Monday, April 13, 2015

Generation Z

I recall the exact moment the temperature changed in the classroom. It was 2012, and I was speaking to a class of 25 young professionals. I was relating my experiences building a career as a baby boomer (born 1946-63) in a world of traditionalists (born before 1945) and Gen Xers (born 1964-79).

Every time I threw out phrases like “paying your dues” and “playing the game,” the class stared at me blankly. This was not the reaction I had come to expect from early twentysomethings. Usually they took notes on how they could get ahead in corporate America as quickly as possible.

I would soon learn, however, that the millennial generation (also known as Generation Y, born after 1980), had come on the scene. Generally speaking, these students didn’t like my advice about coping with bureaucracy and office politics. It seemed to me that some of them didn’t want to grow up, but at the same time they felt they deserved to do meaningful work right away. Many were not afraid to speak their minds and made it clear they wanted to change the status quo. And at 80 million strong, they had the numbers to do it.

It has taken a few years before most organizations identified the millennials as a talent issue on fire. By now, the oldest millennials are 35. They aren’t children anymore — in fact, a majority of them are leaders with decision-making power and direct reports. While executives have been fretting over the millennials, though, a new generation is growing up behind the scenes — Generation Z (born starting in the mid-90s to the early ’00s depending on whom you ask). Today Gen Zers are in my classes, and they are poised to be somewhat different from the millennials.

I’ve now had the opportunity to meet lots of Gen Zers, and here’s what I’ve noticed. To start, they tend to be independent. While a 2015 Census Bureau report found that nearly a third of millennials are still living with their parents, Gen Zers are growing up in a healthier economy and appear eager to be cut loose. They don’t wait for their parents to teach them things or tell them how to make decisions. As demonstrated by the teenagers attending the recent Generation Z Conference at American University in Washington, Gen Z is already out in the world, curious and driven, investigating how to obtain relevant professional experience before college. Despite their obvious technology proficiency, Gen Zers seem to prefer in-person to online interaction and are being schooled in emotional intelligence from a young age. Thanks to social media, they are accustomed to engaging with friends all over the world, so they are well prepared for a global business environment.

Gen Z is also diverse. I have a student who is a quarter Hispanic, a quarter African-American, a quarter Taiwanese, and a quarter white. That’s Gen Z — they are often a mix of ethnicities.

Even well-known organizations will have to rethink their recruiting practices to attract this group, and now is the time to start. Those who want to take advantage of Gen Z talent in the future need to develop relationships today with teenagers in grades seven through 12. Get into their schools, provide mentorship and education, and put yourself in a position to help shape their career decisions. They are eager to listen.

Filling the talent pipeline has never been so critical now that the United States is facing a skills gap in most industries. Even if you’re a small operation, you can still have a Gen Z internship program. These children are so mature and they learn so fast, they might just be ready to take over by the time they’re 22. Managers take note.

Thank you Alexandria Levit for assistance in this piece. 

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – ARE COLLEGES READY FOR 'COLLEGE-READY' STANDARDS? Five years after states across the nation began to adopt the Common Core, colleges have done little to align their admissions criteria, curricula or educational policies with the new standards. And while higher education officials say they're doing plenty for now - including advocating for the standards and training teachers to use them - experts warn that the inertia could make for a bumpy transition for graduating high school students. The higher education community doesn't even agree on a definition of "college ready" - except to acknowledge that it likely means something different at Stanford than it does at Pellissippi State Community College. "Most of higher education's commitments so far have really reflected more of a rhetorical acceptance of higher standards," said Lindsey Tepe, policy analyst with New America's Education Policy Program.

In this wait-and-see environment, there are bright spots of on-the-ground policy changes. Two Colorado colleges just announced they'll use scores on the PARCC language arts and math exams to determine whether students are fit for credit-bearing college courses. "We're proud to be the first state with institutions making a bold step toward relying on PARCC assessments to determine college readiness," said Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia. 

POLITICS 101 - Hillary Clinton readies presidential launch: With an announcement on social media, she will pick up where she left off 7 years ago: The launch ... will begin with a message on social media and continue over the next week with campaign visits to Iowa and New Hampshire. ... In recent months, she has been highlighting her decades-long record fighting for women's rights and supporting equal pay and legislation like paid sick leave. The speeches, in controlled environments filled with supporters, have provided Clinton with the opportunity for a soft launch before entering the fray. ...

In a mission statement handed out to the team Saturday, campaign manager Robby Mook outlined how important it will be for the team to operate as a unified team, and as a diverse 'family.' ... The memo's point was clear: Mook and senior staffers are determined to set a collaborative tone ... The memo also reminded staffers of one of the campaign's animating themes: that the election 'is not about Hillary Clinton and not about us - it's about the everyday Americans who are trying to build a better life for themselves and their families.

Hillary Clinton's entrance into the 2016 race immediately makes her the front-runner to become the next president of the United States and the first woman to hold the office. Few candidates in American history have come into a campaign for the White House with stronger resumes or deeper experience. She leads all her potential GOP rivals in early polls. She will almost certainly get her party's nomination and her strength among women and the demographic tilt of the electorate in key swing states all tend to benefit her. But Clinton could easily lose.

The lack of a serious primary opponent (for now) means Clinton, who isn't a natural political athlete, will not get battle tasted. The heavily scripted nature of her rollout so far lacks any sense of exactly why Clinton wants to be president other than that it's her time. The economy could easily falter again before the fall of next year, making it much harder to sell voters on four more years of Democratic control. And she will be running against history. Voters do not tend to let one party hold the White House for more than eight years in a row.

And then there is the very real problem of national Clinton fatigue. People remember the 1990s economy and general lack of war quite fondly, and rightly so. But they also realize that some of the policies of those years helped lead to the subsequent financial crisis and the grinding trend toward economic inequality. Plus it was a long time ago. And the Clintons come with oversized baggage, scores of scandals and a tendency toward epic internal staff drama.

Hillary Clinton will likely not be able to run as either a successor to Barack Obama (given the soft economy and multiple foreign policy crises) or Bill Clinton. She will have to carve out a clear set of policies and a broad vision for the nation all her own. Right now it's not obvious what any of those will be and Clinton will not face the crucible of a heated primary to sharpen her message. At this point, a Hillary Clinton presidency can seem both inevitable and impossible.

FOUR MORE YEARS - Rahm wins runoff in Chicago: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel won a second term last Tuesday after a bruising, multimillion-dollar campaign in the first runoff in the city's history. Emanuel handily led challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, 56 percent to 44 percent, with 73 percent of the vote tallied, when The Associated Press called the race. The result ends a historic campaign in which Emanuel, President Barack Obama's first White House chief of staff, raised - by some estimates - close to $30 million (with the help of a supportive super PAC), with much of the investment made in television ads designed to prop up the mayor, who had abysmal approval ratings just last summer.

OBAMA'S STATE DINNERS: -- 2009: Then-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ... 2010: Then-Mexican President Felipe Calderon ... 2011: Then-Chinese President Hu Jintao ... 2011: German Chancellor Angela Merkel ... 2011: Then-South Korean President Lee Myung-bak ... 2012: British Prime Minister David Cameron ... 2014: French President Francois Hollande ... 2015: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, scheduled for April 28. ... 2015: (expected) Chinese President Xi Jinping.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Francis Ford Coppola (76), Ellen Goodman (74), Lily James (26), John Madden (79).

JACK ASS OF THE MONTH - Megyn Kelly is not taking President Barack Obama's recent comments about Christians lightly. During an Easter prayer breakfast last Tuesday, President Obama told an audience that he gets concerned when he hears "less-than-loving expressions by Christians." "But that’s a topic for another day," he continued.

Like clockwork, Fox News responded with a bit of a freakout about the damaging effect of his words. "His remarks come as Christians are increasingly being targeted by terrorists worldwide," Kelly said last Tuesday evening, referring to the nearly 150 people killed in a terror attack on a Kenya university last week, and also citing the 21 Egyptians killed at the hands of the Islamic State militant group in February.

Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay Family Research Council, backed her up, suggesting that Obama's policies are “fostering an environment where tyrants and terrorists feel free to kill people.” Even that was a bit much for Kelly, who took it back a notch and told Perkins that he had gone too far. But she did wonder whether Obama's comments were causing serious harm to the Christian community.

"This is the Easter prayer breakfast, OK? Like the holiest holiday in Christianity: Easter," she said, blasting Obama for making that the place where he "goes off script to criticize Christians."

“The question is whether those comments do real damage, not just to morale among Christians about what their president thinks of them, but to the enemy ... that they feel he won’t stand up for Christians who are under threat."

For these comments we honor Megyn Kelly with this month’s Jack Ass of the Month.

THE PUZZLER: “Secret Files” – Sort the following words into three different categories and name the categories. (Answers next week)

dinar, tap,  yen, spoon, potato ricer, ballet, flamenco, garlic press, nutcracker, swing, rupee, sheqel


American League:
East – Baltimore Orioles                   Central – Detroit Tigers
West – Seattle Mariners                   Wild Cards – Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics

National League:
East – Washington Nationals           Central – St. Louis Cardinals
West – Los Angeles Dodgers            Wild Cards – Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants

ALCS – Baltimore over Detroit        NLCS – Washington over Pittsburgh

2015 World Champs – Washington Nationals


(SCIAC Baseball Game of the Week, April 17) University of La Verne Leopards (18-13) 5 vs. Chapman University Brymans (21-11) 4

Stanley Cup Playoffs: First Round Series Picks –

West – Ducks over Jets in 6 games, Flames over Canucks in 7 games, Blues over the Wild in 5 games, Blackhawks over the Predators in 7 games.

East – Rangers over Penguins in 5 games, Capitals over the Islanders in 7 games, Senators over the Canadiens in 6 games, Lightening over Detroit in 5 games.

Season to date (34-17)

MARKET WEEK – Earnings season begins in earnest this week, with profits in a real decline for the first time in six years. Dow stocks JPMorgan (JPM), American Express (AXP), Intel (INTC), and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) are the docket.

The Apple Watch generated nearly 1 million pre-orders in the U.S. Friday, according to early estimates. But some buyers won't get their devices until weeks after the April 24 launch date.

DRIVING THE WEEK – Big week for 2016ers with Hillary's announcement on Sunday and early state road trip and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's expected announcement today ... Congress is back in DC ... SEC Chair Mary Jo White testifies before House Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday ... Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Secretary of State Kerry, and Energy Secretary Moniz today will "brief House members of Congress regarding the P5+1's political framework for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and ongoing negotiations with Iran" ... House OGR has an Ex-Im hearing Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. ... Jeb Bush on Tuesday keynotes the Ohio Chamber of Commerce's Annual Meeting where he will argue for "pro-growth policies that allow for a robust economy and prosperity for individuals and businesses" ... Hillary Clinton starts her early-state rollout Tuesday in Iowa ... Retail sales at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise 1 percent ... Producer prices at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise 0.2 percent headline, 0.1 percent core ... Consumer Prices at 8:30 a.m. Friday expected to rise 0.3 percent headline, 0.2 percent core ... Univ. of Mich. Consumer Sentiment at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise to 94 from 93.

Next week: Words of the Month.

Until Next Monday, Adios

Claremont, CA
April 13, 2015

CARTOON OF THE WEEK –  Castaway Island, Mort Gerberg

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