Monday, September 19, 2016

What Happens When
Millennials Are In Charge?

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Here are 5 Things Boomers Need to Think About When Being Interviewed by a Millennial

Hired Guns BlogTodd Cherches invited me on Hired Guns as a guest blogger.

"Let’s flip the traditional hierarchy on its head and discuss the increasingly common occurrence of how (and why) Baby Boomers and Gen Xers need to think, and act, a little bit differently when it is a Millennial who is in charge.

In the old days, positions in the organizational hierarchy were based mainly on seniority and experience, but as we all know, it’s a whole new world out there wherein age and years of experience no longer matter when it comes to who reports to whom.

Last year, I was quoted in this Forbes article entitled When A Millennial Is The Boss, but before Boomers and Gen Xers can even get to the point where you have a younger boss, you need to make it through the interviewing process. And you need to realize that a lot has changed since you first started out.

So with that goal in mind, here are five things that generational expert Brad Szollose and I agree that Boomers and Gen Xers need to think about when being interviewed by a Millennial:

1. Your years’ experience is not necessarily
something to brag about

It goes without saying that the longer you work, the more knowledge and experience you accrue. In the past, longevity was a huge advantage. Age + time + experience = status, salary, and, ultimately, the corner office. Knowledge was power and knowledge-hording was a common and effective strategy to protect your career and make yourself indispensable. Getting ahead was a long journey that required time, experience, playing the corporate game, building a track record of success…and patience.

But today, as we know, that paradigm no longer holds up. When a brand new, game-changing technology comes along (e.g., Twitter), it doesn’t matter whether you have 25 years of work experience or none, everyone and everything goes back to zero. In fact, having more experience rather than less may actually be a disadvantage when it comes to unlearning old habits and adopting ever-changing new ones.

Before 1984, it was not until you graduated from college and entered the workforce that you were first introduced to, and got your hands on, the latest technologies. Baby Boomers and even some Gen Xers remember that moment when they saw and actually touched a computer for the very first time. You were in your late 20s or 30-something, right? In fact, you might even have taken a typing class (yes, a typing class!) at some point to learn how to use the latest IBM Selectric typewriter. Millennials – who grew up in a digital world with a keyboard in their cribs, a microchip in their toys, and a personal computer in their homes – can barely imagine this.

So, what we’re saying is that Millennials grew up with a very different mindset, and set of expectations, than did Boomers. The fact that you have 25-30 years’ of experience is typically not seen by a Millennial hiring manager as an awesome strength, but as a potential weakness. While you are telling war stories about the day you made the difficult transition from DOS to Windows (yes, Todd confesses that he was forced to make that traumatic change at his job in 1998 while kicking and screaming), the Millennial is thinking, “I wonder if this guy even knows what The Cloud is?” And while you think you are impressing your Millennial interviewer with your 5-page resume in 8-point font, he or she is wondering why you don’t have a LinkedIn profile or a Twitter account.

In short, being up on the latest technologies and being able to speak the new language of business is now the minimum, entry-level requirement for you to get into the game. It’s about quality of relevant experience, not quantity of years spent working. So rather than emphasizing your length of experience, Boomers and Gen Xers would be better off demonstrating your up-to-date capabilities, your willingness to adapt, and your ability to produce results in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business environment. Your key competitive advantage might be the wisdom you bring to the table, but keep in mind the saying that “Wisdom is where knowledge and experience meet.”

2. Your loyalty to a previous company
can actually backfire on you

A close friend of mine was at the same company for almost a quarter of a century; then he was laid off on the ubiquitous Friday afternoon at 3:00. This wasn’t sudden; he had warning signs for years that his time was coming to an end. Yet he didn’t bother to prepare for the inevitable. Every couple of months his department shrank one person at a time, while his own workload increased. Eventually he was the entire department.

While commendable, the first thing the company-assigned headhunter inquired about while reviewing his resume was, “Why were you at the company – and in that role – for so long? Weren’t you confident in your ability to move onward and upward?” When he responded about loyalty to his employer, the headhunter shook her head and burst out laughing.

While you were proving your dedication and loyalty for the past 25 years by staying put, the Millennial interviewer is wondering why you weren’t more ambitious or willing to take some risks. Or deeper still, he or she may be more concerned about whether or not you have the flexibility to adapt to a new, fast-paced work environment. As Darwin famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is most adaptable to change.” So how adaptable to change are you?

No longer perceived negatively as job-hopping, having four different positions at four different companies within a decade is actually considered a good thing in this day and age. It means you are ambitious, adventurous, unwilling to settle for the status quo, and believe in your potential to take risks and to grow. So while loyalty is an admirable quality, don’t let it backfire on you by creating a perception of complacency.

If you have been in the same company or in the same role for a while, you probably want to try to turn that perceived negative into a positive by reframing your background in a way that the interviewer might appreciate and admire. You stayed because you were challenged every day and worked directly on some of the most dynamic projects of your career…so you actually developed and advanced while within that role. You loved working with your boss and being a core part of the team.

You had many chances to leave, and chose to stay, but NOW you are ready and excited to take this next step in your career journey. The key thing is that you don’t want to be seen as a dinosaur, which you are not.

3. Brush up on your technology
and social media savvy

If you think that “email” is the latest and greatest communication technology ever invented (and it was, in its time), you may be surprised (even shocked) by what else is going on out there. Just for one example, this recent, thought-provoking article from INC. explores and explains “Why Email Will Be Obsolete By 2020.” Whether that is true or not, it is definitely a possibility worth pondering so as to avoid being caught completely off guard if/when it does happen.

Think social media is a fad? That Facebook is just for posting family photos, and that Twitter is just for keeping up with the Kardashians? Well, think again. Businesses are using social media in ways that many never envisioned. And is there an app that could come along and forever alter your industry and how you do what you do? Think Uber and Airbnb.

Do you feel that the business world is becoming too social and too casual for your comfort level? Do you think that addressing your CEO by his/her first name rather than Mr. ___ is a sign of disrespect, or that friending your boss is inappropriate? Do you object to the fact that “friending” is even a word? Well, Millennials don’t have an issue with any of these things. So you probably shouldn’t either.

When a Millennial manager in one of Todd’s recent leadership workshops commented that he “felt weird interviewing someone who could have been my mother,” that really reinforced once again how the natural order of things has been flipped on its head. So when being interviewed by someone in their 20s or 30s, hard as it may be, we Boomers need to leave our egos at the door, and get rid of some of our outdated preconceptions of “the boss as parent figure.” We need to consider, and communicate with, Millennials as equals, and to know enough about the job, the company, the industry, and the new world of business to speak their language.

If you don’t already, make it a point to understand the business applications of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Eliminate any doubt and put their Millennial mind at ease by demonstrating that you know what a hashtag is and what the @ sign means. And if you don’t already, then go ahead and look it up. We’ll wait.

One more note: Millennials hate inefficiency and ineffectiveness, and have no patience for bureaucracy or outmoded technologies. If you remember this and work on staying a step ahead of the curve, you will be able to eliminate any doubt and show that you fit in.

4. Become an Influencer!

When was the last time you saw an amazing, industry-specific article that was spot on? Chances are you found it on Linkedin or Twitter. Did you pass it on to a prospect or a colleague, expecting nothing in return, except good will? Well guess what? THAT is just one way to use social media for business. And chances are, you find these consistent gems all the time from the same five people in your network. So why can’t YOU be the leader in your own group?

Todd and I are constantly supporting each other’s work by passing the latest articles on to each other from Forbes, Fast Company, The New York Times, etc. I have set up a Google alert that specifically looks for articles with key words in the title like: “Millennial,” “Companies in Trouble,” “Holocracy,” “Workforce Culture,” etc.

So start re-posting articles you like. Write a few yourself on LinkedIn, and tweet them out on Twitter. Start blogging about your industry, and don’t hesitate to jump into discussions on LinkedIn groups. Express your opinions, share resources. Provide solutions that are innovative or counter-intuitive. Seek to help others, with no expectation of return, and you may just find that what goes around comes around.

THAT is how you become a thought leader, an “influencer,” and start being seen as an “SME” (“Subject Matter Expert”) in your field. Know that when you leave the interview (or, perhaps even before you get there), count on the interviewer googling you to see what comes up. What do you want them to find? Blogging, posting, and re-posting articles you find relevant will allow you to control your digital footprint and will impress anyone who is interviewing you – especially a Millennial.

After the interview, sending the interviewer a thank you email with a link to a blog post you wrote is a great way to boost your credibility, demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and value, and reinforce the notion that you are up on things and the right person for the job.

5. Dress for success…whatever that means

Many years ago when this whole generational divide issue was new, I presented in front of a group of financial services professionals: financial planners, insurance agents, underwriters, etc., and I purposely didn’t wear a tie. Oh I had on an amazing Hugo Boss suit, with a silk handkerchief and a Calvin Klein shirt with cuff links…you know, the works. Twenty minutes into my presentation I looked over at the owner and knew that something was seriously wrong.

So I confronted him: “Sal, what is the matter?” He exploded, “You didn’t wear a tie!!!” “I did that on purpose,” I said. He physically slumped down in his chair. “You did that on purpose?” He was clearly confused.

Many Baby Boomers and even many Gen Xers, wouldn’t even think of going on a job interview without a suit and tie. And yet, to many Millennials (depending, of course, on the culture of the industry and company), wearing this traditional business uniform – even if it’s a $2,000 Brooks Brother’s suit – might end up backfiring on you, eliminating you from contention. Why? One is the perception that you might (literally) be too “buttoned-up,” old-fashioned, and out of touch, and another concern is your ability to read signals and adapt to a culture where being comfortable and casual is more important than dressing like a politician.

The reality is – Boomers and Gen Xers — whether you accept it or not, the world has changed. That doesn’t mean you wear flip-flops, shorts, and your 1978 Ramones concert t-shirt to an interview, but what it does mean is this: Millennials are the generation raised to believe you are to be judged on your work and knowledge, NOT on what you wear. They don’t have the formality and restrictive rules in their heads that we grew up with.

So while some companies and industries (e.g., banking, law firms) might still expect traditional business attire (especially for an interview), other, more cutting-edge companies and industries have less formal expectations wherein wearing jeans, a button-down shirt (and, perhaps a blazer) might be considered perfectly acceptable. And it’s fine walking in carrying a $50 nylon backpack rather than a $500 leather briefcase. Yes, it may feel to you like it’s too casual, but as we discussed in our last post, that’s the world Millennials grew up in…and the way they like it and want it. To Millennials, it’s not about putting on a business suit and playing the role of a businessperson; it’s about bringing your true self to work, being authentic, building relationships, and making a difference. And you don’t need to wear a tie in order to do that.

So dress sharp. Dress well. And wear something that fits YOU, and makes you stand out in a dynamic, personalized, businesslike way. I always wear a silk handkerchief in my breast pocket, no matter if I have on a suit or a sport coat with jeans and cowboy boots. Make a statement that says you are hip and cool. But be authentic and don’t try too hard. That yellow Wall Street power tie you got in 1986 will actually make you look less, rather than more, powerful in the eye of the Millennial who is more interested in what comes out of your mouth than what you have on.

Dale Carnegie wrote that people judge you by four things: What you say; How you say it; How you look; and How you act. Unlike a lot of other, more external, factors, these four things are all within your control. So if you remember who your audience is, and what you are trying to achieve (i.e., getting hired) you can – while still staying true and authentic to yourself – make the modifications you need to succeed in this brave new world of work.

This was part three of our four-part series on generational issues in the workplace. Our next and final post in this series will focus on the often-overlooked group known as “Generation X.” While most of the conversations going on out there tend to focus on Baby Boomers and Millennials, Gen Xers are often thinking, “Hey…what about us!”…leading to the question: Is Generation X the “Jan Brady” of the generations?

For more on this hot topic, check out Brad’s “Liquid Leadership” blog for numerous articles on how to bridge the generational divide."


Todd Cherches  | Bio


Todd Cherches is the co-founder and CEO of BigBlueGumball,
an NYC-based management and leadership consulting, training,
and executive coaching firm.

With their motto “We make training entertaining” as their foundation, Todd and his brother Steve are on a mission to make the world a better place by ridding the planet of bad bosses — and painful PowerPoint — through their cutting-edge, visual thinking-based approach.  Follow @toddcherches.

THANK YOU Todd for having me....

Brad Szollose
Global Management Consultant
Cross Generational Leadership Development & Workforce Performance Strategies
Executive Coach

Brad Szollose (pronounced zolis), is a globally recognized Management Consultant and the foremost authority on Millennials and Cross-Generational Leadership Development Strategies.

 Brad Szollose Preparing The Next Generation of C-Level LeadersTEDX Speaker, Web pioneer and the author of the award-winning, bestseller Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia, Brad is a former C-level executive of a publicly traded company that he cofounded that went from entrepreneurial start-up to IPO in three years; the first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company K2 Design, experienced 425% hyper-growth, due in part to a unique management style that won his company the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.
Today the world’s leading business publications seek out Brad’s insights on Millennials, and he has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Inc., Advertising Age, The International Business Times, and The Hindu BusinessLine to name a few, along with television, radio and podcast appearances on CBS and other media outlets. 

Brad's programs have transformed a new generation of business leaders, helping them maximize their corporate culture, expectations, productivity, and sales growth in The Information Age. 

Pick Up Brad's new book...

Journeys to Success: The Millennial Edition. 

#1 Bestseller on Amazon in Hot New Releases!!!

Journeys to Success: The Millennial Edition.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Getting Past Mistakes

A Primer for Corporate Leadership

Click Here for Previous Article
From April 2008.
Richard Maybury
Richard Maybury says it best...

"Can you name one person in all the thousands of years of human history who rose to the top in politics by being honest?"

As One political scandal dies down, don't be surprised when another pops up.


The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Maybury also quotes one of the most brilliant and infamous books in history: The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli. Maybury points out that it is oftentimes misquoted, but never seen for what it really is - the truth "about the inherent nature and behavior of government that few are willing to face."

This is the way it has been throughout the 5,700 years of human history. So why are we shocked every time a leader, a politician or a man of the cloth, lets us down?

Fifty years ago, good guys wore white cowboy hats and bad guys wore black cowboy hats. It seemed to be a simpler time with simpler choices. But today, life has gotten more complex and that complexity is reflected in our current leadership. Integrity, honesty and ethics have become a fuzzy line between what you see and what you actually get.
Maybury goes on - "One of my favorite chapters in The Prince is number 15, in which Machiavelli lists the characteristics generally thought to be desirable in a political leader: generosity, compassion, faithfulness, courage, purity, flexibility, religiousness, and others. He explains that the leader must fake these virtues but cannot actually have them, because they would ruin him."

So the next time you think a particular politician is there to save you, remember, it's just show business.

Yet, not everyone is so easily corrupted. Just give some people the choice between leadership with perks, and leadership with both perks and power and watch what happens.

Some put in these roles thrive, while others become corrupted. But, make no mistake about it, certain professions are made up of the hubristic and corrupt, and there is nothing we can do about it. When people let their lower animalistic nature run wild, there is no more control. As I said before, when one scandal dies down, be prepared for the next. It's the nature of politics.

But how does this affect leadership in general? At the political level it is one thing, at the corporate level, another. How would you handle a scandalous problem as an executive? Here are three suggestions to help get you back on track and save face.

1) Admit Your Mistakes (as Honestly and as Truthfully as You Can).

Being on the board of directors for K2 Design years ago was thrilling, but it was also a tough lesson in revealing to the public the right information at the right time. Yet at times, being unable to share it right away can leave one with a sense of frustration, especially when the news is groundbreaking and positive. But what happens when the news is negative and shareholders equity is at stake?

Speaking too soon can destroy a company and ruin shareholders trust. So pick your battles, and in most cases, take the blame and resign. Unfortunately, someone has to clean up your mess, and getting out of the way will expedite the process.

On the other hand, telling the whole truth up front and attempting to make things right may be what the doctor ordered to reestablishing your credibility as well as your company's. Who knows, you might even be forgiven. Turnaround specialists are masters at telling the truth, taking action and getting corporate profitability back on track. Take a page from their handbook and follow it.

Don't bury the truth. That serves no one but you. Schedule that press conference and come Jack Welch, when he was at GE, mastered the delivery of bad news while balancing future potential. Study the masters.

2) Make Real Effort to Change Your Behavior

On the road to regaining trust, try actually changing your behavior. Just look at how many celebrities sign up for rehab. It is so effective that courtroom judges grant leniency when someone admits they have a problem with substance abuse and voluntarily checks themselves in. Changing your dysfunctional activities goes a very long way to regaining trust. Time may reveal duplicity on your part, but consider your immediate actions. They are the ones that show up in the history books.

Want to have an impact? Take a good look as to why you got into hot water in the first place. Are you greedy? Do you feel you're above everyone around you? Are you duplicitous by nature, assuming that everyone is the same? Is your behavior something that requires you to sneak around? If so, try not to wait until the public discovers your faux pas during the evening news. Get help now. If the press has reason to put you under a microscope, your reaction early on will be the one you are judged by.

And do us all a favor, don't fake it. Show up and do the work. You're not fooling anyone but yourself.

One thing that seems to be missing from our society these days is a sense of shame. You may not know this, but there is right and wrong behavior.

And last but not least...

3) Time May Be Your Only Ally

In a relationship, time will make things fester, but in the corporate world where trust has been destroyed and investors' actions are hinging on the next press conference, time is the only sure-fire strategy that will help put the events behind you.

Former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were able to put their pasts behind them because their legacy far outweighed their transgressions. Give it time. Eventually you'll look like the comeback kid. Who knows, maybe even a certain New York Governor will be able to return to some sort of public office someday.

Unfortunately, time may be all you have.

Here are just a few samplings of companies that have successfully and unsuccessfully put the past behind them:

Volkswagen took over 25 years for global consumers to forget that their biggest spokesperson was Adolph Hitler. They made a huge comeback in the 60's by introducing the VW Beetle to the Hippy Generation.

In Bhopal, India, during the early morning of December 3, 1984, a Union Carbide subsidiary pesticide plant explosion released 40 tons of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas into the air. The resulting deaths numbered over 3,000, but testimonies later on from doctors who provided medical assistance during the tragedy claim that over 15,000 was the real number.

Today, Union Carbide (now owned by Dow), is attempting to put the past behind them with a feel-good ad campaign. They introduce us to an element missing from the organic chemistry chart: Hu. It stands for the Human element and we are bombarded with eco-friendly scenes of people -- the driving force behind everything.

The Union Carbide website explains away their past by placing the blame on every possibility except Union Carbide. Lawyer-speak is inauthentic and stands out like a sore thumb on their site. Some things should never be forgotten. It's all a little creepy when you remember the past and the events of Bhopal.

Ironically Union Carbide is owned by Dow, the makers of Agent Orange.

Bear Sterns was showing signs of over extension a year ago. Who were they protecting? Not shareholders, who entrusted them with their money that's for sure.

In these turbulent times learn to be honorable and incorruptible. Then stand by your management style. Make changes to yourself and to your organization not because it affects the bottom line, but because it is the right thing to do.

Your staff will follow you anywhere so long as you have integrity, fairness and a vision. Without your people, you wouldn't be a leader. One can't exist without the other. But, avoid Machiavelli's suggestion that you should fake these qualities - who wants to follow an executive who's faking it?

And believe me, people know.

Thank you for your support. See you on the next post...

Brad Szollose
Global Management Consultant

Millennial Expert, Cross Generational Leadership Development & Workforce Performance Strategies, Executive Coach

May I recommend?:
Richard Maybury's newsletter - The Early Warning Report go to:

This is a one of a kind newsletter that focuses on geopolitics, history and investment advice. I also recommend his books, especially these 5 in his Uncle Eric series: Whatever Happened To Penny Candy?, The Money Mystery, Whatever Happened To Justice, Ancient Rome: How It Affects You Today, and The Thousand Year War in The Mideast: How It Affects You Today.

For Richard Maybury's books go to:

Maybury has the unique distinction of being the ONLY newsletter with a 98% renewal rate. My wife and I enjoy reading it. His books and newsletter will help you understand how the United States got to where it is today financially, politically and morally.

Sign up for Maybury's work now before you vote in the next election and before your nest egg is gone.

Article Source:

Brad Szollose (pronounced zolis), is a globally recognized Management Consultant and the foremost authority on Millennials and Cross-Generational Leadership Development Strategies.

TEDX Speaker, Web pioneer and the author of the award-winning, bestseller Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia, Brad is a former C-level executive of a publicly traded company that he cofounded that went from entrepreneurial start-up to IPO in three years; the first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company K2 Design, experienced 425% hyper-growth, due in part to a unique management style that won his company the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.
Today the world’s leading business publications seek out Brad’s insights on Millennials, and he has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Inc., Advertising Age, The International Business Times, and The Hindu BusinessLine to name a few, along with television, radio and podcast appearances on CBS and other media outlets. 

Brad's programs have transformed a new generation of business leaders, helping them maximize their corporate culture, expectations, productivity, and sales growth in The Information Age. 

Pick Up Brad's new book...

Journeys to Success: The Millennial Edition. 

#1 Bestseller on Amazon in Hot New Releases!!!

 21 ASTOUNDING Millennials tell their personal stories
of failure and success...

Journeys to Success: The Millennial Edition.

Brad Szollose Bio:


Who Is Brad Szollose?: 

Cofounder of Another Big Production. Host of Awakened Nation™. Award-Winning Author. Creative Director. Leader. Visionary. TEDxSpeaker. Web Pioneer. C-Level Executive.

First things, first. How do you say Szollose?
It’s pronounced zol-us.

From founding partner and CMO of K2 Design, Inc. the first Digital Agency to go public on NASDAQ to international leadership development expert, Brad Szollose has worked with household names like MasterCard, American Management Association and Tony Robbins, to create leadership training programs for a new generation.

As an award-winning creative director, he has been the creative force behind hundreds of high-end corporate events, personal and consumer brands, and website launches. Brad is the recipient of the Corporate Identity Design Award and the Axiom Business Book Award along with various awards for website and print design.

As a C-Level executive at K2, his unique management model was awarded the Arthur Andersen New York Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation Amongst Employees (Workforce Culture).

Today, the world’s leading business publications seek out Brad’s insights on next-generation leadership development, branding and modern Management Strategies, and he has been featured (both print and online versions) in Forbes, Inc., Advertising Age, USA Today, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, International Business Times, Le Journal du Dimanche (France), and The Hindu Business Line to name a few, along with television, radio and podcast appearances on CGTN America, CBS, Roku Network and other media outlets.

Brad continues to challenge the status quo with his new book, Liquid Leadership 2.0, and his new podcast, Awakened Nation.

After 35 years in New York City, he now calls Las Vegas home. In his free time, he enjoys hiking in the mountains, working Star Trek and Dune quotes into everyday conversation, and painting and drawing the stunning landscapes of the American Southwest.