VOICE December 2017 - page 5

Using current working trends some estimates show
that more than 50% of those at work will be Millen-
nials by 2020. Not everybody believes that Sinek is
right or at least not 100% right. But my sense check
with the Millennials that I know and the research
that I have done is that, even though Sinek is general-
ising, if he were just 50% right, there is an issue to
deal with that we can’t ignore!
The key thing that struck me about Sinek’s sugges-
tions was that the way that we currently use technol-
ogy has to some extent interfered with doing the
simple things that all high- performance cultures are
based on. For me those are, creating strong relation-
ships based on mutual trust, respect and support.
For example, he suggests banning smart phones from
meetings so that before the meeting begins, people
talk to each and engage in some of the small talk that
is often the foundation of a trusting relationship.
This is something that I fully endorse. The first mod-
el that we introduce to participants on our Leader-
ship Programmes is a simple model of communica-
tion that explores how we create openness, trust and
teamwork by talking to each other and skilfully using
different levels of communication. I wonder how
much opportunity we miss to make a human connec-
tion with our colleagues when we are checking our
smart phones, even if it’s just talking to them about
what they did over the weekend. As the video points
out there is a danger that “we’re taking away all
those little moments.”
This I think is potentially a serious problem. And it’s
not just a Millennial problem. I see plenty of
Baby
Boomers
and members of
Generation X
exhibiting the
same behaviours with their smart phones in business
meetings or over a dinner date. Addiction is no re-
specter of generations it would seem!
Sinek is right, it is a leadership problem. We must
create the right climate in work to engage and con-
nect people. In the case of the Millennials, he calls
this “making up the shortfall” in their development
as people. Creating the right climate and culture that
engages and connects people to the organisation has
always been the goose that lays the golden egg, irre-
spective of the generations. There are just some ad-
ditional and different parameters to manage now.
The challenge remains the same.
So, here’s a thought, what if our business cultures
and climates were so engaging that they released
that same dopamine chemical in our people? In other
words what if they were addicted to the experience
of just being present (as opposed to on their smart
phone)? Not addicted to work, just addicted to being
present and creating something special with their
colleagues. How would that change our cultures, our
performance and our resilience as people and our
organisations? As organisations we spend billions
each year on engagement surveys, sometimes to find
out what we already know in our heart of hearts, that
we are not connecting people; with themselves, with
their teams and with our organisations. So, is it sur-
prising that they look to get their
fix
from their
phone?
This edition of Voice has focussed on networking.
Technology clearly has an important role to play in
creating and keeping a healthy network. And there
are skilful ways to use technology as we have point-
ed out elsewhere in our newsletter that can really
help you to build strong relationships within your
network. The art it would seem is to make technolo-
gy part of your networking strategy while still retain-
ing the human touch. That simple conversation be-
fore a meeting is part of building your network be-
cause you have made a personal connection with
that person. You have been present for them. And
in networking terms that still counts for a lot.
As organisations and leaders, we can help Millennials
and other generations to build
strong networks. Sinek says, and I
agree with him on this, it may mean
challenging some existing and may-
be addictive behaviours. But, we
have a better chance of changing
those behaviours when we create
cultures and work experiences that
people enjoy and connect to, from
which they get great pleasure.
John Frost
1,2,3,4 6
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