Managing Millennials: Don’t ask us what we want because we actually don’t know

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Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Over this past weekend I spent some time reflecting on some of the millennial focus projects I have had the privilege to work on in my organization. During this reflectional period I thought about the impact I made with my suggestions and how much my opinion, as a millennial was depended on for strategic direction and influence on our certain workplace environments.

As much as I am proud of the effort and successful impact we made as a working group, although a little part of me can’t help but cringe when I think about how a dysfunctional, barely able to adult group was tasked with so much responsibility and freedom to experiment.

Two of the things we did really well (unintentionally); which I think contributed to our success were:

  • Having numerous, diverse initiatives (because in hindsight now that I think about it, no two 25 year olds are the same)
  • Seeking more guidance and partnerships with experienced senior sponsors (because although we belong to an incredibly special and unique generation, our behaviour and motivational drivers are not revolutionary, someone, somewhere has wanted the same thing before, whatever it is and to a varying degree)

Some of the questions I am asked now more than ever are ” How do you want me to manage you?”, “What makes millennials happy”, “What workplace dynamics will make you thrive” and each and every time, true to Simon Sinek’s video titled “The Millennial Question” I had a smart succinct answer that I was sure was correct, universal and would guarantee my loyalty. I believed I was giving away a formula that when used, would curb global millennial attrition in the workplace. Until it dawned on me one day. I had the environment I wanted, the resources and the leadership backing to implement the formula I had suggested but it was just not working. With my working group, I had sat down and created this magical Utopia that we thought incorporated elements that would make work life incredible but even so, there was something we had missed, a huge oversight.

The big thing we miss with the millennial generation, on both sides, as the manager and the millennial, is that we try to get a “1 size fits all” strategy that we try to paste to INDIVIDUALS. What my experience on these projects taught me was that strategies are great as long as they don’t involve implementing them directly on people. Although millennials are all born into the same generation, we aren’t all motivated by a bean bag and flexi-hour workplace some millennials thrive in traditional bureaucratic settings and others couldn’t care less for the mastery of unwritten office rules. At the end of the day, millennials, like the rest of the human race, are fickle and forever evolving. Today we might want complete autonomy and the next day we could be accusing you for being a distant leader who isn’t interested in growing their people.

Millennials are really great at having opinions which can sometimes be uninformed and rash when given the opportunity to have a voice.So next time (as a manager/ leader/ human capital business partner) you have an engagement with your millennial employee, instead of asking us what we want, try asking what we don’t want from an organization/ management perspective. As human beings, the things we dislike tend to stick because the decisions we make to rule them out usually stem from concrete and tangible past experiences unlike a future state, wish list  made from fantasies we have no experience in.

I hope this post helped to shed some light into the thought process of a millennial. But, then again, this opinion piece might just be coming from an “entitled, know-it-all millennial” perspective that could change in the next two blog posts haha! Who knows?

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How to discover your purpose: 4 questions to ask as a guide

For so long I wandered…. wandered and wondered where exactly from the sky my purpose will fall. In 2017 I decided, I’m fucking picking something. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work and if it does then great! I would have stopped wondering and starting working.

The minute I decided to focus my attention on myself as a brand and a product so much started making sense. The world is very much like a theme park, except without a theme, just rollercoaster everywhere and it’s very easy to find yourself being mesmerized by something because everyone else is staring or everyone else is queuing for the said experience. What I realized when I focused on myself was that my passions and strengths and somewhat of a purpose is already embedded within me and it shows itself very prominently everyday if I just decided to focus and think.

I’m not saying I’m an expert at discovering purpose but I definitely can say I’ve discovered a method of questioning myself that has made a lot of sense for the first time in a long time of searching and I want to share them with you (and it doesn’t involve what you loved doing as a child cause quite frankly when I was 3 I wanted to be a singer and a dancer and I cannot do either to save my life right now)!

If you have ever wondered or asked yourself what your purpose is/ what you should be doing with your life/ how you can spend your time on earth more meaningfully, ask yourself the following 4 questions that will reveal to you, your natural abilities and competitive advantage which you can then apply in a work or personal environment:

1. What do I like?

2. What do I spend my spare time doing? (watch out for this one and compare your answers with question 3, when I reflected on this question it became quite evident that although a specific thing came naturally to me, if I had all the money in the world, I wouldn’t do it- this thing for me was being a DIY hairdresser for myself and my family. I will not be opening a hair salon anytime soon thank you so much haha)

3. If money wasn’t a factor, what are the things I do for the rest of my life?

4. What do people naturally come to me for advice on?

Let me know how it goes and whether this method helped you as much as it’s helped me so far!

Unboxing my MacBook Pro (Review and 5 things to consider)

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So I just wanted to share a quick review of my experience this weekend when I purchased MY VERY FIRST MacBook!!!! The purchase of a personal laptop has been something that has been waaaay overdue and having been an apple product user for over 10 years now, I think the brand has proven its worthiness to me :).

I must say though, venturing into the Apple space for a laptop has been an incredibly daunting experience… almost as daunting as switching back to a manual car after you have been driving your automatic for a while. There are so many specs and so much to consider when you switch. As much as I am a millennial, I cannot say I am the most tech savvy individual, however, I do make it a point to research the shit out of any big purchase because a. I work hard for my money, and b. because I loathe the idea of being told why, how and what and I should spend my money on by salespeople who are looking to hit their targets- there is power in being an informed consumer.

Cool! Now that that is off my chest let’s get to some of the areas of focus I paid attention to (thanks to other bloggers, YouTubers and tech forums)that guaranteed zero buyers remorse after my purchase.

PURCHASING PURPOSE:

So the first question I would say a user must clarify in their mind is the reason for switching from Windows to MacOs. It is a significant shift and personally, I think fortifying the ecosystem (with your phone, I pad etc) just makes the transition so much easier. And of course it looks cool!

COLOUR:

Honestly, one of the most difficult decisions I had to make, it took me visiting the iStore twice to make my final decision, and I must say, it was worth it! Silver> Space Grey any day. Its more practical, doesn’t show fingerprint/ scratches and its just classy.

AIR vs PRO:

I am a firm believer of contingency plans and as a result I overthink and over plan absolutely everything that I possibly can, as a result I “settled for the Pro” because its an over purchase that I am proud of if I underuse it but it is just perfect if I decide, and have the capacity, to use it for every possible thing I can think of/ imagine. With that said, for me it boiled down to two things that I found useful:

  • Do I just need something personal for emails and the internet- Get the Air/ MacBook
  • Do I need a powerful laptop that can multitask? (edit videos, blog, email, build models)- Get the Pro
  • If I am traveling with it, will the weight bother me?
    • If yes, get the Air
    • If no, get the Pro

STORAGE:

Seems like a no brainer right? wrong. By default the 13 inch MacBook Pro (non touch bar) is configured with 128GB and 256GB; with an approximate price increase of R2 000/ R6 000 for 100GB more memory depending on whether you will forsake speed for storage. My opinion… external hard drives offer more space than a Mac will ever give you for a smaller fee.

SIZE:

For the price you pay for one of these bad boys, I really do not think the 15inch is worth it, I went to see the size difference in store and that extra 2 inches (5 centimeters) is not worth the extra R20 000 (and yes I am probably oversimplifying the tradeoff but then again, I am an accountant before I am a techie haha- LOGIC guys).

So yeah, I think if you are looking for high level black and white comparisons to make your decision and don’t really need to go into technicalities, I would say the above points will put you I good stead to make the correct decision for next purchase.

If you have any more additions to this list please feel free to comment below. Let’s empower each other to make wiser and smarter purchasing decisions!

BOOK REVIEW: BARE (GET THIS BOOK NOW!)

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I hardly ever listen to the radio when I drive (long story) but as fate would have it yesterday afternoon, I was tuned into Metro FM along with a myriad of other fellow South African’s who were curious to hear about and understand Jackie Phamotse’s rendition of the underbelly of South Africa’s 1% and their very interesting lifestyle in her latest book titled “BARE”. I found myself being so engrossed by her story and strength to actually speak out and tell her story and the stories of the women around her who had been sucked into this elite yet damaging lifestyle and social circle.

As soon as the interview ended I was on the phone with Exclusive Books, doing everything I possibly could to source a copy of her book. Curiosity had gotten the better of me, so I bought it, then read it today and here are my thoughts, very briefly.

Firstly I must note that I think the way Jackie decided to structure the story worked well. It allows the reader to literally sink into the book. The book was written in chronological order and is based on a story about a girl named Treasure Mohapi. The story takes the reader through Treasure’s upbringing (which is sadly a very relatable story for any South African child) and the author highlights elements that build up to when she ends up in Johannesburg  as a blessee and ultimately leading to her spiritual demise.

As a character, one can see how the author has woven personal and borrowed experiences to deliver the message and I think because of this, it is a great storyline and lives up to the purpose. I do believe she will continue to make a killing off the book sales however I do believe that it was not personal enough. At some points it almost read like a story and yes, maybe the experience was too graphic to share directly, but I think it would have left readers gasping more had it been written in the form of a memoir because what she exposes us too is REAL. This is not a story, its a reality and if the aim is to drive awareness around this life and the repercussions, give it to the reader straight. It isn’t a fairytale and I think some parts/ events of the book could have been glamorized which is extremely dangerous as it is potentially misleading.

I must say though, in hindsight maybe reading BARE could have made me think  a bit differently about materialistic possessions, its somewhat of a “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” for the Johannesburg female yuppie. It makes one see how having a purpose and knowing your “why” is so important because the value of life can get quite meaningless when everything you can possibly desire becomes attainable to you.

So in closing:

Highlights: The Hockey Club story of course! (See the two pages I posted on my Insta stories last night)

Lowlights: The progression to the blessee storyline was too dragged out, if you want to save yourself time, read from when Treasure got to matric (which is inevitably in the middle of the book- I KNOW….ghaad)

Would I recommend this book: DEFINITO

If you have managed to get a copy of this book, please like the post and share your views! lets get this convo flowing peeps 🙂

Guest Post: This is why talent just won’t cut it anymore

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Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Earlier this week, CR7 won his fifth Ballon d’or, the highest individual award any football player on the planet could ever wish for, a joint record between him and Lionel Messi and no other Player has ever won the prestigeous award this many times.

In his acceptance speech, Ronaldo was asked to indicate who he felt was the next CR7 or Lionel Messi, his response was really nothing short of an eye opener and an excerpt of his speech can be found below:

“The next Ronaldo or Messi doesn’t exist. Every player has his own style. There are a lot of players with the potential to win it. That’s not enough though, you have to be professional, there are many examples of that. You have to win big things at the right time and have a bit of luck. Talent and Potential don’t win you anything. Talent is important but you have to train and work hard. If you’re not disciplined, forget it.”

This hit me. I’m 25 years old and I have a strong belief that with my talent and potential, I can become an executive within the next 5/6 years.  But after hearing this speech I though, “So what if I have the potential?” I mean, a lot of my peers probably feel the same way but what else am I doing to set myself apart? Am I just riding on the fact that I believe I have the talent and potential to arrive at my desired destination or am I actually putting in the hours apart from the normal 9 – 5 ? Am I disciplined enough to push myself to the limits and beyond? Am I constantly preparing myself to ensure that im ready to grab the next exciting opportunity? Am I satisfied with the idea of my potential to the point that I don’t really nurture my talent to take me to the next level?

Am I professional enough for people to use me as a reference in their conversations or, have my qualifications tricked me into believing that all my efforts thus far are sufficient? The unfortunate answer is that I’ve been operating in a hidden comfort zone and its high time that I start thinking about how I can do more.

For as long as we continue to pride ourselves purely in our talents  /potential /qualifications /titles, true growth will forever elude us. we need to wake up and strive to make things happen, we need to learn how to work hard towards improving and nourishing our talents, we need to strive for perfection, we need to desperately seek personal mastery and at the heart of everything, we need to be patient but always prepared for the next challenge. our talents and potential can easily become our worst enemies.

24785221_1717008128333952_4722150790596879878_oGuest Post Author: Atticus Tshepo Matlebyane

“For at the hands of worldly logic, my dreams suffered the most and my talents witnessed the wrath of the soil.”

A hopelessly enthusiastic young individual who actually believes that human-beings can fly!

University of Johannesburg  alumnus (Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree in Marketing Management) and Industrial Psychology, Business Management and Marketing enthusiast . Currently works at Africa’s largest bank as a senior segment analyst while hustling for a part time lecturing and radio gig.

Decoding Existentialism

Existentialism is a philosophy that explores the meaning of life.

The positives of existentialism entail leading a meaningful life; however, the underbelly of existentialism is the the dreaded existential crisis.

If you have read “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma you know the narrative of Julian Mantle all too well and how at the peak of her success as a lawyer, she suffers a heart attack that drives her to stop and question everything she’s ever know about her existence. In search for enlightenment she traded in her lavish life for one with monks in the Himalayan mountains.

I strongly believe that the existential crisis happens at a time in our lives when we need it most. Usually when we are on overdrive and desperately need an act of God that will cause some sort of inflection.

This sort of experience although confusing and overwhelming, guarantees one thing-clarity around purpose/reason for existence which I certainly think is a great starting point if we are to live meaningful and impactful lives.