The Perception Gap

Leading Millennial Change: Weekly Tip

Only 35% of Millennials believe that their college experience prepared them for the workplace.  Employers will need to create new systems of learning and education to bridge the gap.

The Perception Gap

Gallup produced a report that said that 96% of college educators believe that they are preparing their graduates for the “real world”.  In contrast only 11% of employers feel that colleges are doing an adequate job of preparing their future talent for the environment they will encounter when they graduate.  This gap is akin to the Grand Canyon of perception gaps when it applies to who is right about this argument.

Graduates are helping to answer that question by siding closer to employers.  Only 35% of college graduates feel that their education prepared them for the world that they were entering after graduation.  This stunning revelation puts a great deal of pressure on employers to develop new systems of learning to better acculturate their new employees and leaders into the greater tribe.  The unfortunate reality is that existing programming through most businesses is not robust enough to traverse the  gap that exists between perception and practicality.

The evolution of the Millennial Leader will require leaders to become a student / teacher hybrid.   The formal education system is not preparing the leaders of tomorrow for the current workplace. Company norms and processes aren’t as evolved as educators would have you believe, and the systems in place to address that are not robust enough to make the impact that our future leaders need. The Millennial Leader will have to be versed in creating training classes, opportunities, and materials to grow their workforce towards a new definition of success. The tools needed to do this will come from a self motivated education system that will create students capable of being teachers. The leader of tomorrow will be a student that can teach others to grow.

The easiest and most obvious tool that employers can tout to help grow their teams is a need to continue their education through reading.  Trade journals, business forums, and books posses the great majority of the information that ascending leaders need to not only grow themselves, but grow their teams.  Unfortunately the motivation, drive, and time management skills necessary to execute this self directed education methodology will be where leaders in the workplace will have to work the most.  If you look at the 35% of graduates who feel that school prepared them for work from a positive perspective, you see that 35% of the grads entering the workforce already have the skills, drive, and desire necessary to continue to learn and grow in the workplace.

Every Friday I have a meeting with my entry level leaders.  The goal of this meeting has always been to provide educational topics on leadership with the intent that they will apply them in their every day life.  This meeting has centered around a few different topics consistiently since its inception.  Each week a new member brings a TED talk for the group to watch.  We discuss the talk and the impact it can have on their work and personal lives.  We have had everything from business leaders to magicians, and they all add value to the discussion.  There is generally a topic that had to be read prior to coming to the meeting, and everyone gets called on to ensure that everyone treats the process with the minimum respect needed to insight growth.  Finally, we discuss the operation as it relates to the first two topics so that they have the focus needed to educate their teams, and apply the learnings.

This meeting has become a staple of our leadership development program, and is a simple way to encourage learning and growth outside of the standard corporate programs that exist.  If you are an employer and you are in the 89% that believes your team members aren’t prepared when they get to you, then you need to start thinking outside of the box to find new ways to grow your team.  Education is a continuing process that is at its best when its participants are engaged and its lessons are applied.  Leaders that are accomplished learners will be accomplished teachers.  Knowledge is power, but it only become powerful when it is shared.

Thank You,

Chris Cano


JLH Leadership Solutions


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