Larry Young is the owner of Boiling Frog Development, a company that works with organizations to bridge the communications gap by connecting the emerging Millennials with the Boomer and Gen X generations. Larry conducts individual coaching and seminars to help emerging leaders build credibility and for existing leaders to celebrate the differences. This gives organizations competitive advantage over their competition. Prior to launching hos own company, Larry had a successful 24 year career leading numerous multi-generational teams within a top 25 company as a Market President and Sales Manager. Larry has actively been involved in executive positions with United Way,Red Cross, and Women’s Shelters for close to 17 years.
What is the story behind the boiling frog? It is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out., but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. This is a great metaphor for the unwillingness or inability of people to react to changes that occur gradually
Young’s work deals with bridging the generation gap in the workplace. He related a story:
Rita is a 58 year-old veteran of the company. She does her job well. Comes in early, stays late and takes care of business. She is complaining about her co-worker Travis , a millennial who won’t listen to her, won’t do what she asks, and is affecting her ability to do her job. Travis comes in the office later clearly frustrated with Rita. He feels like he can’t connect with Rita, a baby boomer. He feels Rita wants him to do work he thinks isn’t his job.
Clearly both are frustrated. Both have the same situation and both see from a different perspective.
This is so applicable today. Different generations want and get from work can be like their commitment to a service organization such as Rotary, Boomers (like me) want to touch and feel and see things. They want credibility and will make an investment. Millennials, on the other hand, buy online, want instant gratification and buy or discern based upon testimonials. As far as giving, Boomers will opt for payroll deduction thinking “if I give, it will make a difference”. Millennials want to make change. They’ll hand a $1 over to make a change. They give less but they give to many causes. There are two perceptions of Millennials that are true. There are those who are lazy, unmotivated and prefer to lay on the couch eating chips; however, there are those who have brilliant and innovative minds. Their thought is “Show me the impact I can make and make me want this job, tell me what I need to do to get there.” Make a big deal of Millennials from Day Put them on a pedestal, make them feel wanted and connected to the organization. They will then post that to social media, their friends will see and think, “what does it take to work there. I want to as well.” The same with non-profits and service organizations – they need to feel welcome, wanted , applauded and then they will feel connected and more likely to stay. The sustainability of any organization is to build one member at a time. It is not easy to recruit. Younger folks need to see the direct impact of what they could do.
Young ended with this thought that I have heard somewhere from someone before… “ Get a potential new member there…then get their heart attached to the mission and you’ll have them for life.” Thanks Larry for your wonderful insight.