by Robert (Dusty) Staub, President of Staub Leadership International and author of “The 7 Acts of Courage: Bold Leadership for a Wholehearted Life“
“Carpe Diem, (seize the day) is not enough; you also need to remember ‘Age Quo Ages’ (Bring your whole self) to all that you do.” – Dusty Staub
The millennial mindset, found most often in those of that generation, is a dynamically powerful way to create sustainable, value-added enterprises. Please note this way of thinking can be found in individuals of any generation and in not always present in those of the millennial age group. We call it a “soul” since it is not tied to the “body” of one generation. It is a way of thinking that is characterized by a number of perspectives that have everything to do with creating meaningful and effective ways of working and growing a business. These perspectives advance careers and enterprises when they are consciously used to generate open, value-added enterprises.
Four of these perspectives that are key to creating and advancing your career and organization are:
- Commitment to Living a Life of Purpose – A focus on the core WHY of living and working
- Believing in Equilibrium – That you can have it all with attention and effective prioritization
- Seeking Personal Mastery – to grow, develop, and become more, an active bias towards learning
- Expressing One’s Voice – you value speaking up, offering insights, concerns and ideas, that all perspectives matter
The millennial perspective, focusing on the core WHY (Purpose) is essential to a sustainable, value-creating, enriching business. I wrote about the power of focusing on Purpose (the why) in my first book in 1996 “The Heart of Leadership: 12 Practices of Courageous Leaders“. More recently Simon Sinek gave a great TED Talk on the importance of focusing on your WHY.
As a consultant I have worked with several hundred companies and more than ten thousand people over the past thirty years. This work has been with different generations and radically different mindsets in the workplace. One of the greatest gaps in most organizations is that of either NOT clarifying the core Purpose (WHY) or leaving it as only a statement on the board room wall or website.
A true millennial wants to know that she/he is in service to something greater, a purpose worthy of life energy and precious time. Experience has demonstrated that great organizations keep the focus on their core reason for being. When people are reminded, on a regular basis, about the larger context of an enterprise, they are more engaged/energized. And, as the Gallup Organization’s studies have consistently revealed, those organizations with the higher levels of engagement by employees are more profitable, sustainable, robust and resilient with increased: customer satisfaction, quality, service and solution-focused-thinking.
Knowing your personal Purpose (fundamental WHY) is where your center and true power are to be found. For an enterprise it is the central, inspiring organizing force. It is tragic that the vast majority of people in business do not know their reason for being. For example the core WHY of my enterprise is, “Liberating the Purpose, Passion and Power of Individuals, Teams and Organizations”. That informs and guides every employee, each decision and all that is done. Our first question to all with whom we work is, “What is your Purpose? Why do you exist?” Many people cannot answer that in a short, simple, direct statement. We call that running an accidental enterprise. When you know your central why, for personal life it gives you great power. When members of an organization know the why of their business, it is always more robust, resilient and performance enabled.
The second millennial perspective, believing in equilibrium is the insight that seeking “balance” is a fool’s errand in today’s world. The real answer is continuously engaging the dynamic dance of identifying where the greatest value can be created. It is informed by, “Wherever you go, there YOU are.” This means remembering what matters most in the middle of work enriches you as well as others. Knowing that your work, because of its purpose, brings value to home life allows you to better navigate the key tasks wherever you are.
Using this insight has helped to raise three incredible, millennial generation (and mind-set) adult-children, run a successful consulting business, stay married for thirty years, while writing and publishing four books. This could only be done by working on equilibrium in living; writing early in the morning on weekends, taking every vacation while calling clients during structured times, and making time for my children to travel on some business trips while making time to connect with loved ones even during the workday. Doing this actually improves performance as the heart is fed and value generated wherever you are with no artificial barriers put up between “work” and “home.”
You take your core self everywhere you go, leading a more centered way of being in the world, developing a robust, resilient way of working. Your focus is on generating value versus “punching the clock” (serving time). This creates high engagement at work and better performance.
The third millennial perspective, seeking personal mastery is the deep commitment to learn, to grow and to be one’s best. This openness to discovery means accessing the courage to let go of old ways of thinking about business, customers, employees and ways of getting things done. It promotes the capacity to step into more insightful and effective ways of working, being and relating.
This mindset invokes five of the acts of courage required to be and do your best:
- The courage to dream, expressing it into the world
- The courage to be confronted, listening to learn, non-defensive engagement
- The courage to learn and grow, stepping into the unknown, letting go of “being right”
- The courage to act, Carpe Diem, seizing the day, following insights, putting new skills into play
- The courage to let go, stepping out of old patterns, what no longer fits or serves
When these acts of courage are incorporated into how you work and lead, they promote more rapid learning and the capacity to master new strategies, insights and skills. Since the world is one of rapid changes: technologies, customer demands, business environments, just to mention a few, it requires rapid learning, the willingness to adapt, to innovate. Without the commitment to personal mastery and accessing those acts of courage, you will stumble and risk failure. This perspective encourages learning, allowing all to stretch their wings and grow. This is GREAT for business, wonderfully engaging for employees and highly rewarding for senior leadership for profits and brand.
The fourth millennial perspective, expressing one’s voice is vitally important to healthy, sustainable enterprises. Smart leaders realize the wisdom of the words of anonymous, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” With the challenge of rapid changes, the insights, thoughts, perspectives and ideas from multiple sources and all levels is vital. It helps to keep in mind James Baldwin’s eloquence, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” This perspective requires facing issues, needs, concerns and differences in viewpoint from employees and customers. It is an essential factor in creating vital, productive and sustainably profitable business dynamics. To put it into play in your career and enterprise requires an additional act of courage added to the earlier five:
- The courage to confront, “telling truth to power” as the Quakers say
These four millennial soul perspectives, if you have the courage to put them into play, will fundamentally empower growth in your career and in your business. Again, these perspectives are ways of thinking that are NOT tied to any specific age group yet more present, more often in this generational age grouping. Understanding the value-added power of each of the perspectives and consciously incorporating them into your leadership and enterprise help produce amazing results.
Would you like to create a more sustainable, vitalizing, engaging and powerful way of working and running your business? Are you willing to do what is required? Will you access the courage to: commit to a larger sense of purpose, to seek equilibrium, to develop personal mastery (openness to learning) and to express your voice and hear that of those around you? All it takes is everything you have to give: opening your mind to a larger sense of purpose, then accessing your heart to engage specific acts of courage to liberate the millennial soul.
Robert “Dusty” Staub isPresident of Staub Leadership International and author of “The 7 Acts of Courage: Bold Leadership for a Wholehearted Life“. He has worked for over 30 years with executives, families, and communities as well as with private and public companies. Dusty has been a pioneer in the process of creating systemic accountability by aligning leadership and group behaviors with strategy to produce bottom-line results.