Cracking the Millennial Code
Episode #457 with Ryan Vet
Now, more than ever, we coexist with multiple generations in the workplace. And to help you navigate the challenges that can bring, Kirk Behrendt brings in Ryan Vet, owner of Speaking Consulting Network and author of Cracking the Millennial Code, to share advice that will help you better understand the people you work with. Cancel generational stereotypes, not one another! To create a balanced, collaborative environment, listen to Episode 457 of The Best Practices Show!
Understand what shapes someone’s identity and personality.
Learn how to listen to people different from yourself.
Don't make generalizations about others.
We are more similar than we think.
Give people grace.
“The first thing that is most important, and people don't often start here, is what are your priorities? Priorities are different than your goals. Your goals are, ‘I want to have this much in the bank account,’ or, ‘I want to be on the cover of this magazine or be interviewed on this news station.’ And all those goals are great. But priorities are really, what are those things that no matter what you're doing in life, whether you're being the best toilet scrubber you can be — which, I have owned cleaning companies and I have scrubbed plenty of toilets in my day — or you're running a multinational company, what are those things that never change?” (4:30—4:57)
“If you get your priorities straight, you can do just about anything you want.” (5:07—5:10)
“Even in my own career when I've seen things not go the way I had hoped, or encountered failures, often, it’s because those priorities are not in the right order, and you start to get off-kilter.” (5:10—5:20)
“[The second piece of advice] would be, surround yourself with people. I always have three people in my life. The first is my co-runner, someone I'm running alongside of, someone that's in the same stage of life, going through the same things. The second person I always have is the forerunner, the person who’s run ahead of me, who has been there, to mentor. And then, the third person I have is someone that's a couple steps behind me, because I often find that as I'm trying to coach or mentor someone else that's coming up and is a little bit younger or trying to get into a new career path, I learn more from trying to coach them than anything else that I do.” (5:23—5:58)
“The title [of my book] has “millennial” in it. It’s really not about millennials that much at all. In fact, if you look at page count, maybe only 20% to 30% of it is about millennials. The rest of it is this intergenerational connection, how they interact, and how one generation influences the next generation. And the reality is, whether you're in a corporate office, a dental office, at home, or your neighborhood, you're having some of these interactions with people from different generations, or that were raised by parents of a different generation, which is something I talk a little bit about in the book as well. You could be a millennial born to boomer parents or Gen Xer parents, and you're going to be a different millennial than your fellow coworker or classmate.” (8:57—9:40)
“We all have blind spots. And so, as I was doing research, of course, I knew all the stigmas that millennials are known for. In fact, the back cover basically has a list of the things that millennials often get dinged on as far as their flaws. But what I quickly found was, we are the way we are because of our parents. And our parents are the way they are because of their parents and the way they were raised.” (10:18—10:42)
“When it comes to hiring, understanding some of [the generational differences] and how they're looking at it is important.” (11:38—11:43)
“Millennials actually want to be mentored, which is one of the biggest things that people, especially boomers — not calling boomers out, but boomers generally don't feel that millennials have any respect for authority. That comes partly from how boomers were raised, believe it or not, and how they view the authority relationship with mentors. But it also has to do with the fact that a millennial is never going to ask. And that's something that is very different. But almost always — and generalizing here — a boomer comes up to a millennial and says, ‘Hey, I want to mentor you and put you on this path,’ a millennial is going to not only say yes but welcome that with open arms and be more loyal to your company.” (11:44—12:24)
“When a boomer is talking to a millennial, first of all, you have to remember the millennial is still younger than you are and not experienced. And professionalism is very different to the millennial. So, that perceived respect that you would've expected in corporate America in the ‘70s and ‘80s when that boomer was in their early to mid-career is not the same way that the millennial is going to be treating you, from the way they speak to you or the way they interact with you. You're going to get casual texts, short emails. It doesn't make it right, but that's what you can expect. And so, you're going to get some of those things, and you do have to be gracious. Instead of worrying about changing the millennial, you have to come in the middle and help bring them to where they should be.” (15:14—16:01)
“First, figure out what shaped your identity and shaped your personality, and your generation’s. And I say this multiple times in the book, and I'll say it here, they're generalizations. Your own influences and experiences, even the region of the country in which you were raised, all of that has an impact on who you are and how you interact with other people. But I would say first understand what has shaped you and what your expectations are.” (18:16—18:40)
“Respect is so important for baby boomers. And we’ve been talking about boomers a lot. It’s not always the boomer-millennial conflict, although it’s talked about more than many. But respect is this really important thing. It’s really important for millennials too, but it just looks different. And so, being able to understand and even articulate what it is that you find most important or valuable enables you to be able to really bridge the gap between all generations.” (18:42—19:05)
“There does need to be that bringing along, that growth, that professionalism that comes with these younger generations. But help get them there, not just automatically tune them out, or in modern terms, “cancel culture” them if something doesn't go the way you think it should be going, because the world is changing. It doesn't mean that all change is good, but you have to figure out that happy medium between infusing what's been good and what's been working for years and should be continued on, and what things are changing because there's a new or different way to do it based on technology, culture, or any other number of factors.” (19:08—19:40)
“Millennials are actually extremely loyal. If you look at millennials and causes and some of these things that they attach themselves to — I'll use something hopefully fairly neutral, a puppy rescue. Let's say a millennial gets hooked on helping with this puppy rescue. He’ll do that for a long time, if not for life. So, it’s not that they're not loyal. It’s that they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. The world is small. The idea of country, of state, or even city to a millennial — the pride isn't there that we've seen in previous generations because they have access to the whole world. So, they like these movements that are influencing the whole world.” (20:10—20:47)
“What I coach a lot for a dental practice is, when you're hiring someone, don't say, ‘Hey, you're going to be a hygienist and you're going to scrape teeth all day.’ No. Say, ‘Hey, you have the opportunity to really influence someone’s oral and even their whole health by coming to work at our practice.’ And this is why we focus on those things. It’s more than just cleaning teeth, and shaping it to this bigger, larger-than-life, not unrealistic, but this big, long-term focus.” (20:49—21:17)
“When talking to a millennial, trying to interview them, give them a big picture, the value that they're adding beyond just a procedure or a task.” (22:26—22:32)
“A millennial is going to pull out their phone and go to social media and complain [when there's conflict]. That's not always the case, but it’s often the case. And it’s a challenge, and it’s something you can't necessarily stop. But millennials are open to dialogue. They're often going to come off — not always — as argumentative, mainly because they're passionate. And the reality is, they have a lot of knowledge. Unlike previous generations, they have more access to information to make their arguments, make their cases, and data sources, that when they come to argue with you, they're going to come ready to go. And that can be very off-putting, especially to a boomer who demands respect, and that type of abrasive conversation is not at all one that they think is all right in the workplace.” (22:46—23:31)
“How do you get your kids or family members to look up from phones? I don't have the answer. I can't crack that code. I think one of the things that you can do is help them realize that their value is beyond social media, is beyond what their friends say digitally. But the reality is, that is the world that they live in. So, there is some coming in between that. You have to figure out how can you still allow them to feel that they're being valued and respected by their peers, but also bridge that into the real world where people are interacting face-to-face and go have a BBQ out back on the grill, and things like that.” (26:37—27:11)
1:55 Ryan’s background.
4:06 Top pieces of advice.
6:11 Why Ryan wrote Cracking the Millennial Code.
9:45 Why generational understanding is important.
14:06 What most people get wrong about millennials.
16:02 Differences with Gen Xers.
18:05 Where to start in cracking the code.
19:41 Millennials’ work ethic and loyalty.
22:34 How millennials manage conflict.
24:07 Bridging the real and digital world.
28:24 Ryan’s favorite businesses, and the future of business.
31:04 The future of remote work.
32:55 More about Speaking Consulting Network.
38:05 Last thoughts.
38:57 More about Ryan and how to get in touch.
Reach Out to Ryan:
Ryan’s website: https://ryanvet.com/
Ryan’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ryan.vet
Ryan’s social media: @ryancvet
Cracking the Millennial Code by Ryan Vet: https://bookshop.org/books/cracking-the-millennial-code-decoding-the-generations-to-effectively-motivate-and-manage-millennials/9781734161007
Crucial Conversations by Joseph Grenny: https://bookshop.org/books/crucial-conversations-tools-for-talking-when-stakes-are-high/9781260474183
Speaking Consulting Network: https://speakingconsultingnetwork.com/
Ryan Vet Bio:
Ryan Vet was raised in the suburbs of Chicago. As a young boy, he dabbled with various entrepreneurial ventures, ranging from the typical lemonade stand to a line of trading cards and a neighborhood newspaper. At age 14, he launched a multi-national marketing firm that specialized in working with non-profit organizations. He scaled the organization to work with over 200 clients in 25 different countries.
Since then, Ryan has risen to executive leadership roles at multiple companies, as well as hold advisory board roles in several companies and non-profits. At the core, he is a passionate entrepreneur. As such, his experiences have led him to launch several startups and act as angel investor in others.
Ryan shares his experiences with others as an international speaker and author. He has a range of speaking topics and would love to speak to your group. His writings can be seen in Forbes, Dental Economics, books, and in many other publications. He has also been featured in the media, including USA Today, Financial Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, and more.