Monthly Archives: May 2014

MILLENNIAL EXPECTATIONS

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Image published courtesy of monsterthinking.com
written by Lauren Schultz, a BDSmktg Millennial

Life is filled with expectations. Speaking from a 20-something year old perspective and as a member of the millennial generation, when I graduated from high school I had certain expectations of how my life would unfold.

The expectation I had coming out of high school was; if I invest another 4 plus years of my time in college, along with investing “x” amount of dollars into my education then I will certainly get the career of my dreams and blast past any other competition.

Easy breezy…life secured, right??

However, the reality was that after getting out of college I realized the only place for a Psychology major such as myself to go was either a) back to school to pursue even higher education, or b) into a field that had nothing to do with my degree. This was a little bit of a shock. Why didn’t anyone tell me this? I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I thought the Psychology degree just gave me lots of options and many directions to choose from. Just as many Psychology graduates probably thought.

Now, of course this is not true for everyone in my generation, but I think for some of us millennials the expectation is that you don’t necessarily have to be sure where you are going, when you get out of college and start working. You think that maybe if you take just one step in the “right” direction, it will automatically lead to another opportunity and sort of like a domino effect, the rest of your life will perfectly fall into place….oh and probably and hopefully without any major hurdles.

In contrast, it has become more and more apparent that the only assured way to move forward in any direction, is to decide for yourself where it is you want to go and then make the best decisions to get you there one deliberate step at a time.

Simple, but it can be a concept that is difficult to grasp when for most of your life you have had your journey mapped out for you by others. Deciding what you want to do on your own can be difficult, and develops out of a lot of failed attempts, taking chances and being lucky, rather than knowing with certainty from the start where you want to end up.

I have realized during these last couple of years that to just coast along on a degree hoping people will take notice will not give me a fast pass to developing my career. And although, my manager can guide me on what steps to take in getting to the next level, the drive that I have deep within me is what will actually get me there overtime.  The reality is that time and experience is not something a college degree comes with, it is something that must be gained over time, just as is personal and professional credibility in the workplace.

To quote one of the great rap artists from my generation, “…we started from the bottom, now we’re here...” Most of us will start from the bottom and work our way up to the top, but in doing this , we will build up our corporate acumen, gain a better understanding of every piece of the business, and with that we will strengthen our credibility and become more knowledgeable and influential in our role as we grow within our career.

Lauren Schultz is an Employee Relations/OD Specialist for BDS Marketing Inc. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Psychology. Lauren resides in Orange County, California. Lauren is currently working in Human Resources focusing on employee development, learning and performance initiatives for BDS.

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BUILDING TRUST

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Trust is a popular and much discussed concept, used often in conversations about leadership, human interactions and relationships. It seems to have numerous definitions and meanings.

Trust is the belief that someone or something is reliable, good and honest. It is the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. To trust someone or something is to place confidence in that person or thing.

Bottom line, trust is the cornerstone of personal and professional relationships. It is that which great leaders are made of and great partnerships bloom from.

Without trust we cannot accomplish that which we strive for as a team or as individuals.

Often people ask me, why does my manager not trust me? Employees who feel micromanaged, second guessed and lack empowerment feel frustrated and unfulfilled. Most of the time, they are fully aware that it is a trust issue between them and their manager. Although we may know the why, we still get stuck in how to move past it and don’t know how to prove we are trustworthy.

My usual response is, what have you done to earn their trust? How have you proven to them that you can be trusted? I realize most people don’t contemplate the process behind the building of trust. Most people view trust as something that builds up naturally and overtime. They don’t realize that like many things trust is something that has to be worked at and invested in.

Yet it’s a complicated process; to be trusted you must earn it. To earn trust though, someone else must take a chance in order for you to show them that you can be trusted.

So what makes a person trust another? We know that trust comes down to the following core pillars; the perception of intention, integrity, competence/ability and visible results.

There are certain behaviors that can help earn trust, and prove that we deserve to be empowered. Obviously building trust will vary based on each individual person and their personal values and background. Still these behaviors are a good place to start….

  • Stick to your commitments: Do what you say you will do. Actions speak louder than words so there will come a point when you must stop talking and start doing.
  • Show accountability: Admit when you are wrong or when you made a mistake, and show humility when you are right.
  • Communicate: Be impeccable with the words you use and how you use them, make eye contact, be positive, open and transparent in the sharing of information.
  • Be authentic and accommodating: Use words of respect and gratitude. Be kind and polite and be willing to go out of your way, don’t hesitate to go above and beyond. Ask how they are doing and listen, genuinely pay attention to the other person when they are talking to you, and just as important- know when to stop talking.
  • Demonstrate your abilities: Share ideas, content and opinions, ask for their advice, show that you remember or have retained that which was said to you by the other party. Illustrate your knowledge and show you are open-minded to others viewpoints and take seriously the others expertise.
  • Lastly, be consistent with all these, and be patient. Take it slow, trust grows at a difference pace in each relationship.

Trust takes time to earn and small actions over time, not just words, will speak volumes. In time, you will be able to demonstrate that you can take ownership and be empowered to drive forward goals, initiatives and deliverables. Feeling empowered is a big part of feeling fulfilled at work. We all want to make an impact, be a part of making a difference. It builds our confidence and skills, it strengthens our relationships…when trust is placed in us. So don’t underestimate its importance, put the time into building, growing and protecting this precious thing called trust and watch your relationships bloom over time!

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