Dr. Colleen Batchelder

This Leadership Advice Isn’t Fancy. But It Will Get You the Greatest ROI.

a businessman and his colleagues in the office

Isn’t Google just a roomful of hipsters with Harry Potter t-shirts and soy lattes?

For years, I assumed that this technological epicenter was just another version of Disney World with endless craft beer and skinny jeans for years. But when I read  Laszlo Bock’s Work Rules, I caught a glimpse of something more–a workspace that dared to create something different and go against the grain.

On the outside, Google appears to be just another version of a Millennial utopia. After all, they offer creative spaces to their employees, host volleyball games, and provide free food.

But if you look past the Quidditch tournaments, vegan lasagna nights, and sleeping pods, you’ll find a corporation that has unlocked the secret to successful leadership.

And their top-secret sauce has nothing to do with their ability to entertain.

Google doesn’t distract its employees with bribes. 

So, how do they do it? What’s so different about this company compared to others?

Well, for starters, they invest in their people and their mission more than their product.

Related: Looking to mentor Millennials? Here Are Some Tips

Google understands how to create a mission that attracts the right team

There’s a vast difference between attracting someone and stalking them.

If you’ve dated recently, you understand that trying too hard is one of the biggest turnoffs. The same is valid for business.

Too many companies flex their muscles, post their bathroom selfies, boast about their intellect, and then wonder why no one wants to work with them.

Today’s workforce isn’t impressed with narcissism, and they don’t care about your accolades and accomplishments. They care about your company’s mission and if there’s room for them to add their voice amongst the choir.

Millennials and Generation Z want to work towards a meaningful mission. Google gets this. They understand that their company’s vision is greater than the visionary. And they invest their time and energy into developing a work culture that fosters community and conversation.

If you want your company to succeed, you need to be purposeful in developing these creative spaces so that your employees feel at home within your organization.

So, scrap the board meeting this week and invite your team to play some mini-golf. If you are willing to take the time to know your team and revise your mission, you will ensure your company’s success.

Related: Generation Z Doesn’t Trust Your Business. Here are Four Reasons Why

Google thinks outside the box and creates new structures

Google is a hodgepodge of eclectic inclusion. But that doesn’t mean that they fit everything neatly into a box.

One of the things that make Google unique is that they think differently and that they invite their employees to do the same.

This type of leadership structure is positively freeing and also scary and heck. It’s not easy to hire people and encourage them to fail forward.

Think about it, can you imagine handing the car keys to your teen, patting them on the back, and then telling them that accidents build character?

Every parent wants their kid to be confident when they drive on their own. But I doubt that many of them would applaud if their child ran a red light.

Google is different.

They encourage their employees to explore and get a few bumps and bruises along the way.

Remember, your team can’t create if you’ve taken all their crayons away. Employees need to paint––they need to make a mess before they make a masterpiece.

Not everyone feels comfortable with this style of management. But if you want to create a community that mimics Google, you need to embrace a new design, especially since most of your workforce wants the freedom to fail and explore.

Google believes that ideation is just as important as implementation

In the past, employees would check in, check out, and keep their opinions in check. But I can tell you from firsthand experience, Millennials and Generation Z don’t operate quietly. They don’t understand the point of waiting for their orders or raising their hand to express their ideas.

In many ways, if you want to develop a workforce that fosters ideas and innovation, you need to be a bit unorthodox. I get it. This type of free-for-all discussion is not the most comfortable for everyone. It is highly generational and necessary to understand if you want to engage your team and succeed.

Millennials and Generation Z don’t view daydreaming as a distraction to work. They see it as integral to work.

Before you read through your ideas and assign your team their orders, present the goal and then listen for ideas. Invite all of your team to the table. They want to bring their experience, their thoughts, and their voice to your company. This requires leaders to give their employees the green light to move past go. 

Not every idea is going to work. But if you don’t give your team and yourself some room for error and room to grow, you’ll never move forward: You’ll stay safe and stagnant.

So, how do you stop getting it wrong and start getting it right? Follow Google’s three examples: Celebrate mistakes, work outside of the box, and invite all of your team to the table.

Original article on Entrepreneur.com

As a Leadership Strategist, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Executive Coach, and National Speaker, I help leaders create companies where Millennials and Generation Z want to work. My doctoral background in leadership and global perspectives also gives me an added edge because I approach generational dissonance from all directions, including from an anthropological, theological, sociological, and ethnographic lens.
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