Learn a Thing or Two from Millennials!


By Courtney Templin

Today, Millennials moving through careers are beginning to think less in terms of “What can you teach me?” and more in terms of “What can I offer you?” That means taking a proactive approach to client and employer needs instead of waiting to be assigned projects and given responsibilities. By displaying initiative, they are getting noticed, taking ownership of new projects and responsibilities, trying new things and experiencing greater job satisfaction. They’re making their work rewarding – and fun!

Whether you’re a millennial just starting your career or an experienced, professional woman, there are a few pointers you can learn from Millennials to go above and beyond in your job, career and life.

Under promise, over deliver. It’s surprising how many people simply do not do what they say they will do. There is an epidemic of lack of follow-through and commitment. If you’re not sure you can have the project done by the end of the day, tell your manager it will be done the following day. Then when she receives it a day early, she will be impressed and pleased. This also gives you a little wiggle room in case the assignment takes longer than you think. If you tell your client you will have the information by the end of the day, but then you can’t get the answers you need, all of a sudden you’re in the unfortunate position of not being able to follow through. Under promise, so you can always over deliver.

Don’t just raise a problem; have a solution. When you have a problem, have three possible solutions to present to your team. Sometimes, women get weighed down by being polite or not wanting to step on anyone’s toes. Speak up assertively when you have an idea, and you don’t always have to wait for your turn. Put yourself in the role of your boss, and try to think about problems the way she does. “In order to avoid this problem in the future, I think we should move forward with this plan I laid out based on conversations at our last client meeting. What are your thoughts?” There will always be challenges that come up, and it’s the resourceful, determined, and solution-oriented professionals who get ahead.

Adopt a big picture approach to the company and job. Dig out from the micro world of details each day and ask “What’s the big goal here? Are there any needs that aren’t being recognized? Are there other projects that could help my team?” If there are, you can figure out how to take charge. Big-picture thinking is what gets someone a seat at the table with the major decision makers.

Always ask, “Is there a way to do this faster, cheaper, better?” If there is, consider making the change and systematizing the process so co-workers can benefit. If the boss asks you to brainstorm a couple ideas for a new project, then brainstorm a couple dozen ideas and have recommendations on which ones you feel would be best. If a department needs a competitive analysis of the company’s top two competitors, research the top four and present insights to the team. When you think you’re finished with a project, take some extra time to think about how you can make it more creative, more streamlined, or more helpful.

Your job isn’t what people tell you; it’s what you make it. Millennials don’t sit around waiting for good things to happen – they create them. They don’t wait to be taught; they learn by doing. If you bring passions and personality to a job, it’s easy to take initiative because it’s fun and rewarding.

Courtney Templin is the Chief Operating Officer of JB Training Solutions, a training and development company dedicated to helping employees master the soft business skills. For more, follow @JBTSMillennials or visit www.jbtrainingsolutions.com.

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