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LISTEN: AL CEO discusses myths about millennials, part 1

Cord Sachs is a Birmingham-based leadership expert and the CEO of FireSeeds, a company that helps companies find and grow great leaders and “the company behind many of Alabama’s fastest growing companies.”

The full conversation with Mr. Sachs can be heard on the Yellowhammer Radio podcast or in the video above, and a lightly edited transcript of his interview with Yellowhammer’s Andrea Tice and Scott Chambers can be read below.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Podcast on iTunes. Learn more about Cord Sachs and Fireseeds at www.fireseeds.com


Scott Chambers:

Now it’s time to move on, breaking news out of the way. We are joined on Yellowhammer Radio as we are, each and every Tuesday, by our friend, Cord Sachs. Cord Sachs joining us here. One of the founders of FireSeeds, and we’ve had just a great conversation going on each and every week with Cord Sachs. Fifteen years there, recruiting and leadership development experience, wants FireSeeds to recruit dynamic leaders and install leadership development strategies and help in that world-changing business. Cord, how are ya doing today, man.

Cord Sachs:

Great, Scott. Great, Andrea. How you guys doing?

Andrea Tice:

We’re doing well.

Scott Chambers:

Living the dream.

Cord Sachs:

Awesome, awesome.

Scott Chambers:

Well, we’re glad [crosstalk 00:00:36] to have you on the program. Yeah, we’re ready to get rolling man. Help us out, we always are seeking help, because, well, I feel like I always need help, Cord.

Andrea Tice:

And especially this week, Scott’s come under fire for some of his tendencies and persnickety things, that I maybe have incorrectly attributed to him being a millennial. So maybe you can direct us in the right way on that.

Cord Sachs:

I too have thought, based on being around Scott, that he definitely has the tendencies of millennial. And so 1981-

Scott Chambers:

It happens.

Cord Sachs:

… to 2000, that’s the range, you fit in that Scott?

Scott Chambers:

Yep, I do, ’82 brother, late ’82.

Cord Sachs:

Late ’82? So an early millennial. I am talking to an expert. You are actually- [crosstalk 00:01:17]

Scott Chambers:

The first time I’ve been called an expert, Cord. I like it.

Cord Sachs:

Actually, well, Andrea I won’t even ask your age. Let’s just pick on Scott.

Andrea Tice:

Wise choice.

Scott Chambers:

She’s older than me.

Cord Sachs:

Scott is our millennial expert today. Generation IY. I’m a Gen-Xer, so I’m right. I’m right before ya, in 1965 to 1980. But boy, you guys have a bad rap, Scott.

Scott Chambers:

I know. And see, I’m on the upper end and I’m still put in the category of all the millennials. They do get a bad rap. Sometimes rightfully so. There’s lots of myths about it.

Cord Sachs:

[crosstalk 00:01:46] Well, they are. They’re convinced, and I think especially us Gen-Xers that come in right before. And I’ll tell you, the boomers don’t know what to do with them. The generation before me, those born before 1965, they have no idea what to do with someone like yourself and the way you think, and the way you act, and the way you work, especially at work. That’s where millennials drive the boomers crazy.

And Gen-Xers are having a bit of hard time with ’em as well. I think there’s some myths, I think there really are some myths out there about millennials [crosstalk 00:02:19]

Scott Chambers:

Do you think they’re true though, about millennials? Do you think those myths are true, Cord?

Cord Sachs:

Well, let’s ask you. You’re the resident expert now because you fit in the range. So the number one biggest myth, and this is kind of I think what millennials get labeled with more than anything else is that, that you’re entitled, Scott. You’re just naturally entitled. What do you have to say about that? Do you think that’s true?

Scott Chambers:

Me, personally, I don’t think so. I don’t personally think that, but I do think other millennials, younger millennials down on the spectrum, I totally think a lot of them are entitled. They feel like they’re just entitled to everything.

Cord Sachs:

Okay. Andrea, do you agree? Do you experience entitlement, and how so?

Scott Chambers:

I don’t know that they’re actually voicing it in the sense like, “You owe me, the government owes me, society owes me.” I don’t think so. I think that they’ve been raised in an incredibly luxurious lifestyle compared to 50, 60, 70 years ago. And so that naturally brings in expectations for a certain way of life that may not be guaranteed in the future. Does that make sense?

Cord Sachs:

Ding, ding, ding, ding. You’re exactly right. They’re a product of us parents that have raised this generation to have access to a lot of information. Scott, you’ve been told since you were born that you could do anything. Your parents gave you a lot of freedom.

Scott Chambers:

Right.

Cord Sachs:

You were given trophies for everything that you competed in.

Scott Chambers:

True.

Cord Sachs:

So you think you should get a trophy for everything that [crosstalk 00:03:58]

Scott Chambers:

Right. Exactly. My parents told me I could be anything. You’re right. And I was gonna be an astronaut, and if that didn’t work, I was gonna fall back and be a brain surgeon. See, I can do anything, Cord.

Cord Sachs:

And so the myth is that they’re entitled. They’re really just ambitious. They are very ambitious. They have been set up to really think, I can go out and change the world. The question is not, why do I do that? The question is, why not? Because I’ve been empowered, and you know what else I have, and I’m really better than anybody else at, is leveraging this thing called technology. And I’ve got all the information at my fingertips, why couldn’t I go out and change the world?

Scott Chambers:

Right.

Cord Sachs:

And so, I’d say not entitled, but ambitious. Myth number one.

Andrea Tice:

Okay. It’s good for you to explain this to us so we don’t come in with a negative viewpoint on every millennial. You’re right. When you put it that way, you have a better understanding of where they’re at least coming from.

Scott Chambers:

That was just myth number one. There’s gotta be more myths. What’s the next myth?

Cord Sachs:

We’ll keep going. We’re gonna do a couple weeks on this.

Andrea Tice:

Okay.

Scott Chambers:

All right.

Cord Sachs:

Number two, millennials are just disloyal. They’re just not loyal. They don’t stick around long, everybody’s saying, “How do we retain millennials? They’re so disloyal.” Is it a myth, is it true?

Scott Chambers:

Yeah, I don’t agree with that one personally, or the other millennials out there. Because I know a lot of them that are just go-getters. I think our generation are go-getters. We’re the generation, Cord, that we get out of college after four years, it’s like, “Oh, I don’t want to go to work in a factory. Oh, there’s no job that matches my degree.” So my generation, we just start a business. We create something ourself. That’s what I did. That’s what my generation’s done. I don’t think so at all.

Cord Sachs:

Yeah. And I think you’re right. That goes along with the ambition that I was just talking about. But millennials, they’re not disloyal, they do want to be mentored though. Here’s the deal, millennials are relationship skeptics. Because they’ve been connected relationally to a broad range of folks in their lives since very little because of the smartphone.

And so they can spot an inengenuous, or an unauthentic relationship a mile away. So they are longing for deep relationships. They’ve experienced social media, and the the times where it’s surface-related, they’re repulsed to surface-related relationship. If they’re ever seen as a project, or if they’re managed, yes, they’re very disloyal to being managed as a thing, or a process. But what they truly desire is they want to be mentored.

Scott Chambers:

Totally.

Cord Sachs:

They want to be in an organization. They want to be a part of an experience where you’re going to invest in them. So the myth is, they’re not disloyal, they’re very teachable.

Scott Chambers:

It’s true.

Cord Sachs:

As long as you’re willing to invest in them and expect them to invest in others.

Scott Chambers:

I agree with that one a hundred percent. Interesting.

Cord Sachs:

All these employers, they’re saying, “How do I draw in these millennials?” They want to be invested in. If you’ll give them a track and show them, “Hey, if you come work for me. Here’s how you’re going to grow. Here’s how we’re going to empower you with new skills and opportunities.” It doesn’t even have to relate to their pay grade. They’re not disloyal. They just want to be invested in. That’s not a bad thing last time I checked.

Scott Chambers:

No, not at all, man. Not at all.

Andrea Tice:

Right. That’s important that you’re expressing it this way, because disloyal just from the get go you start out with a negative expectation out of them. But seeing it the way you’re describing it changes everything.

Cord Sachs:

Yeah. Okay, let’s do number three. Let’s see if we can get through three.

Scott Chambers:

All right.

Cord Sachs:

Millennials, they’re so independent you can’t depend on them.

Scott Chambers:

Now, see that’s bogus, man. That’s just bogus. My generation’s misunderstood.

Cord Sachs:

Okay. Okay, Andrea, what do you think?

Andrea Tice:

It kind of contradicts itself, because if they’re entitled then they would naturally be dependent on entitlement. So how can they be too independent?

Scott Chambers:

There’s no such thing as too independent, is there? How can you be too independent?

Andrea Tice:

You could think you’re too independent, I suppose, if you have that mindset. I’m up in the air on that. I’m not sure I buy into it one way or the other.

Cord Sachs:

I think the opposite of being independent is … or the negative side of what we contribute to being independent is you’re just not a team player. And that couldn’t be anything further from the truth to what they really desire. Millennials want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. And what’s bigger than I? Bigger than I is team. They want to be a part of a team. They want to be a part of a group that really understands them for who they are and sees that, “Wow, I appreciate you as a very unique part of this team that can help us together contribute to a goal we want to achieve.”

And so they’re team players if they’re just given the opportunity to uniquely play a role that’s communicated and is vital on that team. So, to a big deal.

Andrea Tice:

It sounds to me, Cord, as you’re describing the millennial that maybe the older generation is looking at them and seeing them somewhat engrossed in social media and technology in a greater way than we experience growing up. And we automatically conclude that they’re totally engaged in it, and we don’t recognize that if we put an effort forward, we can pull them out into human relationships that could be satisfying on both ends.

Cord Sachs:

Yeah. [inaudible 00:09:33] on the relational component, that is face to face and in person, but they have a lot of [inaudible 00:09:40] socially interacting in groups and with each other on the internet. So they actually become very good team players. They do need skills and training and development, but they’re typically phenomenal team players.

Scott Chambers:

Thanks.

Cord Sachs:

We got through three, and I know we’re close to the end.

Scott Chambers:

We are, we’re running out.

Cord Sachs:

[crosstalk 00:09:57] over the next few weeks.

Scott Chambers:

Yeah, this is fascinating. I really enjoy talking about this, because it’s talking about my generation here, Cord. And we’re gonna continue this chat next week, FireSeeds, tell them quickly how can people get in touch with you.

Cord Sachs:

Check us out fireseeds.com, we do recruiting and leader development, love helping companies who really focus on their culture to impact their people.

Scott Chambers:

All right, see you tomorrow.

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