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3613743737_165c535f99_m.jpgAside from the latest iPhone or gossip magazine, Millennials need instant information, instant communication, and of course instant stimulation.

As a Millennial, I had my first AOL Instant Messenger chat at 11, created my first blog at 15, and downloaded thousands of free songs from Napster (which wasted thousands of hours with my 56K connection) in high school.  My young adult life was filled with navigating the Internet for information I wanted, whether that involved making plans with friends or getting band recommendations from a music Website.  It was singular as well as collaborative, but it all involved the Web and technology.

My mouse-click away mentality shaped my perspective on how to get things done in the workplace and how to communicate with others.

I believe this is the case for most Millennials (those born between 1977 and1996).  We’ve taken our technology upbringing into the workplace as we balance cubicle life and social interactions.  Most of us work with our Facebook accounts open, Google Chats visible, Pandora stations playing, and Outlook emails flowing.  It’s a multi-tasking, multi-browsing business world, and this is how we roll.

A study by Mr Youth and Intrepid, “What your company will look like when Millennials call the shots,” highlights the distinctive work style and digital dynamic that my generation brings to the future of business. Key aspects include:

  • Saying goodbye to the boardroom – Millennials choose a roundtable environment versus an authoritative approach.  Over half of Millennials surveyed said that decisions should be made by consensus.  Open meetings can be held through an online meeting platform or in-person, as both allow for flowing communication and the ability to share documents and information freely and in real time.
  • Technology has feelings too – The integration of technology and human interaction has changed the way Millennials communicate.  Think about it: as a Millennial, what was the last interaction you had with your best friend?  Was it a text, an email, a Facebook message?  And for those older than the Millennials, what was the last form of communication you received from a Millennial?
  • Conversations are not one-way – No one likes to be talked down to, and for Millennials this means no one likes to be talked at.  Since the inception of instant messenger, blogs, and other social networking sites, the style of communication and selling has changed.  Marketing a product is no longer done by holding up a sign; it involves a social strategy that will initiate and influence a conversation to engage a response.  Millennials understand this innately.
  • Move or be smushed – In the world of technology and business, nothing stays the same.  Workers are more mobile than ever, with 75% of the U.S. workforce projected to be working outside of the office by 2013 (IDC).  With this forward momentum, companies need to move – movement in the type of technology they employ and movement in the way they think about business strategy and processes.  Technology like GoToMyPC allows access anywhere, which fosters agility and forward-thinking.

Work and technology evolve just like the latest shoe fashion.  The penny loafers of the past will soon be the Converses of the future.  It’s not about the style, it’s about the utility and ability to keep moving forward

What do you think?

Photo Credit: Vancouver Film School

  • Rick Umoff

    really enjoyed this one. i agree that business and work culture are changing with the millenials…which is a good thing!

    • Um

      They didn’t kickstart it. The ideas have been around before them.

  • Johnny Laird

    There’s certainly a lot of resonance here for me, although I’m way older than a Millennial.

    There are times when I get frustrated with my generational – in terms of years – peers, who can sometimes be Luddite by comparison.

    Sometimes it feels like I’m living in two parallel universes!

    Great post…


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  • http://bit.ly/aeWQe9 Millennial Resource Network

    Alright, so first off excellent post.

    That said I do have some quibbles, quaffles, and general disagreement with some of your arguments. The idea that leadership and decision making will be done by consensus is a bit far fetched. Nothing in Millennials legacy suggests that. More to the point the “problem” with Millennials is that they all want to be leaders and all have skills that allow them to be leaders. However human culture, history, and evolution all point to the fact that leadership even at its most “collaborative” still comes down to one or a few select group of people. However I feel the same that leadership will be and should be much more crowd sourced, but ultimately Millennial Leaders will be those who know how to extract pertinent and effective information from the instant raw DATA. I posted my whole model of Millennial leadership on my blog, so that’s that.

    Technology has feelings… I don’t buy. I believe technology helps us communicate, but it doesn’t have and cannot emote. Not until Cyberdine creates real AI which according to the Terminator movies should have happened already. DAMN YOU HOLLYWOOD! So I take your point to mean that interpersonal connections are changing and technology being used to convey emotions. With that though, I think there is a big leap in the logic that the language us Millennials use to emote (swears and anagrams mostly) is universally accepted enough … :-(

    To end with positive concurrence, I think your points 3 and 4 are spot on. ESPECIALLY point 4. Technology is pushing people out of the office and the “crap economy” we are dealing with is definitely escalating the acceptance of work-from-home arrangements. I think as the Millennial generation starts to rise in to the command and conquer positions within organizations this will become the norm.

    I will RT this and post to my FB page.


    • Jessica Eastman

      Hi Millennial Resource Network. Thanks for your post and thoughtful comments…very much appreciated!

      First off, funny coincidence that our posts about Millennials and their leadership styles would come out at the same time. Great work and great blog.

      Since you had some disagreements about my comments, I thought I’d clarify…

      In terms of decisions made by consensus, I don’t think our generation is as me-minded as everyone thinks, or even as much as we think at times. Yes, we are all pretty set on what we want, and for the most part, have gotten what we want when we want it (thanks to our parents and credit cards, unfortunately…). But overall, I’d say that Millennials are excellent collaborators and like to work together. Additionally, the study I cited above found that 54% of Millennials prefer to make decisions by consensus; and when we’re with our peers, we like to make decisions as a group 70% of the time. So based on my personal experience and these stats, the future decisions made my Millennials will be collaborative and involve multiple people.

      I like your thoughts on technology has feelings. You are correct—I didn’t mean that literally. It’s purely personification  You might like this article though, http://nyti.ms/9onRwq.

      Hope that cleared things up. Keep reading our blog and I will do the same to yours.

      Happy working and happy blogging!


  • Um

    Some of my gen and older already brought this into the working sphere.