Not Everyone Gets a Trophy is a book with specific advice on managing the "Millennial generation" - the generation born roughly between 1980-1995. I found the book a refreshing read, finding a few new ideas to think about. A lot of what I read was less of a surprise, but more a confirmation. This might be as on my team people are mostly only within this generation. I am also "millennial" myself, so reading about what characterizes my generation from the view of the author was interesting.
I found the book to reinforce many things that I already did day to day. I liked how the book was split into the actual management lifecycle (recruiting, onboarding, day to day things, retaining). I also liked how the book is relatively short, can be read in one or two sittings.
Where it could get better
This book has a very US-centric view on the Millenial generation. The examples are limited to this region and culture. Working at an international workplace, there is quite a cultural difference between millennial and millennial from different parts of the world, many of the examples not applying in the book to e.g. people from Southeast Asia.
I found the first part of the book a lot more engaging and felt the book being slightly dull towards the end. Also, while the grouping on management tips within the typical employee lifecycle (from recruiting to retaining) was a good start, I missed a concise collection of some key do's and donts that worked well, in the author's opinion. As I took notes, I ended up grouping much of my experience and examples from the book to a few groups (see below).
I do recommend the book, mostly for people who are already managing or leading people. The book made me rethink how I do some things and reaffirmed some of my existing habits, adding a few new ideas to them.
Below are the notes I collected, as I went along.
What I learned about the millennial generation within the workforce
- Set and communicate expectations clearly.
- Be authentic. This generation, more than any other, will sniff out if you believe in what you say or if you're just conveying a message you're not onboard with.
Share the "why". Have them know the "why?" and the impact. This makes a huge difference in feeling a part of something vs feeling one is just a screw in the machine.
- Involve people in planning.
- Empower them. This is a lot harder than it sounds! It might start with teaching people how to do things well.
- Celebrate. And perhaps have them involved in organizing the celebration as well!
Personalized growth. Learn about where people want to grow. Support these with opportunities.
- Challenge people, push them out of their comfort zone at times.
- Have them teach. This is helpful in multiple ways: better mastering of what they are teaching, better satisfaction and might help in shaping the next generation of leaders/teachers.
- Give feedback on how they can improve.
- Help them present their ideas.
- Do regular self evaluations with them.
Reading through the book and taking notes, I collected much of the advice to a few to successfully managing this generation.
- Clarity. Be clear on their role and on expectations.
- Feedback. Make it specific and frequent.
- Challenge, master, teach. Challenge them with things that push them out of their comfort zone, help them master things and have them teach. Rinse and repeat.
- Treat them as equals as best as possible. Be transparent, share news and decisions. Involve and empower them.
- But be sure to give coaching and mentoring, otherwise you might be setting up them for failure.
- Be invested in their success - and let them know that you are!
- Fun is really important! And encourage having fun, celebrating and so on.
Chapter by Chapter
As I went along, I took the following notes, chapter by chapter. As I said, I did like how the book went through the lifecycle of people at a company (starting from recruiting, all the way to retention and succession planning).
Recruiting (Chapter 2: Get onboard with the right message)
- Have a meaningful recruiting message.
- Don't oversell the opportunity to people! "Scaring", then "testing" them often works a lot better. (Note: I second to this: I've seen us lose people after a few weeks whom we oversold opportunities, at Uber as well.)
- Keep communications open: don't go silent.
Onboarding (Chapter 3: Onboard quickly)
- Onboarding is super important!
- Invest in preparation for how you onboard new people.
Day to Day Management (Chapter 4: Manage (a bit) like you were a parent)
- Care. Invest time. Be authentic.
- Set clear boundaries and expectations.
- Setup a points system (Note: this was a part I could not make much sense with and disagreed - perhaps in the software engineering, this is not a good approach)
Giving Context (CHapter 5: Given them the gift of context)
- Help them understand how they fit in.
- Teach them to rock presentations & meetings. (Note: it was pretty cool to realize I was doing this many cases already.)
- Exposure can be a reward, with the right context.
Customer Service (Chapter 6: Help them care about great customer service)
- Customers are everywhere: everyone and everything can be a customer. Find opportunities to improve.
- Teach them the basics of good customer service.
Managing Self (Chapter 7: Teach them how to manage themselves)
- Help set priorities. Help set long-term goals.
- Teach how to plan. Encourage taking notes or creating checklists.
- Be clear about what being a good citizen is. *(Note: I found it an "aha" moment, realizing how at Uber we have a whole section on perf reviews&promotions dedicated to citizenship, with many examples)
How to be managed (Chapter 8: Teach them how to be managed by you)
- Set ground rules, but no too many.
- One on ones: setup a regular cadence & focused routine.
- Focus on soluitons, not problems. Keep track of their performance.
Retaining the Best (Chapter 9: Retain the best of Gen Y one day at a time)
- Push out low performers
- Find out what to do to keep them
- Give the best the attention they deserve
Build Up the Next Generation of Leaders (Chapter 10)
- Teach and support people. (Note: this section was quite short, almost like an afterthought)