The 21st Century Professionals Handbook Gen X to Millennials
The 21st Century Professionals Handbook Gen X to Millennials
PaulA Books Corner Review
“We know that ideas are combinations of pre-existing ideas. They are more creative, when they are more novel combinations. So, it makes sense, that, ideas that come from two different clusters or communities are going to create more novel combinations.”
The reason behind quoting these sentences is that, I have found the author; Mr. Ghoshal, has very astutely brought the wise insights of two different generations together and providing enriching reading experience.
Summary and Analysis:
The following paragraphs will give you a brief idea about how the book is unfolding and at the same time some insight into the thought-provoking factors being discussed…
Mr. Ghoshal has rightly addressed a very common, yet crucial problem existing and prevalent in work places and organizations, irrespective of their mission, values or capacity. Would like to quote here from the book, “If Manager and his team members belonged to the same generation, the issues will be similar on either side of the table, but if they were from two different generations, the problems will be contrasting” – Page 15. This is the crux of all the work related issues that most of the organizations are facing in 21st century.
Moving on with the book, I have found that, although, the author, has made specific mention of new mantra being chanted as “Self-Reliance”, which has probably adversely influenced the Millenials. But, just like to draw your attention to the fact, that this concept of “Self-reliance” has it’s roots way back in history and has worked ever since…Be it in attaining Independence for India or acquiring a more self-reliant economy, as emphasized by Honorable, Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi in 2020.
In this context, what I liked particularly about the writing style of the author is – it is easy to read and is a concise, clear understanding of the message conveyed with the help of case studies. In my opinion, any newbie in business world or even an expert would find the book with interesting insights and experience to share and implement as the case studies unravel. Incorporation of case studies is very unique and interesting dimension to the understanding of the concepts. Will not mark the book, as an extremely fast paced or a slow burn, but is definitely thought-provoking book and a page-turner.
There are even areas where I solely agree with Mr. Ghoshal at once without giving it much thought, for instance, “Context defines how you behave” is a statement, irrespective of generation gap or differences cannot be nullified.
Now, moving towards the disagreement. Just would quote the statement -“Their responses. Not at all interested in what is happening to the organization. Only interested in their work.” –Venu commented, are lines taken from one of the case studies. –Pg 22. I feel that this statement is a bit overrated in my opinion. What was more insightful was when the author makes an attempt to delve deep into the subject matter.
Just like to make a slight mention of a book which equally analyses the New millenials attributes or what characterises the new millenials is – “Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials” by Malcolm Harris. Malcolm Harris is considered to set the trend by giving major first accounting of the millennial generation belonging to the same generation. As per Harris – “Millennials have been stereotyped as lazy, entitled, narcissistic, and immature. We've gotten so used to sloppy generational analysis filled with dumb clichés about young people that we've lost sight of what really unites Millennials.” It is somewhat true that we tend to be biased by our opinions as we have grown in a different era with a different perspective.
Here, Mr. Ghoshal has rightly pointed out, "Don't blame them for playing politics, if the Millenials go to Managers, supervisor directly, as they don't believe in hierarchy" - Page 24.
Just want to throw some more light and elaborate it further. In this context, it is worth mentioning – the book - X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking by Jeff Gordinier . He has very precisely characterized Gen X. “Along the way he shows how Gen X innovations in art, comedy, technology, activism, and (gasp!) business have come to define the way we live now. A proud, accomplished, and unrepentant X-er, Jeff Gordinier writes with insight and biting wit about the generation that time forgot—and makes a convincing case for Gen X as maybe, secretly, the “greatest generation” of all.
Generation X saw the ‘industrial holocaust’ and privatisation of the nation, as well as a recession and depression. There was a change in the employment process due to advancement in technology – the personal computer for all workers and email. This changed the way people worked (whether it was for the better is another debate), often making people spend less time talking and in particular spending time face-to-face. A natural and important part of human interaction. Messages were sent from computer to computer, still following the chain of command from the biggest office to the newly introduced ‘pod’ space. Smaller than the office, and allowing more people to be squeezed in to a floor. Perhaps slightly more sociable, but still restrictive on creativity.
Today technology has flourished and the Millennials have been the generation most influenced by it. Baby Boomers and Gen X look at the technology in a different way (in general) to Millennials, in that the majority of these two generations use certain technology and workflows at work, and different technology and workflows in their private lives. This is caused by the fact that the technology was not always available, was expensive at first and work and private lives had a clear separation
Millennials have grown up in the world with lower cost hardware, improving processing power and capability, and an ever increasing connectivity that blurs the lines between work time and private time. Electronics have become increasingly smaller, so that a PC that might have taken up half a room now fits on a small desk, and the old desktop computer has less power than the smartwatch on your wrist today. Oh and of course a small thing called the cloud.
All of this has led to a generation of people who expect and do use the same technology in their work and private lives. They want to be distinctive in the work that they do. There is a lot more creativity, and the chain of command in a company has become a lot less formal.
So, again the author has rightly hit the nail by stating - "Don't assume Millenials will be happy with a promotion, if there is no changes in job content like you did" - Page 25.
The Millenials are here and soon they will constitute the largest workforce is just no more a mere fact but a reality which cannot be overlooked. –Page 28 and then in Page 53 found author re-instating this fact very well – “By 2030 -75% of workforce will be millenials”. This is absolutely true.
Another very crucial factor discussed is - “Values are your reason for existence, they define you” is very aptly stated in Page 32. This fact has been concisely explained by Mr. Ghoshal in the book. Imagine what values the millenials are imparted in an environment filled with cut throat competition. Will pick a line right away from the book - “I may score 98% in 12th and still not be happy as my motive is to top the board” is taken from Page 33. Just want to re-instate the fact that high competition level that millenials have to face leaves them with very little choices. Being self-centered, mis-trust and anxiety prone are some of the characteristics that come with the experience that the Millenials have. If Gen X triggered acceptance of rational thinking over faith as a way of life, millenials is championing it - is well said in Page 34.
So, what is the DNA of Millennials? – Just inducing a sense of humour or connoting a dry sense of humour to the fact, caught my attention. Page 42
Yes, flexibility is loved by millenials and when “work from home” concept becomes an exception, it is disappointing to the present generation. Page 43
“If Millenials don’t get what they want, one of the fall out is negative emotion” as pointed out in Page 44. Yes, it is somewhat true for the kind of environment they grow up into. But, there is even other side of the coin, another perspective to the whole matter.
“Being the first to share” as mentioned in Page 47, shows that millenials are much more aware and more hooked to present or the now factor. The reason here seems simple to me that present itself is challenging enough for them to stay more focused in now than in past or future.
The book speaks and explains quite a lot on how to adapt to the needs of the present generation, millenials as a workforce, at quite a length. Gen X in their 2nd innings are facing challenges which millenials in their first innings are facing is quite an explicit example given in Page 102. Elaborate.
“Awareness of what you can control and what you cannot control” is very aptly stated in Page 132.
Reading this particular book has brought a fresh whiff of thoughts to my mind. Privileged to briefly know the author; I can assure you, that he has brought his rich experience of 25 yrs on the platform for you to grow wiser by 25 yrs, if not less. Mr. Ghoshal’s observations and findings are been reinstated with facts and figures, which made it more authentic and far sighted, for instance, “According to Fromm of Forbes, this generation will make up roughly 75% of workplace by 2030” is a far sight example and more a reason to bridge the gap between past generation (Gen X) and the modern generation (millenials). Speaking of change with ease which is one of the toughest task and incorporating it in workplace with further ease, makes it a must read book.
This fact that, “Rich conversations with the leading thinkers of our time in candid, unfiltered discussion” is a boon in itself can be well associated with Mr. Ghoshal’s book. “Youngsters… demonstrate an open mind, willing to embrace all useful things to become productive” and claiming them to be great collaborators, instills great confidence in young generation and even induces the authorities to think and adopt new approaches to resolve the same old problems. The author is very clear in his mind regarding addressing the managers to improvise their team building and handling tactics with the present ever-changing generation before becoming complete obsolete themselves.
Final Take - Very well thought out and crafted piece of work, which was easy to sail and grasp at the same time. Interesting and impactful acronyms, such as – VUCA –“Volatile, Unpredictable, Complex and ambiguous” is shrewdly used. Insight on developing key skills and competencies was especially much more enlightening. The conversational tone and the question quiz sections was fun to read and keep you on your toes and yearn to read more. Modern changing trends have its adverse impact as well, which goes without saying. In this aspect, I would just slightly differ from the author that the millennials are even getting aware of the drawbacks of technology. Their self-inflicted problems due to association on certain superficial levels and involving technology have made them ask questions to them-selves but only to a small section of youngsters. Most of them are still just part of the evolving cycle. Insight into new working trends and practices ensures the author is very knowledgeable and upkeep with the present changing terms in work force. Infact, found this non- business and self help books different as I have vehemently promoted the fact the we hardly give importance to happiness in any form and to my surprise, I found the author has mentioned about Happiness Managers as harbingers of healthy lifestyle promoters in workplace. It not only resonates with the ideas I promote but even found it be very unique in it’s approach to deal with the modern crisis authorities face.
If asked, whether to recommended it or not?
Well, the obvious reply – would be, “highly recommend” due to rich insights of the book…But, why take my words for it. You can a grab a copy and see for yourself at - https://amzn.to/30BFuMQ
More reviews are available:
Ms. Tuhina Das Biswas
Master in Business Administration
The 21st Century Professionals Handbook, is a concise, thorough and a thought-provoking page turner.The book helps the reader in understanding how the different generations of this millennium (Gen X and Millenials) think, behave, work and live their lives and how they can co-exist together to create a very multidimensional and a holistic society. It gives the reader an insight on how individuals, corporates and the society at large must gear up to the most paramount need of the hour – Change. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said The only thing permanent is change”, the author takes the reader on a path of self-discovery, by providing helpful tools that encourage introspection andtaking the reader’s hand and walking step by step through real life examples. The author shares his knowledge, understanding and experience that can enrich the reader’s life in many ways. If you want to learn how to deal with the lightning speed changes around you, be it in your work life or personal life, this book is a good read.