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There is an age-old conflict in business:  the friction between the established leaders of today and the newest crop of the leaders of tomorrow. 

Meet the Millennials.

This large generation of rising adults, born since 1982, are starkly different from their older managers, teachers, and colleagues. Also known as Generation Y and the Echo Boomers, several million of them have joined the adult world since 2000, and they are entering the workforce faster than you can say “retiring Baby Boomers,” according to a research report from the former MillennialGeneration.Org site.

This group poses a unique set of hurdles for today’s leaders in terms of attitudes and practices in how they work and communicate.

Facing “big ticket” challenges, not the least of which are significant reductions in spending on Medicare and Medicaid over the next 10 years, CEOs and Chief Human Resource Officers aren’t always attuned to the nuances of a particular age group, most especially how to recruit, develop and retain the top talent from this working class.  This is a critical consideration.

The payor’s focus on customer service and the negative financial implications that will occur for those hospitals who do not achieve top scores in service and satisfaction, will require the leaders of today to harness the incredible intelligence and remarkable creativity of this new generation. 

For someone who frequently lectures to graduate management students, my only advice is to pay attention and engage your "up and comers" about what they think and believe, not what you want them to think.

© 2011 John Gregory Self

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