Things That Nobody Gets

old_man_lecturing_grunge_guy_lg_clrForbes recently had an article suggesting that 20-somethings are missing some important facts about success in life and work.  The author, aged 34, referred to himself as a curmudgeon in relation to his team of millenials at his self-created business.  Beside the chuckle thatwelled up in me reading that, when I reviewed a list of 20 “mistakes” that millenials are making today as a generation, it struck me that many of those listed were in fact things all generations often overlook or are simply wrong-headed about.

Talent is overrated – True enough, but not universal to millenials.  In today’s world, no business or organization concerned about results considers the value of the company to be the talent level of those within it.  Talent alone doesn’t simply translate to results. Results equal results.  And people who seem extraordinarily gifted usually put in a mind-boggling amount of work to be successful.  Check Gladwell’s “The Outliers” and see how the “geniuses” who built this country, or wrote the music, or imagined the technology got to that point.

Pick Up The Phone – Along with the obligatory social media bashing, this is a little nugget thateinsteinweb everyone should consider.  While I think it is true that the millenial generation is willing to part with a lot more information about themself, and in a public venue, than the previous generations, who’s to say how the Boomer’s might have tapped into that. However, the tendency for people of all ages to hide behind a computer and manage or communicate exclusively through cyberspace is maddening.  Ultimately, Einstein might have been on to something.  Interpersonal communication skills are a scarce commodity, and don’t seem to be in the educational curriculum today.  Good luck with that when it comes time to inspire, motivate, educate, and communicate (effectively).

Take Responsibility For Your Mistakes – Trying to turn your screwup into someone elese’s issue is workplace algebra that usually ends up bad.  In today’s world, the lack of ability to be accountable is usually at the root of every scandal or PR nightmare.

Speak Up, Not Out – As the writer notes, “we have raised a generation of s&$t – talkers“.  Amusing on you-tube or at your poetry slam sessions at the coffee house (or your blog…ouch!) – but not so much in the workplace.  Trash-talk about the boss, your friends, your rules, your team, your organization, or your goals is the kind of workplace disease sure to attract some proverbial penicillin from those who are trying to get things done.  Worse, it marginalizes you as a person who has all the complaints and none of the answers.  Parley that into success, and let me know how it works. Which leads to…

Your  Reputation is Priceless – Here is where the millenials might take more notice.  Cyberspace is not a black hole, or even a void.  It’s a living tangible entity that will vomit up your most embarassing moments when you least want them out there.  That goes for e-mails, voicemails, video’s, blogging, or what have you.  The old rule about “would I tell my mother this” seems a reasonable guide. At any rate, other than leaving your e-presence scattered through the ether of the internet, the rap about reputation has been around a lot longer than the embarrassing selfie on Instagram.  Guard your reputation like you would your most prized possession because, it is. And you can’t buy it back if you lose it.