Category Archives: Leadership

Why So Many Millennials are Becoming Entrepreneurs

Generation Y is entering the traditional work force with unconventional expectations. Instead of finding satisfaction with the typical 9-to-5 routine, they are either looking to start their own businesses or molding the corporate world to fit their demands. They’re not happy with the status quo, so they’re making their own way.

This sudden surge in entrepreneurial chutzpah can be attributed to many factors, including the mobility and speed afforded to them by rapidly evolving online technology, growing up in a time of major economic and political uncertainty, and facing staggering unemployment and student debt. Perhaps desperate measures call for daring life choices; this generation can’t afford to play it safe.

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A Desire for Flexibility Coupled With Impatience

The technology that Millennials have grown up with has created a group of people who are accustomed to a lifestyle that is drastically different from their parents and grandparents. Their relationship with technology has instilled a desire for mobility and flexibility, creating the impression that they should be able to access and complete their work anywhere and anytime.

Technology is also behind the demand for instant access and ability to collaborate with others at any time. Those in their 20s and early 30s are used to downloading and streaming music, movies, not to mention shopping, communicating and even dating online. Millennials have also been able to text, call, and interact with friends on phones, Google any information desired and remain generally connected for the entirety of their teenage and young adult lives, so their impatience shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Confidence Laced With Fear

Although this generation is considered one of the most optimistic and confident, they seem to have lost faith in corporations, and the government, likely a result of witnessing their parents losing jobs and pensions due to corporate scandals and the global financial meltdown. They have seen older friends and siblings graduate and struggle to find work. The last several years have seen unemployment rates in the double digits for people between the ages of 18 and 29.

Many Millennials feel that the only possible job security they will find must be through creating their own. This uncertainty has fueled a desire to succeed along with the willingness to make sacrifices and take risks at a level that Generation X just hasn’t been willing (or forced) to do. These aspirations are propelled by the confidence and optimism of this generation.

Millennial Entrepreneurs

This past decade has been indelibly impacted by the Millennial startups that now dominate our social and business landscapes. And it’s arguably been the most entrepreneurial decade in recent memory, with some key people from this generation having achieved immense success. This is especially impressive considering that many of these game-changers are all under the age of 30. This is just a short list of a few of the most victorious high profile Millennials to burst onto the world stage.

Mark Zuckerberg – 28

Let’s start with possibly the most successful entrepreneur of this generation. Zuckerberg was behind the launch the social media site: Facebook in 2004, and is estimated to currently have a net worth of at least $10 billion. He’s changed the face of the Internet, is giving Google a run for their money and completely altered the way businesses interact with their customers.

Dustin Moskovitz – 28

Moskovitz started out as a part of the Facebook team and has a 7.6 percent share in the social media site. He also started Asana, a website that uses web and mobile application that allows people to collaborate in one place. It has an estimated value of $280 million and his overall net worth is around $5 billion.

Drew Houston – 29

This former MIT student came up with the idea for Dropbox, the online file-sharing application that ushered in an era of cloud-based collaboration and pushed Houston’s net worth up to $600 million.

Ben Silbermann – 29

This innovator went from designing products for Google to putting together the groundbreaking social platform, Pinterest, which has filled a critical visual niche in the social media space. While it took a few years to gain popularity, the company is now valued at $1.5 billion and Silbermann’s net worth is at about $100 million.

Peter Cashmore – 26

The creator of Mashable, one of the biggest news sites on the web and valued at more than $200 million. Cashmore has an estimated net worth of $95 million.

All of these young minds are inspirations to the hordes of young business owners, talented programmers and innovative activists seeking to make their way in a new economy. I can’t wait to see who the next big name is—and how they shake things up.

Mike Mann is a serial entrepreneur and author seeking to drive real-world change using profits from his many profitable business ventures. To learn how to make your own business a success, and to hear more about Mike’s charitable vision, read or download his book.

3 Things You Should Never Say in a Meeting

If you are very familiar with my work and the principles I teach, you know that I believe the primary motivation for making lots of money in high paying jobs and entrepreneurial endeavors should be based on the desire to make the world a better place to live in. Those who make money without any social responsibility attached to their actions often worry and wonder if karma is going to swing around and slap them upside the face, and well they should.

When it comes to karma in business, one of the most important things you can do to position yourself as a leader with a persuasive persona of success, is to choose your words wisely in meetings, times when you can make or break your image with the people that matter.

Building a Persona of Success

Each of us is building our own business persona by the words we choose to speak and who we speak them to. Just as major corporations like Nike, Coke, Apple and Starbucks have powerful brands that evoke specific thoughts and emotions; each of us also has our own brand or persona that we are building with our words and actions.

We seldom realize how powerful our own words are and how much of a positive or negative effect they have on others, not to mention our own careers. What kind of a brand are you building? What do people think of when they think of you? These are questions worth pondering. If you want to avoid poisoning your images in the minds of your colleagues, there are some things you should never say in a meeting or even out loud in the office—ever. When these things are said, they destroy morale, stifle creativity and damage your personal brand.

1- “It can’t be Done”

Truly successful personalities never focus on why something can’t be done; they thrive on the challenge of figuring out how it can be done. This is why lateral thinkers and those that live outside of the box often rise to the top of innovative organizations. The truth is that virtually anything can be done if the necessary energy and creativity is backing up the effort.

A businessman who should have held his tongue.

Don't commit career suicide by saying the wrong thing.

Even if a challenge has exhausted you and your creative juices just aren’t responding to a given task, it is better to simply focus on finding a better way to approach the problem than to publicly admit defeat to the current method being used. “I think there may be a better approach to this problem” is an alternative that puts a positive spin on your opinion and doesn’t associate you with negativity in the minds of others.

2- “It’s Not Fair”

Truly successful people refuse to view or characterize themselves as victims. Even if you are being unjustly targeted, it is simply bad form and uninspiring to others that are looking to you for guidance and inspiration. Never, ever—ever— say “it’s not fair”. Pointing out the obvious brings little to the table and it makes you look defeated.

Life is not fair. Get over it, get around it, work through it. Part of the intoxicating adrenaline rush that truly successful people get while slaying their daily dragons is the thrill of being the underdog that overcomes opposition. You need to have a “Bring it on!” attitude, walking the line between arrogance and competence. Be the leader that loves a challenge and never whines about unfavorable exterior circumstances. That is how you inspire those that follow your lead.

3- “I Don’t Get Paid Enough to Do This”

That phrase is a real downer and a dead giveaway that someone is just in it for the paycheck with no vision for the future. Such people are not passionate about what they do for a living. If that is how you are approaching your work, you need to have an industrial strength paradigm shift. Truly successful people always consider themselves involved in a passionate cause that leads to a higher purpose in life. If indeed you have an underlying desire to make the world a better place with the resources your success brings you, then in fact, you are involved in an important cause, no matter what you do for a living. Do the best you can, with positive expectancy, and the money will follow.

Mike Mann, social activist and serial entrepreneur, is the author of MakeMillions.Com, a business book focused on making money in small business in order to better serve society. Read or download the book today for insight on his philosophy on wedding entrepreneurship and charitable goals.

What’s Your Working Style: 4 Unique Styles

Anyone who’s paying attention to what’s going on in their company, either at a department level or companywide, knows that there are a few key people who make things work. You’ve probably noticed this on your own team; people have different work styles and some are more important to the team than others.

But the truth is that it’s combinations of different personalities and work styles that create a work environment that breeds successful ideas, executes well and prevents dysfunctional attitudes from poisoning the well. To generate that environment, you need these five working styles on your team.

The Soldier

Head down, Red Bull in hand, headphones on, getting done whatever job is in front of them—the Soldier is the workhorse of any team he finds himself on. Soldiers are producers, results-driven individuals who take satisfaction in checking everything off of their to-do list. Give them a goal, and they’ll set about making it happen. They don’t want to spend a lot of time strategizing; they just want to dive in and start working on a project.

Often traditional, resistant to change and focused on stability, Soldiers crave consistency from others and demand it from themselves. When they find a method that works, they’ll stick to it. Often, Soldiers are labeled as perfectionists. They often see relationships with others as a distraction from the task at hand, instead preferring to work on their own, without interference or dependence on other members of the team.

The Scholar

Innovative, visionary, and contemplative, Scholars are long-term planners who excel at exploring new possibilities and digging into the cutting-edge of everything. She develops well-thought-out plans for solving individual problems, weighing the costs and benefits, viewing every angle of the problem and has a back-up plan for multiple contingencies.

Scholars can be effective team leaders, but more often than not they’re more focused on the actual strategy and problem-solving part of team leadership rather than actually managing others. The ideal position for this working style is an analyst or strategic planning position. Set them upon a problem when you want a quick solution that you can then delegate to others to execute.

The Chief

This working style is a natural coordinator, natural leader, enforcer and organizer. Chiefs want to execute everything according to plan, and aren’t shy about giving direction for others to make sure they do it. Obviously, this style makes for an ideal team lead.

Chiefs are adept at directing others, taking abstract ideas from Scholars and applying the right team members to each particular task within those plans. They’re good at prioritizing and developing an organized structure out of seeming chaos. A Chief is focused on dealing with urgent demands first, and they want self-motivated team members to come up with solutions and implement the details of a plan without micromanaging.

The Empath

Empaths are adaptable, adjusting to change quickly and re-sorting their priorities according to the needs of the team as a whole. They like flexibility, not rigidly structured procedures. This preference leads them to run with changing requirements and unexpected roadblocks.

Empaths are relationship builders. They listen to others and incorporate their ideas and preferences into the way that they perform their tasks. If you’re coordinating with another department or team, this working style should be your ambassador. Empaths are often the glue that holds a team together and helps maneuver them through stressful times.

Building a Team

Don’t take these working style profiles the wrong way. Nobody’s personality or work style is static, and plenty of people have a little bit of each of these working styles in themselves. The key is to make sure that critical team roles are filled by the right people: a Chief as your team lead, Scholar as the strategist and first line of delegation, and Empaths and Soldiers manning the front lines to execute critical tasks.

You’ll know you have the right mix when things feel like they’re just clicking, even when it’s stressful. You’ve hopefully had the experience of working on a team like that. And if you haven’t, these profiles should help you select new team members that will make the difference.