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August 31, 2015

The Surprising Impact of Millennials

I’m on the road a lot. I also have a number of food allergies which makes eating out very difficult. But in the process of finding places to accommodate my situation I’ve discovered something else:

The restaurants that have protocols in place to accommodate people with food allergies provide a much better dining experience to all their customers.

For example, when I visit Pappadeaux in the Houston Airport and share my allergies with the server a manager always comes out to talk to me and then walks back to the kitchen and communicates with the kitchen manager and cooks. The food always comes out perfect, the service is always great and I never get sick.

I’m convinced that in working to accommodate people with food allergies the Pappadeaux staff has become better communicators, better leaders and better service providers in the process. Being more tuned into the needs of their food sensitive customers has made them more empathetic to all of them.

Some restaurants consider people like me a pain and a problem but the great restaurants who care realize that people with different needs make them better.

The same will be true for Millennials and the businesses that employ them. Many give Millennials a bad rap because they have different needs than Generation X and Baby Boomers but I believe we need to start thanking them instead. Why? Because Millennials will improve the way we lead and run our businesses.

Millenials won’t let you ignore them. You must engage them and engaging them will help you engage all your employees. This will lead to enhanced relationships and performance.

Millennials want a relationship with their manager and leaders. Leaders will have to make time to connect and develop relationships with Millennials. This will make them better leaders for everyone in the organization.

Millennials want to do work that matters. They want to make a difference. They won’t settle for just a pay check. They don’t want to work with a company that has no soul or purpose. They will force businesses to identify, live and share a greater purpose than just making money. This will make organizations more successful in the long run because people and organizations are most energized when they are using their strengths for a bigger purpose beyond themselves.

Lastly, Millennials demand authenticity and transparency from their leaders and organization. This will have a huge ripple effect since authentic and transparent leaders help your organization build a stronger brand that connects with your customers.

Leaders and businesses that understand this won’t turn their backs on Millennials the same way the great restaurants don’t turn their back on the needs of their customers. Leaders and businesses that want to thrive will learn how to lead Millennials and value their differences and in the process become better for it.


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