At Pennington & Trim, we have a diverse group of people on staff.  We have some wonderful managers who help us with the various departments.  Every day we want to strive for unity, and we are always looking for ways to teach, train and encourage our managers to help us create depth on our team to provide the best in customer service.  We must always seek to understand not only the different personalities along with their strengths and weaknesses but also the different age groups.

In a recent manager meeting, we discussed an article by Grant Skeldon — The Workplace and Millennials.  Grant said that leaders go where they grow.  Millennials (those who are 18-29 years of age) have received a lot of coddling or a lot of criticism, but they haven’t gotten a lot of “coaching”.  Unlike criticism, which just tells you what you’ve done wrong, coaching shows you what to do differently.  Unlike coddling, which won’t let you fail, coaches do let you fail forward.  Critics throw insults from the stands.  A coach is in the game.  A coach isn’t just for you, he’s with you.  But he won’t do the work for you.  If you don’t take a coaching mentality with Millennial employees, your staff will be tempted to be critics.  Many negative things are said about Millennials, but one thing they’re good at is telling if “someone is real or not”.  If young people sense they are being treated like projects instead of people, you might just be accelerating their departure.  Create a culture with a long runway of coaching and growth and you’ll be offering them something that’s hard to find anywhere else.  They may just stay longer than you think.

Also, Grant said that great coaches attract great players.  Don’t believe me?  Just look at high school football and how parents move their star athletes to specific schools to play for specific coaches. Notice that the same schools always seem to do well even though the athletes constantly change.

On the EntreLeadership Podcast, Jon Acuff asked Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-a (an organization where 78% of the 60,000 employees are young people), “How are you able to consistently get teenagers excited to serve?”  He said, “First off, we are dealing with an employment base that is very different than we’ve had in prior generations in that we’ve got children who are being raised in single-parent homes.  We know this inherently presents a lot of issues for society.  “We’ve lost the opportunity to build the emotional strength of character and values that were intended to be built inside of the family.  It presents some real challenges for us.  So we have to kind of makeup for that as an employer.  “We select operators that would provide the kind of role modeling we would like for our own children.  That’s really where it starts.  You need a strong, competent businessperson as the operator who becomes a kind of de facto parent, coach, and mentor. That’s why we have such great talent coming in the door, to begin with.”

Ed and I continually watch other businesses and learn from those that are successful.  We have always respected how well Chick-fil-a runs its operation.  Young people are so tech-savvy and have so much energy.  They truly add great value to a team.  What a great opportunity we have to coach/mentor and be good role models to the younger generation.

Grant also shared a word with fellow millennials.  All your life you’re climbing ladders. The fewer ladders the better.  It’s better to climb significant heights to a few meaningful places than climbing insignificant heights to a ton of great opportunities.  They say it takes 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” to become an expert or to become world-class in any field.  You’ll never sharpen your craft and achieve your 10,000 hours in a specific work if you’re constantly changing what you feel called to do.  Just to get an idea, it would take around 5 years to reach 10,000 hours if you work 40 hours a week. That’s if you’re spending 100% of those 40-hour workweeks pushing yourself in your craft – not just showing up to work every day for 5 years.  You don’t gain muscle by showing up to the gym.  You gain muscle by pushing yourself to new limits.  Wisely choose a few ladders, put them on the right walls, and ferociously climb even when it gets difficult.  In time, I promise you will see results.

Our industry is one in which technology is rapidly changing.  Continually, we strive to help our people push themselves to learn and grow and reach new limits to make sure each member of our staff at Pennington & Trim Alarms provides our customers with a great experience.

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