Getting The Most Of Your 20-Somethings

Last year I took a week off and went to Los Cabos. Unknowingly, I picked a resort favored by 20-24 year-olders down for Grad Week, a kind of post-college version of Spring Break. After watching them nearly get expelled from the resort on their first day, I gained their respect by winning the belly flop and dirty joke contests. Why? So this 50 year-old consultant could learn firsthand what makes 20-somethings tick.

Here is what I learned and some implications if you are employing and managing 20 Somethings (2OS’s)

Learning: 2OS’s make short term commitments called hookups which are made and broken quickly
Implication: Don’t expect commitment but hire for projects and structure them to achieve short term goals

Learning: 2OS’s draw great validation from the packs they create
Implication: Hire several people to do a job together or one job that can be shared by a pack

Learning: 2OS’s seek affirmation by their peers within their generation and are always taking pictures, dancing and dating in groups
Implication: Find ways of recognizing satisfactory performance through and by their peers

Learning: 2OS’s - This MTV generation parties and thinks in short bursts, multi-media and sound bytes
Implication: Structure their learning, work days and reward systems to favor bursts of frenetic productivity, not steady 8 hour days

Learning: 2OS’s look for direction from leaders and demonstrate conformity in their packs.
Implication: Pinpoint the leaders and create rewards for their constructive leadership and ability to get their packs to deliver.

Twenty-somethings lead a life and consciousness completely different than anyone older than them. Many live with their parents but probably will be the first generation not to live better than their parents. They have inherited a world of abundance both in lifestyle and problems they did not create and do not relate to.

Blind to what they see as old school and blissfully ignorant of time, longevity and investing for the future, they live in the present. And yes our future leaders will emerge from this group!

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