Learning from Millenials

Yes. We were hacked. A posting went out late last week from a group named “ESO Gold” that had no text and no workable links. It happens. We think it is fixed. Sorry for any inconvenience. And thank you to all who informed us.

Millenials 2I just keep on learning, from the millenials. Maybe we have mentoring backwards. Or maybe we need to be more like other “professions”…

I mentioned in an earlier blog (Three Keys To Continual Improvement) how impressed I am by the young man who works with me as a fitness trainer:

I read an article recently in the New York Times about a seven-minute workout that apparently offers incredible benefit according to research. I mentioned it to the young guy (24 years old) who works with me as a trainer. He has a degree in human kinetics. His response: “Yes, it was developed by researchers at McMaster University. They reported the results in a journal of research in sports medicine. You need to repeat it a few times for best results though.” Now, get this: “We start each staff meeting with the best research we have been reading and someone brought it up last week.” Imagine if every meeting of librarians started that way.

I have also learned a great deal from him about motivation and coaching. He demonstrates, observes and provides detailed feedback for improvement. Never just “great job” unless warranted and always with a view to improve. Coaching is the new supervisory model and warrants “embedding” throughout our organizations. This guy is not a “natural”, he was trained himself and coached by his supervisors.

Young – but Growing

The person who cuts my hair, just turned 25, takes two weeks every year, at his own expense, to take a course to become better as a stylist. His salary is nowhere near that of a professional librarian but he looked at me most peculiarly when I asked whether he thought his employer should pay. He also takes the time without pay… Yesterday he told me that there are two parts to his job: skills as a stylist and personality. Full of energy, enthusiasm and conversation he is nevertheless going to work on his customer service skills. It occurs to me that this ethos in our profession could take us a long way… I might add that the stylists observe each other, ask questions about decisions made and provide critical feedback. Wow.

My massage therapist starts each session with a diagnosis and ends each session demonstrating exercises that I should do between sessions. He sends me a video link with his bill. I thought today about storytelling (actually, usually story reading) as “edutainment”. How different it would be if we started sessions with parents and caregivers with a brief explanation and the skills for self-diagnosis, took e-mail addresses for those interested, and offered at the end of the sessions suggestions for their role as story readers and tellers, and followed up with a video link to the librarian or staff member demonstrating the technique. Real family literacy development. Might convince me that a master’s degree was necessary…

I decry the negative and comparative comments that I hear about the millenials. These are just not the people that I encounter every day.

I meet these skilled, passionate learners who want to make a difference.

Just like our staffs?

About Ken Haycock

Ken Haycock is currently Research Professor of Management and Organization at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, where he coordinates graduate programs in Library and Information Management.

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