I saw a tweet yesterday by Joel Black in reference to a blog post by Alan Hirsch regarding Leading Gen-F. Alan’s post was in reference to this great article, The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500 by Gary Hamel.

In the article, Hamel says this:

The experience of growing up online will profoundly shape the workplace expectations of “Generation F” – the Facebook Generation. At a minimum, they’ll expect the social environment of work to reflect the social context of the Web, rather than as is currently the case, a mid-20th-century Weberian bureaucracy.

If your company hopes to attract the most creative and energetic members of Gen F, it will need to understand these Internet-derived expectations, and then reinvent its management practices accordingly. Sure, it’s a buyer’s market for talent right now, but that won’t always be the case—and in the future, any company that lacks a vital core of Gen F employees will soon find itself stuck in the mud.

With that in mind, I compiled a list of 12 work-relevant characteristics of online life. These are the post-bureaucratic realities that tomorrow’s employees will use as yardsticks in determining whether your company is “with it” or “past it.” In assembling this short list, I haven’t tried to catalog every salient feature of the Web’s social milieu, only those that are most at odds with the legacy practices found in large companies.

Hamel goes on to list these 12 characteristics as follows (read the article for the explanation of each one):

  1. All ideas compete on an equal footing.
  2. Contribution counts for more than credentials.
  3. Hierarchies are natural, not prescribed.
  4. Leaders serve rather than preside.
  5. Tasks are chosen, not assigned.
  6. Groups are self-defining and -organizing.
  7. Resources get attracted, not allocated.
  8. Power comes from sharing information, not hoarding it.
  9. Opinions compound and decisions are peer-reviewed.
  10. Users can veto most policy decisions.
  11. Intrinsic rewards matter most.
  12. Hackers are heroes.

Great stuff…and I totally agree with his conclusions.

I’m technically of Generation X, but I definitely think (in many ways), operate, and feel at home with Generation Y or Millenials. This is probably due to the fact that I have worked in youth ministry for 15 years–the last 7 in Los Angeles as a college pastor to USC, UCLA and LMU students primarily. They have some interesting philosophies on leadership, managment, work, etc. that I share with them.

I definitely like working in collaborative environments, with more of a bottom-up style of leadership, rather than top-down authoritarian. This obviously put me at odds with some church leaders during my tenure in full-time ministry. I have written at length about this generation (just do a search on my blog), but more recently I wrote on why I thought Obama really understood the role of connecting with them–and he did a great job.

Sometimes Gen Y/Millenials get a bad reputation–and there are some things/values that are of concern. But there are many things that I think they embrace that are valuable, and if we let them, they could be great teachers in helping us live and function differently in many areas of life.

There is lots of discussion about Gen Y/Millenials in the workplace, and for good reason. One can just do a Google search and find tons of information. For example, They’ve arrived at work with a new attitude, How dramatically will Gen Y change the workplace?. Or the now well known The “Millenials” Are Coming which was done by 60 Minutes.

Here is a sample of some collaborative resources that have really helped me understand the shift in thinking that Generation Y/Millenials bring to the table.