What did the election really teach us?
Since the night of Nov. 8th, 2016 and the world found out Donald Trump would be the next President of the United States of America there has been a lot of discussion about what is wrong with our election system. The problem is almost every discussion has missed the real problem, the two party system we have fallen into.
What is wrong with the two-party system?
On the surface, the two-party system in the US may not seem like a bad way to operate. It has served us fairly well for many years. But, it flies in the face of everything we know to be true about problem solving, team building, diversity, and leadership!
How so, you may be asking? Steadily over the years each party has mainstreamed their party philosophy so well that Congress is essentially comprised of 4 members, one from each party in each chamber, instead of the 535 members it is intended to have. When you homogenize such an important team to that level it is no wonder we are seeing the issues we are as a Nation.
Why are more parties the answer?
Professor Scott Page has made a name for himself in the world of diversity, specifically in the area of cognitive diversity. Mr. Page’s research has led to the development of an equation that has been proven fairly accurate in each situation it has been tested against. That equation is; Collective Accuracy = Average Accuracy + Diversity.
What this tells us is the more diversity we add to our teams the higher the accuracy of the final solution. The more important the decision being made the more important the diversity of the team becomes. Think of each party like a unique person on your team. They will each bring a different perspective to the same solution and allow you to view it from more angles. This means the final outcome will be a much better, well-rounded, and more appealing solution than is you just have two parties making it.
Personally, I can’t think of a team that makes grander, more important, decisions than them United States Congress. U.S. Congress makes decisions on a constant basis that have immense global impacts. So why do we leave those decisions, essentially, up to two thought streams?
Now is the time for more parties!
With the importance of Congress’ decisions only rising now is the time for the American voter to embrace the concepts of cognitive diversity and get comfortable exploring, and electing, 3rd, 4th, and even 5th party candidates. We need more perspectives, more eyes on these critical issues in order to come to better solutions.
So, I urge each of you to take this time in between election cycles to do your homework. Find your true voice and let us all lead the way in building a much better team in our United States Congress. This is truly a situation where each and every U.S. Citizen has a leadership role!
Okay, so in total it will be way more than three words but by the end of this article you will have the three words I believe best truly describe millennials. What may surprise you is that they are not going to be words like lazy, selfish, or entitled. No, I believe these words should be tossed out of the millennial conversation all together. I mean, are there lazy, selfish, and entitled millennials? Sure thing! But really no more than any other generation has had. Which is why I really do not understand the bad reputation this generation gets. If you by into the millennial trashing you are missing out and I am here to change your mind!
So, now, onto those three words!
Millennial Word One:
The first word I am going to use is, misunderstood. Yes, millennials really are just misunderstood. They are motivated by vastly different things than previous generations. I think the main reason for this is, thanks to technology and social media, they have more tools to cause more change easier at a smaller scale.
In previous generations there was a pecking order of sorts. You worked hard, made money, and then you turned to philanthropy. Well, millennials don’t have to follow that model anymore and they know it. They can find a cause, create a movement around it, market that movement, make money doing it, and change the world. There are countless programs out there that are millennial run and operated that have built schools, provided food and clean water, provided clothing, vaccinations, housing, and even employment to the less fortunate around the world.
What some see as just bumming around the world on donations and profits from “cheap” products is really an individual hell-bent on making a difference in the world through the best mechanism they have to do so. Don’t dismiss millennial endeavors just because you don’t understand what makes them tick!
Now, lets talk a little bit about the lazy part. There is a magic statistic that everyone loves to quote that millennials “quit” their job every 4 years on average. That isn’t entirely true. They don’t quit as much as they outgrow their current positions at that rate. The reason they leave is most organizations are not nimble enough to take advantage of that growth.
Millennials are driven by two words that are near and dear to veterans like myself. Those are task and purpose. They are driven by the purpose that calls to them and are loyal to the tasks that help them reach that purpose. If you and your organization do not fill those roles then they will find a place that will.
Finally, they do not tolerate bad business and/or bad leadership. As an entrepreneur today you have an immense pressure to provide a great, purpose driven business model and lead them well. If you don’t someone else will, or, they will strike out on their own and lead themselves.
The point of this section is that all the problems we like to lump on the millennial generation are as much, if not more, our problems than they are theirs. Take a look at yourself and your business before you just blame it on a “lazy and entitled generation.”
Millennial Word Two:
The second word I am going to use is, disruptive. Now, you have no doubt heard this word a LOT lately. And I do mean a LOT! Well, millennials are nothing if not disruptive and I mean that in all the best possible ways the word can be taken.
You see, that misunderstood passion for creating world change coupled with the technological leaps and the ease of messaging through social media have allowed millennials to disrupt the status quo in ways no other generation has ever been able to before. They disrupt through problem solving and they do it regularly.
Homeless people don’t have shoes due to cost? Give a motivated millennial a half a second and they will be connecting you with cheap shoes made in a small village half the globe away that will not only enable the homeless to have shoes but provide employment to the villagers. And they believe they can because they have been inspired by those who came before them just at the tail end of Gen X, sometimes referred to as “cuspers” because they are on the cusp of the generational transition point, like Blake MyCoskie of Toms.
Truth is, if you see a problem today and you want to fix it you NEED to have millennials on your team.
Millennial Word Three:
The third word I will use is, greatest 2.0. And, yes, in the modern era that is still one word!
Remember you heard it from me that the millennial generation will go down in history as The Greatest Generation 2.0. Millennials comprise over 70% of the active duty U.S. military and have now been at war longer than any other generation in U.S. history. When you couple the natural resourcefulness and problem solving I spoke about earlier with the discipline and leadership skills instilled by military service and combat experience you have the next Greatest Generation and they are already living up to that name you just haven’t realized it because they don’t fit the stereotype.
Just look around you at the number of veteran run businesses that pop up. They are businesses that are innovating their fields and changing lives.
Misunderstood, Disruptive, Greatest 2.0
So, the next time you feel like cracking jokes and belittling millennials just remember these three words. Take the time to understand them. Don’t be afraid of their disruption. Above all else, recognize them for all their generation has actually lived through already and understand that you are witnessing The Greatest Generation 2.0 finding their feet and beginning to reshape the world!
Team building is an important aspect of any organization and building strong teams is the sign of a great leader. The best part of it all is that team building is amazingly simple if you make the right investments. There are three essential investments you must make to build high performing, resilient and successful teams.
These aren’t monetary investments, money can’t buy good teams. No, these are investments made by and of the leader and the organization. So, what are these three amazing team building investments? Continue reading →
If you believe the old saying that you are the average of your five closest friends then you should also know that you, and them, are only as good as their tools. Everybody uses them and some use more than others but they are all there for a reason.
Today I want to share with you a few of my favorite leadership resources. These leaders all have unique perspectives and experiences that make them valuable assets for your toolbox. Here are their names and why I value them.
Simon Sinek’s works include “Start With Why” and “Leaders Eat Least”. He is also a renowned TED Talker and public speaker with a background in cultural anthropology. That background gives him a perspective relatively unique among most leadership experts these days.
His works come from a perspective that what we look for in leaders is a natural function of how we evolved. And, if you have read these books, he is likely right. I believe that is why the 25 fundamentals I write about work so well, they are naturally evolved markers. So, put these books in your toolbox.
Larry Winget goes by the nickname of Pitbull of Personal Development. And, if you have ever read anything of his you will understand why. He has a no-nonsense, no fluff and in your face style of relaying really amazing content.
His books include titles such as “Its Called Work for a Reason” and “Shut up, Stop Whining and Get a Life”. The titles are self-evident to their contents. He is a regular contributor to several media outlets and considered one of the world’s top leadership speakers.
If you are looking for a touchy feely experience, Larry is not your guy. If you want to hear it straight with no spin then you won’t be able to get enough of Mr. Winget. He is the hammer in your toolbox!
Richard Rierson is the mind behind the “Dose of Leadership” podcast. If you have not heard of it then you are missing out. Richard has accumulated some of the best interviews across all the podcasts and I absolutely love his signature question.
“If you were going to have a dinner party and could invite any five people, living or dead, who would you invite?” This is a brilliant question because you learn a lot about people by who they select in answering this question.
Dov Baron is an expert on building great teams and working with millennials. He has a great back story with a very interesting past set of experiences. Dov’s brand is centered around his “Full Monty Leadership” platform.
I suggest adding Dov’s new book, Fiercely Loyal to your toolbox. While you are at it be sure to add his podcast and catch up on his blog.
Jim Bouchard is known as the C Suite Sensei for a reason. He has a rough past that he has overcome in order to become a leadership expert. His teachings are deeply rooted in the martial arts teachings that helped him turn his life around.
Jim’s latest book, “The Sensei Leader“, is another great addition to your toolbox. It chronicles a lot of his journey and uses that as a backdrop for his leadership teachings. Full disclosure, I was lucky enough to do an advanced review that is in the front of this book so, yes, I am a little biased on this one.
If you add these resources to your toolbox, along with the leadership fundamentals I talk about here, you will have everything at your disposal to be a more successful leader. I hope you enjoy reading their works as much as I do. If you have more suggestions feel free to include them in the comments section below.
The hallmark of long-term success for any organization is how well it adapts to new environments. Those who are nimble enough to adequately adapt will thrive while those who are either slow adopters or just don’t see a need to adapt will join our friend on the right. Those sentences aren’t opinion. They are a fact of life we see play out every day. Continue reading →