Last week, my
future daughter-in-law posted the following on Facebook:
“So, can we
please stop saying that millennials are killing various businesses, because I'm
pretty sure these businesses are killing themselves by not adapting to a changing
This is a
discussion that is near and dear to my heart for two reasons. The first is that
I am tired of all the discussion about the differences between Baby Boomers, Millennials,
Gen Xers, Gen Yers, Gen Runners, etc. Yes, there are differences within these
groups based on their experiences. But, when it comes to one-on-one
interactions, every single person is their own individual.
When you are
hiring a new employee, when you are being hired by a new boss, when you are
working with a client, when you are being audited, when you are interacting
with another human being (whether it is a part of your audit work or not), the
person on the other side of the table is not the stereotype that you build when
you start thinking of them as part of a “generation”.
Generation is just
one piece of the puzzle that makes up each and every one of us.
Of course, the
person’s generation will make a difference. And so will where the person was
raised. And so will where the person went to college. And so will where the
person has worked. And so will whether the person is in a long-term
relationship or not. And so will how many kids the person has. And so will… And
so will… And so will… And so will…
In other words,
we have to relate to the complicated combination of ideas that make up each
individual, not to whatever stereotypes (including generation) that might cloud
our perceptions of that individual.
When we find
ourselves building a picture of the mindset of another individual because of
their generation (or any other area where stereotypes quickly rear their ugly
heads), we have to step back and change our mindset about them.
He is not a certain
generation. She is not a certain gender. He is not a certain nationality. She
is not a certain political persuasion. He is not a certain religion. She is not
a certain profession (even internal auditor). Each is a person who is made up
of a complex potpourri of ideas and beliefs. And, the sooner we move past our
personal mindsets of what we think certain types of people represent, the
sooner we will be able to hire effectively, interview effectively, audit
effectively, communicate effectively, and, in general, work with other people
the quote that got all this started, Millennials aren’t killing businesses; businesses
(and internal auditors) are killing themselves by trying to push people into
pigeonholes when none should exist.
And the second
reason this discussion is near and dear to my heart gets to the point I really
wanted to make – the one that first sprang to mind when I read the quote. But I’ve
gone on too long, and I’m afraid that second point will be buried by everything
else I’ve said so far.
So, join us next week when we will talk about whether or
not millennials are killing businesses and internal audit.