Memo to the CEO: Encourage Innovation

Memo to the CEO: Encourage Innovation

Welcome to the real world

You’re in your early twenties, fresh out of college, eager to take on the working world. As you’re handed your diploma you ascertain a certain knowing of ‘this is it’ only to soon find yourself as a very small fish in a large pond of desperate job-seekers.

You wake up one morning and realize there are a lot of companies out there that simply aren’t interested in you – they don’t want your disregard for “meaningless work” – they want someone who will come in and get the job done without asking questions – someone with experience and qualifications who requires little training and minimal hand-holding.

But that old school ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ mentality is losing ground. The most successful companies, or at least those who are aspiring to grow and develop into the future, are realizing that growth requires a staff that is willing to grow with you – and that when employees can claim ownership and find meaning in their work – knowing not only the ‘what’ but the ‘why’ – they’ll contribute above and beyond simple expectations, and in doing so, will make your job a heck of a lot easier.

Generation Y, collectively, presents an interesting challenge to hiring managers and supervisors. We are, as they say, a force to be reckoned with. Bringing something new to the table – something extremely valuable – a fresh perspective and a drive that cannot be ignored. As a memo to all CEO’s, here are three ways to encourage dedication and innovation amongst your twenty-something staff.

Make yourself approachable

We’re young, and while we may think we know it all – we really don’t – at all. But we are hungry for knowledge. We want to learn. We want to be smarter than you. The only way to grow and develop is to learn from each other, and more importantly, learn from those who have come before us; the people who have been in our shoes, achieved success, and live to tell the tale. As with any relationship, if you don’t take the time to invest in your employees, they won’t bother to invest in you. It takes very little effort to make a big difference. Simply knowing that you’re there with an open door and open mind when approached goes a long, long way.

Give the job meaning | Explain “why”

There is a dividing line between Gen Y’ers – those who think micromanagement is the devil, and those who think we need to be told exactly what to do. I find myself somewhere in the middle, and I think most people my age can relate. While we don’t want to have someone standing over our shoulder at all times – we do want to know the ‘why’ behind everything. Our biggest flaw (or possibly our greatest strength) is in our reluctance for doing mundane work. We want meaning, we want purpose, and we want to know our role in the grand scheme. You (as a supervisor) need to go an extra step and explain the ‘why’ behind even the most mundane tasks. Why? Because when we understand why we’re doing something and how it’s important to the big picture, we’re much more likely to commit to the overall success of the company vision.

Just trust me

There are VERY few CEO’s who welcome in new ideas, innovation, and approaches from their young staff members. For most, entry-level means keep your mouth shut and do your work. Maybe the ideas of a young twenty-something should be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s my opinion that the companies with the best culture are those who welcome the opinions from their entire staff, whether your on the 101st floor or in the mail room. You (hopefully) hire top-notch people for a reason – you do it because you believe they will bring value to your team, that they offer something unique, and that they will contribute to more than just the bottom line.

My memo to the collective CEO: Expect your employees to do what they were hired to do – but trust them to do more. Hear them out, promote a creative environment, and encourage innovation.

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What advice would you give the CEO’s and supervisors of the world? How do you give your job meaning? Are we entitled to be entitled? Share your good (or bad) experiences in the conversation below.


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50 Responses
  • Dan Erwin Reply

    Let me tweak this idea a bit. CEO’s will hear out Gen-Yers and pay attention to them as soon as they demonstrate expertise in their job. That doesn’t take long. For the bright ones, only eight to twelve months. My protege put a halt to a training program that didn’t deliver as promised. He did a superb analysis of the software problems, wrote it up, and took it to his boss. It flew up the ladder, and the vendor was sent back to the drawing boards. But Liam had already earned his keep in his job. This–at a Fortune 100 company. For an assessment of his well-earned smarts, check this out: http://tinyurl.com/lzeevr

    • DrJohnDrozdal Reply

      May I please tweak your tweak a little more. I agree completely that for a new Gen Y employee to influence change in an organization he/she will need to rely on their personal power. The two of the four key sources of personal power are credibility – doing what you say you are going to do – and competency – expertise. As the Gen Y ‘s credibility and competence becomes clearer, so will her ability to influence. The tweak I offer is it taking “eight to twelve months” as you say. First of all, twelve months is a lifetime to a Gen Y employee – not feeling they can make a difference in the first year would become a retention issue. Second, the manager of the Gen Y employee needs to mentor that person and provide them with opportunities to demonstrate their credibility and competence early and often. Your protege was able to make a difference because you put that person in a position to make a difference. Too many organizations make the mistake of saying to a Gen Y, “you need to be in your role for a year and then we’ll talk” and of failing to provide management support.

  • Dan Erwin Reply

    Let me tweak this idea a bit. CEO’s will hear out Gen-Yers and pay attention to them as soon as they demonstrate expertise in their job. That doesn’t take long. For the bright ones, only eight to twelve months. My protege put a halt to a training program that didn’t deliver as promised. He did a superb analysis of the software problems, wrote it up, and took it to his boss. It flew up the ladder, and the vendor was sent back to the drawing boards. But Liam had already earned his keep in his job. This–at a Fortune 100 company. For an assessment of his well-earned smarts, check this out: http://tinyurl.com/lzeevr

    • DrJohnDrozdal Reply

      May I please tweak your tweak a little more. I agree completely that for a new Gen Y employee to influence change in an organization he/she will need to rely on their personal power. The two of the four key sources of personal power are credibility – doing what you say you are going to do – and competency – expertise. As the Gen Y ‘s credibility and competence becomes clearer, so will her ability to influence. The tweak I offer is it taking “eight to twelve months” as you say. First of all, twelve months is a lifetime to a Gen Y employee – not feeling they can make a difference in the first year would become a retention issue. Second, the manager of the Gen Y employee needs to mentor that person and provide them with opportunities to demonstrate their credibility and competence early and often. Your protege was able to make a difference because you put that person in a position to make a difference. Too many organizations make the mistake of saying to a Gen Y, “you need to be in your role for a year and then we’ll talk” and of failing to provide management support.

  • Dan Erwin Reply

    First of all, I don’t work for my protege’s company. I’m a friend. Second, although I’ve coached all over the nation, I’ve never heard an intelligent Gen-Yer (perhaps that’s a relevant qualifier) complain that he/she was told to wait a year before he could contribute. My gen-y friend tells me–and since I work across the country I think he’s correct–that the reason Gen-Yers and others don’t get attention is because they fail to manage up, fail to deliver the goods, and fail to make smart contributions. You are correct in indicating that 8 months may be too long for a gen-yer to gain enough expertise to garner attention. That one, however, is reality. . . My friend told me he would have jumped if I hadn’t coached him otherwise…and he’s grateful. But then all generations have made foolish moves early on. Eventually, we all learn from our failure.

  • Dan Erwin Reply

    First of all, I don’t work for my protege’s company. I’m a friend. Second, although I’ve coached all over the nation, I’ve never heard an intelligent Gen-Yer (perhaps that’s a relevant qualifier) complain that he/she was told to wait a year before he could contribute. My gen-y friend tells me–and since I work across the country I think he’s correct–that the reason Gen-Yers and others don’t get attention is because they fail to manage up, fail to deliver the goods, and fail to make smart contributions. You are correct in indicating that 8 months may be too long for a gen-yer to gain enough expertise to garner attention. That one, however, is reality. . . My friend told me he would have jumped if I hadn’t coached him otherwise…and he’s grateful. But then all generations have made foolish moves early on. Eventually, we all learn from our failure.

  • DrJohnDrozdal Reply

    Thanks for your comment and I appreciate very much the clarification. I agree that Gen Y can benefit from coaching mentoring about the world of work because the flawed educational system certainly didn’t prepare them – and I also do this kind of mentoring. I am simply responding to what I see in traditional organizations where neanderthal managers tell Gen Y “you need to pay your dues” and then provide no managerial direction.

  • DrJohnDrozdal Reply

    Thanks for your comment and I appreciate very much the clarification. I agree that Gen Y can benefit from coaching mentoring about the world of work because the flawed educational system certainly didn’t prepare them – and I also do this kind of mentoring. I am simply responding to what I see in traditional organizations where neanderthal managers tell Gen Y “you need to pay your dues” and then provide no managerial direction.

  • Valerie M Reply

    Matt, I am SO with you on the “Tell me why” point. I don’t think it’s limited to Gen Y either. It’s very difficult for anyone to be motivated or be productive at a task when they don’t know why they’re doing it. Corporate structure is redundant and there’s often too many cooks in the kitchen. Because of that, a lot of times people end up doing things that they probably could do away with.

    “Tell me why” is beneficial to both the employee and the employer as it saves time, increases productivity, eliminates pointless protocols, and saves money.

    • Matt Reply

      Hi Valerie – I 100% agree – I might have been focusing on Generation Y in this post but the ‘rule’ applies to everyone. When we understand the meaning behind the work we’re doing – productivity will increase because we’re given a REASON to invest our time. There’s nothing worse than carrying out tasks having no idea why you’re being asked to do so. I’m sure we ALL have been in those situations. On the same token, it’s important for us to ask questions. One should never be afraid to ask for a supervisor’s wisdom. If you’re afraid to ask questions, odds are you probably need to get out of that situation.

  • Valerie M Reply

    Matt, I am SO with you on the “Tell me why” point. I don’t think it’s limited to Gen Y either. It’s very difficult for anyone to be motivated or be productive at a task when they don’t know why they’re doing it. Corporate structure is redundant and there’s often too many cooks in the kitchen. Because of that, a lot of times people end up doing things that they probably could do away with.

    “Tell me why” is beneficial to both the employee and the employer as it saves time, increases productivity, eliminates pointless protocols, and saves money.

    • Matt Reply

      Hi Valerie – I 100% agree – I might have been focusing on Generation Y in this post but the ‘rule’ applies to everyone. When we understand the meaning behind the work we’re doing – productivity will increase because we’re given a REASON to invest our time. There’s nothing worse than carrying out tasks having no idea why you’re being asked to do so. I’m sure we ALL have been in those situations. On the same token, it’s important for us to ask questions. One should never be afraid to ask for a supervisor’s wisdom. If you’re afraid to ask questions, odds are you probably need to get out of that situation.

  • Grace Reply

    Great post, Matt! I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I’ve worked at companies where the CEO is ‘laissez faire’ and doesn’t really push his employees or even the young ones who are ‘at the bottom of the totem pole.’ Not my idea of innovation, if you ask me.

    I feel lucky now that my current CEO and direct boss both encourage and generate a strong buzz amongst their employees (which is largely Gen Y and Gen X). I can walk right into the CEO’s office and tell him about an idea I have, and he will let me run with it. He wants to talk about it and he will listen. My boss asks me each week, “How are you? Are you having fun? Do you want to do something different?” Questions like that because he likes keeping me on my toes and wants to ensure that not only am I happy but that I continue to thrive for our company and for myself. Maybe it’s a startup mentality, where we’re malleable by nature and know that ideas are the wave for growth and innovation…but I know that wherever my CEO goes (after and even before) he will carry that mindset. He makes our company thrive and pulse and for that, I feel lucky and am impressed to be learning so much from him, while he encourages everyone else to bring new ideas and carry them out.

    • Jackie Adkins Reply

      Great point, Grace. Not only do I want a boss/CEO that trusts me, but I want one that is more than willing to challenge me (which definitely requires trust). If you’re CEO doesn’t trust his employees, then why were they hired in the first place? The only way for both businesses and individuals to grow is to experience challenging situations which you can learn and develop from. How will this ever happen if a CEO isn’t willing to challenge his workforce?

      • Matt Reply

        Grace – It sounds like you have found an awesome place with Lijit – hold onto that as long as you can. That’s exactly what I’m experiencing right now. My job is not dictated to me – but rather – I’m asked my opinion and allowed to do what I think is best in most instances. And when I do need direction, a little guidance along the way – my boss is there to provide some wisdom and bounce ideas back and forth. I was brought on to do something that no one else does, and thus, it instantly gives me a feeling of value and importance. For the first time, even with the almost 2 hour commute each way, I love the work I do.

        Jackie – Challenging work is great – Being able to invest your time into something you love doing and genuinley WANT to see succeed is great – something I’ve never experienced until recently. There’s just a sense of relief when you can walk into work each morning and feel excited about what you can get done that day. With that – a boss who sets goals and expectations but lets you come up with the best approach to meet those goals – those are the situations that you truly learn the most from.

        • Jackie Adkins Reply

          Another thing I think a CEO should do to encourage innovation is emphasizing that failure is not the end of the world. If people are always afraid of failure and this deters them from innovation, then you’re going to end up stagnant.

          Great to hear that your new job is providing you with such fulfilling experiences, though!

          • Grace Boyle Reply

            Jackie I really like this point about failure. Some people feel such immense pressure and know that making a mistake isn’t an option because of their CEO’s blaring intensity. I understand within reason, but mistakes are part of human nature. I work at a startup, so failure isn’t a foreign word. Especially because we’re peppered with employees as startup junkies where they’ve failed before. I’m learning a lot from failure and what failure has taught them. My CEO isn’t accepting failure (we think positive and are growing more and more each day) but I do know that he constructs instead of demands and scares.

  • Grace Reply

    Great post, Matt! I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I’ve worked at companies where the CEO is ‘laissez faire’ and doesn’t really push his employees or even the young ones who are ‘at the bottom of the totem pole.’ Not my idea of innovation, if you ask me.

    I feel lucky now that my current CEO and direct boss both encourage and generate a strong buzz amongst their employees (which is largely Gen Y and Gen X). I can walk right into the CEO’s office and tell him about an idea I have, and he will let me run with it. He wants to talk about it and he will listen. My boss asks me each week, “How are you? Are you having fun? Do you want to do something different?” Questions like that because he likes keeping me on my toes and wants to ensure that not only am I happy but that I continue to thrive for our company and for myself. Maybe it’s a startup mentality, where we’re malleable by nature and know that ideas are the wave for growth and innovation…but I know that wherever my CEO goes (after and even before) he will carry that mindset. He makes our company thrive and pulse and for that, I feel lucky and am impressed to be learning so much from him, while he encourages everyone else to bring new ideas and carry them out.

    • Jackie Adkins Reply

      Great point, Grace. Not only do I want a boss/CEO that trusts me, but I want one that is more than willing to challenge me (which definitely requires trust). If you’re CEO doesn’t trust his employees, then why were they hired in the first place? The only way for both businesses and individuals to grow is to experience challenging situations which you can learn and develop from. How will this ever happen if a CEO isn’t willing to challenge his workforce?

      • Matt Reply

        Grace – It sounds like you have found an awesome place with Lijit – hold onto that as long as you can. That’s exactly what I’m experiencing right now. My job is not dictated to me – but rather – I’m asked my opinion and allowed to do what I think is best in most instances. And when I do need direction, a little guidance along the way – my boss is there to provide some wisdom and bounce ideas back and forth. I was brought on to do something that no one else does, and thus, it instantly gives me a feeling of value and importance. For the first time, even with the almost 2 hour commute each way, I love the work I do.

        Jackie – Challenging work is great – Being able to invest your time into something you love doing and genuinley WANT to see succeed is great – something I’ve never experienced until recently. There’s just a sense of relief when you can walk into work each morning and feel excited about what you can get done that day. With that – a boss who sets goals and expectations but lets you come up with the best approach to meet those goals – those are the situations that you truly learn the most from.

        • Jackie Adkins Reply

          Another thing I think a CEO should do to encourage innovation is emphasizing that failure is not the end of the world. If people are always afraid of failure and this deters them from innovation, then you’re going to end up stagnant.

          Great to hear that your new job is providing you with such fulfilling experiences, though!

          • Grace Boyle Reply

            Jackie I really like this point about failure. Some people feel such immense pressure and know that making a mistake isn’t an option because of their CEO’s blaring intensity. I understand within reason, but mistakes are part of human nature. I work at a startup, so failure isn’t a foreign word. Especially because we’re peppered with employees as startup junkies where they’ve failed before. I’m learning a lot from failure and what failure has taught them. My CEO isn’t accepting failure (we think positive and are growing more and more each day) but I do know that he constructs instead of demands and scares.

  • Chelsie Reply

    As a Gen-Yer, any organization that requires mundane work reminds me of schooling, where l have choked and gagged on piles of busywork that don’t amount to anything. Could it be a result of such experiences that Gen-Y resists (seemingly) purposeless assignments in the workplace? We understand the necessity for certain procedures, but we want to develop and engage our role, not feel stuck with it like we have for the past 18 yrs. After the time we spent in school “preparing for the future”, waiting 8-12 more months for that future to open up feels like another strike of the ruler and one more restrictive blindfold to prevent us from getting the big picture. For me, it’s not lack of patience as much as a grief that youthful energy would be further wasted. On the other hand, like you all are mentioning, employees who feel connected and informed are more capable and willing to perform, and better equipped to assist newcomers. It’s amazing how motivational a clear purpose and direction is for people, especially Gen-Y. We’re not comfortable outside “the know”-it feels like bondage and we want freedom. We’ll take part in the greater goal if we’re given the tools, and most of all the opportunity, to engage it.

    Note to Gen-Y: We can’t say shit about our jobs or our bosses if we haven’t prepared ourselves with the skills to tackle opportunities. We give employers no choice but to busy us with mundane tasks if we don’t present extraordinary attitudes and abilities. As much as it’s an employer’s duty to nurture and engage their workforce, it’s equally important for us to develop personal responsibility so that others feel comfortable entrusting their vision to us.

  • Chelsie Reply

    As a Gen-Yer, any organization that requires mundane work reminds me of schooling, where l have choked and gagged on piles of busywork that don’t amount to anything. Could it be a result of such experiences that Gen-Y resists (seemingly) purposeless assignments in the workplace? We understand the necessity for certain procedures, but we want to develop and engage our role, not feel stuck with it like we have for the past 18 yrs. After the time we spent in school “preparing for the future”, waiting 8-12 more months for that future to open up feels like another strike of the ruler and one more restrictive blindfold to prevent us from getting the big picture. For me, it’s not lack of patience as much as a grief that youthful energy would be further wasted. On the other hand, like you all are mentioning, employees who feel connected and informed are more capable and willing to perform, and better equipped to assist newcomers. It’s amazing how motivational a clear purpose and direction is for people, especially Gen-Y. We’re not comfortable outside “the know”-it feels like bondage and we want freedom. We’ll take part in the greater goal if we’re given the tools, and most of all the opportunity, to engage it.

    Note to Gen-Y: We can’t say shit about our jobs or our bosses if we haven’t prepared ourselves with the skills to tackle opportunities. We give employers no choice but to busy us with mundane tasks if we don’t present extraordinary attitudes and abilities. As much as it’s an employer’s duty to nurture and engage their workforce, it’s equally important for us to develop personal responsibility so that others feel comfortable entrusting their vision to us.

  • Preston Reply

    I agree and wish more CEOs read this post, especially those of larger companies. Small to middle sized companies generally are a little more open minded about listening to their fresh out of school Gen-Yers.

    We’re driven, we’re thinkers, and we’re just itching to innovate and develop and venture outside the box, if only CEOs and bosses will let us.

    • Matt Reply

      Here’s to hoping that this post crosses the inboxes and readers of a few CEO’s out there – I think I represent a large Gen-Y population in my thoughts above – a group of individuals who bring a lot to the table, but their potential may never be realized due to the limitations of a corporate environment. So, a memo to everyone reading – forward these thoughts onto your supervisors and superiors – eventually, our collective voice will be heard. Thanks for the comment Preston.

  • Preston Reply

    I agree and wish more CEOs read this post, especially those of larger companies. Small to middle sized companies generally are a little more open minded about listening to their fresh out of school Gen-Yers.

    We’re driven, we’re thinkers, and we’re just itching to innovate and develop and venture outside the box, if only CEOs and bosses will let us.

    • Matt Reply

      Here’s to hoping that this post crosses the inboxes and readers of a few CEO’s out there – I think I represent a large Gen-Y population in my thoughts above – a group of individuals who bring a lot to the table, but their potential may never be realized due to the limitations of a corporate environment. So, a memo to everyone reading – forward these thoughts onto your supervisors and superiors – eventually, our collective voice will be heard. Thanks for the comment Preston.

  • Tony Ruiz Reply

    Innovation is what drives us Gen-Yers, we want a position that matters. The only advice I would give a CEO or supervisor is just hear me out and take my thoughts to consideration. Whatever position you hold, you should have some kind of goal. I know when I work internships I have a goal of what I want to get out of the experience, if you don’t have a goal you’re basically just a robot worker with no direction.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Good point Tony – I think that more often than not that ‘voice’ has to be earned – Personally, I want my opinion at least considered (especially if it directly effects me) – Dictating work to your employees without ever receiving feedback or opinion encourages an environment where opinion isn’t considered, much less valued.

  • Tony Ruiz Reply

    Innovation is what drives us Gen-Yers, we want a position that matters. The only advice I would give a CEO or supervisor is just hear me out and take my thoughts to consideration. Whatever position you hold, you should have some kind of goal. I know when I work internships I have a goal of what I want to get out of the experience, if you don’t have a goal you’re basically just a robot worker with no direction.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Good point Tony – I think that more often than not that ‘voice’ has to be earned – Personally, I want my opinion at least considered (especially if it directly effects me) – Dictating work to your employees without ever receiving feedback or opinion encourages an environment where opinion isn’t considered, much less valued.

  • Mandy Reply

    I also concur with most statements made earlier. For me, the “why” question is paramount to the quality of work I put out because in my mind, if you can’t explain to me why this is important or even why you need it, do you really need it and is it really that important? If not, please don’t waste my time (not that I always think this way in the work situation since sometimes, you just gotta roll with the punches but in general).

    I think good bosses (i’ve never worked for a CEO) should engage with their employees and make them feel comfortable and making the working environment conducive to fostering good relationships. (And no, I don’t mean coddling the employee…but working for a harsh taskmaster doesn’t help either). Firstly, good relationships in business never hurts somewhere further down the road. Secondly, good management skills are an asset, not a liability and this includes people skills. Thirdly, people are more inclined to want to work with you (the management) and keep working with you if you can give them what they need in the beginning. We all had to start somewhere, did we not?

    On the other hand, why is the burden of responsibility all on us? Why can’t CEO’s and managers foster innovation and inspire a generation of new workers to come up with new ideas. I’m this kind of person–I don’t innovate naturally but given the right parameters and leadership, I work really well to produce. If supervisors (especially in a mid to small range organization) are truly passionate about what they do, they ought to naturally inspire others to do the same. It’s not always about how well we can transform the status quo. ;)

  • Mandy Reply

    I also concur with most statements made earlier. For me, the “why” question is paramount to the quality of work I put out because in my mind, if you can’t explain to me why this is important or even why you need it, do you really need it and is it really that important? If not, please don’t waste my time (not that I always think this way in the work situation since sometimes, you just gotta roll with the punches but in general).

    I think good bosses (i’ve never worked for a CEO) should engage with their employees and make them feel comfortable and making the working environment conducive to fostering good relationships. (And no, I don’t mean coddling the employee…but working for a harsh taskmaster doesn’t help either). Firstly, good relationships in business never hurts somewhere further down the road. Secondly, good management skills are an asset, not a liability and this includes people skills. Thirdly, people are more inclined to want to work with you (the management) and keep working with you if you can give them what they need in the beginning. We all had to start somewhere, did we not?

    On the other hand, why is the burden of responsibility all on us? Why can’t CEO’s and managers foster innovation and inspire a generation of new workers to come up with new ideas. I’m this kind of person–I don’t innovate naturally but given the right parameters and leadership, I work really well to produce. If supervisors (especially in a mid to small range organization) are truly passionate about what they do, they ought to naturally inspire others to do the same. It’s not always about how well we can transform the status quo. ;)

  • Tim Jahn Reply

    I think a lot of it has to do with the age gap and the acceleration of technology development. Put simply, people get stuck in their ways.

    My dad told me yesterday he clipped an article out of the Tribune. What?! What the hell is the Tribune and how do you clip things out of it?

    It’s also hard for people who’ve been in their business for 35+ years to trust us young folk who “think we know it all”. While we may not know it all, it’s hard for these people to accept that we really do know some things well.

    The question is, 35 years from now, will we be the same way? Will we be stuck in our ways or will we remember how we feel at this moment?

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      That’s a good point Tim – And I think a lot of it comes down to our own attitude. If we’re approaching a work situation like we do know it all, our superiors aren’t going to welcome our narrow-minded approach with open arms. We don’t know it all – we probably don’t even know a lot – so while ideally we would like our bosses to listen to us and our opinions, we also have to approach every situation with an open mind and a want-to-learn attitude.

  • Tim Jahn Reply

    I think a lot of it has to do with the age gap and the acceleration of technology development. Put simply, people get stuck in their ways.

    My dad told me yesterday he clipped an article out of the Tribune. What?! What the hell is the Tribune and how do you clip things out of it?

    It’s also hard for people who’ve been in their business for 35+ years to trust us young folk who “think we know it all”. While we may not know it all, it’s hard for these people to accept that we really do know some things well.

    The question is, 35 years from now, will we be the same way? Will we be stuck in our ways or will we remember how we feel at this moment?

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      That’s a good point Tim – And I think a lot of it comes down to our own attitude. If we’re approaching a work situation like we do know it all, our superiors aren’t going to welcome our narrow-minded approach with open arms. We don’t know it all – we probably don’t even know a lot – so while ideally we would like our bosses to listen to us and our opinions, we also have to approach every situation with an open mind and a want-to-learn attitude.

  • Emily Jasper Reply

    So there was a snafu that happened to me a while ago and the CEO called me to follow up. We both wanted to make sure that this mishap didn’t affect innovation from company employees. Especially during the recession when people don’t want to risk losing their jobs, any fear of punishment for thinking outside the box keeps creativity at bay. This call from the CEO showed he actually “got it” and knew that promoting growth needed to come without risk. You don’t hear about it often, but I’ll say that it’s refreshing when you know there’s a few examples out there like that…

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Hi Emily – good to see you around here, it’s been a while.

      You raise an interesting point that I think many of us can relate to – that fear of persecution if we do voice our opinions – overstepping out boundaries so to speak. My point here isn’t that our advice rules all, but rather that our opinions and ideas should be welcomed and ‘harvested’ by our superiors. Knowing that we are a valued part of the team can and does go a long, long way.

  • Emily Jasper Reply

    So there was a snafu that happened to me a while ago and the CEO called me to follow up. We both wanted to make sure that this mishap didn’t affect innovation from company employees. Especially during the recession when people don’t want to risk losing their jobs, any fear of punishment for thinking outside the box keeps creativity at bay. This call from the CEO showed he actually “got it” and knew that promoting growth needed to come without risk. You don’t hear about it often, but I’ll say that it’s refreshing when you know there’s a few examples out there like that…

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Hi Emily – good to see you around here, it’s been a while.

      You raise an interesting point that I think many of us can relate to – that fear of persecution if we do voice our opinions – overstepping out boundaries so to speak. My point here isn’t that our advice rules all, but rather that our opinions and ideas should be welcomed and ‘harvested’ by our superiors. Knowing that we are a valued part of the team can and does go a long, long way.

  • Kevin Asuncion Reply

    I agree with everyone on the helping us answer the “why” question as well as the I think it’s important that we understand the value we are contributing to the organization, as well as understanding the type of value we are contributing in the industry. I think it’s important for Gen Y’ers to understand the type of value that they can create outside of their organization. It isn’t just enough for supervisors to make themselves approachable, supervisors are meant to magnify their employees ability to innovate and collaborate in an industry and outside of it. This can include helping them meet people outside of the organization that can help them achieve their goals. By being generous, and helping gen y employees magnify their influence industry wide, that can create organizational rockstars.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Hey Kevin – let me start off by saying I love your blog post about the Vanessa Hudgens kid! LOL – great stuff!

      Your thoughts hear are spot on – making yourself ‘approachable’ as a supervisor is the minimum requirement, something everyone should be doing in the first place. It’s about much more than that though, as you say, it’s about magnifying the ability to innovate and maximizing potential. You want your employees to become more then worker-bees (most of the time) – that involves coaching and guidance along the way. We (Gen Y collectively) aren’t so much concerned with doing everything ourselves as we are working for a company where our role is valued, and that we are in a position with growth and opportunity potential.

  • Kevin Asuncion Reply

    I agree with everyone on the helping us answer the “why” question as well as the I think it’s important that we understand the value we are contributing to the organization, as well as understanding the type of value we are contributing in the industry. I think it’s important for Gen Y’ers to understand the type of value that they can create outside of their organization. It isn’t just enough for supervisors to make themselves approachable, supervisors are meant to magnify their employees ability to innovate and collaborate in an industry and outside of it. This can include helping them meet people outside of the organization that can help them achieve their goals. By being generous, and helping gen y employees magnify their influence industry wide, that can create organizational rockstars.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Hey Kevin – let me start off by saying I love your blog post about the Vanessa Hudgens kid! LOL – great stuff!

      Your thoughts hear are spot on – making yourself ‘approachable’ as a supervisor is the minimum requirement, something everyone should be doing in the first place. It’s about much more than that though, as you say, it’s about magnifying the ability to innovate and maximizing potential. You want your employees to become more then worker-bees (most of the time) – that involves coaching and guidance along the way. We (Gen Y collectively) aren’t so much concerned with doing everything ourselves as we are working for a company where our role is valued, and that we are in a position with growth and opportunity potential.

  • Elisa Reply

    As someone in a lower-level management position, I can’t explain how much I LOVE innovation. And I think a lot of managers (heck even CEO’s) would appreciate it when approached well. I currently have an employee that I have to hand hold through EVERYTHING. I would seriously be so excited if she came into my office and said “I don’t know if I was supposed to, but I did….” that I wouldn’t even care if she did it right or wrong. I’ve had lengthy discussions, and I know the frustrations are beginning to become apparent as I just want her to take ownership and show innovation over ANYTHING.

    On the flip side I’ve had employees who came in being like “I think your idea is wrong and here’s why and you should listen to me because.” This situation has also not ended well. :) One of the hardest things for us to recognize as young professionals is that our ideas are good and our innovations are welcome, we just have to propose them in a manner that is both respectful and productive. There are people who have put in a lot of time, work, effort, blood, sweat, and tears into the companies and positions they are in, and to have some upstart come in and begin spouting off at them is annoying at best. To have an active discussion with a young person about their ideas, processes for implementation and ROI is refreshing and how so many are able to forge ahead.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I agree 100% Elisa – there are two clear ways situations like this can be handled:

      The wrong way: Bringing a “I know more than you and I’m always right attitude” – which will pretty much turn everyone off.

      The right way: An open-minded, want-to-learn attitude. Having our opinions heard and taken into consideration and then molding those opinions and ideas into coachable goals with tangible results.

  • Elisa Reply

    As someone in a lower-level management position, I can’t explain how much I LOVE innovation. And I think a lot of managers (heck even CEO’s) would appreciate it when approached well. I currently have an employee that I have to hand hold through EVERYTHING. I would seriously be so excited if she came into my office and said “I don’t know if I was supposed to, but I did….” that I wouldn’t even care if she did it right or wrong. I’ve had lengthy discussions, and I know the frustrations are beginning to become apparent as I just want her to take ownership and show innovation over ANYTHING.

    On the flip side I’ve had employees who came in being like “I think your idea is wrong and here’s why and you should listen to me because.” This situation has also not ended well. :) One of the hardest things for us to recognize as young professionals is that our ideas are good and our innovations are welcome, we just have to propose them in a manner that is both respectful and productive. There are people who have put in a lot of time, work, effort, blood, sweat, and tears into the companies and positions they are in, and to have some upstart come in and begin spouting off at them is annoying at best. To have an active discussion with a young person about their ideas, processes for implementation and ROI is refreshing and how so many are able to forge ahead.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I agree 100% Elisa – there are two clear ways situations like this can be handled:

      The wrong way: Bringing a “I know more than you and I’m always right attitude” – which will pretty much turn everyone off.

      The right way: An open-minded, want-to-learn attitude. Having our opinions heard and taken into consideration and then molding those opinions and ideas into coachable goals with tangible results.

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