What Does Your Leadership Transition Look Like?

July 24, 2017By Robert Reynolds, CPALeadership, Talent Management and People

During the past several years, our profession, like many others, has identified the need for an orderly and effective transition of leadership to the next generation of professionals as a critically important business issue. While much attention has been focused on this issue recently, the need to attract, retain and develop human capital in an organization is not a new issue. So why do so many organizations continue to struggle with the recruitment and development of the next generation of leaders?

I contrasted the differences between succession planning and transition activities with respect to leadership development in my February 2013 blog, Succession or Transition – You Choose. Succession planning is long-term focused. It is developing a culture and processes that enable you to attract the best and the brightest to join your organization, investing the time and personal energy to clearly define the personal characteristics, competencies and experiences necessary for these individuals to take full advantage of their career development opportunities, and then providing them the training and tools for success. Simply put, if the goal is filling the pipeline with future leaders, “begin with the end in mind.” By contrast, transition planning focuses on the orderly redistribution of leadership responsibilities to ensure the continuation of short-term activities.

For CPAs, the dilemma continues to be finding the proper balance between the development of the technical skills our professionals must possess to effectively serve our clients and employers, with those business or career success skills necessary to effectively lead the efforts of others in meeting the needs of clients and our organizations. Recent surveys and studies have shown that they two are considered equal in importance and critical to your future success.

With the increasing complexity of the business challenges facing our clients, and the need for greater responsiveness to these challenges, simply meeting the technical development needs of our people is a struggle for many of us at times. If this is the world we live in, how do we make the shift or find the time to address the leadership development of our team? I believe taking advantage of the many resources the CPA Center of Excellence® has to offer will greatly help in meeting the leadership development needs of our profession’s future leaders.

The CPA Center of Excellence® is advancing the CPA profession’s critical success skills through education, assessment and knowledge sharing. The Center offers a variety of tools, resources and creative educational opportunities to improve those skills in order to meet future client, employer and environmental needs and demands. The Center emphasizes a competency-based learning model and intelligent collaboration designed to assess your team’s current mastery of these critical competencies, and a road map to address the knowledge gaps identified to provide for long-term career success.

I believe the CPA Center of Excellence® is the greatest member benefit to be offered during the 20 years I have been a member of the Indiana CPA Society. If you agree succession is an important issue for your organization, and the development of your people is vital to addressing this issue, I encourage you to explore the resources available through the CPA Center of Excellence®. As with any important initiative or undertaking, remember “begin with the end in mind,” and that there is absolutely no reason “to reinvent the wheel.”

Teamwork Is Key to a Successful Business Office

July 10, 2017By John Minnich, CPATalent Management and People

This past week, I attended a National Business Officer Institute conference at Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tennessee. I had the opportunity to connect with business officers from across the nation during our week-long immersion of study covering accounting, finance, tax, human resources, risk management, facilities and technology.

Apparently, the path to business officer generally occurs indirectly and fills by individuals of various backgrounds, some of whom are CPAs. At our INCPAS Leadership Cabinet and Emerging Leaders meetings, we discuss the importance of attracting younger generations to the CPA profession and routinely brainstorm ways to engage them. I encourage you to share this career path with them as yet another option for future CPAs.

As I move forward with my new role as CFO at Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne, I find it fascinating to engage first-hand in the operations of a private independent school. At our conference, we discussed several important concepts with regard to staffing a business office. To help paint a picture, the business office staff generally consists of accounts receivable, accounts payable, controller and human resources. Direct reports to the CFO/business officer usually include tuition management and enrollment, financial aid, facilities, information technology, dining services, security, transportation, auxiliary and summer programs, health staff, bookstore/campus stores, post office and support staff.

Several of the highlights covered last week straddle what I experienced in public accounting:

  • Build a strong team – Referring to Jim Collins’ Good to Great, we discussed getting the right people on the bus in the correct seats.
  • Ensure that your team has the necessary skills to perform its functions properly.
  • Stay connected with departmental direct reports to remain informed. Schedule recurring meetings when appropriate.
  • Follow best practices by networking and staying informed through external sources including associations, journals and vendors.
  • Outsource when it makes sense and increases efficiency. For example, private schools must consider the pros and cons of managing dining services in-house or hiring a third party. Similarly, several vendors provide payroll services that a school can outsource.

At independent schools, a strong partnership must exist between the head of the school (the executive director) and the chief financial officer. We reviewed the importance of maintaining open, frequent and timely communication. Through collaboration, mutual respect and trust, each should appreciate different job responsibilities and demands while seeking out each other’s viewpoints. This helps ensure including both the head of school and CFO in important decisions. Each should honor his or her commitments through a shared alignment of mission, vision and priorities.

Sound familiar? What would you add to the list for your organization? Is an education business officer a role you have ever considered, or do you know someone who has?

The Impact of Millenials

April 10, 2017By Dave Shatkowski - VP of Communications at Indiana CPA SocietyArticle, Blog, Future of Work and Change Management, Talent Management and People

We’ve been hearing and talking about the millennials a lot, but what does it all mean? To the profession, to your business, to you?

The millennial generation, over 75 million strong, is transforming the workforce and the workplace. Already they make up more than one third of the workforce in the United States, and that number is growing every year.

A post by Justin Hayes on our other blog site, The Smoke Detector, examined what not to say to millennials. Things like “be patient,” “you’re not ready,” “that’s not how it was” and “you’re not working if you’re not here (in the office)” are all things that we have heard before or maybe even said ourselves. But they are not things that resonate with millennials.

I’m a lot older than Justin, but I thought his observations were right on target. Continue saying those things to millennials, and risk losing them. You might lose them to a competitor. We might lose them to another association. Or we all might lose them to another profession.

Millennials want change. I’ve seen it and I’m sure you have too. They want things like flexibility, recognition, inclusion and innovation. An article in Fortune magazine stated “certainly, it’s better to directly address the needs and understand the characteristics of the millennial generation than to pretend they don’t exist.” Are employers doing that? 

Though there are stereotypes surrounding millennials, many if not most are either untrue or misunderstood. And in the end, the changes that result in responding to their needs can benefit all. The Forbes article concludes, “in focusing on the needs of the next generation, these companies are creating a better place to work for everyone.”

Alternative credentialing such as digital badges and verified certificates is one area where we can make an impression on millennials. You (as CPAs) by understanding them and accepting their value, and we (as a CPA-supporting organization) by offering them. 

Millennials are receiving alternative credentials at colleges and universities across the nation, according to findings from a recent study by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. Then they expect them post-graduation as well. One of the experts who conducted the survey said “what was previously thought as cutting edge is now becoming mainstream and is transforming the paths that learners take to success.”

More than 20 percent of U.S. colleges and universities are currently offering digital badges, and the state of Indiana is well represented by IU, Purdue and Notre Dame. After graduation, millennials will look to their profession and their association for their professional development needs. And their alternative credentialing preferences.

Like the changes in workplace culture and environments, other generations are likely to adapt to and appreciate alternative credentials. Let’s be a part of that change in ongoing professional development and lifelong learning.

The War for Talent

April 4, 2017By Stephanie Parton, CAE, INCPAS Director – Marketing CommunicationsArticle, Blog, Innovation, Talent Management and People

 

Across the country, high school seniors are donning caps and gowns for graduation. Many will head off to college in the fall, full of hope for a bright future. Through the help of family, teachers and counselors, they have decided on a major which will determine the career they will enter into for the rest of their professional life.

Pretty simple, right?

Not so fast. Landing your dream job right out of college and sticking with it throughout your career is a thing of the past.

Only 14 percent of U.S. workers believe they have the perfect job and more than half want to change careers, according to a 2013 Harris Poll.

Making the Career Change

Deciding to make a career change is a huge decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are many risks to consider including the cost of going back to school, juggling a full-time job, and maintaining work-life balance while pursuing a new degree and career.

Robert Reynolds, CPA, CGMA, made a career switch in his early 30s. He went from manager of a convenience store to director and shareholder with Brady Ware.

“I finally found my calling, public accounting, at the tender age of 31,” Reynolds explained. “After obtaining my associate degree in business administration, I embarked on my journey to real adulthood as a mid-level manager for Stop-N-Go. Needless to say, the 24/7 retail environment lost its appeal after a few years, and in my late 20s, I found myself still struggling to determine just what I wanted to be when I grew up.

“A wise person I knew at the time spoke of the career opportunities available in accounting, and since I enjoyed working with numbers, I enrolled at Wright State University in the fall of 1985 as an accounting major and the rest is history,” he added. IU Health Ball Memorial Director of Finance Bettie Caldwell CPA, CGMA, also made the career change switch after reflecting on her long-term goals.

“I was a mid-life career–changer, having worked as a registered respiratory therapist in the hospital setting for over 15 years,” said Caldwell. “A family move to a new job market prompted me to re-evaluate what I wanted to do with my remaining 25 plus years of work life. I was primed for a challenge and a change, and found what I was looking for in the CPA profession. Eventually my career as a CPA led me full circle back to the healthcare setting, but this time as a director of finance for a large hospital system.”

“I was primed for a challenge and a change, and found what I was looking for in the CPA profession,” Bettie Caldwell, CPA, CGMA, a mid-life career changer.

Desire for Change

While not everyone who wants to change careers will actually make the decision to go through with a switch, a significant portion of the American workforce would like to do so.

Nearly 80 percent of workers in their 20s said they wanted to change careers, followed by 64 percent of 30-somethings and 54 percent in their 40s according to the Harris Poll.

“I just wasn’t thinking long-term about my career,” explains Mary Milner, staff accountant at Baden Gage & Schroeder LLC. “I didn’t really know myself well enough at age 19 to know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So I got a job in the real estate industry. I did leasing and a little bit of sales and customer service, putting out fires, conflict resolution. It was great experience and I did that for seven or eight years.

“There were a lot of things about it that I enjoyed but it just wasn’t where I wanted to be for my career,” she continued. “After a while I started doing some soul-searching. I found that all the things I enjoyed doing in real estate had to do with accounting. That was kind of my light bulb that maybe I should be doing this.”

Milner recognized her decision to go back to school and pursue an accounting degree was a risk.

“It was a big risk to say OK, I’m going to go back to school, I’m going to take out more student loans,” she said. Milner said she decided to make the commitment and take the risk knowing it would pay off in the long run. Quitting was not an option for her.

“It’s a whole different experience trying to go to school when you already have a full time job and I was starting a family,” she said. “And it leaves no time for anything because every free moment is spent studying. Looking for a job was probably the scariest part. I was unsure how to navigate that more so than just deciding to go back to school. It was almost a full time job looking for a full time job.”

Enter the CPA Profession

INCPAS President & CEO Gary Bolinger, CAE wrote about career changers entering the CPA profession in a post “The ‘War’ for Talent” on the Society’s blog I Was Just Thinkin’.

“Career changers are going to end up somewhere in the workforce,” Bolinger wrote. “It might as well be the CPA profession. A lot of these people have got the perspective and talent to be significant contributors in the profession. If we want to leverage this trend, the profession (which includes firms, corporate accounting departments, colleges and universities, and accounting associations and societies that serve the profession) needs to reassess recruitment. Are we willing to accept the need to aggressively recruit talent in places that we have never looked before? The places to start are the ‘career changer’ marketplace and the non-traditional student marketplace.”

Nontraditional Students

There are more than 17.6 million undergraduates enrolled in American higher education. The National Center for Education Statistics reports 38 percent of those enrolled in higher education are over the age of 25 and one-fourth are over the age of 30. The share of all students who are over age 25 is projected to increase another 23 percent by 2019.
“More seasoned candidates can bring a perspective on business and the role of being a professional to an organization that rests on a foundation built through real life and work experiences,” says Reynolds. “All I can say is at 31, I know I was a much better listener than I was at 21. At 31, I was more patient than I was at 21. I certainly was more thoughtful and empathetic at 31, than 21. I feel these traits and my journey not only allowed me to advance my career, but they contributed greatly in helping me become a trusted advisor to clients.”

Purdue University Northwest Department of Accounting Head Ed Furticella says nontraditional students are faced with challenges traditional students might not face.
“The speed of the course work can also be challenging for the nontraditional students,” he said. “Especially the students who are balancing work and family commitments. They are worried about balancing work, life and school. They worry about getting behind in class and typically, these are the students that will drop a class if they don’t think they’re doing well.”
Once Milner made the commitment to go back to school for her accounting degree, her concern shifted to what would happen after graduation.

“I was afraid as a job candidate that the people interviewing me would have concerns about it,” said Milner. “I was afraid they would have concerns and say ‘why did you go back to school, why are you at this age and you’re just starting out, why did you go to school online.’ What I found was that I had more anxiety about it than they did. They just wanted to understand. They wanted to know my story. I was afraid it was going to be a problem and it wasn’t.

“I think the first step begins with the people in charge of hiring having an open mind and seeing the value people can bring when they’ve had different experiences,” Milner continued. “When they look at a résumé, if they’ve been in a different profession, don’t automatically discount them. I think I got lucky here that’s what Baden Gage did. They didn’t discount me because I didn’t have accounting experience.”

Bold Challenge

One of the four “bold challenges” created by the Indiana CPA Society Board of Directors is to “Build bridges to the profession …” and one of the bridges must be the bridge for nontraditional students.

“We tend to focus our energies on current high school and traditional college students as potential future CPAs,” said Caldwell. “We value the longevity and new ideas that youth brings with it, but more mature candidates have their own advantages. When I returned to the hospital as a CPA, I brought with me my previous work experience and understanding of how a hospital operates, as well as the appreciation for the hospital culture and our ‘patients first’ focus.” The Society is working on reaching nontraditional students and encouraging them to pursue a new career in the CPA profession.

“Nearly every day I receive a phone call from a person considering a career change or wanting more information about the CPA designation, specifically the process applying and sitting for the CPA Exam,”said INCPAS Director — Diversity & Outreach Ali Paul. “They are often relieved to learn that depending on their previous college education, only a handful of additional classes may be needed to meet the 150-hour requirement in Indiana.”

The Society’s Diversity Advisory Council is developing a new toolkit to help career changers and nontraditional students better navigate the pathways to becoming CPAs. The goal is to help make the process as clear as possible and give candidates a better idea of what they can expect as they enter this profession. Career changers bring so much experience to the table and when you think about the core competencies of a CPA (Communications, Leadership, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Anticipating and Serving Evolving Needs, Synthesizing Intelligence to Insight, Integration and Collaboration) these are skills that career changers have been developing for years, allowing them to really hit the ground running upon entering the CPA profession.

#7: Bridge the Generation Gap

January 12, 2017By Lisa Brown, CPA, CGMABlog, Collaboration, Future of Work and Change Management, Talent Management and People

Consider the context and create great teams

I recently heard that Millennials do not like being referred to as Millennials, and who can blame them. Often, something unflattering follows the term. Even the mere word evokes knowing head nods from a room full of Baby Boomers.

As a college professor, I interact with Millennials on a daily basis. Millennials are the largest generation in U.S. history. They’re the fastest growing generation in the workforce. And by 2017, they are predicted to outspend Baby Boomers.

We can’t neatly put each generation into a stereotype box, but we can use these broad strokes of information as clues to how we can best communicate with one another. Understanding why the members of the “other” generation are the way they are and how to bridge our generational gap is extremely important. Understanding how to effectively communicate among generations is important for everyone, as we interact with each other on a daily, continual basis.

I was interested to read a blog post in the Huffington Post about Millennials. The author attended a conference on Millennials where the CEO of The Center for Generational Kinetics, Jason Dorsey, was one of the speakers. The top five interesting perspectives and opinions the author noted in a humorous way are:

  1. Eye contact is an increasingly unnatural behavior for Millennials.
  2. Emails are OK. Just don’t expect them to read more than the subject line.
  3. Phone calls are often seen as an invasion of privacy, so don’t call them unless your name is Mom. (And even if it is, they will still forward you to voicemail — which they never check.)
  4. They will not read blocks of text. Save the effort.
  5. They are visual thinkers and learners. Do not try to educate them or sell them something using a long, linear approach.

I have learned from my own experience that most of these examples ring true. According to Curt Steinhorst, the preferred methods of communication for millennials Millennials are text, email, and social media. Think about the technology this generation is immersed in every day and how it shapes their context. Thinking about the popularity of YouTube makes you realize how the internet has shaped this generation into visual thinkers and learners.

Inc. recently listed nine tips for communicating with Millennials which not surprisingly, corresponds with the perspectives listed above.

  1. Keep it brief, but meaningful
  2. At the same time, provide detail
  3. Choose the best medium for communication
  4. Understand the 24/7 communication cycle
  5. Communicate the path to career growth
  6. Don’t condescend or make jokes about age
  7. Demonstrate fairness in the workplace
  8. Commit to a social bottom line
  9. Nurture their passion

Twitter has helped Millennials convey their thoughts in 140 characters or less. They appreciate brevity. At the same time, they are outcome driven and want to know what the end result should be and what they need to do to achieve it. Just be concise!

One of the largest generation gaps is in the workplace concerns how we work. Baby Boomers measure work ethic by hours in the office, where they are seen. Millennials exist in a world where communication is available 24/7 and productivity can occur outside the office walls. That same technology has broken down hierarchy for this generation. They can communicate via social media with celebrities, politicians, and even the president. They see no issue in approaching the CEO with their ideas and opinions. Millennials want to be taken seriously, and sometimes believe they should be promoted within two years. It’s important to let Millennials know how they are doing and what their career path looks like. Finally, Millennials are passionate. Communicating how they can meaningfully contribute to a greater good is very important to them.

Great teams can be formulated from the experience of the Baby Boomers and the enthusiasm of Millennials. Understanding where each generation comes from will help us better communicate and foster wonderful multigenerational relationships.

If you are a Gen X’er or Baby Boomer, what key strategies do you have for effectively communicating with Millennials?

If you are a Millennial, help us be better communicators. What do want us to know about communicating with you?

Make this the year you start to bridge those generation gaps. You may be surprised by the results.

Lisa Brown, CPA, CGMA, is an assistant professor, accounting & finance, at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne. Among the topics she teaches are accounting principles, corporate taxation and corporate finance. Brown previously worked in public accounting for Balestra, Harr, Scherer, CPAs in Ohio and in industry for an Ohio school district and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. She is a campus presenter for the Indiana CPA Society and a member of the Fusion Network, a group of Indiana CPA Society member CPAs who blog on trends, new ideas and innovation in the CPA profession.  

#2: Plan to Lead

January 5, 2017By Lisa Fleck, CPABlog, Critical Thinking and Non-Technical Skills, Learning and Career Development, Talent Management and People

Make professional development a priority, not an afterthought

In looking at the year ahead, do you know where you want to be by the end of the year? If not, this is the perfect time to start thinking about your skillset and professional development options. Resolve to have a plan this year. No time better than the present!

Where do you start? Hmmm? Do you even have time for this? The answer is yes! Investing back into ourselves and improving our leadership skills is one of the most important steps to take as we plan and prepare for this new year.

Self-awareness is one of the first steps you can take … but how do you know which skills are the ones you can use to move your leadership meter in the right direction? Do you take an inventory of your leadership skills like you do in your business?

This popular article from Forbes lists the top 10 traits of leadership:

  1. Honesty — by living by this standard yourself, you influence this in your environment
  2. Delegate — trust your team with the vision
  3. Communicate — to clearly communicate your vision ensures alignment; miss this and you and your team could be going in different directions
  4. Confidence — your team takes cues from you
  5. Commitment — Lead by example and your team will follow
  6. Positive Attitude —  if your team is happy, chances are they won’t mind putting in the extra effort.
  7. Creativity — not all best decisions are black and white
  8. Intuition — draw upon past experience but don’t forget to reach out to mentors
  9. Inspire — appreciation of the hard work completed and vision of the end in mind will keep your team inspired
  10. Approach — direct and to the point vs. subtle; Millennial vs. Generation X vs. Generation Y; cultural difference? Your approach is critical for the situation and people involved. Know your audience!

What about listening? What about caring? Leaders I’ve admired are good listeners and show how much they care. Listening and caring are two very key leadership traits that carry weight and move the needle when bundled with the Forbes Top 10 list. I’m sure one could argue for other top traits as well.

When planning my personal development for the new year, I like to start with the skill that I feel I need the most help with. Working and improving in my lesser skills, coupled with my stronger skills, is when I start seeing results shine through.

Where will you start your leadership journey in 2017?

Lisa Fleck, CPA, is the financial manager for Kimball Inc., in Jasper, Ind. She enjoys managerial and cost accounting; forecasting, profitability and cost control/management. Fleck’s passion is getting useful information in a timely manner so that quick decisions can be made to move the company profitably in the right direction. She is a member of the Fusion Network, a group of Indiana CPA Society member CPAs who blog on trends, new ideas and innovation in the CPA profession. 

Start building your skills now with these six online courses designed specifically for CPAs and related professionals.

#1: Stop Conforming

January 4, 2017By David Griffiths, Ph.D.Blog, Future of Work and Change Management, Talent Management and People

End the dreaded annual performance appraisal

Every year managers are required to provide an overview of staff performance. Each staff member’s performance is rigorously analyzed and, in many cases, an individual’s yearlong efforts are reduced to a series of numbers representing output. It is estimated that the cost for each appraisal, on average, equates to four to 10 hours of time per employee, depending on the type of analysis used. You are spending approximately $120-$400 per employee in salary-based cost.

Have you ever stopped to consider why you make your staff go through this annual performance appraisals process – one that originates from World War I “merit rating” systems developed by the U.S. Army? Created to identify and dismiss poor performers, about 60% of U.S. companies adopted this system after World War II, with 90% of companies adhering by the 1960s, according to Harvard Business Review.

Now, consider some of the challenges with the annual performance appraisal process.

  • Annual appraisals do not fit with the nature of today’s business environment. The environment is constantly changing, requiring adjustments across the year. So, why do people set rigid 12-month performance targets?
  • Performance appraisals tend to drive competition at the cost of collaboration.
  • Performance is a result of behaviors, processes and structures within the organization. People don’t intentionally set out to deliver a poor performance, therefore, when an employee is falling short, in terms of performance expectation, why do appraisals only focus on the individual performance? What about the processes and structures (the management) that contribute to the performance?
  • The recall of performance is impacted by primacy (performance that happened early in the year) and recent (performance that happened close to the appraisal process), while much of what happened in the middle of the year is forgotten.
  • Managers and reports can suffer from a number of unconscious biases, such as: availability cascade, the bandwagon effect, bias blind spot, choice-supportive bias, conservatism, fundamental attribution error, courtesy bias, the Dunning-Kruger effect, focusing effect, illusionary correlation, negativity bias, optimism bias, and that is just the start. So, why do organizations tend to place so much stock in the opinion of one person, the line manager?
  • The process is often opaque and alienates employees, increasing the risk of talent loss.
  • Annual appraisals can cause tension between a line manager and his or her direct report.
  • If you are interested in the acquiring and retaining the best talent, shouldn’t you be more interested in developing people, as opposed to ranking them?

All this considered, why do you persist with annual performance appraisals? Why persist with a highly subjective, judgment-driven process that costs, on average $1,200-$4,000 per group of 10 employees; to say nothing of productivity loss due to tensions created between line manager and direct reports?

Instead, decide to forgo annual performance appraisals for ongoing performance conversations. Engage and involve your employees in the design of this new performance feedback processes. Just imagine what you might create.

This is my challenge to you this year: Stop Conforming. Challenge your traditional beliefs and become a talent leader. You are competing in a talent-led knowledge economy, where talent is the currency of longevity. To acquire and retain the best people, you need leading-edge talent management processes.

David Griffiths, Ph.D. is the award winning managing director of K3-Cubed Limited, a consulting, advising and training company that specializes in organizational development, knowledge management, and strategic and change management. Griffiths has been an advisor to the Indiana CPA Society since 2012 and was the driving force behind the creation of the CPA Center of Excellence®. Griffiths is an internationally recognized author, blogger, learning design advisor and thought leader.

Do you want to know how you’re doing? Find out with this online self-assessment tool designed specifically for CPAs and related professionals.

Talking about Millennials again

December 20, 2016By Justin Hayes, CPABlog, Talent Management and People

It seems like no matter what business news source you look at lately there is at least one article on the Millennial generation. It makes sense, as this is the generation that is entering the workforce and is making up a significant amount of the younger workforce now. The AICPA ran an article related to the top five things to never say to a Millennial again. I sit right on the bubble of Generation X and the Millennials, which I feel gives me an interesting perspective on the millennial generation. As such, here is my take on the five statements they discussed.

The first saying is “be patient.” I see nothing wrong with this statement given the context that it is used in. The Millennial generation has lived their lives with a lot of instant gratification. Instant gratification is not how the real work works. While I do agree that you can’t tell a Millennial that is looking for a promotion that they need to be patient and wait about 10 years (you can’t tell this to any generation and expect them to stay), I think that it is perfectly fine to remind them that change does not occur overnight. It’s good to support our younger workforce and help them to bring new ideas to the table, but that also doesn’t mean that every idea brought to the table can happen immediately.

The second saying is “You’re not ready.” I think this statement is all in how you say it to someone. Again, I think that this goes across all generations. No one likes to hear the statement “You’re not ready,” when they truly think they are. I understand that Millennials have a lot of options these days when it comes to a job or a career, but to the same extent if someone is not ready to take on a new position/responsibility, then they need to hear that so they can grow. I think this statement should be used, but in a constructive way. You don’t have to state specifically “You’re not ready.” Instead look at something like “This is a great goal for you and one that can be achieved; let’s look at some steps that you can take in order to get there.” Simple, constructive, and yet you have let them know that they are not quite yet ready.

The third statement is “When I was coming up …” or “That’s not how it was when I came up …” While I hate to admit that I have found myself using this statement, I would agree that it should not be used. This statement is immediately seen as a refusal to whatever the Millennial is asking about or requesting a change to. All supervisors/managers need to be open to change, and just because something was done one way when you were coming up through the ranks, doesn’t mean it was the best option. I actually tend to see this statement used the most in the context of something negative. Be open to change and be open to ideas. That said, there is nothing wrong with trying to share your wisdom that you have gained through your experience — just try to do it constructively. I had a mentor who would use the statement “Have you thought about…”  I found this to be very helpful and it also allowed him to share wisdom he had gained, without immediately putting me on the defensive.

The fourth statement is “He/she must not be working because he/she isn’t here.” This is a hard statement to look at, as I feel that I hear this one quite a bit as well. I would agree it should not be used. Technology has changed a lot, even in the last five years, to allow for more flexible workdays. Many companies have invested heavily in technology that allows its workers to work remotely. If your company has invested heavily in this area and remote work is within the company’s policies, then there is no reason to say this. Most of the time I see it used in conjunction with “When I was coming up, we were at the office for 10-12 hours a day straight, and no one complained about it.” That’s great, but technology has allowed for that to change, so you need to adapt as well. Work flexibility has increased employee morale and reduced turnover significantly in the last five years. The nice thing is that this is a benefit all generations can enjoy. I have found, though, that it tends to be more of the Millennial generation that does take advantage of these benefits, as they are more comfortable with working remotely.

The final statement is “You can change this when I am gone.” I completely agree with the author of the article on this one. Using a statement like that shows you are not open to new ideas that could improve everyone’s life at your company as well as potentially improving the bottom line of the company, depending on the idea. We all need to be open to new ideas and to changes that will improve a company. Keeping a hard line of my way or the highway is a great way of getting employees on the phone with a recruiter fast.

So those are my thoughts on the five statements analyzed. What are yours?