Advanced Business Networking

You can get a lot more leverage from your business networking efforts if you work on building relationships with strategic alliance partners. When done effectively you’ll get more regular and predictable referrals from these strategic alliances then from any other source.

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In just about any business there are natural referral partners. A real estate agent needs a mortgage broker and an inspector. A financial planner needs a CPA or accountant and an attorney. A graphic designer might need a marketing consultant or a copy writer. You get the picture.

By finding a core group of these complimentary businesses you can all help each other grow by bringing each other into new deals. You win because you’ll be getting business you might not have even known about otherwise, and your customer wins by working with professionals who are used to working together.

Building your strategic alliance network doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by identifying the types of products or services that you don’t offer that your clients consistently ask you about. If you’re a computer consultant and your clients are always asking if you know a good web designer or telephone systems vendor start there. You’ll already have something to offer to the potential partners you approach.

It’s very important that you choose solid trustworthy partners. You’ll be putting your reputation on the line every time you refer one of these people to your customer. A good rule of thumb is to only work with others that you would trust with your own business, or to help your mother, or best friend.

You can either build relationships with these potential partners one on one, or bring them all together in a private networking group where you can all learn to work together. Personally I prefer to combine these two approaches. Bring everyone together and you’ll be helping everyone else out that much more. In addition, continue to build a strong relationship with each individual so that they know they can trust you with their referrals.

The details of every strategic alliance are up to you. You might choose to pay a referral fee or share a percentage of your revenue (if that’s legal in your industry, you may need to check with your business attorney to be sure). You might just decide to refer business to each other and know that in the end it’ll work out. Working together you may also find that there are some great opportunities for cooperative advertising or working a trade show booth together. It’s up to you and your new strategic partner.

Being successful in business is all about taking action. Reading about taking your networking to the next level and building strategic alliances is useless unless you act on it. Take a few minutes right now to think about the type of businesses you could build a strategic alliance with. Now, pick up the phone!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

By  Fabian Parris

Six Signs Your Job No Longer Deserves You

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People talk about being in a rut, but here’s what we forget: the rut is mental. It’s a belief. “Oh, it’s hard to get another job!” We talk ourselves out of making changes or even contemplating changes, because of our aversion to change.

Your job may have been amazing learning experience at one time, but does your job still deserve your talents now? A lot of people get stuck. They get into a situation that more or less works, that pays the bills and that doesn’t bring them any closer to their flame. What’s your flame? It’s your passion. It’s your reason for being alive.

Your job should do more than just keep you alive — don’t you agree? You only have so many years here on earth. Are you going to spend them accumulating things like wide-screen TVs and frequent flyer miles you’ll never use because you don’t have time for vacation?

Why not get a job that deserves you and that will reinforce you? Here are six signs your current job doesn’t deserve you anymore:

  • There’s no forward path. There’s no place to go from here. There’s no way to learn more, have more impact or use more of your talents. Scram!
  • There’s no one to learn from. No one around you looks like a mentor or coach. You’re the smartest person in the place. Get out of Dodge!
  • The people around you don’t want to hear your ideas. They like things just the way they are. So what, nothing works properly? They don’t care. Flee!
  • You don’t get to use your mind and your heart at work. You’re stuck in a little box. You’re a cog in someone else’s machine. Hit the bricks!
  • Your boss doesn’t get you and you don’t get him or her. It’s an energetic mismatch. You can’t grow as a person or a professional in your job. Move on!
  • You don’t enjoy your work or look forward to it on Monday morning (or any morning). That’s your body telling you “Run away!” – Forbes

6 Forces Driving the Next Generation of Your Business

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At 2 billion strong, Gen Z is rewriting the rules for how we live, work, and play.

2015 will be an extraordinary year; it’s the first year that Gen Z, individuals born in 1995 and beyond will begin entering the workforce.

At two billion strong globally Z is the single largest cohort to ever sweep through civilization. Hyperconnected, wielding extreme social influence, and ignoring virtually every obstacle in their way Z is going to rock your world, and forever alter the way you do business.

Gen Z is going to slam a whole new set of behaviors onto the table; behaviors, built on technologies, such as social media, wearables, implants, augmented reality; behaviors that seem strange and alien to older generations, which ironically built the technologies that have shaped Gen Z’s behavior.

These behaviors are driving six forces that are shaping the future of business; pay attention and you will seize the opportunity of the century.

1-Hyperconnecting

This is the defining force driving Gen Z. Soon every person, machine, and object will be connected–creating a near frictionless engine of innovation. Consider that by 2100 we will have 100 times as many computing devices as there are grains of sand on all the world’s beaches. Unimaginable? Not that long ago so were the ten billion computing devices (7 billion of which are mobile) that we today take for granted.

What this Means to you: If you can’t use the abundance of data and sensors to intimately understand a customer’s behavior and personalize every interaction something is very wrong with your business.

 

2-Breaking Generations

By 2100 there will be a global 1:1 ratio of toddlers to 65 year olds. In 1950 that ratio was 10:1. Today it’s 3:1. The result of this shift in population distribution will disrupt virtually every business and social institution, locally and globally. Learning to deal with and leveraging this disruption will be the most critical factor for the success of all businesses (yes, yours as well.) in the 21st Century.

What this Means to you: If you can’t get beyond generational labels you end up with generational chasms that will devour your business.

 

3-The Shift from Affluence to Influence

Your advertising budget is no longer the most critical element in influencing the decisions of Gen Z. Z-ers are powerful influencers and they respond to meaningful conversations and personalized messaging. They have a built-in media channel to billions in the form of the Internet. And they know how to mess things up if they don’t get what they want–just ask former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak

What this Means to you: Listen to Z and respond meaningfully or get ready to be sacrificed on the altar of social media.

 

4-Slingshotting

The fifth force, and perhaps the most invisible, is slingshotting, which is what happens when the vast majority of a potential audience suddenly takes up technology that was only available to a select few. For example, people who had sworn off of PCs are now diving into the deep end of the technology pool by going directly to a tablet and mobile technologies. Within the decade any human being, without regard to geographic or political location and economic status, will be able to connect to the Internet. The result will be the single greatest period of value creation and innovation humanity has yet to experience.

What this Means to you: Ignore this force and your business is ignoring the single greatest opportunity to connect with and co-create with Gen Z.

 

5-The World as My Classroom

Massively Open Online Classrooms promise to disrupt higher education and create a globally educated workforce. With the next decade we are likely to see more graduates of online education than in the entire history of traditional classroom education. Gen Z expects that if it’s worth learning it’s online, it’s free, and it’s a lifelong process.

What this Means to you: If you don’t have at least a YouTube video explaining your product or service then you really can’t expect anyone to take you seriously , right?

 

6-Lifehacking

The final force is one of the most powerful shifts in how Gen Z values and views the world. There is a deep sense of purpose that drives Gen Z to game the system in whatever way is best suited to make it serve their view of what is fair, sustainable, and socially conscious.Z despises the protection of intellectual property, believes that innovation should be boundless and instantaneous, and access to capital should be democratized and available to all good ideas. In short they believe in the ultimate efficiency of a free market unfettered by the constraints of the past.

What this Means to you: If you’re unable to connect with the deeper purpose of your marketplace, ultimately you’re just a hindrance to progress–and Z will find a way around you.

 We are All Z

These six forces are not subtle generational shifts. Instead they challenge some of the most basic beliefs about how we build and operate our businesses. Collectively they fuel a revolution on a scale unlike anything the world has yet experienced. It’s disruptive, powerful, and often frightening, but here is the good news; we are all Z if we choose to be. Generations are no longer about age but about behaviors. Better yet, the leaders of this revolution are already giving us the playbook with all of the rules we need to survive and thrive–you just need to pay attention, and, of course, it wouldn’t hurt to read the book.

Tom Koulopoulos is the author of ten books and founder of the Delphi Group, a 25-year-old Boston-based think tank and a past Inc 500 company, which focuses on innovation and the future of business. 

Move Over Millennials — Here Comes Gen Z

Gen Z

 

What Marketers Need to Know About the Next Generation of Consumers

Over the past few years, marketers across all industries and categories have been obsessed with millennials — how to reach them and build meaningful connections with their brands. This captivating generation has a unique sense of self and a nontraditional approach to life stages, which has made marketing to them a challenge.

But perhaps even more challenging is the next generation on the rise — Gen Z. If marketers thought they threw out the playbook with millennials, they need to know that Gen Zers aren’t even playing on the same field.

Gen Z Defined
Gen Z consumers range from ages 2 to 19, though the target range for marketers lies from ages 11 to 16. Gen Z is the most diverse and multicultural of any generation in the U.S. — 55% are Caucasian, 24% are Hispanic, 14% are African-American and 4% are Asian.

Gen Z Beliefs
There are a few key beliefs native to Gen Z that all retailers must understand. First, Gen Zers are the least likely to believe there is such a thing as the “American Dream.” They look for products and messaging that reflect a reality rather than a perfect life — an important distinction for struggling retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch who still market their products by projecting a flawless, carefree, perfect world. Gen Zers simply don’t respond to these traditional notions of beauty or a projected image of perfection like past generations have. They respond to independence and entrepreneurialism, self-direction and a spirit of ingenuity. Brands like Free People (independence is implied in the name) are targeting Gen Zers with messages along these lines and a bohemian aesthetic, and it’s working. The brand continues to grow with sales up 25% in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.

Millennials expect success; Gen Zers make their own
Millennials are the generation of customer service — such as the creation of the Apple Genius Bar — to solve problems at any moment. They design their own, unconventional paths, yet they anticipate consistent success (and hand-holding) along the way. Gen Z is a generation of highly-educated, technologically-savvy, innovative thinkers. They look for solutions on their own. They set out to make things on their own.

With this level of self-direction and purpose, it’s no surprise then that Gen Zers also want to form their own style. They challenge traditional ideas of use, form and function when it comes to all facets of style and design. Brands should market their fashions and products with an understanding that Gen Zers will want to make each piece their own, and a message that that’s exactly how they intended it.

Retailers must create products and marketing that empower these teens to be their best selves. They must also create places — stores, websites, online communities — where Gen Zers feel welcome walking in and logging in, and feel just as wonderful walking out and checking out. Brands that offer goods and an experience that help Gen Zers define and express their individuality and lifestyle will succeed with this group.

Millennials have embraced technology; Gen Zers are digital natives
Yes, millennials grew up with computers in their homes. But Gen Z is the first generation born into a digital world. They don’t know a world without PCs, mobile phones, gaming devices and MP3 players. They live online, sharing details of their lives across dozens of platforms and dictating what they like and dislike with a tweet, post or status. And Gen Zers expects to virtually engage with their favorite brands in doing so. So brands can’t simply “embrace technology” as millennials have. They must act digitally native, too, creating a seamless and strong overarching brand experience across in-store, digital and mobile. It is shocking how few retailers have achieved this. To reach Gen Zers, it is paramount to reach them through two-way conversations, which are initiated online. An authentic digital and social presence as well as a slew of complimentary digital experiences in which Gen Z fans can engage with and share their brand allegiance is perhaps the best currency a retailer could generate.

Generation Z is open-minded and adaptable, not a group known for fixed opinions or inflexibility. And, with an estimated 72 million people in this demographic, brands would be wise to broaden their horizons to include Gen Z in their thinking. Brands that build careful marketing strategies that connect with the values of the younger set and offer a better digital experience both online and in-store will be successful among this new, young, powerful generation.

Why Aren’t More Women in Top Leadership Positions in Business?

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Despite the fact that women are in the majority in most western world countries in general and account for at least 50% of graduates from business degrees and MBA programs these days, it seems to be having very little impact on how many women occupy the top leadership positions in the business world. Although the numbers vary from country to country, in the US women are estimated to occupy only 17% of so-called “C-suite” positions and even then, these tend to be in the more junior C-suite roles, with CEO, Chancellor, Managing Partner, Agency Head and other top jobs being even more male dominated. This is also true in the fortune 500 companies in the US, where less than 5% of senior executives are women. So why is this still the case, with little apparent change for years it seems? For the most part, it is because of male “misperceptions” about women that continue to prevail and inhibit female progress. So what are the misconceptions that seem to prevail the most?

Misconception 1–Great progress has been made and it’s only a matter of time before equality in the C-suite or wider executive ranks is reached. In reality, while some strides were made in the period between 1970-1990’s there has been only incremental progress in the last 10-15 years and far greater numbers of woman middle management roles still hit the well-known glass ceiling at promotion meetings.

Misconception 2–The newer and younger generation of men is more sympathetic to women being promoted to senior executive ranks. In reality, there is no evidence for this view at all. The many arguments that would have been mounted 25 years ago (such as women are not tough, committed, focused and reliable enough amongst others) still abound in many studies of the majority of younger men who are in a position to potentially promote women. 

Misconception 3–Family/home responsibilities keep women from breaking through the glass ceiling to the C-suite. In reality, this is overwhelmingly an unsubstantiated statement made by men. When asked, less than 5% of female managers say that family and home responsibilities are a major reason and less than 10% admit to turning down a transfer in order to “stay home”. In addition, there has been an explosion in external help with home management and childcare in the last two decades. 

Misconception 4–Women executives who have children cost an organization more. In reality, research suggests that males in managerial roles take just as much time off as women when it comes to a child over the long term and therefore there is no evidence for greater costs being incurred. In addition, women now return to work much more quickly than they did a decade ago and will employ help when direct parental involvement is not possible. 

Misconception 5–Having more female executives means less opportunities for marriage and a greater chance of divorce. In reality, this is true for both male and female senior executives (meaning that there are more single and divorced people in these ranks for both sexes than the wider adult population at large). It is true however that a single/divorced woman is seen to be much less “secure” than a single/divorced man in senior managerial roles in multiple research studies. This is unfairly discriminating against women. 

Misconception 6–Women aren’t assertive/aggressive enough and lack the self-confidence required to be a “top decision-maker”.  In reality, these stereotypical views maintained by males (starting out mainly in the 1960’s as a response to feminism) have no foundation in any facts borne out by research. In addition, in modern management thinking, the more collaborative and inclusive management styles which are often stronger in women are much more valued. It is also the case that in studies of senior executives, the traits most in evidence or even most attributed to success in the job are the same for both men and women. 

Misconception 7–We have a total meritocracy today – both men and women can make it all the way to the top if they have what it takes and work hard for it. In reality, such a claim tends to be made by those who dominate the current order trying to communicate that a fair system is in place when much of the evidence points in a different direction. In practice, males executives still look to “groom” mainly male successors and women are only chosen to make up numbers or to demonstrate that they are in the running for job jobs when in fact the males are chosen much more often for senior roles.

Misconception 8–Many women who get to senior executive positions act like men and are poor role models to other women. In reality, the vast majority of senior women, as few of them as there are, are seen to be excellent role models for other women. In companies where women make it to CEO for example, it is considerably easier to hire women and many more of them will push for promotion.

Sadly then, all of the above misconceptions are still alive and active in the workplace and help to prevent more women from reaching the higher echelons of management. Other than to positively discriminate in favor of women (always a tough thing to do in a real meritocracy that women very much want too), it seems therefore that change in this area comes down to more men in positions of power becoming more enlightened. In other words, senor male executives need to “own up” to having the above views as deliberate or unchallenged misconceptions (even if it is only to some extent) and start to level the playing field. Will this happen more in the next decade? I suspect only if a few visible men at the top are prepared to lead from the front on this issue. – By Dr Jon Warner

 

What millennials do and don’t want from their employers

Busting workplace myths about the youngest—and soon-to-be biggest—generation

Baby Boomers and Millennials

This is the year the millennial generation—ages 18 to 34—will surpass the baby-boom generation in size. It has already done so in cultural and social significance. We boomers grew accustomed to the notion, forged over decades, that we drove the zeitgeist of our times. No more. Millennials rule.

That’s certainly true in the workplace (see our coverage of the 100 Best Companies to Work For). Any discussion of talent quickly devolves into a dissection of the millennial mind. Managers struggle with preconceptions. Must millennials change jobs every two years? Do they require constant reinforcement, after a childhood of “everybody’s a winner”? Do they need a “chill” workplace? Free food? Foosball?

Many of the popular notions are pure myth. Some busted ones:

Millennials want to change jobs frequently.

Wrong. A study by my former colleagues at the Pew Research Center shows that millennials actually value job security more highly than boomers do. But they won’t stay at a job they don’t like. Some 50% of millennials say having a “job you enjoy” is “extremely important” to them, compared with just 38% of boomers.

Money doesn’t matter.

Maybe. The Pew study found that millennials put “a high-paying job” near the bottom of their list of work priorities—but so do other generations, in roughly equal numbers. Count me a skeptic on all counts. What people say when surveyed over the phone and how they act when an offer is on the table are different things.

Every Millennial wants to be an entrepreneur.

They may all want to be Mark Zuckerberg, but it’s not happening. A recent Wall Street Journal analysis of Federal Reserve data shows the share of people under age 30 who own private businesses has hit a 24-year low—just 3.6%, down from 10.6% in 1989.

Still, there is no doubt that this generation is different. It is the most diverse in American history—43% nonwhite—and more confident about the nation’s future than older generations. That’s a reverse from the 1970s, when young boomers were considerably less optimistic than their elders. Millennials also are slower to get married than earlier generations and less likely to belong to a political party—which may make their employer, by default, the most important institutional affiliation in their lives.

The biggest difference is not who they are, but how they live. They are the ones most comfortable with the new human appendage—the smartphone—that lets them stay connected to a vast network of friends and provides instant access to information, both good and bad. They are quickest to adapt to the ways in which the mobile Internet is changing the fundamental logistics of their lives, and the first to demand the workplace do the same.

So pay attention. The millennials aren’t spoiled products of a coddled past. They are harbingers of our connected future. – by Alan Murray, editor of Fortune Magazine.

 

 

 

TIPS FOR GROWING YOUR BUSINESS

grow your businessIn order to have a successful business, practice these things. If your business strategy is lacking in a particular area, its time to fix it. These are seven tips to grow your business.

1) BE HANDS-ON AND METICULOUS

In order to grow your business, the business owner needs to be there all the time and hands on, like a doctor.

A business owner can never be afraid to do the small tasks. He or she should pitch in and straighten up boxes or pick up things. Small things do get noticed, so attention to detail is very important.”

2) SHOW YOUR PASSION

Selling is a transfer of enthusiasm. Business owners need to show their enthusiasm for their product or service, as well as for their customers.

Besides showing passion, business owners need to be optimistic. In business, there are all kinds of problems. You have to look for the good in every situation and look for the lesson in everything that goes wrong.

3) FOCUS ON THE CUSTOMER

The purpose of business is not to make a profit. It’s to create and keep a customer. You want them to come the first time, then come again and finally bring their friends.

How you are doing is directly related to how many satisfied customers you have. To increase customer satisfaction, you have to listen to your customers and be involved in their buying experience.

4) BECOME MORE COMPETITIVE

Unless you have an exclusive monopoly, competition is everything and differentiation is the key to successful selling. You can’t be a ‘me-too’ company.

You must have a competitive advantage. If you don’t have one, create one.

It all comes down to your USP or unique selling proposition. This is what makes you better than your competitors. It can be your location, your product, but often it’s you. When customers think of a business, they often think of the people who make up that business and especially the owner.

5) MIND THE MONEY

In putting together a business strategy, business owners should always focus on sales, revenues and cash flow, and to know every day how much money is being made. Focus on your net profit, not your gross profit. This gives you a more realistic view of how the business is doing.

Look to ‘idealize your business.’ Think about what your perfect business would look like, and figure out what you need to do to create it.

6) BE THE BEST

Successful business owners are always striving for excellence. They want to be the best at what they do. Being the best is about being in constant motion, working harder and faster. Being the best is also about wanting to learn more.

7) MEASURE YOUR SUCCESS

Everyone defines success differently. The best measure of success: Number one, you should enjoy what you do. That’s the ultimate success. Next, you should consistently hit your numbers, it shows that you know what you’re doing. Lastly, you should love your product or service, and you should love your customers. If you do all these, you can’t help but be successful.

CONCLUSION

All of these tips to growing a successful business are important. Having your own business is challenging and rewarding. It is important to plan and set your goals in the long term.

By Brian Tracy

The CEO Of The Future Is A “Designer-In-Chief”

A TRENDS REPORT FROM WOLFF OLINS SAYS CEOS ARE STARTING TO HARNESS THE GOOD IDEAS OF OTHERS RATHER THAN CRACKING A WHIP.

A century ago, the CEO was a fearsome whip-cracker. Fifty years ago, he was motivator dangling corporate incentives. And now, according to the 2015 Wolff Olins Leadership Report, the CEO has evolved into something new: The designer-in-chief of corporate culture, a mentoring figurehead who gets into the trenches with his employees and inspires them to create the next great innovation. How? By instilling them with the qualities that designers have: the ability to recognize problems or opportunities, propose fixes, and iterate those fixes until they’ve found the one right solution.

Bikeriderlondon via Shutterstock

“I make sure I design the mission for the company,” explained Jeremy Doutte, CEO of Nigeria’s top online retailer, Jumia.

Douette is just one of many CEOs saying more or less the same thing. The global brand consultancyWolff Olins interviewed 43 CEOs from companies like AOL and the agency Huge, and surveyed 10 leadership experts on emerging trends. Wolff Olinspublished its results for anyone to read, but to sum it up, the firm postulates that the new CEO is almost like some sort of rebel general, inspiring small guerilla-style teams to dream up new products or experiences. They rally the troops rather than outright command them. They empower their employees to think and work like designers, observing problems or scouting trends, and developing coordinating solutions that don’t get lost to bureaucracy. In essence, they need to design a culture like Apple’s, in which everyone is a designer.

From the report:

Mindset seems to sit at the heart of this new approach. If the company is to be ‘uncorporate,’ so must its leaders. Lunch is no longer for wimps, but for confident leaders wanting to share a sandwich with colleagues and get to the heart of things. Even at Coca-Cola things are changing: “I’m more eager now to hear from the people who are closest to the action” (Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola). Although unfamiliar territory, some CEOs are finding it empowering.

It’s a mindset Wolff Olins says forces CEOs to think about “inputs over outputs.” Outputs are sales figures and other corporate-designed metrics. Inputs are less tangible pieces of corporate culture; things like creating an environment where employees feel both safe and motivated enough to fail when trying something new. And in fact, 86% of CEOs Wolff Olins spoke to were focusing their energy on driving “numerous yet agile small teams,” projects that remind us of Adobe’s Red Box initiative, where employees are given $1,000 and carte blanche to develop and test new products. As Adobe’s Chief Strategist and Vice President of Creativity Mark Randall told us, only one in 1,000 of those projects needs to be a hit for the entire Red Box project to pay for itself.

Wolff Olins does caution that a CEO who approaches her employees with questions rather than answers is in an inherently precarious position, but the fact of the matter is, this sort of approach may not be optional when it comes to the younger generation of worker entering the market today. Wolff Olins polled 480 twenty-somethings about their work preferences, and almost half said two key things: 1.) they’d rather work for their own company and 2.) the company where they are employed would be better if they were in charge. Is an employee who is so self-assured ever going to respond well to top-down edicts? As Wolff Olins writes in the report, it’s a tricky tightrope to walk: “Leaders, in response, are learning to be less the visionary, less the sage, less the objective-setter, and more the shaper, the connector, the questioner. And yet at times, they also need to intervene, to insist, to control. It’s a fluid role, its shape not yet clear.”

If Your Boss Tells You to Get a Coach, Don’t Panic

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How does it feel when you’re told that you need a coach, whether it’s your boss or someone else? For many managers it feels like a kick in the gut, a clear sign that you’re doing something wrong and your job might be in trouble. For others, who might be resistant to coaching in general, it raises questions about whether you really need the extra help.

Having worked with dozens of managers who’ve been in this situation, these reactions are completely natural, especially if the request to work with a coach comes as a surprise. In either case, before you get started with the coaching, you need to work through these feelings so that you can have a positive experience. Here’s how:

The first step is to recognize coaching for what it is: a fantastic opportunity for growth, development, self-insight, and career progression – and an endorsement that the company is willing to invest in you. After all, there are a number of reasons why your boss might want you to be coached, and some are quite positive. Your manager might think you have a great deal of potential and a coach would help you develop it. Your boss might also suggest coaching to fix a particular skill deficit. One of my clients, for example, was asked to work with a coach specifically to focus on presentation skills. Her senior manager planned to give her more exposure to the Board but wanted to make sure she had the confidence and capability to hold her own in that setting.

There are of course situations where coaching is given to a manager because of a performance issue – an inability to deliver certain results, poor project execution, or not getting along with other members of the team. But even in these cases, coaching is an investment, not a punishment. The boss isn’t giving up on you.

The second step is to understand the nature of your resistance or hesitation. Are you opposed to being coached because you’re not sure what you should focus on? Or because you don’t really understand what’s involved in the process? If these are your concerns, take control of the coaching process. Interview the potential coach (if it’s not going to be your boss) and make sure that there’s good chemistry between you two; if not, find someone else. Set clear goals with the coach about what you want to accomplish and how she can be helpful. Engage your boss in regular progress reviews so you get feedback about how you’re doing, and establish a time frame for the coaching (and the achievement of progress) so that it’s not an open-ended relationship. In other words, take the ownership away from your boss and make the coaching experience something that belongs to you. You can also talk to colleagues and friends who have worked with a coach and get a sense of their experience.

But if you still don’t think working with a coach is necessary, make a list of reasons why. For example, does your resistance actually stem from an underlying anxiety about what coaching will reveal? A common concern is that the process might uncover issues that people don’t know how to deal with or threaten their self-image. Or maybe these are the reasons running through your mind: “I don’t have time for coaching.” “I’ve been successful so far — why fix something that isn’t broken.” “Coaching often doesn’t work, I’d rather try another approach to development.” “What I really need is better feedback and guidance from my manager.”

Each of these might be a legitimate reason for not wanting to work with a coach. But before you try and make your case, ask your boss why she recommended coaching in the first place. If there are skills she wants you to work on, ask if she would be open to you pursuing a different development approach. For example, you could take a course, or tackle a stretch assignment, or pick up some new responsibilities. If time is an issue, negotiate a development schedule that works for you – or suggest a better time of the year to do the coaching, based on the rhythms of your workplace.

In the end, if your boss still thinks coaching is the best option for you, put aside your resistance and make the most of it. Use it as an opportunity to get more feedback from your boss, and from your subordinates and colleagues as well. Everyone has something to learn, no matter how successful they’ve been in the past and how much potential they have for the future. That’s not to say that coaching is the magic key to success for every manager, but it’s a tool that may be useful and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. The bottom line is to remember that coaching is an investment – and the more you put into it, the greater the chance that you (and your company) will get a positive return.

-Harvard Business Review

 

THIS YEAR, Millennials will overtake Baby Boomers

This year, the “Millennial” generation is projected to surpass the outsized Baby Generation PopulationBoom generation as the nation’s largest living generation, according to the population projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau last month. Millennials (whom we define as between ages 18 to 34 in 2015) are projected to number 75.3 million, surpassing the projected 74.9 million Boomers (ages 51 to 69). The Gen X population (ages 35 to 50 in 2015) is projected to outnumber the Boomers by 2028.

The Millennial generation continues to grow as young immigrants expand their ranks. Boomers – a generation defined by the boom in U.S. births following World War II — are older and shrinking in size as the number of deaths exceed the number of older immigrants arriving in the country.

FT_generations-definedGenerations are analytical constructs and it takes time for popular and expert consensus to develop as to the precise boundaries demarcating one generation from another. The Pew Research Center has established that the oldest “Millennial” was born in 1981. The Center continues to assess demographic, attitudinal and other evidence on habits and culture that will help to establish when the youngest “Millennial” was born or even when a new generation begins. To distill the implications of the census numbers for generational heft, this analysis assumes that the youngest “Millennial” was born in 1997.

Here’s a look at some generational projections:

Millennials

  • The Census Bureau projects that the Millennial population was 74.8 million in 2014. By 2015 Millennials will increase in size to 75.3 million and become the biggest group.
  • With immigration adding more numbers to its group than any other, the Millennial population is projected to peak in 2036 at 81.1 million. Thereafter the oldest Millennial will be at least 56 years of age and mortality is projected to outweigh net immigration. By 2050 there will be a projected 79.2 million Millennials.

size of each generation Millennial Baby Boomer Gen XGeneration X

  • For a few more years, Gen Xers are projected to remain the “middle child” of generations – caught between two larger generations of the Millennials and the Boomers. They are smaller than Millennials because the generational span of Gen X (16 years) is shorter than the Millennials (17 years). Also, the Gen Xers were born during a period when Americans were having fewer children than later decades. When Gen Xers were born, births averaged around 3.4 million per year, compared with the 3.9 million annual rate during the 1980s and 1990s when Millennials were born.
  • Though the oldest Gen Xer is now 50, the Gen X population will still grow for a few more years. The Gen X population is projected to outnumber the Boomers in 2028 when there will be 64.6 million Gen Xers and 63.7 million Boomers. The Census Bureau projects that the Gen X population will peak at 65.8 million in 2018.

Baby Boomers

  • Baby Boomers have always had an outsized presence compared with other generations. They were the largest generation and peaked at 78.8 million in 1999.
  • There were a projected 75.4 million Boomers in 2014. By mid-century, the Boomer population will dwindle to 16.6 million.

– Richard Fry is a senior researcher focusing on economics and education at Pew Research Center.