It’s critical to hire the right leaders because so much else hinges on how they perform. Companies should look for people who have:

  • A deep understanding of the business’ mission
  • Stellar reputations
  • The ability to attract new talent, and
  • The potential to grow to the next level of leadership.

Position doesn’t make anybody a leader. Being in charge doesn’t make the wrong person right. ~Tim Berry

When products are a company’s focus, it’s important to invest in research and development, and product innovation. However, when services are what drives a company’s success, then the investment must be in people.

Get your employees inspired because inspired people make the difference.



Today’s guest contributor is Dushyant Sukhija, author of The Cisco Way: Leadership Lessons Learned from One of the World’s Greatest Technology Services Companies and a former executive with Cisco Systems.


Image credit before quote added: Pixabay





Meaningful leadership development

Meaningful leadership development

leadership development

One question from clients that makes me happy is “We want to invest in our employees through leadership development. What should we keep in mind as we put the program together?”

3 characteristics

First, I tell them there are three characteristics that distinguish the best leadership development programs from the least effective ones—commitment, alignment, and accountability.

Commitment. Active, authentic support from all levels of the organization, especially senior management, creates meaningful and impactful programs. When leaders know that senior management endorses, supports, and believes in what they’re learning, the two-way loop of commitment is completed—senior management believes in me; I believe in the value of the development. Employees are quick to recognize window dressing training programs.

Alignment. The knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to be hired, promoted, and execute organization vision, strategies, and goals must be what’s taught. Assure direct relevancy between course content and how leadership is practiced within your organization. If not, why are you wasting everyone’s time?

Accountability. Employees have to know that their boss is watching for a learning transfer from development session to practical on-the-job application. Research from McKinsey shows that employers with the most successful leadership development program are four times more likely to require development program participants to apply what they’ve learned on the job.

3 resources

Next, I tell them they have to be prepared to make three resources available to program attendees—time, role models, and accountability partners.

Time. Development programs take lots of forms: formal offsite sessions, classroom, workplace developmental assignments, coaching from inhouse or external experts, etc. Regardless of the method, allow attendees to be fully present. Don’t expect them to continue managing their jobs while taking in new skills.

Role models. Leadership skills are learnable, so connecting those in development programs with those who exemplify the best and brightest of your organization hones the attendee’s ability to think, understand, and do.

Accountability partners. In the best leadership development programs, the boss is always an accountability partner; and participants also partner up with someone who is going through the same program. Together, these people can reinforce learning, follow-up on learning transfer, and be a safe place to try on new skills.

3 attitudes

Lastly, I tell clients to adopt three attitudes toward both their leadership development programs as well as those participating in them—look for potential not only past performance, leave room for individuality and curiosity, and give permission for people to learn from their failure.

Look for potential. How an employee thinks, feels, and acts—are they flexible, self-directed, open to change, able to think critically and make a quality decision, interact well with others, and the like—says more about their leadership future than many quantitative metrics.

Leave room for individuality and curiosity. A team of cookie-cutter leaders isn’t going to be successful in today’s fast-paced, inter-connected business environment. Leave plenty of room for meaningful diversity of thought, opinion, perspective, and experience.

Make room for failure. Learning from failure is the absolute best teacher. Give your leadership development program participants space to bot try out what they learn and have a do-over if things didn’t go well the first time.

What would you add to this list?


Image credit before quote added: Pixabay