Listen to the podcast: David and Jonah Stillman discuss their book about managing Generation Z. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/knowledge-wharton/id120724941 The following are three key points from the conversation.
- Generation Z is ambitious and hardworking. Compared to the millennial generation, Gen Z is more competitive and independent. Millennials were raised to believe in collaboration and inclusion, which are positive traits that extend to their work ethic. However, the view that everyone wins if everyone works together isn’t necessarily realistic.
“I was told that there’s winners and losers, and if I’m not willing to work my butt off there are 70 million other Gen Zers that are going to come right up behind you and take your job,” Jonah Stillman says. “We are a very competitive and driven generation.”
It’s important for millennial managers to realize they need a different approach with their youngest charges.
“Now we’ve got a generation that’s going to be much more independent and very competitive,” David Stillman says. “I think we run the risk that millennials will dismiss this generation as not loyal, not team players, and it’s just not true. They’re coming and looking through a completely different lens. I think step one is that we need to train those who are going to be on the frontlines just how different Gen Z will be from millennials.”
- Generation Z babies are digital natives. Employees who belong to Generation Z have never known life without the internet or social media, and they are comfortable with rapidly changing technology. It’s a trait that the Stillmans identify as phygital.
“Phygital has sort of blurred the lines between physical and digital,” David Stillman says. “They see no line at all. This generation has only known a world where their phones are smart.”
Because Zers are digital natives, they can serve as authority figures on the technology that is so imperative to the modern workplace. They are quick to streamline processes, and they have less hesitation or fear to try something new.
“One thing we heard again and again in researching for the book was Gen Z felt the other generations over-thought a lot of things and took too long,” David Stillman says. “So, they are going to be good to say, ‘Let’s just try it, let’s get out there, let’s do it and maybe cut out a lot of the deep, long processes.’
“At the same time, we have to be careful because this generation can act too quickly. You don’t want them having a company spend all these resources to move something that is only just a quick fad that came and went.”
- Generation Z is looking for alternatives. Economic and political events — including Sept. 11th and the Great Recession — have critically shaped the worldview of Gen Zers. While millennials are often seen as having an undeserved sense of entitlement, Zers have an attitude more in line with their Generation X parents. David Stillman describes it as the difference between, “Wow, this job is lucky to have me,” and “Wow, I’m so lucky to have this job.”
“That switch up, because of the Recession as well as Gen X parents with some tough love, 76% of Gen Z said they are willing to start at the bottom and work their way up,” he says. “I think it’s going to be great.”
Jonah Stillman describes his peers as the do-it-yourself generation, partly because the internet provides unprecedented opportunities for self-education.
“If I wanted to learn how to re-tile my bathroom floor or speak Russian, I could do all of that and anything in between by logging onto YouTube,” he says.
His generation is more willing to think beyond the traditional path to that first job. Like Harvard-bound Malia Obama, more Zers are weighing the idea of a “gap year” between high school and college to travel, intern, learn a skill or simply hone in on what they want to be when they grow up.
The reason for the change lies partly with the increasing burden of college debt. The younger set is hyper-aware of the debt that millennials have, and they don’t want to be saddled with the same load. They want to find a deeper connection between an expensive education and what they will do with it.
“We know that 75% of Gen Zs believe that there are other ways of getting a good education than by going to college,” Jonah Stillman said.
From Knowledge at Wharton May 24, 2017
The ubiquitous rise of the internet has had a profound effect on mankind, dramatically altering both how we live and work. Yet, in our on-demand society replete with endless conveniences, one of the single most resonating benefits has been the ability to live, work and earn from anywhere on this planet. It’s an allure that attracts droves of individuals who are frustrated with the throes of 9-to-5 life, seeking ways they can untether the cord of corporate responsibility.
Clearly, the temptation of becoming a digital nomad and traveling the world, or simply working from home on your own schedule, was born well before Tim Ferris’s iconic, 4-Hour Work Week. However, for most who are drawn into this life replete with the potential for unapologetic income and wealth, coupled with the ability to call their own shots and build a business around an intended lifestyle, affiliate marketing offers a cliched pathway to riches beyond measure.
For Dan Henry, the salient dream of living life and succeeding by marketing products or services as an affiliate wasn’t just alive, it was lucid. Still, dream as he might, in 2011 Henry was still just a college dropout delivering pizzas door-to-door just to make a living. However, compelled by a nascent desire to live according to own terms, he knew that there was more to life than existing paycheck-to-paycheck.
Yet, like any other young adult, Henry struggled in life, unsure of where to go or what to do, embattled by bad habits that included a chronic addiction to cigarettes. He was the product of circumstances, but that didn’t make him a victim. Like any other person looking to succeed, he knew some serious changes to his life were in order. And one of those changes was the necessity to quit smoking cigarettes, a habit he had come to abhor.
Although he had tried countless times in the past, he had failed to quit. But this time was different. His frame-of-mind had changed. And something inside of him clicked when he realized he could use electronic cigarettes to actually ween himself off the “real thing.” He implemented a system where he used a low-quality gas station brand, and went from strong to medium then mild over a multi-week period.T (more…)
And now as we chart a course into 2017, under the governance of a new commander-in-chief, there are potential new concerns for SMBs on top of normal day-to-day business affairs. Where do you see your business going in the coming year? Have you attempted anything new to grow revenue and profits? What is your confidence level in the economy? Those are just a few of the questions we were curious about in the poll.
This year’s survey results represented data from 1127 different small businesses, the highest participation to date. Small business leaders and executives weighed in on important topics, including:
- Support of government for small businesses
- Impact of the election and a new presidency
- Top business challenges
- Anticipated growth
- Growth strategies
- Social media use
- IT spending and use
After we took time to hone in on the most important topics, administer the surveys, collect data, and analyze the responses, some of the results were surprising and changed our assumptions about the state of small business. It’s also very interesting to compare the stats year-over-year. The following are some key findings from the report:
- 50 percent of SMBs plan to hire new employees in the coming year, even though over half of companies find it to be their biggest challenge.
- 49 percent of respondents believe a new president will have a positive effect on their company’s growth.
- 28 percent of businesses polled sell goods or services on their respective websites, four percent less than in 2016.
Further, confidence in the U.S. economy has remained unchanged, with either no change or a slight rise in optimism. That being said, 69 percent anticipate an increase in revenue over 2016. You can find even more data on marketing, social media, IT, and when you read the report.