Are Millennials Just Entitled?
by Jim Brady, VP of Global Supply Chain
I lead the Supply Chain Team for Axon — we make conducted electrical weapons (you know them by our "TASER" brand name), as well as body-worn and in-car camera systems. Among our key differentiators are software platforms, including a cloud-based storage medium called Evidence.com. We engage in cutting edge initiatives in the AI and machine learning spaces while servicing the law enforcement communities.
I hear a lot about "millennials" — defined by Wikipedia (the source of all truth) as those people born between early 80's and mid 90's. I hear that they are a narcissistic lot, caring about only what's in it for them. I hear that because they received participation medals, they feel "entitled" and are impatient to get ahead, driven by an endless need for recognition, more coin, fame, and glory.
I don't buy it.
In fact, my experience has been the opposite.
Sure, I gave birth to a couple (truth be told my bride did all of the work there), but more importantly, I work with a significant number of them on a daily basis. It gives me "street cred" — they cringe when I say stuff like that, right before they laugh.
I learn a lot from them every day …more than I can ever teach. In fact, I hired the ones I work with for what they know more than to tell them what I know. That has become part of our culture: hire smart people and then let them do their job.
They challenge the status quo with the experience of being globally connected with technology that I wouldn't have dreamt would exist when I was their age.
They have a thirst to learn and to leave things better than they found them. They seek knowledge but are interested in taking what they have learned and applying it in the interest of getting a better result. When they fail, they learn from it, and move on quickly and decisively.
I don't see them as feeling "entitled," but they are more aware than ever that global opportunities to make their mark await if they want to pursue them. They are not risk averse; they don't have a problem with moving, as "roots" have become virtual in today's world. They cherish life experiences that connect them with their values, — which are deeper at this phase of their lives than I recall mine being — engrained perhaps by the harsh realities of many world problems that are rapidly becoming theirs to solve.
My advice is to embrace and learn from this new generation— they aren't that different. They care, have already forgotten more technology than I will ever know, and of course they rebel and feel they are right all the time. Guess what? So did I. They likely won't want to spend an entire career with one company — their thirst for knowledge is too strong. My job is to make sure they are challenged with real opportunities that they can convert into results. If I do that well, their time spent with us will likely increase.
In short, I love being around them — a lot — and am humbled when my opinion is sought as a mentor, advisor, father or fellow human.
I know— I sound like an old guy —a seasoned professional if you will. That's ok. I wear that badge with pride, and I am happy to learn from and, in a small way, influence what I see as tomorrow's world leaders.
Get ready - it's going to be one heck of a ride.
If this resonates with you, feel free to reach out. We are on a continual search for top talent. But be aware, the bar is high (it got raised after, or perhaps because, I joined!).
#AXON (I know hashtags!)