Aug 8, 2008

Jerry Maguire

You might imagine that Y Generation feel so ‘entitled’ to access this online world, that they are just doing it to be noticed, maybe even that because the rules have changed and multi-million pound businesses are being created through online worlds that they are just trying to make a fast ‘buck’ – chasing the cash. To an extent, you’d be right (e.g. the million dollar web page).

Thankfully/ sadly it’s not that simple. Generation Y like the generations before them, recognise the need for work, and one Gen Y isnt necessarily as technology crazed as the next Gen Y (in fact, some of my friends are leaving online networking sites like facebook because they dont want all their details online). Nonetheless they want to work for inspirational leaders. Leaders who teach, trust and give ownership.
In the film Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) – famed for its ‘Show me the Money’ clip – there is a parallel story line to the one between Jerry and his Sports Stars. It’s between 'Jerry' and 'Dorothy Boyd' (one of the financial clerks (played by Renée Zellweger). Jerry and Dorothy leave to set up another firm after Jerry gets fired. Later in the film Dorothy explains why she left with Jerry:

Dorothy: The truth? I care about the job. But mostly, I just want to be inspired. That memo you
wrote... that inspired me. I'm here because of that memo. I love that memo.

Zellweger is drawn to Cruise because of a vision that he has for how business should be done. The challenge is delivering the vision, and together they do.

When Baby Boomer CEOs cast their vision, their challenge is similar – to align all the Generations behind that vision and to deliver, together. After their (2 week, 2 year or 5 year) training programmes Y Gens will pick teams/ bosses/ colleagues on the basis of ‘reputation’. Experience, you see, is everything for this Generation, and they are somewhat 'knowing' (or in Boomer language, impulsive).

Experiences are shared.


These also become very real, virtual, truths and leave a trail to the company. If Boomers are concerned about the amount of detail that their children (Generation Y) are leaving on online sites and to whom they are giving out their email addresses and mobile numbers, perhaps they should also be concerned about what this generation says about their company as well. Afterall, Generation Y is required for the succession of the business and has a huge influence on the recruitment of their peers into the workforce). What would be the response to this question:

Who had the biggest influence on your desire to join our company:

(a) Our corporate website

(b) The recommendation of the company by your friends

A thought to ponder: What could be the combined effect of a CEO or MD working in partnership with a generation that can spread (good) news across all of their network? As the CEO of a telecoms business or service provider are you harnessing the potential of the Y Generation in your business?

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