Millennials are the largest generation in history and will control $24 trillion of wealth by 2020. More and more millennials are both joining the workforce and becoming clients, customers and users. The millennial generation is not one to be ignored.
Some companies like Cisco are developing reverse mentoring programs, where younger professionals can advise more experienced professionals. Organizations can gain a competitive advantage when they listen to their millennial employees because they reflect the preferences of an important customer segment.
But millennials don’t need a formal mentoring program for them to add value to senior executives. Here’s how you can do it on your own and demonstrate your leadership:
1. Have confidence.
It can be difficult for younger professionals to see that they can help more experienced professionals. It is not how much you know but what you know. Being a millennial, you have insight into what this generation wants and expects. You can add value to senior executives by sharing your millennial perspective, as well as your expertise in areas like social media. You have something they don’t have, so have confidence that you can add value.
Do you still lack confidence in your ability to add value? Think about Yelp reviews. Who is writing most of the reviews? Millennials. You are already advising and giving feedback to people older than you, and you don’t even know it.
2. Be prepared.
Do your research. Understand what the executive does, the team on which the executive works and the organization’s goals and priorities. Identify the context in which the executive works and what the person’s responsibilities are. You can add better value when you combine this context with your millennial perspective.
For instance, you believe it would help the business to identify and better communicate its relevance. Knowing that millennials value purpose, look into how the business is relevant in today’s world and consider your perspective to grasp how that might translate into a mission that the market could relate to and be interested in.
Have you read?
Thriving companies solve problems. To add value to a senior executive, think about how you can solve an issue that the organization is having.
Let’s say, for example, that the company is trying to identify a better fee structure. You could think about how millennials, with a preference for predictability and transparency, might appreciate a fixed fee model and regular communication of milestones (as opposed to billing by the hour and submitting an invoice at the end of a long-time period or upon completion of a project).
4. Tell the truth.
Be honest with the senior executive. Tell them what they need to be better at their role and improve the organization. If you are diplomatic and frame your suggestion as solving a pain point, they will want to hear what you have to say. Take advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate your judgment, and show that you are an emerging leader.
Senior professionals can learn from younger professionals, and you don’t need to wait to be asked to share your thoughts. Leverage the opportunity to add value and demonstrate your leadership.