Competing Through People  | May 2014 Edition
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MAC 2011The Millennial Paradox 

For me, the recent increase in press about generational differences is deja vu all over again.  Anyone remember  the loquacious and irreverent Morris Massey from the 70's/80's and What You Are Is Where You Were When?   His point was that generations were different because of when and where they grew up . . . and that's OK.  Sound familiar? 
Yes, generations differ.  However, the differences between generations are often quite small and the wide range of individual differences within a generation are often ignored;  the distributions overlap and the average of a group tells just part of the story.  Much of the research is based on differences in concepts like traits, attitudes and motives that predict little when it comes to the world of work.  Figuring out what to do specifically about an individual or a  small part of your workforce on things that are nebulous isn't of much use. 
What organizations need to do in response to generational differences is not unique from one decade to the next.   That's because what it takes to create a successful career and the competencies required to be successful have not changed significantly.  Therein lies another paradox. 


Successful people exhibit a similar set of strategic, operational, positioning, interpersonal and personal skills across generations (and across cultures.)  They develop those capabilities by navigating a range of diverse and challenging experiences from which they build a repertoire of behaviors.  Values may differ across generations but the behaviors that make a difference at work have not.


So what's an organization to do?  It turns out that the most effective practices for Mellenials are what high-performing organizations have been doing all along, no matter the generation:

  • Define and communicate a set of core values that create leverage
  • Provide meaningful, value-added work that is linked to the overall success of the business, a "Greater Good"
  • Build careers based on "moving around" among challenging assignments, not just "moving up" in a department
  • Create a team-oriented culture that fosters innovation and collaboration
  • Build competency-based talent management systems that define and reward success
  • Employ performance management processes that provide systematic and meaningful feedback

What generation would not be excited by an organization like that?.

Multi-Rater 360 Feedback: Much Used and Abused


People need accurate, timely and actionable feedback to learn and succeed.  A multi-rater or 360 feedback process can be one of the most effective ways to provide that feedback, if the right elements are in place.  A poorly designed and implemented multi-rater feedback process will do more harm then good.


I believe that the best application of multi-rater feedback is for development.  Using a 360 to assess potential or evaluate performance maybe appealing but is fraught with traps.  For one, raters are reluctant to provide honest and candid feedback in those situations.


The best type of multi-rater feedback is competency or behavior-based.  That's because humans are much better at observing and assessing behaviors than they are at making inferences about personality traits or other concepts.


Developing and implementing an effective multi-rater process is a project, not just a one-and-done effort of buying something off the shelf.  Look for a tool that has plenty of research behind it, requires certification or training to implement and has on-going support.  The tool should be integrated to the rest of your talent management system through a common set of competencies.


PS: Interested in learning more about Multi-Rater Feedback?


I am sponsoring a Multi-Rater Facilitator Certification Workshop on June 4 and 5 in Pittsburgh.  The Workshop will use the VOICES┬« Feedback System,  an experience-tested, research-based Leadership Architect┬« development solution.   This workshop will prepare you to manage the entire multi-rater feedback process within your organization and provide you with a powerful tool needed to create effective leadership develop programs.


Click here for more information or to register for the Multi-Rater Facilitation Workshop


What are You Up To?
Leadership Development, Leadership Development, and more Leadership Development

The Challenge:   Several clients need to improve their talent bench and accelerate the development of talent pools at all levels.

What We Are Doing:
  • Translating the organization's strategy into leadership talent demands
  • Assessing the capability of the existing leadership talent
  • Building leadership development involving a focus on competencies, cohorts, and coaching 

To learn more, check out my free whitepaper on

Leadership Development Redefined 

Driving Business Results through Culture
Living Your Mission, Vision and Values;  Strategy Deployment for the 21st Century
PHRA Strategic Workshop, July 27

In This Edition
The Millenial Paradox
Multi-Rater Feedback
What Are You Up To
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