Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Y-Size Your Business

I recently read Y-Size Your Business - How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business by Jason Ryan Dorsey.

The Y generation comes after generation X and is often referred to as those being born between 1977 and 1992. That would put them between the ages of 17 and 32. They are also referred to as The Millennial Generation, being shaped heavily by the rapid growth of the Internet, cell phones, Twitter, blogs (I did not know I was shaping a generation)etc.

The book has a number of practical ideas and suggestions on how to recruit, train and get the most out of Gen Y. One of the best chapters I liked was Day 1 is all important. The title says it all - basically make the first day a good one. Common sense (which often is not that common).

We're now in a culture where we can expect to have four generations working in many businesses, often with different or unique values. I think it's critical for any manager or leader to understand some of these generational biases in order to run their company well.

I loved the book, even though I don't like to categorize people and don't consider myself to be within a certain class of people (like boomers). Very early in the book, Jason handles this by saying "A generation is not a rigid box that every single person of a certain age will fit nearly inside. Rather I see generational identity as simply a clue –a big clue–about where to start to more effectively connect with, engage, and lead people of different ages. A clue–not a box."

He talks about the Y-Generation having a feeling of entitlement, but places a lot of blame where it should be, on the parents. He says "I know how off-putting Gen Y's attitude can be, but before we condemn my generation as a bunch of spoiled brats (something that I find personally offensive and plan to tell my mom about) we should consider for a moment that entitlement is 100 percent a learned behavior. You are not born entitled. You have to be raised that way.."

He talks about how Gen Y looks for fun and excitement in a job and tells the story of Coldstone Creamery, a 1400+ store ice cream franchise (with locations in 12 countries) who have repositioned their job interview as an audition.

One thing I love about the Y generation is they're ease of use with technology and how they do Internet research and the use of techno gadgets comes so easily and naturally.

The book did have a section that pointed out that the boomer generation was the generation of workaholics (this is one I'm in)


There is an interesting interview on CBC - The Current on the fraud of Management Consulting. It is an interview with The Management Myth, authour Matthew Stewart.


At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Alex Revai said...

Hello Jim,

Please don't get me started on generation Y. Oooops, you already have!

You said: "One thing I love about the Y generation is their ease of use with technology and how they do Internet research and the use of techno gadgets comes so easily and naturally."

...and with that, says I, come their attention span down to nanoseconds and their retention of facts to even less. They take most anything, what appears on a screen (in fonts), as fact, with an almost total lack of critical thinking. I don't even talk any more about spelling or grammar. In fact, bad spelling and no grammar seem to have become a virtue.

I could go on, but I have already gone beyond the length that an avarage gen Y would have the patience to read. They are already on to the next 140 character worth of Twitter message, informing them of the bowel movement of a celebrity.


At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Interesting piece about a book on my read list. Sociologists reference Millennials ("Don't call us Gen Y or Echo Boomers") as born between 1982 to 2003. They are a generation raised by late Boomers (1946 to 1963) and Gen X's (1964 to 1981) where everyone is special and a winner. Sports teams award all a trophy and controlling parents re-enforce dependent behavior by "hovering" (helicopter parents). It's interesting the terms that become associated with youth. If we were only so lucky.

I have seen many Y's that just don't want to work because hours are long and pay is low. What else is new when you first enter the workforce? Staying at home with the folks is just so much easier.

Some, on the other hand, are excellent employees and fit in well. I chalk most of these up to positive upbringing. Sociologists can't completely explain an entire generation. I will buy the book though, any help motivating Y's will be a Godsend.

It will be interesting to see what will become of our newest generation just now entering pre-school. The "Homeland Generation" (2004- ) as the fourth generation since WW2, may have to deal with rapid, significant change as every 4th generation has in recent sociological history.

Should we all put a Sociologist on our HR staffs?


Joe L.


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