Y-SIZE Your Influence (Featured On The Straits Times – 18 July 2017)


Motivating and Igniting Gen-Y Success At Work.

I have often shared with others that I feel like a Gen-Y in a Gen-X body? Perhaps in my early years in my career, I have been doing things the Gen-Y way. Not surprisingly, I have a lot of fun working with Gen-Y because I am so like them – age is not an issue here but simply our perspective.

I recently caught up with a former polytechnic student (who is a Gen-Y) that I had taught. It’s been four years since I last taught him, and it was a great session catching up again in person. This time, however, I was the student learning about what he has discovered as a working adult.

It is through this conversation that reinforced my belief in the strength of Gen-Ys, and how we can put that power into work as we coach and motivate them towards greater success. Or to be exact, even more successful than we are.

The following key perspectives show how we can help to coach and motivate Gen-Ys into becoming the person that they want to be, and sky-rocketing your team’s performance into space! Start Y-Sizing your perspective today.

Y-SIZE Your Perspective 1: They Climb Corporate Ladder Horizontally.

Gen-Ys are open to exploring multiple experiences. They appreciate the power of possibilities and enjoy learning new skill and knowledge now and then, which is the reason they ask “why?”

To not ask a question is to not learn, and not learning means missing out on possibilities. An interesting behavior given to them is called FOMO (Fear Of Not Knowing).

It is precisely this FOMO that they are able to scale vertically and, most importantly, horizontally, across an organization because they dare to take risk, asking question and gathering information to get up to speed, and making them highly flexible.

Gen-Ys may potentially of a new workforce that might not necessarily be interested only climbing the corporate ladder, but jumping horizontally to expand their bandwidth of knowledge, skill and exposure to accumulate vast amount of experiences making them highly valuable in the new workplace today.

With the number of promotions capped at the top, Ge-Ys, prefer to accumulate a wide arsenal of experiences and become a subject matter expert, which is essential to thriving in our dynamic environment today where anything can be outdated overnight, but extensive experiences won’t.

Y-SIZE Your Perspective 2: They Don’t Stay In Safe Harbor.

There is a wrong perception that the Gen-Ys have a short-term view of where they would like to go or what they wish to become. The fact is, they do have a long-term view, but there is a rationale for why they look for the “short term”.

I had multiple conversations with Gen-Ys, many shared that while they might not currently know what they would like to become, eventually it will come to them. However, they prefer not to go straight to the safe harbor (i.e. predictable route).

In fact, one of them shared that instead of going along the conventional track of university and then getting a job, he decided to have a job first to discover how reality is. He decided to head out for the ocean before deciding when to return to the harbor. This creates the wrong perception that they are impatient for the result. A fun Gen-Ys reply was to become the CEO in just a month!

Gen-Ys today prefer not to follow the conventional track of what is traditionally done. While they appear not to have long-term view (which is actually not true), they are definitely able to do what many of us do not even dare to try, that is, to stop, look and decide at an appropriate time.

Given a choice, they prefer not to rush into something not so useful or risk doing something for the sake of doing.

Y-SIZE Your Perspective 3: They Know The Price of Freedom

To the Gen-Ys, freedom is the ability to execute a plan accordingly to what they envision. I know of Gen-Ys who are willing to work late into the nights for many days, with an average pay package and yet, deliver exceptional results.

The reason is simple – they are working for what they truly stand for and their inputs are highly valued and appreciated by their team members and leaders. I can’t remember the numerous real stories of how Gen-Ys surprised their employers with highly practical ideas that translate into business solution and results.

Freedom to them is about having the bandwidth to do things in a creative ways aligned to their passion. Gen-Ys are in fact very loyal employees if they are following a leader they respect, who values their input, and most importantly, giving them opportunities to grow. The reason they leave is simple. They no longer feel they are growing.

To successfully Y-Size Your Influence, you need to first be a leader who is willing to value their perspective and to give them plenty of opportunities, helping them to grow. When a Gen-Y asks you “Why?”, why not asking them: “Why do you think so?”