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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, September 10, 2017 1:00 am

Consultant to companies: Be true to yourself

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

I've seen my share of emails and book summaries about how businesses that want to attract and keep millennials need to think and act differently. They need, for example, to focus on a purpose that goes beyond whatever drives the organization's revenue.

So an email last month that shared some thoughts from Brad Deutser about millennials in the workplace was somewhat of a departure.

Companies “will enjoy more success if they remain true to themselves rather than try to be all things to all millennials,” Deutser said in the email. He's president of Deutser LLC, a consulting firm in Houston that focuses on management and organizational clarity, particularly during times of transition.

“When companies aren't true to who they are, they become lost,” Deutser said. “They will be disconnected from their workforce and that's when millennials are likely to look elsewhere for jobs.”

The email suggested many organizations have adjusted corporate culture to better appeal to the generation of young adults who are expected to make up half the global workforce by 2020. The thought is that these young adults are uncomfortable with rigid corporate structures, expect rapid progression and want constant feedback. But treating millennials uniquely isn't the best approach, Deutser says.

“There's not one approach you should take with your overall workforce and a separate approach to take for millennials,” he said.

Clarity about vision, good communication about how things are done and what's expected, and keeping a positive, upbeat attitude are better approaches, according to Deutser.

I can't imagine those strategies wouldn't have appeal to any employee and benefit a workplace or organization. It probably would be less stressful for managers, too, not having to worry what script to use based solely on an employee's age.

Certainly there may be differences that are generational, the same as gender, racial or other diversity can affect communication, understanding and perception. But if you think about it, there's diversity within the millennial pool, too.

Leadership in adversity

Business and community leadership often seems at its best when adversity strikes, and the response to Hurricane Harvey's devastating toll on the Houston area is just one of the latest examples.

Within days of the initial stories about evacuations, possessions and homes and lost to flooding, we started getting emails and other communications from local businesses that were starting to collect items to send to those affected. In many cases, the goal is to fill trailers. The collections range from socks and shoes to basic cleanup supplies. Businesses partnering with other businesses. Church leaders calling on congregation members and others in the community to bring donations to various drop offs.

These are all in addition to the routine responses we see from skilled crisis response agencies such as the American Red Cross.

Leadership engages others with a common purpose and passion.

And for every initiative organizer that sent an email or communicated in other ways, there are undoubtedly others taking on some leadership in their own quiet ways to show concern and compassion.

Planning. Communicating. Organizing. Managing logistics. Documenting. And hopefully doing it all with integrity.

We've probably only seen a small glimpse publicly of all the leadership that will come into play - some of it from new faces - in the weeks and months ahead on the path to restoration.

John Haggai, founder of the Haggai Institute for Advanced Leadership Training, is credited with saying the “leader demonstrates confidence that the challenge can be met, the need resolved, the crisis overcome.”

Cheers to those making a difference for hurricane-damaged areas.

Cheers to leadership.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/