Barry Salzberg (global CEO at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited) wrote an excellent article on millennial hopes and dreams about their careers (“What Millennials Want Most: A Career That Actually Matters” 7/3/12).  Although the “almighty dollar” still rules in so many ways, Salzberg’s observations about Millennials reveal a deeper passion than just making money.  Millennials want to know their daily work matters in a way that transcends the corporate bottom line:

“Never mind the still sluggish job market.  In their insistence on social principle, many [Millennials] are not driven by money or success in quite the same way their parents were.  This generation wants to know what your organization stands for in improving society, what it stands for in action, as opposed to blowing smoke.  Millennials want to know how they will make a positive difference in the world if they join your business, not by wearing a colorful T-shirt on a special project once a year but in their actual work.”

Often we find examples of young people who have branded all business as corrupt and evil.  Given the number of scandals they have seen growing up, who can blame them?  Nevertheless, this new generation is approaching the business world with a can-do attitude and–dare I say it–an idealistic sense of destiny.  They want to be involved and they want to make a real difference.  Salzberg sums it up this way:

“Tomorrow’s leaders are telling us that they believe they can actually change the world, fiscally and socially—operating within the system.  They want to play a part personally, not just in pro bono work but through the work they do every day.”

Finally, Salzberg emphasizes to those older than the millennials, the solution is to see the millennials as coworkers with all of us, as together we move forward continually improving business and society.  I heartily agree!  Since when did leadership reside solely in the hands of just one generation?  In Salzberg’s words:

“Our digital natives need to know that they can trust us with their future, and that, like them, we’re ready to keep changing the world.”

And to that I say, rock on!

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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