Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Working with Millennials and Generation Drone

Yesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a new category of surprisingly business-friendly new rules for drone operators. The new category of FAA rules will make it substantially easier for law-abiding farmers, ranchers, photographers, contractors, videographers, real estate professionals, and fire-safety professionals to use lightweight drones for commercial purposes. The new rules, which may go into effect as early as August, will also have a pronounced impact on many industries and career choices, especially among young adults. More on this in a future post.

Meanwhile, our recent post, Once and For All, Millennials are NOT all Alike, generated more feedback than usual. One big takeaway: Our followers tell us that Millennials are not any more self-indulgent than previous generations were at a comparable age. They are simply the latest “disruptors” to enter the workforce with different values, work styles and motivations than their elders.

Josh Patrick, head of Stage2Planning Partners wrote, “The noise around Millennials is no different than the noise that was around Gen X or for that matter Baby Boomers. As each generation moves into their 20s, the whining starts about how this [cohort] is the worst of all times. It’s not that they are better or worse, they are different and understanding the difference can help you connect with these people.”  

Daniel Obst, Deputy Vice President of the Institute for International Education told us, “Millennials care a lot about mission and values.” Also, if you’re trying to reach them electronically (and who isn’t?) Obst said you’ll have much better luck going through Facebook and Instragram than you will via email.

Derek Poarch, Executive Director of APCO International, the world’s oldest and largest organization for public safety communications professionals, told me he doesn’t communicate with Millennials any differently than he communicates with staffers who’ve been at APCO for 25 years. “We hire quality people of all ages and train them well. Every person, regardless of age, has measurable goals and objectives tied to our strategic plan. It may sound tough, but we have very low turnover here. Everyone is empowered to suggest ideas.”

Russ Webb, Vice President of the Atlanta Apartment Association said his communications coordinator is only one year out of college. “Everything we plan to send out to members and the public must go through her. If she thinks any communication piece is not going to resonate with younger members, she’s very quick to let us know that it should be changed.”

Our blog and website have more about this and related topics. 

If you’re still scratching your head about how to engage with 20-something staffers (or children), Patrick recommends the book Generations by William Strauss and Neil Howe. “They were the first and I think still the best when it comes to talking about how different generations act and what tends to motivate them.” You could also ask young adults directly. Our client Naylor, LLC has also done many thought provoking pieces by Next Gen about what Millennials really want in the workplace.



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Take the Stress Out of Taking Vacation

Take an R&D approach to R&R--6 tips you can use today

With school and graduations in the rearview mirror for most of our children or grandchildren, thoughts turn to summer vacation plans. Historically it’s been a time to slow down and catch your breath for moment, enjoy the longer days and generally sunnier weather, but it can also be a time of tremendous stress for you and your clients who run their own enterprises. Being your own boss means you theoretically have more flexibility in life, but it also means you have no formal vacation or PTO days.

"We often joke that if we didn’t take a vacation we wouldn’t need one," quipped syndicated radio host, Maureen Anderson in a recent Fast Company article about how exceptionally busy people take guilt-free vacations. Before planning a two-week vacation, she and her husband, who co-produce Doing What Works, prep several extra episodes ahead of time. HB tip: If you have a client blog or newsletter, you can easily do the same as most platforms have an advanced scheduling feature.

Unlike workers in other countries, Americans tend to think of vacations as week-long events at most. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average full-time worker gets 10.2 paid vacation days after 3 years on the job, and even professional workers with a decade of service average just 16. But even with that limited time off, most people won’t take most of it at once because they worry about the ramifications if they do. It’s even worse for business owners and solo-preneurs. You don’t have to face the ire of jealous co-workers and disappointed bosses upon your return, but your re-entry into the real world can be overwhelming if you’re not careful.

According to Fast Company, the average American workers gets about 150 emails a day, so being out of contact for 10 business days means there will be at least 1,500 messages waiting for you. OY! Although only 10-15 emails a day will be important, half of those should be able to be handled by someone who is covering for you. Fast Company also said a good rule of thumb is to start planning at least a week ahead of time for every business day you’ll be gone (e.g. 10 weeks for a 2-week trip).

In other words, vacation time should be an essential part of your business plan.

Here are some of our own tips:

1. Unplug from the grid, but don’t have your head in the sand….Check email and voicemail messages at the beginning or end of day….BUT absolutely don’t respond unless it’s 100 percent necessary! Most of all, don’t leave voice mails and don’t let yourself get caught up in an endless cc/bcc loop. Time with your family and friends is all too important, don’t let work ruin that precious time. It’s good to know what the problems and issues are at the office, but don’t sacrifice valuable personal time to solve them.

2. Every morning on vacation, take 5 minutes to scribble a very short list of Must-Do’s for the first week upon your return—don’t actually do them, just scribble them down. We’ve found that just putting your major worries or concerns in writing—and stowing that list away--we’ll help your brain let go of them while you’re getting some much needed R&R. but you really need to unplug and recharge.

3. Do sports like golf and tennis. These sports are lots of fun, but, but they require intense concentration and focus to be even moderately successful. If you’ve been playing well all week and suddenly find yourself shanking your golf shots or double-faulting in tennis, that means you’re starting to let your mind drift back to work issues or confrontations you had before leaving. Empty your mind and think about nothing and relax your grip on your club or racquet. How many minutes (or seconds) can you go? That’s a good indicator of whether or not you’re relaxed.

4. Don’t expect everything to be nailed down perfectly before your leave (one of my personal big flaws).

5. Don’t expect a seamless “re-entry” to the real world upon your return. Use the plan ride as your “transition zone” both upon your departure and upon your return. Tie up loose ends on the way out—then shut down that tablet or computer upon landing. Don’t turn it back on until your return flight is in the air. Ninety percent of the problems you couldn’t solve on the way out, are suddenly easy to grasp upon your return. Trust me, this really works.

6. Make a short journal about your trip while you’re traveling. Jot a few notes and collect a few photos every day that you’re traveling. There’s no better way to remember the highlights and it will give you a sense of productive accomplishment if you’re a driven, Type A, competitive person like most of us.  

Our blog and website have more about this and related topics.


Work hard, play hard—and don’t mix the two. There’s simply no other way to achieve your personal, professional and financial goals while remaining healthy enough to enjoy them.