01: Millennials Navigate Unwritten Organization Rules

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Seth Mattison - Generational Trend Spotter

Our host Kyle O'Connor interviews Seth Mattison, an internationally renowned expert on workforce trends and generational dynamics. As Founder and Chief Movement Officer of FutureSight Labs, Mattison advises many of the world’s leading brands and organizations on the key shifts happening around talent management, change and innovation, leadership and the future of work. As a millennial himself, Seth offers some fascinating insights into the unwritten rules that his generation faces as they navigate hierarchical organizations today.

Key Learnings From This Episode

Download the Show Notes

  • Seth’s passion in one word - “Transformation.” He's passionate about being able to create transformational moments that become catalysts for change. By sharing insights and stories that create ah-ha moments for others, Seth offers his clients a new or different perspective. He shares insights and observations on the transformational shift necessary in organizations to create a new way of thinking about work.
  • Hierarchies versus Networks: This is the tension between two distinct structures and cultures that co-exist in most organizations today. Hierarchies consist of "unwritten rules" that are engrained in professionals that have worked for 15+ years. Rapid change makes networks a necessity for organizations to foster speed, collaboration, communication, knowledge-sharing and innovation. This results in a misalignment between an organization's promise and the reality for millennials who don't understand hierarchical rules, not having encountered them before.
  • How do we adopt the best principles of both structures? Hierarchy has rules, processes and structure. Its weakness is that it promotes information and idea hoarding to retain security and power. How to break down hierarchies to promote collaborative ideas and ways of working. Taking the best of hierarchy and networking and combining both.
  • Navigating transformation from Hierarchy to Network. How do organizations move through this transformation? Becomes an ah-ha moment for executives. Involves three things:
    1.    Awareness
    2.    Belief
    3.    Technology
  • What are your organization's leadership beliefs about its people? Starts with awareness, then beliefs and unleashing social collaboration technology that allows information and ideas to flow freely throughout the organization. We are operating in a half-changed world. It's about tapping the collective consciousness of an organization.

Seth on Communication

“Organizations don’t do anything. Organizations are made up of individuals that need to take individual actions. “It’s not about how you want to communicate, it’s about how the person you are trying to reach wants to be communicated with.”

You have to teach millennials how to communicate, especially face to face. As an executive, be flexible. Be willing to experiment with different communication channels to attract and retain the best and brightest who want to be connected to their leaders.

Recommended Reading and References From this Episode

  • David Stillman - Generational and workplace expert David A. Stillman is co-founder of BridgeWorks, a company dedicated to speaking, writing, training, entertaining, and consulting on generational issues in the workplace and the marketplace. His keynote speeches and workshops on generational issues in the workplace and marketplace receive rave reviews from client companies and associations nationwide.
  • Lynn Lancaster - Generational expert and keynote speaker. Lynne is co-founder of BridgeWorks and the award winning co-author of the best-sellers When Generations Collide: Who They Are. Why They Clash; How to Solve the Generational Puzzle at Work; and The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace.
  • The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace by Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman. The definitive guide to “Millennials” (those born between 1982 and 2000) in the workplace—what they want, how they think, and how to unlock their talents to your organization’s advantage.
  • Gen Z Guru The first GenX and GenZ speaking combo - David Stillman and his GenZ son Jonah help companies get ahead of the next great gap. There are two PDF downloads at the foot of the page. 

Social Media Communication Platforms

  • Yammer  - Yammer is your company's private social network that helps you and your teams stay on top of it all. Start conversations, collaborate on files, and organize around projects so you can go further—faster.
  • Jive - Interactive intranets that are helping companies align and engage employees, streamline communications and improve productivity.

Feeding the Mind, Body and Soul

To Follow Seth Mattison

Seth's Question to HR Studio Podcast Group Members

Seth Mattison HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Seth Mattison HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 8:15am
Kyle O'Connor
Seth Mattison
HR Studio Podcast