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BookTrib Q&A: Author Ryan Avery Talks Generational Differences and ‘Motivating Millennials’

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The word millennials is one that lately, is used a lot; and when it comes to business, some of the most common things you hear is that millennials are lazy and don’t work hard. But Ryan Avery and James Goodnow are here to correct that misconception: it’s not that millennials are lazy, it’s that they’re not being motivated.

In their book Motivating Millennials: How to Recognize, Recruit and Retain the Next Generation of Leaders, Avery and Goodnow work to bridge the generation-gap confusion in the workplace, showing people how to properly motivate, encourage, and work with this next generation. A definite must-read for every boss and business owner, BookTrib talked with co-author Ryan Avery about how the book got started, millennial misconceptions, and workplace strategies.


BookTrib: The generational differences in the work place are such an interesting topic – how did you first get into exploring this? 

Ryan Avery: I deliver 75 keynotes a year around the world and always offer Q&A throughout my speeches. It became inevitable with my topics (communication and leadership), my age (30) and my past (working for companies and starting my own) that people would ask me about Millennials. So, I had to start researching, asking questions and finding out more, so I could properly answer audience members’ questions when they asked me about Millennials in the work place.

This lead me down the path to creating another keynote all around Motivating Millennials because I could tell there is a major need for companies to understand Millennials and how to retain and recruit them. Then I found James Goodnow, the perfect partner to have on this project, and we decided to write THE book to answer all the questions we get about Millennials in the workplace.

BookTrib: How did you come up with the strategies you suggest in your book for bridging the generation gap?

RA: One of the questions I got asked during a keynote, “What shape do you think your (meaning Millennials) generation is in to take over leadership roles in the future?” and this one question gave me the idea that I should put a visual behind what shape we all are in order to help each other grow, profit and succeed. 

The question James and I had is, “if a Generation was a shape, what shape would they be and why?” People like visuals and when we came up with the Generational Shapes™ we allowed people to understand where everyone was coming from in each generation and why we are the way we are.

BookTrib: What do you think is the most common misconception about millennials, and the millennial work ethic?

RA: The list is long in regard to “Millennial Myths,” but the most common misconception about Millennials is that we are lazy and want things quickly. When a leader tells me they have “lazy” Millennials and can’t get them to perform like other workers, what they are telling me is they don’t know how to motivate their teams.

Millennials are motivated much differently than other generations – that’s why we wrote the book. Most companies today are managing their employees, NOT motivating their employees. Who wants to be managed when you can be motivated? How different would your company be if you hired people who were good at motivating teams rather than managing a project?

BookTrib: Do you have any advice to millennials who are going into the work place for the first time?

 RA: My advice for Millennials going into the work place for the first time is to… LISTEN! Those of us who can do a better job at listening and effectively communicating will be the ones who see the quickest advancement, the most success, and access to better promotions. It is not a one way street (it is not even a two way street) it is a complex road ahead for all of these generations to get along in the work place. So those who can better listen to understand will be THE leaders moving forward. 

BookTrib: Is there was one element or strategy that you’d like to see instituted in every office, or work place, what would it be?

RA: Stop managing people and start motivating them! 

Motivating Millennials: How to Recognize, Recruit and Retain The Next Generation of Leaders is now available for purchase. For more information, please visit the website, motivatingmillennialsbook.com


Image courtesy of ryanavery.com

Ryan Avery is one of the Millennial generations most profound speakers on generational leadership. At age 25, Ryan became the youngest World Champion of Public Speaking in history; competing against more than 30,000 people from 116 countries to claim the 2012 World Championship title for Toastmasters International. Ryan has delivered nearly 500 talks/presentations on every continent in the world, is an Emmy-award winning journalist and best-selling author. Ryan currently lives in Denver, CO with his wife Chelsea and daughter Atlas. He is highly sought after for headlining conferences and conducting company-wide trainings on the power of strategic communication between generations.


Image courtesy of fclaw.com

James Goodnow has been named one of “America’s Techiest Lawyers” and has gained national recognition as the face of the Millennial generation in business. As one of the youngest senior leaders in a major US Law firm, the Harvard Law School graduate is a go-to source for the media for topics related to Millennials in business. James is also a well-known legal commentator who has appeared on or been covered by CNN, Good Morning America, Today, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, People Magazine and many other national media outlets.


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Rachel Fogle De Souza was born and raised in Connecticut, and traveled extensively throughout Europe, parts of Asia, and the United States, before attending college at the University of California, Davis, where she received a B.A. in Comparative Literature, with a double minor in Women, Gender and Sexualities studies, and Middle Eastern/South Asian studies. When she's not writing, she's reading, boxing, or thinking about traveling.

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