Gini Dietrich

Join Maddie Grant for a Special Author Q&A Today

By: Gini Dietrich | March 26, 2015 | 

WhenMillenialsTakeOverBookBy Gini Dietrich

When I have the opportunity to speak in front of an audience of CEOs, I typically hear comments such as, “We don’t really need to worry about how Millennials buy because our audiences are Baby Boomers.” Or my favorite, “I’ll retire before Millennials are decision makers so I don’t need to worry about it.”


Not only do I wholeheartedly disagree (unless you are retiring in the next 30 days), Maddie Grant and Jamie Notter support my thinking.

Their new book, When Millennials Take Over, shows not only that this thinking is wrong, but that this generation is the future of business.

I have big plans for them: They are going to make work from home a more common thing. They are going to make flexibility in the workplace more common. And they are going to slap anyone who tries to pay women less than men.

Big plans for you, Millennials!

For everyone else who is scared of what workplace changes are coming, Maddie and Jamie give you steps to prepare for a world where Millennials will be the decision-makers.

What You Will Learn

This author Q&A will help you:

  • How to stay relevant to customers;
  • How to capitalize on opportunities in the marketplace;
  • How to attract top talent;
  • What drives customers and employees in today’s business climate;
  • How to focus on results versus process (big fans of that here!);
  • How to build a stronger culture; and
  • How to harness the energy of the next generation for organizational growth.

So, get your questions ready, and limber up those typing fingers.

If you’ve attended one of our author Q&As in the past, you know they are a fast-paced romp!

Today’s Author Q&A with Maddie Grant

At noon ET (that’s 11:00 CT, 10:00 MT, and 9:00 PT for those of you who can’t do time zones), Maddie will be here to answer any and all of your questions.

In order to participate, all you have to do is:

  • Make sure you have a Livefyre account or be ready to sign in with one of your social networks.
  • Set a reminder for noon ET today.
  • Order When Millennials Take Over so you can support Maddie and Jamie and get your learn on. (It is only $2.99 right now on the Kindle so you have no excuse!)
  • Create a list of questions.
  • Come back here, scroll to the bottom, and write a comment in the form of a question. As soon as you hit “post comment,” Maddie will see it and reply to you. You can even join the conversation around questions others are asking, if you like.

We’ll be here for an hour so you can join us the entire time or step in and out during the hour. It’s entirely up to you; just make sure you’re here before 12:59.

Win a Copy

Those of you who participate in today’s author Q&A (even if you’re late to the party, but not if you’re an Arment Dietrich employee) will be entered into a random draw for a free copy of the book.

Don’t forget—you have to actually leave a comment, ask a question, or participate in the chat to be entered in the draw. Otherwise we won’t know you were here.

Get ready with your questions and join the conversation. And don’t fear! If you missed the live portion of this, we’ll keep the drawing open until midnight PT so you still have time to get in your questions.

Former Guests and Who’s Next

For former guests, check out Margie ClaymanSarah RobinsonMark StoryBeth HaydenSarah EvansStanford SmithChris BroganC.C. ChapmanMitch JoelDanny BrownChuck HemannMichael BritoDJ WaldowTom MartinAhava LeibtagJay BaerShel IsraelMark SchaeferGini DietrichRob BiesenbachSteve McKeeNeal SchafferEd Zitron, Ann Handley,Tim FrickTom Martin, Paul Roetzer, Diana KanderJeremy Miller, and Hessie Jones.

And following are the dates for the next few months, so mark your calendars!

Same bat time, same bat channel.

  • April 15—Ryan Hanley, Content Warfare
  • I clearly need to get my butt in gear!

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • This is sure to spur interesting discussions! Can’t wait!

  • Darn it I am gone at that time. Having lunch in Waitsfield and eating Maple Donuts with my mother-in-law and kids. 
    Sorry maddiegrant I don’t get to ask you the tough questions I keep asking others in this space….questions people refuse to answer because it kind of hurts the whole Gen Y pitch. Like since you can’t predict anything 10 years out and this Gen will be screwed with the burden of the US national debt to pay off will they even have any money for consumer purchases? What if we have another big war soon (possible!).? What if the GOP keeps destroying the social safety net and and the middle class and we wind up with 1% really rich and 99% in poverty (that is what they want). Or the fact the GOP doesn’t want to invest in education or infrastructure and is trying to poison the land so no one can live how will they survive? Or 30 years ago a new worker entering the workforce had no idea 30 years later on average that they will be making the exact same money as they started out with (that is the reality today)….so is Gen Y ready for that and are they ok with that? What if we have to go back to hunting and gathering are they trained to do this?
    What about the transitory aspects of Gen Y’s like being so connected because as you get older have spouses and kids and careers you spend so much less time connected. So this is an Age vs Generational thing. 15-25 year olds will always be most connected just from having so much more idle time. So how to we plan for the unconnecting of Gen-Y as they age.

    Oh ok ginidietrich just told me it is all in the book!

  • Not sure I can attend (but will try to pop in!). Sounds great.

  • scribblinghappy

    I’ll pop in and out. Can’t wait to hear her thoughts!

  • Howie Goldfarb maddiegrant ginidietrich Howie, I’ll try to ask some of your questions and tag you

  • Hey folks….we are getting ready to start soon! So get your questions ready for maddiegrant

  • I’m here party people! 🙂  Thanks for the opportunity to chat with you!

  • maddiegrant Woohoo!

  • Maddie, what made you decide this book needed to be written? Obviously it’s an important topic, but what was the main stimulus?

  • LauraPetrolino Howie Goldfarb yeah cool thanks!

  • What is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about millennials?

  • LauraPetrolino great question! Jamie and I wrote Humanize 3 years ago about how social media was going to change management and leadership, not just marketing and communications.  Now three years later, we realized there’s a much bigger catalyst about to happen – Millennials (the oldest of whom are in their early 30s, not kids) entering management positions where they will be able to change the way organizations are run – to be more digital, clear, fluid and fast, as we describe in the book.

  • KevinVandever

    Hi Maddie, Did you talk/interview millennials for your book? The reason i ask is that I am doing a similar project and when I talked to some of these folks, I received many conflicting responses and attitudes. In fact, what I seemed to take most from these folks is that they hate that they are labeled at all. What was your experience?

  • LauraPetrolino That these are kids.  Like I said the oldest Millennials are in their 30s, some have children of their own, they have been in the workforce 10 years and they know what they are doing now.

  • Howie Goldfarb had an interesting question on what will happen as millennials age? Since as you get older, have spouses, kids, and careers you spend so much less time connected. So is this an Age vs Generational thing. 15-25 year olds will always be most connected just from having so much more idle time. So how do we plan for the unconnecting of Gen-Y as they age?

  • maddiegrant LauraPetrolino To give context, I’m at the top cusp of millennials… a lot of people do still picture them as “kids”

  • KevinVandever yes!!!  We interviewed hundreds of Millennials from every kind of company – – there were a lot of differing responses but some definite trends, which turned into the four key principles we lay out in the book.  We sprinkled LOTS of quotes in too…

  • How does the buying process of millennials most differ from previous generations?

  • KevinVandever I think that’s an accurate observation Kevin, will be interested in maddiegrant ‘s response

  • LauraPetrolino Howie Goldfarb Love Howie but I don’t buy that. If you grow up connected all the time, you stay connected as you age – in fact you have MORE to share – baby pics etc. The tools will change but deeply ingrained habits will not.  And if you’re able to be better connected at work, start bringing your networks in to projects, encourage access to information from many sources, you’ll also be more connected as a Millennial in the workplace.

  • LauraPetrolino This is not something we asked about in our research, in fact the book is very directly NOT about “how to market to Millennials”, however you can draw inferences that the customer in general and the Millennial customer in particular is much more well-informed (through social media and the internet in general) that they will ensure feedback from trusted others is part of that buying process. E.g. reviews, recommendations.

  • maddiegrant LauraPetrolino Howie Goldfarb Do you think workplaces will start changing to adapt to this need for millennials to stay connected? Have you seen some interesting adaptations already?

  • Absolutely. This is a case where social media has broken down a lot of silo walls in a lot of companies already.  There’s a huge trend towards customer communities, for example, which is not even really a new thing anymore.

  • How are workplaces changing to adapt to the millennial workforce?

  • maddiegrant What do you mean by customer communities?

  • KevinVandever maddiegrant Waned to bump this to make sure you saw this one Maddie

  • LauraPetrolino That’s the killer question, isn’t it.  The four key capacities we identify in the book are:
    1) Digital – having a digital mindset and focus on the end user, meaning the customer AND the employee as user of your culture;
    2) Clear – being able to share information more widely in order to make better decisions
    3) Fluid – to be able to form teams based on expertise rather than age or tenure
    4) Fast – to be able to reliquish control and use trust – in networks, in the internet, in relationships in order to leap ahead.

    Millennials care about these things because they 1) don’t understand why the workplace ignores our digital reality; 2) they have always had access to senior people (parents) at an almost equal level and don’t understand the point of being blocked from higher levels, 3) they have access to information at their fingertips so need to understand context behind decisions handed down to them, 4) they let go easily and are used to CONSTANT “upgrades” – everything they do online is about continuous improvement and learning, so why not at work.

    That’s just the start…

  • What are the top things millennials value when search for a job or an organization to work for?

  • I think this echoes a question below but ….. I was at a contact center supervisory training once and was told, “your new trainees won’t want to be separated from their phones during the training.” This may not be a “millennial” question so much as an “everyone is used to their technology being at hand 24/7” question but have you seen expectations from the millennials with whom you worked about this kind of thing?

  • LauraPetrolino maddiegrant Enterprise social networks, online communities for research and development, ambassador programs…. many more examples

  • AndreaKempfer

    LauraPetrolino I, too, am curious about the takeaways on this topic–where you think the millennial workplace is headed and how long it will be before we see those changes. It seems like there’s a lot of talk about it (remote workspaces, more flexibility), but in practice, we are still in the very early stages. As someone who prefers a remote workspace, I’m always keeping an eye on who is on board with it.

  • AndreaKempfer

    maddiegrant LauraPetrolino Thanks Maddie! I was typing my question as you posted your answer. Your insight is much appreciated.

  • Maddie you mentioned below “having access to” and feeling equal to senior people. Do you find this changes the leadership style needed to best encourage and cultivate millennial employees?

  • biggreenpen Yes!  We heard a lot about restrictions on sharing information outside the workplace, which was frustrating if people knew they could find out more information about particular topics or ideas by tapping into their networks.  Also the idea that you can “hack” all kinds of technology to make it do what you need, and yet at work, you’re forced to work with that heinous Sharepoint site. (sorry Microsoft).

  • Joanie Connell ( @connelllessons ) wrote a post in which she disputed the idea that “They’ve (millennials) been taught to believe they don’t have the power within themselves to get the answers.” What are your thoughts on this? (And here’s the whole post which you probably can’t digest while doing a q&a LOL: )

  • AndreaKempfer LauraPetrolino Along the lines of number four? Do Millennials get board easily? Is it hard to keep them engaged long term? Is that why they have a tendency to job hop? And how can organizations prevent this?

  • maddiegrant biggreenpen Feelings about Sharepoint probably deserves a q&a session all of its own 🙂

  • LauraPetrolino yes!  There’s a common misconception that Millennials don’t care about historical/institutional knowledge but that’s not the case. They want MORE access to information and people, not less.  Leaders being open to sharing more with younger folks (which is traditionally not done, “above their pay grade”) will make a big difference here.

  • biggreenpen maddiegrant LOL!!

  • What’s your best advice for Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers who feel a bit nervous about the millennial uprising?

  • biggreenpen Interesting! Yes definitely need to read that properly offline, but my gut tells me she’s looking at life stage, not across the whole generation.  Really young people just entering the workforce don’t know what they have the power to do or not do, right?  But older Millennials, who are in management – they are starting to know and their strength in numbers in the next 3-5 years will start to make substantial changes.

  • Haha

  • LauraPetrolino to read my book 🙂
    But in all seriousness. we get a LOT of organizations coming to us saying, ” we don’t know how to attract this generation” or “we have generational conflict” or “we struggle with engagement” or “we can’t keep up with the pace of change”.  The book is very specifically about helping bridge the gap between “old” and “new” ways of working, which is of course NOT about Millennials Taking Over, but is about us all working together in different and better ways, using some of the lessons we can learn from this gigantic generation which of course will be the dominant generation in the workforce before we know it.

  • If you play a word association game with “millennial” probably one of the most common responses is “entitled.” What’s your take on this? Do millennials really have a sense of entitlement?

  • maddiegrant biggreenpen What unique benefits do millennial managers bring to the table?

  • LauraPetrolino My co-author Jamie Notter’s the best person to answer this one, as he’s a generational expert, but essentially no.  What they are is a population that has grown up with huge abundance (the self storage industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that did not exist in the Great Depression).  They have access to more information. They have access (at home) to direct engagement with senior people (their parents, whom many consider as “friends” – that was much more rare for earlier generations).  So they expect more.  They expect more from their technology, more information behind any decisions they make, faster decisions.  To some, that could mean they are entitled but this kind of reality is what they have grown up with, the only way they know to be.

  • I love this quote from @thindifference – “Do we build bridges between generations to cultivate an environment everyone can excel in?” Have you seen any organizations do a great job of building these types of bridges?

  • biggreenpen LOVE THAT and yes, the case studies in the book do exactly that. None of them (except one) are companies/orgs created by Millennials – they are led by Boomers and Xers, and yet they have very clear and strong culture that not only directly connect to what drives success for them but also incorporate all generations into how they succeed.

  • maddiegrant LauraPetrolino But how does it align with sense of work ethic? The tendency to fill entitled for positions, benefits, etc. without earning them?

  • biggreenpen One more things about this, the idea that GenX in particular can act as a bridge between the two older and younger generations is very important to us – the book is meant to help with that – we understand the value of the traditional ways of managing and leading, but we are also very comfortable with new technologies and newer ways of working.

  • What motivates millennials? Money? Popularity? Acceptance? Higher purpose?

  • LauraPetrolino Oops forgot to answer this one.  I think this differs by life stage too, but what emerged from our research was that they very much want meaning out of it.  They want to be aligned with the values of the organization.

  • Reposting this one from KevinVandever because I think it got lost in the mix: “Hi Maddie, Did you talk/interview millennials for your book? The reason i ask is that I am doing a similar project and when I talked to some of these folks, I received many conflicting responses and attitudes. In fact, what I seemed to take most from these folks is that they hate that they are labeled at all. What was your experience?”

  • As a kind of flip to your statement in your first paragraph, a friend told me yesterday how he was responsible for diversity training quite a few years ago (like, 25/30) and the attitude among many executives at the time was, “I am retiring in five years; this won’t be my problem.” Sort of mirrors your statement about “I’ll retire before they are decision makers so I won’t need to worry about it.”

  • LauraPetrolino I think I just replied to this in my late reply below to the question about what millennials look for in an org they apply to work for – but again while it’s important not to make sweeping generalizations, I definitely think they want alignment with the culture and values of the org.  Everyone wants money but they don’t seem driven by that as a top priority. They do want to have some skin in the game – to be involved in decisions, to be able to lead projects, to have access to higherups in order to share their own opinions about decisions.

    And regardless of what they want, they are happy to quickly move on if they don’t get it – which is why the question of how to retain millennial employees is so top of mind right now. You just won’t be able to if you haven’t defined your culture enough and don’t have ways to incorporate more millennial ways of communicating and collaborating into how you do things.

  • biggreenpen You are kidding me? OMG! That’s so offensive!

  • biggreenpen yes! I have heard this a lot – people were saying that a few years ago, and now  there will literally not be enough GenXers to fill the management spots left behind by retiring boomers, so we need to figure out a way to work together!

  • LauraPetrolino biggreenpen No – I’m not – his experiences are really interesting – and sad that they were reality….

  • So two books down! Is there another one in the works?

  • LauraPetrolino you know, it’s kinda like having kids.  Despite the stress, after a couple years you hanker for another… LOL. I am done with kids (have two, aged 9 and 12) but have plenty more book in me!  Next one (YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!) will definitely be a deeper dive into what makes an awesome company culture – it’s such a huge topic right now and people really struggle with it.

  • maddiegrant LauraPetrolino OHHHHH! I like it!!! I can’t wait, company culture is definitely a big interest of mine! If you ever want to write a blog post on that topic for us, we’d love it!

  • LauraPetrolino OMG absolutely!  Would love to! All of my work ( right now is about that! 🙂

  • maddiegrant LauraPetrolino OH! Fantastic! Will be digging into that later!

  • So we’ve discussed millennials dealing with Gen X and Boomers, how about the generation below them? Are there trends you are seeing that will affect that relationship?

  • scribblinghappy

    biggreenpen maddiegrant SHAREPOINT! Can we talk about being from the Google generation and being forced to work in a Microsoft environment?

  • scribblinghappy biggreenpen maddiegrant HAHAHA! I can’t even imagine!

  • scribblinghappy

    KevinVandever As one – YES.

  • Two minutes left folks! Get your questions in!

  • scribblinghappy

    Can we talk about location independence? I work for a corporation but I know plenty of other M’s who work wherever. It makes sense if you have a laptop. How will corporations and other businesses change to allow this?

  • Yargh I just got here! 
    I’m feeling millennial fatigue, myself. So much said about them for so long. And some have said that these divisions are really just artificial divisions created by marketers to make our jobs easier (targeting), and that the reality is much more fluid. Alas! I dunno, any thoughts about that, if no one else asked?

  • LauraPetrolino Too early to tell, specifically because what defines a generation is the big “social moment” as they are coming of age.  We know a lot about our little kids, but they haven’t come of age yet.

  • scribblinghappy

    Maybe the M’s should be split by generation. M’s born in the 80s are different than those born in the 90s. AND WE ARE ALL LUMPED TOGETHER.

  • DwayneAlicie Better late than never my man!

  • scribblinghappy yes lots more incorporation of the “digital mindset” which is about designing the workplace for the user and all their needs (just like software is designed for multiple browsers even though that’s harder on the software company.

  • scribblinghappy

    How can M’s develop digital boundaries so we aren’t working all the time? If our smartphones are on, so is our work email most of the time.

  • scribblinghappy I completely agree with this! Very different! And completely different experiences to shape us

  • Hmm, looking back I think I remember a GenX fatigue as well … and then we just kind of stopped hearing about it once a new generational cohort was “detected.” I wonder if the pattern will be the same?

  • scribblinghappy

    I’ve experienced burn-out due to this and I know many of my peers have as well. And we haven’t even hit 30 yet!

  • LauraPetrolino scribblinghappy Yep agree too – we are talking about the older M’s, entering into management.

  • scribblinghappy

    maddiegrant Oh that makes me happy. I think the office environment will change when more of us are in management. Less gray walls and more nature.

  • DwayneAlicie hola! Personally I think so much is being said but all the wrong stuff ( like how to market to millennials like they are one big Borg. Ugh.)  we’re trying very directly to change the conversation so it’s about learning from this generation and the ways they will bring new thinking into the workplace, not because this generation is better, but because they are at the right place at the right time when traditional management is declining, the social media revolution is well under way, and many orgs are struggling to keep up with the pace of change.

  • scribblinghappy maddiegrant exactly!!!!

  • maddiegrant thank you so much for joining us today. This has been extremely interesting and informative.

  • Thank you guys so much!!!  I have to jump, am late for my very own #culturechat on Twitter right now, but will come back later to fill in any questions I missed. 

    Thank you for helping me change the conversation around Millennials!!

  • AndreaKempfer

    maddiegrant Thank you, Maddie!

  • maddiegrant Ahhh, great answer and great mission! I dig! Also: BORG. LOL!

  • maddiegrant Thanks Maddie!

  • SpinSucks

    biggreenpen Thanks for joining Paula! Awesome insights from maddiegrant ^lp

  • biggreenpen

    SpinSucks my pleasure – I enjoyed it! maddiegrant

  • LauraPetrolino thanks again for having me on the blog today!  So fun.

  • maddiegrant LauraPetrolino Thank you! So much great information! I think everyone walked away having learned quite a bit!

  • LauraPetrolino they are used to speed. They don’t understand the concept of something taking “years”. Nothing they do in their daily activity takes years… so I think it’s a disconnect between Boomer thinking where you have to earn your position over time and the Millennial way of learning by doing. Or faking it til you make it.

  • LauraPetrolino KevinVandever question answered below 🙂

  • Sorry I missed this live, however I will be adding this book to my reading list (sadly I can’t find the $2.99 version).