Title: The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace
Authors: Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman
Two Sentence Summary: Young people with a new set of work ethics and styles — the Millennials — are just entering the job market. How should companies and coworkers respond to the generation and support these young people in the workplace?
One Sentence Review: The M-Factor explains what makes Millennials different clearly, fairly, with a sense of humor, and does a good job proactively outlining ways to head off generation-based workplace conflict.
Long Review: My boyfriend is five years older than I am, which we’ve come to learn can make a difference. We have a running joke about now it’s a “generational difference” when there are big movies I haven’t seen or pop culture references he makes that I just don’t get. But it’s sometimes bigger than that, like we have two different ways of thinking about the world and how it works.
According to research presented in The M-Factor there really might be a generational divide — my boyfriend was born in 1981, which makes him on the tail end of Generation X, while I was born in 1986, right in the middle of the Millennials. The Millennials are a group that encompass anyone born between 1982 and 2000, a group that is just now entering the workforce and changing the way companies do business.
Authors Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman are consultants, and public speakers, and authors (their previous book is When Generations Collide) who work with companies as generational experts. In The M-Factor Lancaster and Stillman explore each of the characteristics of Millennials then try to explain how companies can utilize these traits in their Millenial workers and how Millenials can learn to work with coworkers that have a different frame of reference than they do.
Lancaster and Stillman characterize Millennials as having a number of qualities — close and supportive relationships with their parents, a sense of entitlement, a desire for meaning in their work, great expectations for themselves and others, the need for speed, a knack for social networking, and tendency to collaborate on projects. When I read their descriptions I felt like the factors described me really well, so I think that’s a suggestion the authors have done a good job with their research.
Although the book tries to be for people of all generations, I felt like the overall tone leaned more towards how older people can learn to deal with Millennials (specifically the idea that Millennials feel entitled) and less how Millennials should learn, but that’s ok. I’m not sure how many Millennial workers will read a book about generational connections in the work place, although I think they would benefit. The suggestions for how Millennials can adjust their tone and work processes to adapt to other styles made me rethink how I’d previously dealt with conflicts with older coworkers.
Given that I’ll be starting my first real job next week, I think I read this book and the perfect time. The chapter on Millennials and their parents was especially great. Lancaster and Stillman explain how Millennials grew up with very supportive parents who had their back and considered their children in decisions. In turn, Millennials are used to consulting their parents on major decisions and getting feedback from them about their work. Sometimes this relationship isn’t good — parents calling Millennials bosses to ask about a promotion for example — but it’s something to be aware of.
Except for the bad stuff (obviously!), that chapter almost perfectly describes me and my parents. When I got my job offer, they were the first people I told. They’re the first people I ask when I have questions about anything — Where to get car insurance? What does my health care plan mean? How do I cook an egg? — and I expect they’ll give me good feedback. We have a very honest and supportive relationship. While I wouldn’t expect them to talk to my boss, I can imagine consulting them when I have a career question to get feedback and advice.
If you’re at all interested in generational differences or curious about why a particular coworker (older or younger) works the way he or she does, I think this book could be a great resource. The examples are sometimes a little dorky, but overall I learned a lot and would recommend the book.
If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!