Sluffing-off Millennial Myths Reveals the Millennial ‘Possibility’ Mindset

by Judith E. Glaser and Debra Pearce-McCall

What’s New About the Millennial’s Mindset?

With their deep comfort with uncertainty and technology, coupled with their hardwired self-expression at worksense of inclusion, Millennials are blazing the trail by transforming workplaces. When used well, technological connections facilitate extended conversations and build trusting relationships transcending time and space, with all the potential this unleashes. The future leaders of this relationship network, where the world is connected in ways that shift our minds and brains, are the Millennials. Consider this: How might the Millennial generation be riding the next wave of human evolution?

Putting to test our hypothesis that Millennials have been mislabeled, we brought together some Millennials from IBM to get their best current thinking, and through ‘asking questions for which they have not answers’ and ‘listening to connect’ – which are CreatingWe Institute’s approaches to deeper conversations – we learned about Millennials’ evolving mindsets:

I feel IBM fosters a culture of collaboration and being part of a team – that you’re not trying to one up everyone else or get ahead while other people fall behind, it’s more of lifting everybody up together…. I’ve never met a millennial who is just all for themselves and is unwilling to help anybody else.” (Austin Root)

We believe that the best ideas don’t necessarily come from a leader. They come from different parts of an organization and from around the world.” (Drew Seward)

“We’re entrepreneurial, communicative, and collaborative. We’ve grown up in the generation that communicates and is transparent.” (Lexie Komisar)

Deconstructing our Biases

Our view of the Millennial Mindset is based on the new understanding of our social brains, and how our neural patterns and our minds develop in response to lived experiences. Our focus, Conversational Intelligence Researchers, led us to ask: How might experiences common to a significant number in this generation impact their social brain development, their mindsets and how they relate in the workplace? We chose to sluff-off some typical and often negatively inflected Millennial Myths, and consider ways that the Millennials’ childhood experiences may have harnessed positive neuroplasticity and shaped their mindsets to enable them to adapt, and even thrive in our rapidly changing world. With an open, fresh perspective, let’s explore the powers of what we are calling the Millennial Possibility Mindset.

“I think Millennial’s have a lot to share; I think all different generations inside the company have a lot to share, and it’s about us drawing from our collective experiences, and history…it’s about learning and having conversations, because that’s actually how you create thriving, open, organizations.” (Laura Vang)

Interestingly, no one in the IBM group felt generational ownership of the term Millennial. Instead, they were sure that anyone, of any age, could share their perspectives. This sense of inclusiveness is the first adaptive mind quality we will highlight next as we consider The Millennial Possibility Mindset.

Judith E. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is an Organizational Anthropologist, and consults to Fortune 500 Companies. Judith is the author of 4 best-selling business books, including her newest Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (Bibliomotion, 2013) 

Debra Pearce-McCall, PhD, is a psychologist who translates the science of mind, brain, and relating into everyday wisdom for leaders and organizations.  She’s a Senior Consultant for The Creating WE Institute. Connect with Debra.


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