Book Reviews

The Millennials: Exploring the World of the Largest Living Generation


“The Millennials: Exploring the World of the Largest Living Generation” is a unique take in many ways. To begin with, it is ON the millennials, captures voices OF the millennials and is penned BY a millennial. The book brings inspiration to a millennial reader and introspection to a CEO planning to make his workplace the best place for the next-gen.

The book begins by elaborating who the millennials are and how they have stood apart as a generation, in strength, needs and dreams. It constantly focuses on how the millennial force is a game-changer for the corporate world and through numerous examples, brings out how businesses have been born, evolved and being driven by this passionate bunch.

The book shows millennials as digital natives- driven by motivation, rejuvenated by engagement and empowered by autonomy. Through corporate cases, the book brings out how the millennials have created a niche in the business world through their innovation. Be it Taxi Fabric, the creative business venture of Saket Avalani of connecting the Bombay artists and the local Kaali Peelis that made him reach the Forbes 30 under 30, or the ‘Powai boys’ transportation startup which started with 10 bookings in a day in 2011 to 7,00,000 bookings per day in 2015(Ola, as we know it!); Kalpathi’s book explores not just the business journey but also the values that drove it and the belief system that made it thrive. The book identifies the three elements that were highlighted by Daniel Pink’s Self Determination Theory in his book Drive: Autonomy (of work), Mastery (of skills) and Purpose (Clarity of Why I do what I do) as the driving current for the millennials.

For a generation looking for value in the work, the organization culture is the magnet that attracts and binds the millennials. The stronger and more resonating a culture is to the millennial cohort, the sooner do the millennials become its custodians. The book urges companies to evolve as Open Organisations. Citing how Red Hat excelled the concept, the book advocates that an open organization amplify the voice of the millennials by dismantling organizational silos and creating a space for a bottom-top culture to emerge.

The book brings out 5 ‘must possess’ discovery skills for any millennial looking out to develop their creativity- associating, questioning, observing, experimenting and networking. It further advises organizations to develop collaborative creativity. An Innovation Hub like Vaibhav Chhabra’s Maker’s Asylum, which fuels creative thinking through interdisciplinary and multi-generational teams could ignite a culture of problem-solving.

The book focuses on organizations to strategically deploy digital tools for millennial engagement and thereby improve productivity. How a team of 9 young heads developed the Teewe Dongle and used social media as a branding medium to create the right buzz for the product is a solid example in the book testifying how the millennials and the digital world are so well-knit. Further, the book brings out the prospects for technology incubators and mentors to guide the millennials in the digital journey ahead.

The book draws a guideline of designing the modern-day workplace that discourages silos and promotes teamwork between heterogenous yet self-managed teams. GSKs Deskless Office is one such creative layout. The working spaces as some of the initiatives that could trigger community-based business ecosystems, rich with serendipitous encounters between a diverse group of employees and confluence of ideas and cultures.

The book accepts millennials as learning opportunists. It advises organizations to generate learning avenues for the millennials that are continuous, digital and engaging.  Gamified learning could be one such method. The book probes the millennials to build in their inquisitiveness by not only relying on the expertise of the existing but also entertaining their beginner’s mind. It advises millennials to Seek out and participate in new assignments, and thereby avoid stasis.

The book beautifully brings out millennial leadership and emphasizes on millennials to pick up coaching skills at the early stages of their career and how older millennials influence younger millennials through their leadership styles.  The book brings to the limelight the Blue-Ribbon Movement – a hybrid social enterprise that builds leadership among the youth through service-based learning.

The book comprehensively brings out all the above-discussed aspects of millennial presence in the corporate world and passes the message to the organizations to understand and evolve as per their insatiable hunger to grow. The book is a great read and recommended for all who want to channel this millennial strength for striving for newer pinnacles.

     

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