Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Trophy Kids Grow Up

Expectations. Journalist Ron Alsop (The Wall Street Journal) has taken a group of columns and expanded them into a book titled, The Trophy Kids Grow Up. Alsop’s kids are the millennials, those born between 1980 and 2001, who have grown up with prosperity and have had lavish attention and praise wash over them throughout their lives. Now that they are arriving in the workplace, Alsop proposes ways that companies need to change to accommodate this generation of workers. I’m not as sure as Alsop is that this generation is shaking up the workplace. It may be that this group, to whatever extent they represent a real group, may be unrealistic in their expectations of the workplace, and are making their concerns heard. Some companies are listening and making changes; other companies are likely to tell them to grow up. Alsop provides lots of examples of what changes some companies are making. Each chapter ends with “chapter highlights” to recap his key points. I found this book to be tedious to read and sometimes repetitive. I was aghast to read about helicopter parents wanting (and sometimes getting) to sit in on performance assessment meetings with their children who are adults. My forecast is that this cohort called millennials may be starting out with expectations that some companies will be willing to meet. As the bulk of millennials come to the workforce, their expectations may become more realistic and more consistent with current corporate practices. If you read this book and decide to copy what some companies are doing, I encourage you to think twice, and make only those changes that you conclude are absolutely necessary to avoid alienating the talented millennials you want to become part of your organization.

Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)

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