Generations Y & Millenials
As large corporations struggle with changing demographics affecting both their workforce and clients, younger generations Y and Millenials are bringing different attitudes and values to the workplace. In response, large corporations are experimenting with unconventional business practice. I see the struggle with effective motivation, leadership and how to define success and failure in this new environment. Where is this headed? Could companies be changing practices critical to profitable operation, rather than simply modifying work environments? Basic and reliable business principles are being overlooked in this transition. I see deliberate movement towards consensus decision making, homogenization, and continuity as being more highly valued than creativity, initiative and personal achievement.
Emerging Non-Traditional Business Practice
There are advantages to this thinking. In a new world of teams spread geographically, and/or highly specialized roles asked to contribute to team outcomes… we need more modern rules of engagement. The problem is: managers are now being asked to implement traditional business principles utilizing non-traditional business practice. How is individual performance measured in this environment and when do goals translate into profits? In the end, moving Op Profit dollars to the bottom line is the job of every business.
In a career that has comprised positions with F500 size corporations only in the last 12 years, I have seen this perspective change gradually. The Buck-Stops-Here Leader and rewards for Thought Leadership are becoming incompatible with these new organizational philosophies. As companies grow and reach F500 size today, is candidate acquisition changing to limit personnel searches to only those with the ability to succeed on narrowly defined terms? Will there be room for unique talents and insights? This narrowing of vision is moving sales and customer service management strategies towards a controlling and rigid mindset and a perversion of recent management theory has supervisors driving a mantra requiring front-line employees to be “on-mission” and “on-message” at all times. I see managers guiding business development towards strategies that may only be implemented, if reproducible across the entire organization. Can flexible consultative sales strategies survive this trend? This employment environment is asking for an entirely different set of skills than was sought 15 – 25 years ago, when Tom Peters and Peter Drucker were the major business thought leaders. At times, I wonder if the ideas “people do business with people” and “what cannot be measured, cannot be managed” can survive?
Acquisition & Consolidation Factors
Is corporate acquisition and consolidation building organizations so large that HR Business Theory is being forced to overreact to these generational changes? Can the marketplace see the value in companies being nimble and opportunistic again… trumping economies of scale and logistics as business drivers?
Impact on Corporate Culture
I have struggled with many of the forces driving these changes, even when working for small business. Implementing new Gen Y & Millenial management ideas will change company cultures. Can successful companies survive this re-imagining? In past years, this type of business environment would just accelerate company failures and start-ups, but today in our “too large to fail” world… does that consequence disappear?
This site is maintained by Douglas Levin, PSP, AHC, LEED AP. It is intended to be a personal professional blog. The opinions expressed herein reflect my personal viewpoint/ideas and do not in any way represent the position of any other person, organization or company.