Monday, August 11, 2014

Pro Tip: Millenials are not your problem, they are your best asset

There is something in the trans-generational water and it is rather fetid, and I don't much care for it. I'm not sure why - but it seems that in the mad grasping for answers, some people are looking to blame using the cheap grace of trendy pop-sociology. 

In the specific; the present target as the scapegoat for the problems we face seems to be not just the most innocent, but in fact the victim - the Millenials.

This round started at all places over at USNI's Proceedings by CDR Darcie Cunningham, USCG; "Millenials Bring a New Mentality: Does it Fit?",

Ungh. Nothing good ever comes from being inspired in this way;
Recently I attended a webinar titled Manage Millennials and Keep Them Engaged, and my concerns were validated: ...
Really? That is in the same book as, "Until I went to a Tony Robbins seminar, I didn't know I needed to walk on fire in order to motivate myself!"

Pretend for a moment I never mentioned Millenials. Do these complaints sound familiar?
The younger generation postures to work only the bare minimum number of hours required.

They have an expectation of accelerated advancement through the organization, without regard for the value that experience provides to those in leadership positions.

Rather than saying “Yes Sir” or “Yes Chief” when tasked with a project or simple task, our newer members frequently question why they have to do it.

Customs and courtesies are eroding.

...jumping the chain of command ...
That is the substance of the author complaints. That is also what I heard Papa Salamander (a Forgotten Generation member) say of the Baby Boomers growing up. It is what the Baby Boomers had to say about my generation, GenX.

No. I'm sorry, but I am getting rather tired of this. Sure, each generation has a different reference point and their quirks, but none of it forms the basis for an excuse as outlined in these, "Blame them for my problems." or "I don't want to look at harder causes, I'll blame miasma." articles. 

Maybe it is because I am a fringe early cohort GenX that I don't think there is anything specifically "off" about the Millenials - though I do understand trans-generational difference and issues. 

For many of the reasons our muse outlined almost a quarter century ago, I have issues with the Baby Boomers and even "The Greatest Generation" ... but "GenY" Millenials? No, I really have no issues. 

As I have mentioned often here and over at Midrats, one of the things I miss the most about being on Active Duty was working with the young men and women in the Fleet. I greatly enjoyed working with them and any issues I saw was not with them, but the standards and conditions of the leaders, regulations, and processes that were put in place by their superiors to lord over and in theory support them.

If one wants to make an argument that we have a problem between the leaders and the led - I put my bet with the masters. The problem is never with the led, the problem is with the leaders. 

In summary;
There are no bad regiments; there are only bad colonels.
- Napoleon Bonaparte
Darcie's article brought forth quite the response from the aggrieved party - one example is from our friend LT Matt Hipple (who helped a bit with this post's research). Read is all.

Wait though ... monkeys are not through throwing poo. Another case of blaming the victim, we have the well meaning yet mildly out of his element, LCDR Gordon "Judy" Faulkner, USN. He is trying hard ... but again, the young men and women are not the source of what vexes you. I actually like what he is doing here as he has some good intellectual work invested. He truly cares for the institution and is trying to get a grip on the issues. 

Read close, I recommend twice, and you will see woven in some threads pointing to the real problem he is dealing with. He is not happy with the condition of the swimming hole he is playing in and has a rough idea that the issues are upstream ... but besides a sniff and a passing glance, he has not started asking - or at least feels he has the top-cover to even bring up - the harder questions of "why" these personality types are floating down to his part of the river. I would love to see a full demographic breakdown of the problem children. If it is anything like the ones I did in the 1990s and early 2000s, then we have the same problem, but probably even worse ... and compounded by the tyranny of accountants.

First, the title is horrible. Get past that click bait nature of it all, read as asked above, and you find the real problems.

What he is seeing is not new. I heard similar problems about 20-somethings when the Millenials were still in diapers, No, the issue doesn't have to do with the Millenials per se - just that they happen to be the ones being put though the present matrix of leadership, policy, and programs we have at the moment.

Problems Judy outlined? Here are two main ones: 
The author graduated flight school after flying 291 hours in T-34, T-2 and T-45.1 Today’s
average Category One pilot receives 240 hours in a primary flight trainer and the T-45.2 The loss of the third platform materially detracts from the adaptability and flexibility inherent in having to learn three platforms vice two. Coupled with the loss of 50 hours of flight time, the effect is significant.
Externally a recent shift to the MPTS grading system in the Training Command created difficulty in properly evaluating student naval aviators (SNAs), resulting in lower quality students matriculating from the Training Command.
3. I think many of us can put good money on the backstory here:
VFA-106 recently received a Category One RP who came from the Training Command with several emails offering apologies and trying to explain that after many attempts to attrite said aviator, he ultimately remained in the system and matriculated due to perceived pressure from the squadron’s Commanding Officer.
Also: look to his solutions section: 6/7 have nothing to do with generational issues - they all have to do with the real problem - the system set up, run, and led by non-Millenials.

The problem is not with the Millenials - it is with senior leadership's inability to select, cull, and lead junior personnel. Do that, and any "problem" people simply won't show up.

That is the rub. Setting standards from officer accession, entry in to aviation pipeline, and then each milestone along the way. Not just aviation either. We have seen it in all pipelines.

I think it is just more acute in aviation. You can hid a sub-par SWO in the watch schedule - in a single seat jet, notsomuch. 

There is also the problem of second guessing of who can or cannot meet standards. The multiple chances and training jackets measured in inches of thickness and pounds of weight ... the pushing to the right and the next command people who should be invited to find another way to serve their country earlier on - wasting their time and the Navy's money. That story is not new. May be worse - but not new.

I would also offer that what is suggested as bugs in the Millenials are actually features if we know how to utilize them. That or we can push much of their best and brightest out just like we did with other generations. 

In any event - especially when you have Gen X (mostly in their 40s) types complaining about the Millenials (nee GenY), I have roll my eyes.

Hey cohorts, lighten up Francis. Besides the fact that most of us in the older GenX cohort are generally unmedicated as youths and have that difference, we have a lot more culturally in common with Mellinials than we do with Baby Boomers. We should know how to work with them - not sound like Sir Harry Highpants sniffing at the whipper-snappers and their crazy outfits.

If you are having problems understanding and dealing with Mellinials, then you need to look closer at yourself. You are most likely the personality type that has little interaction through a broad spectrum of the general society. You tend to see things in black and white, and more often than not - have a bit of a large opinion of yourself compared to others. You have little tolerance for messy personalities and thought habits.

You sir, are the problem.

If you are not given the tools to force shape those that float down stream to you, then your bosses are the problem.

A lot of people are making money trying to help people understand the younger generation - this has been a closet industry for decades. Keep that in mind when you watch seminars, offered books, or worse - consultants, to help you do what Vince Lombardi would simply call blocking and tackling.

As Steven Rosenfeld over at AlterNet (yes, yes, I know) put it;
Throughout history, there’s always been generational tensions. They can be seen in the phases and arc of each person’s life, and in society in the newest music, books, inventions and values that people embrace. Astute psychologists not only say that these generational tensions are normal and healthy, but that they unfold like the seasons—on a individual level over a lifetime, and across society as the decades turn into historical eras.
Generational warfare. Sure, what do you think Brian?

1 comment:

jade said...

been involved in from the beginning in setting up this blog. A lot of progress has been made since I spent four days here helping assemble the hulls back in February.