Chasing Relevance: A book review by Bob Morris

ChasingRelevance-1Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace
Dan Negroni with Jim Eber
launchbox (August 2016)

How to create a workplace within which “powerful, authentic, multi-generational relationships are most likely to thrive”

In this book written with Jim Eber, Dan Negroni introduces B.R.I.D.G.E., “an overlapping and integrated six-step plan that unleashes the power of your inside-out work. It compels you to understand your own relevance to address disconnects and become completely relevant as a guide, mentor, and leader with and to millennials.” That is, those who comprise what is also referred to as the “Gen Y,” born (roughly) between the late-1970s and the mid-1990s. Today, their ages range from about 20 to 40.

In fact, most of the material Negroni provides can also be of substantial value to the nourishment of those in other generations. The results of all of the major studies of customer values and aspirations clearly indicate that this is what has cross-generational importance: feeling appreciated, trusting and respecting supervisors and associates, believing in the value of the work they do, and the given employer is wholeheartedly committed to their personal growth and professional development. What is most relevant to millennials is also most relevant to everyone else.

However, when preparing millennials to become “the employees their managers expect and need to succeed,” Negroni suggests these questions be asked and answered:

“How can leaders and managers of millennials reshape what they’re doing, understand millennials better, and bridge the gap between generations in the workplace? How can we find relevance by creating next-generation leaders who provide everyone more value and create more success for the world?”

Yes, there can be – and often are – generational gaps in a workplace. They are perhaps most obvious when people who are 55+ are supervised by people in their late-20s or early 30s. Values and tastes differ, of course, but that’s hardly news. Almost 2,500 years ago in ancient Athens, Pericles complained about “insubordinate” and “wasteful” youth who do not respect their elders, wear strange clothes, neglect their studies, refuse to go to religious services, etc.

I agree with Negroni that the gap in workplace expectations can be eradicated everyone involved finds relevance “by bridging the skills gap to create next generation leaders.” More specifically by

o “creating powerful, authentic relationships in the given workplace”
o “promoting behavior that creates a culture of openness, delivering value and shared purpose”
o “teaching real-deal skills and increasing individual accountability to drive company results”

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Negroni’s coverage:

o The importance of self-knowledge (Pages 32-33, 43-46 and 47-56)
o Assessing Skills (47-50)
o Stories and storytelling (61-63, 66-69, 7072, 153-154, and 154-160)
o Characteristics of Millennials (62-64)
o Choose Your Mindset (132-136)
o Stereotypes (63-65, 83-85, 100-103, and 167-168)
o B.R.I.D.G.E. defined (81-82)
o B: Bust Myths (83-84)
o Breakthrough generational stereotypes (85-89)
o R: Real Deal (105-106)
o I: I Own It (127-143)
o D: Deliver Value (145-164)
o Disengagement (147-48)
o Adam Grant (148-151)
o Make It About Others (159-163)
o G: Goals (165-181)
o Lead with Transparency and Purpose (173-176)
o E: Empower Success (183-202)
o Individuality (187-190)

Why does Negroni focus so much attention on next-generation leaders in the workplace, especially millennials? He explains:

“Millennials represent 2.4 billion of the world’s population, 83 million strong in the U.S. alone. They will be 75 percent of the workforce in the next ten years, and they control almost $700 billion in spending today. They do not want the power; they are the power. They decide what businesses will live or die – think Blockbuster/Netflix, taxis/Uber, hotels/Airbnb. They are our customers, our employees, our future!”

It is no coincidence that companies annually ranked among those that are most highly admired and best to work for are also ranked among those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value in their industry category. With rare exception, these companies have created and then nourished a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development thrive.

What’s their secret sauce? The cross-generation leadership development that Dan Negroni with Jim Eber explain so brillliantly, so compellingly in this book. Bravo!


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