Not Everyone Gets A Trophy: How to Manage Generation Y
March 2009, Jossey-Bass
This book will make a unique contribution in four key ways:
It will disprove the idea that the key to recruiting, retaining, and managing this generation is to somehow make the workplace more "fun." To the contrary, Tulgan argues that the key to winning the respect of this generation, and getting the best effort out of them, is to carefully manage their expectations by never downplaying any negative aspect of a job.
He will show managers how this Generation thinks transactionally in all negotiations. For them it's about what they will do for you today and what you will do for them today, not tomorrow, not five years from today, but today.
He will explain why they have no interest in tying their futures to your corporation. But he will also make clear that they do have a well thought-out plan for themselves, one that requires that every job they take build up their skill sets, so they become more valuable employees for someone else--if and when you do not fulfill your end of the bargain, or drag your feet in doing so.
But most of all, it will explain to corporate leaders that for this generation their personal life comes first, so that each job they take must accommodate itself to some need defined by their personal life. Tulgan argues that until you know the personal need the job can satisfy for a potential employee, you and the applicant may be talking past each other. Those needs are so beyond the imagination of most bosses that Tulgan devotes a third of the book to explaining how they affect the job decisions of this generation.
2. Get Them On Board Fast with the Right Messages.
3. Get Them Up to Speed Quickly, and Turn Them into Knowledge Workers.
4. Practice In Loco Parentis Management.
5. Give Them the Gift of Context.
6. Get Them to Care About Great Customer Service.
7. Teach Them How to Manage Themselves.
8. Teach Them How to Be Managed by You.
9. Retain the Best of Them, One Day at a Time.
10. Build the Next Generation of Leaders.
About the Author.
Bruce Tulgan is internationally recognized as the leading expert on young people in the workplace. He is an advisor to business leaders and the author or coauthor of sixteen books, including the classic Managing Generation X and the best-seller It's Okay to Be the Boss. Since founding the management training firm RainmakerThinking, he has been a sought-after keynote speaker and seminar leader. Tulgan's work has been the subject of thousands of news stories, and he has written for dozens of publications, including the New York Times, USA Today, Human Resources Magazine, and the Harvard Business Review. He also holds a fourth-degree black belt in karate and is married to Debby Applegate, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.
One of the few bright sides to the economic downturn may be that this is the perfect time for business leaders, managers, and other “grown-ups” to give a much needed reality check to Generation Y employees, those born between 1978 and 1990.
“Not everyone gets a trophy!” declares Bruce Tulgan in his eponymous new book, NOT EVERYONE GETS A TROPHY: How to Manage Generation Y (Jossey-Bass, March 2009, $27.95).
Based on more than a decade of research, Tulgan’s message is simple: “Generation Y calls for strong leadership, not weak.”
Tulgan researched the generation for more than a decade, and found that most other experts on Generation Y have been leading managers in the wrong direction. In many recent books and articles, experts claim that the key to recruiting, managing, and retaining this generation is to try making the workplace more ‘fun’; to focus on praise and rewards; to deliver ‘thank-you’ notes to GenY employees just for showing up to work on time; rearranging training so it revolves around interactive computer gaming; encouraging young workers to find ‘best friends’ at work; and teaching managers to soft-pedal their authority.
“This approach is all wrong and totally out of touch with reality, especially right now in these hard economic times,” Tulgan insists.
Tulgan’s approach of “less Google, more United States Army” is a clear departure from most everything previously written on the subject. Tulgan urges managers of Generation Y employees:
- NEVER undermine your own authority
- NEVER pretend that the job is going to be more fun than it is
- NEVER suggest that things are up to GenYers when they are not
- NEVER gloss over details
- NEVER let problems slide
- NEVER offer praise or rewards for less than excellent performance
Tulgan’s strong-management message is especially timely given today’s hard economic times, but it is the same message he has delivered for several years behind closed doors with leaders in hundreds of organizations. Tulgan’s clients in the last few years alone range across the private and public sectors, including Aetna, Wal-Mart, Applebee’s, the YMCA, the United States Army, the CIA, and the United States Peace Corps.
Based on his work with dozens of world-class organizations, Tulgan shares compelling and funny first-hand stories featuring poignant quotes from GenYers and those who manage them, putting the two perspectives in conversation throughout the book. Along the way, Tulgan catalogs hundreds of step-by-step best-practices for engaging, developing, managing, and retaining GenYers.
While this book is written primarily for managers, it is of special interest also to parents of Generation Y. The irony is that the devoted helicopter parents of GenYers often go to work and quickly become the outraged managers and co-workers of GenY employees.
Tulgan’s recipe for success with Generation Y often sounds a lot like parenting. “You can’t fight the in Loco Parentis Management phenomenon, so run with it.” He urges managers to give GenYers boundaries and structure, negotiate special rewards in very small increments, teach them how to manage themselves, and teach them how to be managed.
Tulgan remains optimistic however, as his ultimate prognosis is that “Generation Y may be the most high-maintenance workforce in history, but they also have the potential to be the most high-performing if they are managed the right way.”