Align Change With The Needs Of Your Culture.
The plan was to meet Chris and Aaron Monday evening, for conversation and a fine cigar. The venue was Cigar City Club, in the Buckhead Neighborhood of Atlanta. Chris is a Member of ITB Partners, whereas Aaron is new to our network. Aaron is Millennial with a background in IT Consulting. He is also an entrepreneur. Chris believes that Aaron would be a good candidate for ITB Partners. Aaron is looking for new clients. Aaron canceled due to illness but Chris and I decided to follow through with our plans. I’m glad we did as I needed a good cigar. Additionally, I had developed two networking contacts I wanted to discuss with Chris.
I met Chris through Cliff, a mutual friend. It was two years ago, just after I had published Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal. When Cliff learned that Chris was months away from publishing his first book he decided that we should meet. The full story is more interesting, but I’ll save those details for now. Chris is 27, a Millennial Expert, Keynote Speaker, and Best-Selling Author of The Millennial’s Guide to Making Happiness. He is building a Consulting Practice around Millennial career development and job satisfaction. Much of that work is focused on helping baby boomers understand their Millennials. His objective is to help them become more effective, leading to longer tenures, and a lower cost of turnover.
Arriving first, I planted myself at the right-hand corner of the u-shaped bar. I placed my drink order, then headed for the humidor. One of the Managers helped me make my cigar selection; one new to me, and an old favorite. On the way back to my seat, I saw Chris, sitting in the seat next to mine.
As one would expect, our discussion was far-ranging. We compared notes on the dynamics of the economy and opportunities to build our businesses. The economy has seen significant improvement, but individual companies are in a state of flux. There is tremendous pressure to maintain relevancy and to increase market share. Therefore, a lot of opportunity for us.
Toward that end, Chris told me about a new product he is developing, a cultural risk assessment. He wanted my thoughts on how to position his concept. He asked my opinion on three particular options and price points, based on variations of the number and mix of people to interview. Fortunately, I have recent experience with a similar assignment so I was able to talk with some authority.
Last year I completed a consulting gig, helping my client improve their internal recruiting, selection, and onboarding program. I have found that the best way to approach any assignment is to begin by understanding the client’s culture. So, I began that assignment by interviewing the leadership team to get their perspective on the company’s values, management style, and opportunities. Next, I talked with a cross-section of employees for thirty minutes each. The results were revealing. To make a long story short, the client was surprised to learn that the values and career goals for their employees aligned with their generation. The baby-boomers were focused on developing their professional skills, whereas the Millennials were trying to “fit in.” The Baby-Boomers had a lot of job satisfaction. The Millennials, not so much. They complained that internal communication was not helpful. Leadership was surprised by these findings. Although it was not my primary mission, I recommended that Management consider a Mentor program and prominently display their KPI’s. Those two ideas got them moving in the right direction. I recommend that Chris follow a similar process.
The success of any new project or change in procedure is dependent on buy-in by the employees affected. Achieving that buy-in requires a communication plan that resonates with the company’s values, its culture. Stated another way, if one wants to ensure a successful outcome, one must understand the current state of the company’s culture and respond to its needs.
Three hours later…we made our exit, well-fed and relaxed but energized by our commitments to one another.
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Jim Weber, President
Jim Weber, President
NEW CENTURY DYNAMICS EXECUTIVE SEARCH
1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company – New
2. VP Operations – Southeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company – New
3. CEO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company – Completed
4. Corporate R&D Chef, Atlanta-based Home Meal Replacement Company – Complete
5. Area Supervisor – Legacy Pizza Chain, Carolinas – Completed
6. Operating Partners – Legacy Pizza Chain – New
7. Controller – Atlanta-based Consumer Products – Digital Company – Completed
8. Outplacement Assignment – Atlanta-based Manufacturer: Complete