Advertising Week Europe

Advertising Week Europe 2017 Official Guide

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"I spend my life surrounded by young people. I'm a self- confessed young person junkie." The "under 32 year olds" he said, are dif- ficult to manage, lazy, unfocussed, narcis- sistic, lazy, have low self-esteem and are too entitled. He began by blaming the parents who have messed up their kids futures with failed parenting strategies. He also blamed impatience, technology and the employers. I agreed with a lot he said, but something wasn't sitting right with me. As the Founder and CEO of The Marketing Academy (born 1965), I spend my life surrounded by young people. I'm a self- confessed young person junkie. In my experience, the majority of young people are curious, inquisitive, energetic, enthusi- astic, hopeful, entrepreneurial, innovative, creative, and generous. Yes, they're also restless and impatient with a desire to change the world—but I'd take that over sluggish complacency any time. I asked some alumni of The Marketing Acad- emy UK and Australia Scholarship (half born after 1984 and half leading young teams) to watch Simon's video and tell me what they thought. Many of them agreed with every word. Alumni Adam Henderson (born 1986) and Founder of "Millennium Mind- set," pointed me towards his research that confirms that 100% of the millennials re- searched wanted their employers to stand for something, over 90% want flexible work- ing and almost all want to work from home (…who doesn't?). Some had a different take. Alex Light, who runs Vice Sydney (born 1981), said, "there is a general impatience and in some cases a sense of entitlement. But I find that can be powerful and inspiring: and they get a bad rap. The ones I'm lucky enough to work with are smart, motivated, passionate and engaged in the world and culture around them." AlumniRobDonovan(born1989)andfounder of The Eleven said, "I'm a fan of Sinek but his views are articulated as a gross generalisa- tion. It completely disregards a generation who are the only one in history forecast to have a lower overall quality of life than the one that went before us. Perhaps the dis- agreeablecharacteristicshelistsarearesult of the ubiquity of technology, or maybe graduating in the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis, struggling to find jobs in the first place and, even when we do, being priced out of the property market until we're in our forties has led to realigning values about what's important in life. My feeling is that my generation is discovering greater self-awareness, more independence and greater purpose to their lives." And that's when I realised what was wrong. The 'perceived' message of Simons talk is that it's "not your fault! You've been dealt a bad hand. The responsibility sits with your employer, and you're totally reliant on your bosses to change the environment, the rules, and the processes in order to change how you feel." Atbestthisispatronising,atworstit'swrong. This message places the responsibility oftheyoungperson'swellbeing,self-esteem, emotions, motivation and fulfilment totally outside of themselves. What about our emerging talents ability to take responsibil- ity for themselves? The truth is that everyone has a choice to think and feel a certain way, choice to take 100%responsibilityforbeingthebestversion of ourselves in every moment. An employer can't make you feel fulfilled, can't make you be patient, focused or driven just like an em- ployer can't force you to check your mobile phone every five seconds. These things are inside us at any age. Young people are fully capable of being accountable for how they act, think, and feel. It's time we gave them more credit. What's more, Simon failed to give any ad- vice to millennials other than to turn off their phones. So for what it's worth, if you're young and starting out, here are a few tips: Take responsibility for your emotions and your actions. No one has the power over how you feel unless you give it to them. Only you can control your thoughts, and thoughts lead to feelings. Whilst you can't do anything about your past, your present and your fu- ture come down to you. You can't control all events, but you can choose how you respond to them. Take ownership of your own learn- ing, don't wait for your employer to hand it to you. Get a mentor or five. Be bold, be brave and be patient. And tell your parents that you love them and that you forgive them for messing up because they feel guiltier than they'll admit and sadly, they won't live forever. And to my generation in positions of influence and leadership: Be better. You have influence beyond imagination and the shadow your actions cast will last well be- yond your lifespan. Be a shining example of collaboration, inclusion, generosity, flexibil- ity and patience. Take more of the blame and less of the credit—for everything. And stop calling young people 'millennials.' They're all unique, they're just younger than you. We really don't have a 'millennial problem.' They are our future and will be brilliant at leading us into it. AWE 2017 263

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