Millennial Leaders – Building a Horizontal View

By January 21, 2013Millennial

Through Trust Across America, I had an opportunity to host an hour radio show. Generation Y – or Millennials – have several unique characteristics, and my focus was on this generation and how it may change leadership and working principles.

Many of the key points from this discussion centered on two key elements:

  1. Horizontal View – Growth can occur on a horizontal plane. In other words, it isn’t just focused on vertical growth up an organizational hierarchy. Personal and leadership progress can be achieved by engaging in out-of-the-ordinary projects and taking on initiatives in other areas.
  2. Speed of Change – This generation may be impatient, and it may be beneficial in driving change in the way work is done and what is accomplished. Encouraging change to happen at a faster pace may instill new organizational structures and work processes. Agile approaches have been around, but they may become the new norm.

There is a common view in these two elements, and it is a “Horizon View.” What I mean by this is that there is a vision within this generation focused on bringing people together to facilitate meaning and purpose in the work being done. Coupled with this is a view that change is almost always required, and we must be fast and flexible.

Some of this could be viewed with skepticism by previous generations, along with an outlook that Millennials should be more patient and pay their dues. In a simple response, the other generations need to get over it! If anything stands out over the past two decades is that change is accelerating and we need to adapt or be run over.

This doesn’t mean that we must always be plugged in. In fact, even more today, we need to unplug from time-to-time. These practices facilitate new perspectives and refreshed mindsets.

There were many great points made during the conversation. Take some time and listen to our show entitled Trust in Millennial Leaders.


There are many topics started within this show that I hope to explore more in the months ahead.

Involved in the show were two from the The Ken Blanchard Companies:  Randy Conley, Trust Practice Leader, and Michelle Siciliano, Project Manager; two from Corepoint Health: Joe Merritt, Vice President of Development, and Erica Olenski, Account Executive; and Kelly Silay, Loyola University Chicago, Master of Social Work Program. It was a great mix of Millennials and two other generations. I am very grateful for their time and insights. This is an exciting generation!

What are you seeing from the Millennial Generation in your workplace or community?

Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and highlighted as one of the Leaders to Watch in 2015 by the American Management Association. He also is the author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. Jon serves as vice president of marketing at Corepoint Health. Outside of his professional life, Jon brings together a community to inspire Millennial leaders and close the gap between two generations of leaders.
Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz

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  • […] labeling Millennials with these stereotypes and treat them on an individual basis. As Jon Mertz pointed out, many Gen Y’ers understand that growth in organizations today is much more horizontally focused […]

  • […] Jon Mertz from Thin Difference explores the increased presence of millennial in the workplace with Millennial Leaders – Building a Horizontal View. […]

  • […] labeling Millennials with these stereotypes and treat them on an individual basis. As Jon Mertz pointed out, many Gen Y’ers understand that growth in organizations today is much more horizontally focused […]

  • Suzie Carr says:

    I keep telling myself ‘Unplug!’ and I find it hard to do. This is especially true because the very nature of my business requires me to be responsive and on… I think I’m afraid of missing out on something valuable if I go to long away from social media. I do agree, though, that time to refresh is critical and naturally lends itself to new perspectives. Perhaps scheduling an unplug moment of time is the first step for me to take…

    • Jon M says:

      I agree, Suzie. I just read an article on mindfulness practices that suggested doing a monthly social networking cleanse. This goes to your point of scheduling the time to unplug. Appreciate your comments! Jon

  • Joy Guthrie says:

    Curious, Jon, if you’ve read the Pendulum book by Roy H Williams. The key theory in the book is that there’s a 40 year pendulum on a “We” focused vs a “Me” focused society. The Millennials are square in the middle of the “We” pendulum, which has a lot of impacts on what is important to that generation. Sounds like it was a great session. Hope to catch it on replay.

    • Jon M says:

      Joy, I have not heard of this book but it looks very interesting. There may be something to this. In one article I read, it stated that the Millennials have the potential to be the next Greatest Generation. I hope so.

      Thank you for adding that into the mix. I may have to buy that book as I continue to explore these generational connections. Jon

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