Millennial MomentumMolly Page has interviewed many Millennials through a Thin Difference-sponsored series, Millennial Momentum. Each story unveils struggles, successes, and engaging insights how leadership, career, and everything else begins to create a life on purpose.

As I read through many of the Millennial stories again, five bold ideas surfaced. The bold ideas are ones to be considered and used by Millennials and all generations.

One of the motivating principles behind Thin Difference is the belief we need to connect generations and learn from each other to raise the standard of leadership. When we do this, we realize any perceived differences begin to melt away and we are stronger together than divided.

Bold ideas are the source for leading in better ways. Each story is inspiring and delivers fuel to our own aspirations.

5 Bold Ideas from Millennials

1 – Be an entrepreneur of yourself, always finding ways to improve

Although this idea may not seem bold, the actual act of doing it is. Many will talk about how they need to do things differently, adopt new habits, and change their mindsets. Few take the steps beyond talk.

There are many conversations about what it means to be an entrepreneur. For me, an entrepreneur is someone who is always improving how and what they do and how and what they think about. Change is at the center, tightly bundled in with thoughtful, energetic actions. This is a standard embraced by entrepreneurs and many Millennials. We need to all be an entrepreneur of ourselves and our work. (tweet this)

Always improving takes hard work. Hard work and tangible results produce trust and remove age barriers. Be an entrepreneur of yourself.

“Looking for opportunities to improve, rather than falling in line is an entrepreneurial characteristic that can help anyone in any work environment.” – Madeline Caldwell, “Madeline Caldwell: Millennial Entrepreneur in Disguise?”

“If you want to be great you have to work to be great.” – Kern Carter, “Gifted Millennial Writer Kern Carter”

2 – Moving from spark to reality takes work and smart people engaged

How many ideas get wasted by inaction? Too many. What happens is we get stuck in the idea phase or get lost in our own thoughts. Instead, we need to break out of our protective shells and take the time to really understand the problem we are solving. We do this by going out in the field, experiencing first-hand the challenges and talking to people who would benefit from this activated idea.

If there is a theme in each Millennial story, it is the theme of hard work and working with others. (tweet this)

Each generation seems to be guilty of putting up barriers. To take an idea from spark to success requires being great at removing barriers. Time well-spent is taking the time to understand the problem, finding the people who may have answers and experiences, and engaging smart people to refine the idea and move it from spark to success.

“My dad used to say, ‘There’s always someone out there smarter than you.’” – Sidney Kushner, “Sidney Kushner: A Millennial Leader Listening for Solutions”

3 – Collaborative ways lead to better consequences

Choices equal consequences. Choose to fight for everything and get nothing. Choose to find solutions and achieve positive results. Choose to collaborate and solve problems and create better ways forward. (tweet this)

Simple, right?

What complicates this bold idea are personalities, self-righteousness, self-centeredness, and closed minds. Instead we need to adopt a growth mindset, a learning mindset. By doing this, we build trust and achieve more together than alone.

Take the advice from the Common Sense Action team:

  • make space take space: each participant must be sure to make space for other’s opinions but also take opportunities to share opposing opinions and be heard.
  • honest space safe space: each participant is encouraged to share honestly and to speak up if another participant shares an opinion that makes him/her feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
  • trust intent name impact: each participant should be trusted to have the group’s best interest at heart but must also be made aware of the effect his or her statements have on other members of the group

“We got to discuss all different perspectives on an issue – not to try to win the debate but rather to learn something from each other.” – Andrew Kaplan, “Collaborative Millennial Leaders: Common Sense Action”

4 – Know your pivot points – feeling failure should not prevent you from taking a different path

We are all on a path. The difference is whether or not it is the right path. What makes the difference is discernment and guts.

Discernment is a big word with a big impact. Discernment is the ability to think clearly about your situation, your purpose, and what are the right actions to take. Too often, we continue on the road we are travelling because it seems to be going somewhere. Discernment is the ability to determine if we should really be going elsewhere.

And this is where guts come in. Changing the comfortable road you are on takes guts. Equally challenging is taking a better road than the wrong road you are on. Both take guts. We need to have guts and discernment to pivot to the right path, navigate the bumps, and survive the curves. (tweet this) This is so important though because it determines if we live and lead on purpose or not.

“On this side I can look back and think, ‘I learned so much from that but man was it painful.’” – Hannah Becker, “Motivated Millennial Leader Hannah Becker”

“Motivated and purpose-driven people make frequent career jumps based on their changing interests and desires in order to maximize their impact.” – Adam Smiley, “Daring Millennial Leader: Adam ‘Smiley’ Poswolsky”

5 – Don’t have a ladder mindset, have a breakthrough mindset

We have had a generational shift over the past several decades. The 50s style of climbing the corporate ladder is diminished. Replacing the ladder is a horizontal view. We gain by expanding our capabilities, undertaking new initiatives, solving unsolved problems, and taking on projects most would run from. What we need to adopt now is a “breakthrough mindset, as Adam Smiley calls it.

Ladders are neat. Careers are rarely neat. In the mess of organizations and challenging marketplaces, we need people who have a breakthrough mindset, willing to take on new challenges and work with people across the generations. Strong abilities to learn quickly is a necessary ingredient here.

Millennials are adopting the breakthrough mindset, which can create many positive outcomes. (tweet this) With this mindset, there will be setbacks. However, the results will overpower the disappointments. What is learned through the setbacks and successes will be invaluable. We need to be bold in each generation and between generations.

“For a variety of reasons (a career ladder mindset) is no longer relevant, the major reason being the current state of the economy and the job market. Those clear paths are just no longer available to folks.” – Adam Smiley, “Daring Millennial Leader: Adam ‘Smiley’ Poswolsky”

“If you’re open, willing to learn, willing to put yourself in the shoes of someone else it doesn’t matter what generation you’re from, you’re going to be able to work across those generational lines.” – Sean Graber, “Why Millennials Are Not Ready to Lead”

Are you ready to take on bold ideas? What is your bold idea to pursue in the year ahead?


Special note:

Activate Leadership

Coming soon is my new book, Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. Details will be available in mid-February 2015.