I was recently at breakfast with the COO for a well-respected service company. He was frustrated by our obviously hungover waiter and expanded his empty coffee cup to mean the end of Western society. The country is in trouble, he believes, because, “We can’t find anyone who wants to work. All these kids—these Millennials—just want to show up and get promoted. The schools and parents don’t teach a work ethic. I read in the paper that they won’t even eat cereal because it’s too much trouble to put it in a bowl and pour the milk!”
While Severson claims in The New York Times that Millennials abstain from cereal eating because it’s too much trouble, and according to my students, they did fewer chores as children than previous generations, claiming Millennials lack a work ethic badly overstates the problem. For one thing, painting a group with a broad brush is dangerous—have we learned nothing about the falsity of prejudice? For another, Millennials obtained more education than previous generations, which takes work, and they know how to use smartphones, which takes a lot of work. Besides, why is abstaining from cereal bad, and what’s more American than avoiding chores?
It won’t be Millennials who take the country down. Quite the opposite. If we, their elder leaders, develop them as emerging leaders, we will see fantastic returns.
Jack works with companies to help them increase loyalty, reduce turnover, know who to promote, and increase leadership skills. Clients set up key employees--and the entire company--for long-term success. Reach him at 512-965-6962, firstname.lastname@example.org