“Yes, Generation Y will be more difficult to recruit, retain, motivate, and manage than any other new generation to enter the workforce. But this will also be the most high-performing workforce in history for those who know how to manage them properly.” (Not Everyone Gets a Trophy – p4)
Title: Not Everyone Gets a Trophy – How to Manage Generation Y
Author: Bruce Tulgan
Publication Date: 2009
Origin: My wife was given a copy of Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, and I thought it looked interesting =)
Summary: Not Everyone Gets a Trophy is all about understanding Generation Y in order to better manage and lead this cohort.
The general message is captured well on page 17: “The message of Not Everyone Gets a Trophy is simple: if you want high performance out of this generation, you better commit to high-maintenance management. Whether you like it or not, Gen Yers need you to help them form new bonds with your organization, their new roles, new colleagues, and you, their manager. They need you to guide, direct, and support them every step of the way. In return, you’ll get the highest-performance workforce in history.”
Tulgan begins by introducing/defining the generation, which might be a little bit different than you’ve read elsewhere. Tulgan doesn’t like the classification that anyone born between 1978 and 2000 belongs in the Millenial Generation; instead, he prefers to break that group up into Generation Y (people born between 1978 and 1990) and Generation Z (those born between 1991 and 2000).
The book progresses logically, from recruiting Generation Y to getting them up to speed, to turning them into the leaders of tomorrow:
- Get them on board fast with the right message.
- Get them up to speed quickly and turn them into knowledge workers.
- Practice in loco parentis management. Take a strong hand.
- Give them the gift of context. Help them understand their role in your company and where they fit in your picture.
- Get them to care about great customer service.
- Teach them how to manage themselves.
- Teach them how to be managed by you.
- Retain the best of Generation Y one day at a time.
- Build the next generation of leaders.
Chapter by chapter, Tulgan takes us through this progression, and sprinkles enough anecdotes to lend some life to an otherwise fairly dry topic.
My Take: I’m a Gen Yer myself, and I’m a manager, so I was eager to learn from several perspectives. I have to admit, though, that for the most part the Gen Yers/Zers/Millenials I’ve worked with have been excellent, and it’s only in rare cases that I’ve encountered anything along the line of the more negative anecdotes Tulgan shares in the book.
I enjoyed Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, and picked up some handy techniques. It also really got me thinking a great deal about managing/coaching, in general, and what I can change in my own habits.
Read This Book If: You are managing Generation Y/Z/Millenials, because it contains a great deal of practical advice and might shift your perspective slightly, or if you are a Generation Y/Z/Millenial, because it will give you some valuable context about the working world and how to succeed within it.
Notes and Quotes:
- p4: “What makes each generation different are these accidents of history that shape the larger world in which human beings move through their developmental life stages. So while every generation rocks the boat when they join the adult world, they also bring with them defining characteristics that alter the rules of the game for everyone going forward.”
- p4: “Yes, Generation Y will be more difficult to recruit, retain, motivate, and manage than any other new generation to enter the workforce. But this will also be the most high-performing workforce in history for those who know how to manage them properly.”
“Yes, Generation Y will be more difficult to recruit, retain, motivate, and manage than any other new generation to enter the workforce. But this will also be the most high-performing workforce in history for those who know how to manage them properly.”
- I remember that I first heard this ‘rule’ at a Communitech event, years and years ago. p19: “Today’s talent wars are different from those of the past. Managers today are savvy enough to know that hiring one very good person is better than hiring three or four mediocre people.”
- p23: “If your Gen Yers don’t take you up on the chance to recruit their friends, this is worrisome information to which you must pay attention. It is more powerful data than any employee survey can reveal, I promise you.”
- p30: “The best case is when Gen Yers are looking at the job as a chance to make an impact while building themselves up with your resources. They hope to learn, grow, and collect proof of their ability to add value. I call this a self-building job.”
- p32, relating to a long list of things Gen Yers look for in a self-building job: “But don’t try to sell Gen Yers a bill of goods. Don’t promise them these things if you can’t offer them. Overselling the job to Gen Yers is a big mistake. If you sell them a self-building opportunity falsely, they will quickly turn the job into a safe harbor or a way station or a peer group experience.”
- p33: “The first rule of selection is: It is better to leave a position unfilled than to fill it with the wrong person.”
- p35…yep, I find that “how to conduct an interview” resources are quite lacking…I’d love some formal training: “Then comes the job interview, the one employment selection process almost every manager does, but very few do well.”
- I’m not sure why this stood out to me…I think it was just some interesting perspective. p44, relaying what a senior manager told the author: “I know you are excited that this is your first day of work, so I hate to tell you, kid, that for me, this is just another Monday.”
- This bit from p45 relates to that previous quote: “We have a simple rule we teach managers in our seminars: day one is the most important day. You have to plan for Gen Yers’ first day of work like you plan for your kid’s birthday party. That doesn’t mean you greet them with candles and balloons and gifts and song. But you do have to greet them.”
- …but make it last beyond day one! p46: “The mistake employers often make is investing time, energy, and money in a highly engaging orientation program for Gen Yers and immediately afterward depositing them into a demoralizing no-support workplace.”
- The point is this, p55: “When they come in the door, Gen Yers want to hit the ground running. By training them one task at a time, giving them the technology tools they need to be fast and efficient, and helping them to focus their energy and ideas on the tasks at hand, you’ll be able to plug into their enthusiasm and keep their excitement going past their first day on the job.”
- p59: “You can’t fight the overparenting phenomenon, so run with it. Your Gen Y employees want it. They need it. Without strong management in the workplace, there is a void where their parents have always been.”
- p67: “You might think a generation raised on mantras like ‘we’re all winners’ and ‘everyone gets a trophy’ wouldn’t be particularly competitive. But that is not the case. While the self-esteem movement was chipping away at Generation Yers competitiveness, the testing movement was building it back up. Still, testing breeds a different kind of competitiveness: competition against standards and benchmarks, against averages and means, and against one’s own past performance.”
“You might think a generation raised on mantras like ‘we’re all winners’ and ‘everyone gets a trophy’ wouldn’t be particularly competitive. But that is not the case. While the self-esteem movement was chipping away at Generation Yers competitiveness, the testing movement was building it back up.”
- p103: “When it comes to big-picture priorities, set clear priorities with Gen Yers and communicate those priorities relentlessly. Make sure your Gen Yers are devoting the lion’s share of their time to first and second priorities. When it comes to setting day-to-day priorities, teach Gen Yers how by setting priorities together with them. Let them know your thinking process. Walk through it with them: ‘This is first priority because X. This is second priority because Y. this is low priority because Z.’ Over time, you hope they learn.”
- I wrote Schedule or Fantasy? after reading pages 108-109
- p110: “Our research shows that when managers require Gen Yers to take notes and make rigorous use of checklists, their error rates go down, quality goes up, and assignments are more likely to be completed in their entirety.”
- This is the title of a subsection, p114: “Define what it means to be a good citizen in your company”. At work, we have The Sandvine Way – eight tenets that clearly articulate good citizenship at the company.
- Good judgment, explained on p115: “What is good judgment anyway? It’s not the same thing as natural intelligence. It’s not a matter of accumulated knowledge or memorized information. It is more than the mastery of techniques and tools. In very simple terms, good judgment is the ability to see the connection between causes and their effects. Going forward, good judgment allows one to project likely outcomes – to accurately predict the consequences of specific decisions and actions. In retrospect, good judgment allows one to work backward from effects to assess likely causes, to figure out what decisions and actions led to the current situation.”
“In very simple terms, good judgment is the ability to see the connection between causes and their effects. Going forward, good judgment allows one to project likely outcomes – to accurately predict the consequences of specific decisions and actions. In retrospect, good judgment allows one to work backward from effects to assess likely causes, to figure out what decisions and actions led to the current situation.”
- p120 led me to write Self-Evaluation and Self-Management
- p135: “The key to giving Gen Yers real power is to define real goals with clear guidelines and set strict deadlines with detailed time lines and regular benchmarks along the way. In between those regular benchmarks, let Gen Yers work on their own terms and in their own time. The more concrete the expectations you set up front, the greater their feeling of ownership will be. In general, the more structure you provide, the more freely Gen Yers can operate within those certain boundaries.”
- p137: “When it comes to addressing Gen Yers’ performance problems, the most common mistake managers make is soft-pedaling honest feedback or withholding it altogether.”
- p139: “Next steps will help you concentrate your performance management efforts on the concrete actions within the control of each individual employee. Maintaining a next-steps focus requires a constant accounting. Keep asking your young employees: Exactly what concrete actions – next steps – are you going to take next? What can you do to improve? What do you need to revise and adjust?”
- p148: “But there are also generational issues at play here. Gen Yers are coming of age in a labor market that presumes total job mobility.”
- p149: “Your goal should not be to eliminate turnover among Gen Yers. That’s never going to happen. Your goal should be to take control of the turnover among Gen Yers. You want the high performers to stay and the low performers to go. The only way to make that happen is if you are the one deciding who stays and who goes.”
“Your goal should not be to eliminate turnover among Gen Yers. That’s never going to happen. Your goal should be to take control of the turnover among Gen Yers. You want the high performers to stay and the low performers to go.”
- p152-153 led to Shining a Light on Performance
- p166: “This is the holy grail of retention: identifying and building new leaders. It’s not just retaining the best technical talent. Rather, it is retaining those with the best technical ability who are also willing and able to take on leadership responsibilities and helping them step into those roles successfully. How many people have both the technical ability and the desire and ability to lead?”
- p167: “That’s why, when you are looking for new leaders, you have to focus first and foremost on those with real technical talent, those who are really good at their jobs. These are the individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to their work and careers. That commitment is the first essential piece when it comes to identifying new prospects for leadership roles.”
“When you are looking for new leaders, you have to focus first and foremost on those with real technical talent, those who are really good at their jobs. These are the individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to their work and careers. That commitment is the first essential piece when it comes to identifying new prospects for leadership roles.”
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