Our very own Rita Gurevich, SPHERE president and founder (and fearless Millennial leader), chatted with the PeopleProductiveCast on leading a Millennial culture to great success. Listen to the full conversation here. Short on time? Here are five things we learned from Rita about successfully managing and leading a Millennial team.
Hitting a homerun on Millennial culture Millennials and startups are a great match…if the belief system is there. Millennials often look for something to believe in — they need to find the work exciting and purpose-driven. They want to be part of that journey. As a business leader, you want to hone in on the specific skillsets that match your work culture. Know that passion is contagious. Know that positive communication and recognition can go a long way in inspiring your Millennial team. That can mean leveraging team-building (the SPHERE team loves rock climbing) and shouting out the folks behind-the-scenes for bringing a project to life. Bribery is a short-term win. Avoid it. Ditto for negative reinforcement.
Productizing services with a Millennial workforce Millennials were instrumental in building SPHERE’s technology platform. In the case of SPHERE, Rita was able to meld experience and vision with a Millennial team that can execute. The positives on tapping Millennials for a fast-growing tech startup? They learn very quickly, they are eager and hungry and very moldable. Looking at a problem and finding innovative ideas about how to solve that problem is a skillset that delivers dividends when making the service to product transition.
Managing expectations Without painting with too broad of a brush, one of the weaknesses of Millennial teams can be stubbornness. Making a transition from services startup to growth mode for SPHERE meant developing a different level of work effort and skillsets. Sometimes people get stuck and push back really hard on that level of fundamental change. As a business leader you need to be able to manage those expectations.
Finding common ground Your team has to be flexible and know how to work together. That means being willing to compromise among themselves, across departments, with their leadership teams and with customers. If someone on your team isn’t up to the task, you have to cut the cord. You can’t let negativity spread. Bad energy can be just as contagious as positive energy.
Avoiding bad hires Be honest and transparent about what the day-to-day expectations are for filling your roles. Long hours? Dynamic work environment? Grunt work? Tell people upfront. Don’t fake a role to make it work for a particular candidate. Don’t oversell what you have. It will come back to bite you.
Listen here to learn about how to successfully manage and lead a Millennial team from startup building to growth mode.