Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Millenials: Think Before You Share!

Andy McAfee has a great blog post out that is titled, "Mistakes Millenials Make at Work." McAfee argues that, "Gen Y's misbegotten emphasis on egalitarianism and tendency to share too much information can be a detriment." He explains that millenials may overshare information, and in so doing, they may simply annoy their colleagues or embarrass themselves. Moreover, millenials may express opinions so freely about matters far and wide that they run afoul of those who believe strongly in adherence to hierarchy and respect for past accomplishments. As McAfee puts it, "Most if not all of the digital communities where Gen Y has spent time are highly egalitarian. They're indifferent to pre-existing hierarchies and credentials, and sometimes even hostile to them." Of course, business organizations are quite different than many of those egalitarian online communities!

He offers some solid advice for millenials as they consider how to act in the workplace. First, he proposes that they ask themselves whether a colleague they have never met might find the information that they wish to share interesting or useful. Second, he argues that they should, "understand the political and organizational lay of the land before engaging in egalitarian online interactions and fearless truth telling."

I would add one more piece of advice. Each millenial should ask himself or herself these three simple questions before they opine on an organizational matter beyond their particular area of responsibility: What might I need to learn more about before I express my views? What person(s) might be helpful to me in getting a broader perspective and more knowledge about this issue? What risks do I face if I offer my views without gathering more background information? Asking those three questions might help millenials step back and reflect before they act.

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