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The Millennial Generation – “Culture Definer”

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Much of Talent Management and Executive coaching is to get folks through a set of transitions traditionally associated with an achievement-oriented corporate culture in America.

Here are some typical categories in which people find themselves.

Star Performer – People start their career as an individual contributor.  For some, the goal is to become a “Star Performer” – a person at the head of the game of personal accomplishment in a chosen field.  At the level of individual contributor and Star Performer, individuals are in charge of themselves.

Manager – Managers are in charge of themselves and a few other people.  Managers manage the work of themselves and others to achieve a known desired outcome.  There are generally known answers to most, if not all, questions.  A manager strives to achieve as set of pre-defined goals through a known path.  A good manager hits the targets and keeps the place running smoothly..  Managers sometimes become immobilized by ambiguity – choosing perhaps, analysis paralysis rather than a course of action where the outcome is uncertain.  Managers think tactically and color inside the lines.

Leader – Here is where one leaves the safety of known paths to established targets.  This is the land of uncertainty, ambiguity and taking calculated risks.  There may be no clear paths to targets.  At this level one has to manage to an uncertain future.  This is an art as well as a science.  Leaders think strategically and color at the boundaries and sometimes outside the lines.

Culture Definer – These are CEO’s that have to define a culture within an organization.  This is the realm of mission, values, ethics, and the general corporate culture built and institutionalized to enable the organization to achieve its long-term strategic goals.

Legacy Creator – These folks have such an impact on organizations, culture, and/or society that they leave footsteps in history.  These are the folks that future generations will read about in history books and folks from which a certain state of culture or society can be said to be derived from their influence.  In this generation, folks like Jack Welch and Steve Jobs will leave a trail of footsteps in history.

The stages above are successive.  This is the traditional view.

The global connectivity of the internet and the rise of social networking has provided some interesting new paths for the millennial generation.  The millennial generation has possibilities, enabled by technology, which were not available to previous generations.

Emerging in blogs one can discover an emerging generation of “Culture Definers” and potential “Legacy Creators”.  The old model of “climbing the corporate ladder” to achieve “significance” may give way to a new generation of culture definers and legacy creators right out of college – or right in college – for that matter.

When Facebook hits 1 Billion users in the next three years, who could say that founder Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard dropout, did not achieve some sort of status as “Culture Definer”.  What about the Stanford students Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google – are these culture definers and legacy creators?  What about another college dropout, Steve Jobs?  Is Steve Jobs a culture definer and legacy creator with the creation of the idea of “Computing for the rest of us” – which really wasn’t computing at all in the (then) traditional sense of the word of computing as computation.  All these folk, college kids, changed the way (now) mainstream culture sees the World, the future, and one’s place in society.

I wonder how typical this is – (from the blog cited below)

I started this blog as a way to explore what is happening at the intersection of technology, communication, and culture – about how we’re being impacted as a society and where we go from here…

… Then I started poking around in Twitter and wondering if it’s a complex adaptive system and if it might actually grow to become a global human consciousness, of sorts…

… But generally, I think we’re at a turning point in history, where many of the institutional structures that serve as the foundations for how we operate as a society are failing, and in turn creating a tremendous opportunity for us to make a decision to grab a hold of the reins and be active participants in creating our collective future.

College kids today, wanting to be “active participants in creating a collective future”.  These are some very high aspirations outside the traditional mold of corporate success.  Good for them!

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Written by frrl

March 20, 2010 at 5:03 am

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