Are You Missing out on Connecting?


According to a new JWTIntelligence report based upon a quantitative study in the US and the UK, GenY have a fear of missing out.

In talking with young adults, I know that many fear missing out on job and career opportunities — not connecting with the right organization. Or worse, being at a disconnect with what they expect (thanks to their Baby Boomer parents), and the new reality of work.

One of the things that resonated with me from the conversation with Donna Fenn about GenY was that this is one of the most entrepreneurial generations in history and one of the most team-driven.

There are several reasons for that including:

  • plenty of role models to go around like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Anita Roddick, Richard Branson
  • cool factor associated with being your own boss
  • greater group activities around sports and education
  • native to social networks, thus more comfortable sharing and collaborating

While more businesses are started by GenY than by any other generation, not everyone wants to start a business.

Both of these trends — the fear of missing out, and the desire to make your own imprint right off the bat collaboratively — are based upon the networked nature of our society. The JWT study points to how important our social identity is becoming online.

While prior generations are still working on protecting and in some cases carefully managing personal image and reputations, GenY are looking to their social identity based upon connections. However, connecting is a richer experience than friending and becoming a fan.

Regardless of which generation you belong to, connecting with the right people and resources will help you get your project or work done, or to get the next job, or the first one. Here are some things that have worked for me, in no particular order:

(1.) Hire a personal board of mentors — I first heard this concept from Jim Collins. The idea is to have a personal board of people who are vested in your success. When you think about who should be there, consider professionals who will tell you the truth, and help you grow in the direction in which you want to go.

Note: I plan to provide more ways we can connect and work together.

(2.) Do the work — by this I mean find out abour the people and organizations you want to connect with ahead of time. Imagine how embarassing it would be for you to pitch a business owner or a marketing executive about your social media prowess and then not having even taken the time to search about them.

(3.) Hone your skills — this is do the work part II. Putting the time in to climb on ladders has become putting the time in on getting really good at something. Programming, communications, translation, research, and so on. Learn and practice constantly. Knowledge is shifting all the time now. Offer yours in a fair exchange to the people who are helping you.

(4.) Build something — this may mean on a volunteer basis or volunterring for a non profit organization while you search for a first job, for example. Many associations and non profits attract doers and people who have a circle of influence and want to give back. Demonstrating what you can do and being helpful is a very powerful tool to build relationships and gain access to their networks. 

(5.) Organize meetups — helping others is one of the best ways to receive help yourself. Look around, what is missing in your circle of friends? Is there an organization you feel passionately about? Take the initiative. Find out how you can help and be a resource to them.

(6.) Help your colleagues — especially if they're in different departments. Network across departments and groups inside your own organization. Large companies are notoriously hard to navigate. Can you become a resource for your colleagues? Who gets things done in other groups that you should meet and help?

(7.) Help strangers — say you come across requests for resources in social networks. Maybe you don't know the requestor, yet, they could be part of a friends stream, but you know of someone who can help them. Make introductions and by proxy you end up introducing yourself.

All of these rely on a very proactive approach that will put you where the action is — either because you're generating it, and also get to benefit from it.

Don't get depressed, get connected. When people ask me — how did you manage to get so far and do so much? My answer is invariably — connecting people is the secret to success.

What do you find most daunting about connecting? I'll go first — I have no idea if what I write is helpful with few or no comments. Does it connect with you? Am I answeting your questions? Is there something else you'd like me to address?


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