Today I am pleased to introduce another guest blogger from our CSR Transformations consortium of expert global consultants. Andrea (Andy) Starr spent her career in sales engagement positions in major corporations. I think you will be intrigued by her thoughts about corporate politics and the influence of Millennials on current practices.
Politics in Today’s Generation
I have been thinking a lot about my many years spent working for a large corporation – and how today’s Millennials continue to change the landscape.
I’m talking about the “politics” of corporate environments. Yes….I am mentioning the unmentionable – something that you just don’t say out loud in a corporate environment. But guess what! I’m not in one anymore! I can (and am about to!) talk about this pervasive phenomenon.
Yes – POLITICS. It’s a driving force. It motivates, de-motivates, consumes and captures employees. I always found myself admiring those who knew how to navigate the waters – those who were secure and bright enough in their jobs to not let the politics weigh them down.
I see a change coming in this corporate world of politics. Let me tell you a story.
I was talking to my son’s friend, whom we will call “Dan.” Dan is a bright 24-year-old, employed by a fairly sizeable manufacturing company. He does very well – however he really dislikes his boss. So much so, that he planned to leave. Well – Dan had on several occasions, shared operational/performance issues and concerns with upper management that pointed back to his immediate manager. He had a rapport with a senior manager – and (comfortably) used that relationship to communicate his feelings.
So what recently happened? Suddenly Dan’s boss was demoted, and Dan was placed in another (better) position within the company!
Good for Dan (?) Is this a validation of the sentiments of a population of workers who have a different set of personal values and simply want to do their job?
Well – I hear those stories more and more. And I see the younger, “best and the brightest” no longer putting up with that which they find intolerable in the workplace. They are more “distrustful” of the system. At the same time, they are fiercely loyal to “the boss” – not so much “the company”. And they… (No! Not THIS!) SPEAK UP!
I think this changes how management will lead in the future. Maybe not the immediate future … but I think it’s a work in progress. And I think it’s a change that is LONG overdue! No more “cover-ups”. No more favoritism. No more FEAR. And therefore hopefully … no more “lead by intimidation tactics” from corporate leadership. As Louis Armstrong would say, “What a Wonderful World!”
Well, how can we “more seasoned” folks offer constructive advice, and keep this positive momentum towards change? I have a rule about “sevens” – experience comes in about 7 years and it takes 7 times to repeat a message before anyone hears it. So here would be my 7 tips to those outspoken crusaders!
- You are in your job because you demonstrated value. You have enthusiasm and expertise. KEEP THE MOMENTUM!
- Don’t let the “Debby Downers” get to you. Stay positive and upbeat! DON’T ENGAGE in negativity. It’s a waste of time – and it goes nowhere.
- STAY TRUE to your beliefs. Whatever it is – whether business or people related – if you believe in the mission – hop on the train and blow that horn! Even if you think it’s not the most “popular” position. You’ll be surprised at how many people suddenly become your advocates.
- BE CONSTRUCTIVE in your criticisms, comments, feedback and requests. You are smart! State your case, and back it up. Even if it’s not the opinion “du jour” – you will be respected for having it and stating it.
- Try to remember that to some extent, your success is tied to your manager’s success. So HELP HIM/HER. And if subordinating yourself to do so, remain PRINCIPLED.
- BE HONEST. People will always know where they stand if you are honest with them.
- And above all, don’t forget your ETHICS – and don’t compromise them for anyone!
When we have a majority population in the workplace that actually lives by this norm – we will see a very different corporate environment. I can’t wait!
Do you think they will hire me at 98 years old?
- Will millennials change the face of corporate responsibility? One millennial weighs in. (alexaroscoe.com)
- 7 Habits to Win in Office Politics (lifehack.org)
- Top of Mind: 10 Interesting Articles/Trends in CSR (catchafireblog.org)
- Millennials and the Corporate World (Bentley.edu)