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8 Development Mistakes Millennials Can Correct In The Workplace

8 Development Mistakes Millennials Can Correct In The Workplace

Developing millennial employees is a growing need for nearly every business. Every size of business, small or big, needs to develop millennials. The future of business is dependent on millennial development within the workplace. However, not all businesses are addressing this issue.

Millennials want to be coached, but each business varies their own level of development and training. Millennials cannot control how their place of work trains or coaches, but they do have control over their development.

Are you one of those millennials who wants more coaching and developing, but your workplace is not providing sufficient training? Here is my encouragement, if so: do not wait on your workplace to provide training. Take action on your own personal development. You will skyrocket past the rest waiting to be developed. Do not leave it in anyone else’s hands; take action with your development.

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With that said though, I see some common mistakes millennials make with development and this development is about more than just training and coaching. Below are 8 mistakes millennials make and how they can overcome them in regards to development.

1. Millennials waiting for their employer to assign them a mentor.

Being appointed a mentor is much different than obtaining a mentor. Do not wait for your assigned mentor. Actively pursue the right mentor to further your development. Mentorship is such a powerful ingredient to development that you should not wait for your work to assign you a mentor. You don’t want a poor mentor so be active and choose your own.

2. Millennials needing validation before they continue.

A weakness among millennials is the need for validation. While some validation is necessary, take control of your need for total validation. Most daily tasks do not need validation or recognition before moving on to the next task. Finish a task and keep moving. If you wait for validation, you will slow down you development and depend on others to validate your growth. Learn to give yourself praise and validation to keep moving forward. The less dependent you are on validation, the more opportunity you will have to grow.

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3. Millennials relying on others to spark their motivation.

There is a reason most job openings seek self-motivated individuals. Self-motivation is not job specific, but a general need for all employees. Take ownership of your motivation and feed the motivation to keep you pressing all day long. If you rely on outside sources for motivation and inspiration, you will be seen as a burden rather than as a productive professional making things happen. Motivate yourself daily and crush it!

4. Millennials assuming their managers are against them.

In opposition to the media’s catchy headlines, conspiracy theories are not common. Do not see anyone leading you as your enemy. People above you want you to succeed more than they want you to fail. If someone leading you is against you, there are probably many ways to rectify that relationship and get back on the same page. When you have a boss in your corner, your development will grow leaps and bounds. Put time into building the relationship with your manager or leader. The return on investment will grow you, your department, and your workplace. Make it a win-win.

5. Millennials expecting training in all areas they lack knowledge in.

Do not expect to know everything. If you are not skilled in one area, ask for help. However, do not expect to be trained on all areas you might be inexperienced or unskilled in. There are many skills you can learn on your own through time and dedication. Embrace the training you do get and work to improve on the other areas you need to improve on.

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6. Millennials rejecting unhelpful advice.

Not all advice is beneficial, but all advice is helpful. When others help you or give you advice, receive the information no matter the value. Sometimes building a relationship is more important for your development than just the knowledgeable advice. Creating a healthy relationship with others could be the key to your development. Those rejecting advice will be seen as a know-it-all and will get a bad rap in the workplace. Don’t be that person.

7. Millennials opposing the developmental strategies laid out by their place of work.

You might not agree with everything your company does with development, but commit to it. Development usually has less to do with the strategy or system than it does the person. Your amount of buy-in will dictate the success of the development, rather than the strategy. You might have a better way, but do not worry about that right now. Just commit and give it your all. You will see the reward in the end.

8. Millennials allowing their development to be dependent on their employer.

Now step outside of your business. Your development will strengthened by accessing resources that go beyond just the options available within your company. Being dependent on a business to develop you into a successful young professional will set yourself up for a fall. Diversify your development and leverage many other outside sources to develop your growth. The odds are set against you staying at the same company for the remainder of your career. So get developing outside of your current place of work.

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Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

More by this author

Jared Buckley

Millennial Skills Coach - Talent Development Consultant

6 Ways to Inspire Passion In Unmotivated Employees Mistakes Millennials Can Overcome with Development 8 Development Mistakes Millennials Can Correct In The Workplace

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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