Lots of ways the bad guys can get in. Are all of your doors locked?

code projected over woman

Mike Foster shares how they are getting into your IT systems and how to prevent it in this short read.

An attacker can plug into any network port in your building and, within 3 seconds, take control of your entire network.

The attacker does not need to know any passwords; they do not even need a username. They plug in a cable, and 3 seconds later, they’ve completely compromised your network. An attacker posing as a visitor, a copier repair person, or a member of a cleaning crew can all compromise your organization. They can steal sensitive information, install ransomware, and can shut down operations entirely. They bypass the majority of, if not all, of your other protections because now they’re a Domain Administrator.

This exploit is so severe that the Department of Homeland Security directed all federal agencies to apply the patch in accordance with the Federal Emergency Directive 20-04.

Take these three steps ASAP:

First, ask your IT team if they’ve backed up your Domain Controller servers and applied Microsoft’s patches that address the Zerologon exploit CVE-2020-1472. They must do this immediately. Be compassionate if they’ve not. IMPORTANT: Realize that if an attacker already took over a network, the patch doesn’t help.

Second, if you have Domain Controllers using operating systems older than Windows Server 2008 R2, your IT professionals must shut them down for good. Be sure to migrate any mission-critical services to other servers.

Third, does your organization rely on third parties to support you? What if one of your major suppliers, a distributor, or your biggest customer falls prey to an attack? Prepare your organization now for an interruption of their operations. Be sure their executives know about this flaw and these three steps. You do not want a catastrophe at their organization to domino and cause a disaster for you, even though you’ve protected your systems.

Additional steps:

Inform your work-from-home team members that, in some cases, the attacker can take over your network using a VPN connection. Do you have an armed guard at every work-from-home user’s home to watch visitors? Of course not. But your entire organization might rely on their security. What if a teenager’s friend feels like playing around, experimenting, with this new cool exploit on a mom or dad’s computer?

The patches only protect you from attacks from Windows devices. If an attacker accesses a network port or cable with a non-Windows machine, the attacker can still take control of your network. Microsoft will release a second patch on February 9, 2021. Ask your IT team to configure alerts now to monitor security log events 5827 thru 5831 to see when connections are allowed or denied.

The average time for IT Professionals to apply critical security patches is five months, but you need to help yours be above average. Ask them what you can do to help them have time to test and install all critical security patches within 14 days or sooner. They might want to have a patch management tool. They might need more time to devote to applying updates.

Confirm that your IT Team disconnects or disables all unused Ethernet ports, including those in conference rooms. Lock doors to any offices and conference rooms that contain active Ethernet ports. Train everyone to be proactive and remove opportunities for anyone, including guests and repair people, to plug a device into a network port.

Keep in mind that 911 systems, airlines, governments, and every organization that you depend on are at risk for Zerologon exploit CVE-2020-1472 until they take action too.

Please forward this to fellow executives you care about so they can support their IT Professionals successfully backing up servers and applying the emergency patch.

The proposed changes in this pending legislation could impact employees and employers as this article from Forbes explains.

Forbes.com

A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the House that would make significant changes to 401(k), 403(b), IRAs and other retirement plans. From increasing the required minimum distribution (RMD) and catch-up contributions to expanding automatic enrollment and the Saver’s Credit, the legislation is poised to expand retirement savings options for millions of individuals.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady, (R-Texas) today introduced The Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2020. Referred to as the Secure Act 2, it follows the Secure Act that was passed into law last year.

Here are some of the key changes proposed in the legislation.

Expanded Automatic Enrollment

Regulations have permitted employers to automatically enroll employees in retirement plans since 1998. Automatic enrollment, which employees can opt out of, has boosted employee participation, particularly for Black, Latinx, and lower-wage employees, according to the House Ways and Means Committee. One study even found that automatic enrollment nearly eliminated the racial gap in enrollment rates among employees.

Increase in Saver’s Credit

The Saver’s Credit currently provides a credit of up to $1,000 for low and middle-income individuals. The new legislation would simplify the rate structure by implementing a single rate of 50%. It would also increase the credit to $1,500 per person and increase the maximum income eligibility amount.

RMD Age Increased to 75

The Secure Act generally increased the age when required minimum distributions (RMD) must be taken from 70.5 to 72. The Secure Act 2 would further increase the age when RMDs must begin to 75. The RMD would be waived for those with less than $100,000 in retirement plans and IRAs on December 31 of the year before they turn 75.

IRA Catch-Up Limit Would Rise

The current IRA catch-up limit allows those 50 or older to save an extra $1,000 a year in an IRA. Because the amount is not indexed to inflation, it never changes. Under the new law, the IRA catch-up contribution would be indexed to inflation beginning in 2022.

401(k) Catch-Up Limits Would Rise

Those 50 or older can make catch-up contributions to workplace retirement plans. The current limits for 2020 are $6,500, except that the limit is $3,000 for SIMPLE plans. The legislation would increase these limits to $10,000 ($5,000 for SIMPLE plans) for individuals who are 60 or older.

Student Loan Payments Would Qualify for Matching Contributions

Many employer retirement plans offer matching contributions. While the rules can vary from plan to plan, many match some level of the contributions employees make to the retirement plan. For many young workers, however, the cost of repaying student loans prevents them from contributing to their employer’s retirement plan and therefore taking advantage of the match.

The legislation would change this. It would allow employers to make matching contributions under a 401(k), 403(b) or SIMPLE IRA based on “qualified student loan payments.” Thus, employees could receive matching contributions by repaying their student loans.

Other Retirement Savings Changes

The legislation provides for a number of other changes:

  • Increases the credit for small employer pension plan startup costs increased;
  • Eliminates additional barriers to multiple employer plans that help small businesses manage the cost of 403(b) plans;
  • Offers additional tax credits to employers who, among other things, make military spouses eligible to participate in their retirement plans within two months of hire;
  • Enables employers to offer small financial incentives to employees who contribute to a retirement plan;
  • Eases the penalties for corrections of employee elective deferral failures;
  • Removes certain limitations on qualified longevity annuity contracts (QLACs) that have prevented the growth of QLACs.
  • Creates an online registry designed to make it easier for individuals to locate retirement savings from employers who have moved, changed names or merged with a different company.

What is your protocol if you’ve been hacked?

From Foster Institute

You’ve trained your users to be vigilant for symptoms of cybersecurity issues. Now teach them to share their concerns confidentially.
Alert your users today: Tell them to, if they suspect something, avoid opening a support ticket or emailing your IT professionals about the concern.

More often than ever before, bad actors infiltrate organizations in a slow, methodical way. They can remain undetected for weeks, months, even years. The FBI uses the term dwell time to designate the period from when attackers infiltrate systems until you discover them. The FBI warns businesses that attackers can cause significant damage during dwell time. Bad actors quickly establish backdoors to ensure access, even if you block their first point of entry. They deploy keyloggers on systems to record keystrokes. If your cyber assets are compromised, the bad actors can potentially monitor your messages to find out when you discover their presence in your network, computers, applications, cloud resources, websites, or anywhere else.

Once attackers know you’ve discovered their infiltration, that triggers them to move forward with their next phase, often contacting you to demand a ransom. Sometimes they threaten severe consequences if you attempt to recover your system in any other way than paying them. Since they are in your systems, you must take the threats seriously.

Establish a protocol for workers to communicate suspicions in some method other than email.

Even your IT department must avoid emailing each other questions such as, “I received an alert that someone is resetting an administrator password. That’s odd. Is that you?” Instead, they must communicate by mobile phone or radio.

If you suspect a breach and contact us, consider phoning. If you must email, use a personal account outside of your company account, and use a phone or some device other than a company computer’s keyboard to send the message.

I’m not talking about when users receive a phishing message. I’m talking about if they receive a phishing message that includes customer account information, if an important file is missing or won’t open, or if they receive an unexpected login request on a website or to open a file. IT needs to investigate these early-warning signs.

Please forward this to other executives who you care about to establish a mobile hotline number for users to reach the IT team to report suspicious activity. Help avoid triggering attackers’ responses before your IT team has time to react and, hopefully, mitigate a potential cybersecurity disaster.

Suzy Welch: 5 lessons you have to unlearn immediately after college

Many college seniors think they have a good idea of what life after graduation looks like. You have to find a job and wake up early, and you can’t hang out with your friends every night.

But according to bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch, it’s easy to underestimate just how different the “real world” really is, and many of the things you learn in college won’t set you up for success at the office.

“College is fantastic place, don’t get me wrong,” Welch tells CNBC Make It. “You make friends, meet new kinds of people, spend a fun semester abroad, explore your interests, obtain some skills.”

“Those are all fine and good,” she says, “but there’s some things you have to unlearn right away to succeed in the real world.”

Here are five lessons you have to leave behind right after commencement:

1. Assignments are always clearly presented

“In college, you get an assignment with very clear parameters,” Welch says.

But in the world of work, very rarely does that happen. Instead, directions on what you need to do are often ambiguous.

“You’re given a task, and it could be bigger or smaller than people expect,” Welch says.

In order to be successful, you have to get comfortable dealing with unclear objectives, and take the initiative to figure out what you should deliver.

Give yourself more time than you need to complete a task, so you have extra time if the project demands more of your time than you expect. Look for past examples, ask a colleague or follow up with your boss for more directions if you’re unclear on what’s expected of you.

2. Life is filled with second chances

“In college, there’s always next semester, or next summer, to reset your life, wipe the slate clean,” Welch says. “But in real life, there is no reset button.”

Being an adult means that you will have people, assignments and situations you wish you could easily change or avoid. Part of growing up, Welch says, is learning to find healthy ways to deal with them.

For example, if you don’t like your job, remind yourself daily of the skills you’re learning. If you have a , figure out how best to deal with them.

“You have to learn to pace yourself for, and operate within, what is basically a long-term game,” Welch says.

If you do make a mistake at work, don’t panic. Own your error, figure out where you went wrong and prove to your team that you can recover from it.

3. You’ll be rewarded for effort

“In most college classes, hard work is its own reward,” the bestselling author says. “Even if you’re really bad at the subject, if the teacher sees you studying hard enough, doing the extra credit projects, showing up for office hours, getting a tutor, you will be OK.”

In fact, Welch admits that’s how she earned a B+ in calculus. But when it comes to the professional world, effort alone won’t take you as far.

“In real life, hard work is certainly respected, yes,” Welch says, “but at the end of the day, it’s your results that matter.”

If you stayed at work until 10 p.m. and still didn’t file a report on time, or tried to get into work early but still missed an important phone call, your effort doesn’t really matter.

“If you don’t win the client or you don’t meet the deadline,” Welch says, “you’ve failed.”

4. The more words you use, the better

College essays that are required to be 10 pages or exceed a certain number of words often encourage students to be long-winded.

“You’re rewarded for long essays, and penalized for coming in short,” Welch says. “You’re conditioned to fill out your arguments with examples and references.”

But that couldn’t be further from the truth in the professional world.

“In business, writing long-winded things will impress no one, and irritate a lot of people,” she says. “Get to the point as quickly as possible.”

If you have to present your ideas in front of a group of people, jot down notes on important things you want to highlight. , reread it and edit it so that it isn’t more than one or two paragraphs long.

These efforts to be succinct will help you stand out.

5. Success is all about impressing one person

In college, you often answer to one person — your professor.

“At work, your boss has a boss, and that boss has a boss,” she says, “and then in many situations, your boss and you are part of an organization with owners and multiple shareholders.”

All of these people have a say in how quickly you’re able to succeed. That’s why it’s important in every work situation to treat others with respect and meet or exceed expectations.

“All of them have a say in how you are doing,” Welch says, “and what you should be doing.”

Transitioning to the “real world” may be difficult, but by developing your , honing your abilities and , it can be a whole lot easier.

“You are part of a complex ecosystem,” Welch says. “Look around and get to know it.”

5 innovation lessons from top-performing companies

Never stop improving. High-performing companies are relentlessly focused on improving their performance through innovation, whether that’s aimed at accelerating processes, tightening workflows or clarifying communications. How do they succeed? By creating a culture that encourages exploration and experimentation, facilitates open communication with customers and employees, and drives innovation from both the top-down and bottom-up. At a higher level, the company’s senior team recognizes innovation as a key source of competitive advantage.

Seek out radical innovation on a smaller scale. What makes an innovation “radical” has nothing to do with size and everything to do with impact. Radical innovation is about breaking through perceived limitations to fundamentally change the game. For example, introducing a new product or capability, along with a new message to market, can serve as radical innovation on a smaller scale. Driving disruption can lead to tremendous rewards, but it requires tough decision-making and strong leadership on the part of the CEO.

If something breaks, use innovative thinking to fix it. All companies have to cope with the reality that, at some point, some part of their business is going to break or go wrong. What separates the high-performing companies from the pack is how they react to that challenge. They assess the situation quickly. They pivot rapidly to an innovative solution. They rally teams around the goals of that solution. By contrast, low-performing companies are quick to assign blame. They wait for others to fix the problem. They use outdated solutions to address new challenges.

Picture your worst-case scenario. What would you do if Amazon announced a solution that targeted your customers and made your go-to-market model irrelevant? More likely, what would you do if a competitor acquired a smaller player and boxed you in? What if they launched a new product or hired a superstar from your best region? Prepare for these worst-case scenarios by working through them in advance with your team. Set up a one-day offsite exercise where you proactively address these scenarios and brainstorm innovative solutions.

Leverage the relentless pace of change. Respect the fact that there is no status quo anymore, and that everything changes all the time. As a CEO, the question you must ask yourself is: Do I recognize, anticipate and leverage the current pace of change, or do I wait for a crisis to hit that will force me to innovate under pressure? In either case, innovation is required for survival and growth. Better to choose the former.

Above is an excerpt. For the full Vistage report click the link below.

Getting Over Your Fear of Cold Calling Customers

A recent research study found that 48% of business-to-business salespeople are afraid of making cold calls. Sadly, salespeople who are afraid of making cold calls have trouble hitting their quotas, are more stressed, and are likely making less money than their counterparts who don’t share this phobia.

I don’t know who said it first — Henry Ford, Zig Ziglar, Peter Drucker, or former IBM chairman Thomas Watson Sr. — but the business wisdom embodied in these six simple words is inescapable: Nothing happens until someone sells something. And before anyone can sell anything, someone has to generate a sales lead. Although technology can help generate leads, most of us are still going to find ourselves picking up the phone to find prospects at some point in our sales career. Doing this typically requires some amount of cold calling.

In my work with thousands of sales professionals, I have found that there are two central fears around cold calling that inhibit effective and productive lead generation results. They are: 1) fear of sounding like a sales person; and 2) fear of failure.

Let’s deal with the first: Overcoming the fear of sounding like a salesperson is a simple matter of accepting that you actually are a sales professional. What else are you going to sound like? A mechanic? A programmer? Here’s a news flash: Mechanics sound like mechanics. Programmers sound like programmers. And salespeople sound like salespeople.

The key to getting comfortable with sounding like a sales professional is understanding that sales is an honorable profession. After all, we salespeople are talented problem solvers. We improve business performances and processes. We help consumers and businesses get the products and services they want and need. We keep our companies in business. Some salespeople provide medicine and equipment needed to save a life. Some provide the technology needed to improve business performance. Some provide the services we need to improve our quality of life at home and at work. So get comfortable with the fact that you’re going to sound like a salesperson because you are a sales professional. When you dial someone’s phone number or walk into their office, remember this: You are there to help them improve their lives and businesses. Be proud of that. Until you understand this simple concept, you’re going to be anxious and fearful about cold calling.

You are adding value. And when you make a cold call, it’s important to demonstrate your value upfront. For example, instead of calling a prospect and saying, “Hi, would you be interested in hearing about how my company can help your company?” start with something like this: “Hi, my company just funded a research paper outlining three ways to immediately improve profitability in your industry. I’d be happy to email you a copy if you’d like to share your email address with me?” Knowing that you are providing valuable information to your prospects can go a long way towards removing the fear and anxiety around cold calling.

Now let’s look at the fear of failure. Sometimes the fear of cold-calling comes from a limiting belief that we simply won’t be successful at it, which creates anxiety and leads to a destructive self-fulfilling prophecy. There’s even a medical term for this: Atychiphobia is an irrational and persistent fear of failing at something, and it’s been found to cause anxiety, panic, and feelings of powerlessness.

We often avoid cold-calling because of this fear of failure. Nevertheless, if you understand the physiological responses to fear in your brain and take a few simple steps to change it, cold-calling can become as routine as having your morning coffee.

According to health experts at the University of Washington, when you’re afraid, the blood in your body flows away from your brain’s frontal lobe, which is responsible for logical thinking. The more reptilian part of your brain — the amygdala — takes over, which helps you fight or flee, as the blood flows into large muscle groups. Unfortunately, while this physiological response prepares you to fight or run from your prospect, it also renders you unable to remember your own name. You are ready to fight — not think. The fear of failing at cold-calling thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the fear of failure causes the blood flow to diminish your cognitive ability, which in turns limits your ability to think and respond quickly, which in turn hurts your lead-generating results. The negative cycle is reinforced when a sales professional confirms the expectation by saying, “I hate cold-calling. I’m lousy at it!”

The key to getting better at cold-calling is to simply get more accustomed to it, so your body does not perceive fear. The more accustomed you are to cold-calling, the more confident you’ll be, which creates a more productive self-fulfilling prophecy. Granted, while confidence doesn’t always lead to success, it is often a prerequisite for it.

So how do you become more accustomed to cold calling if you’re afraid of it? Try role playing with coworkers; chances are they’re experiencing the same anxiety. You can also practice with friends or family. You don’t need to be perfect — we’re not looking for an Oscar-worthy performance. The primary reason I recommend ongoing role play is simply to remind the brain that there is nothing to be afraid of.

As you practice, you’ll realize that nothing bad is actually going to happen, which will in turn ease your fears. To reduce your anxiety further, you can also try offering something of value rather than asking for something from your prospect. For example, “I am calling today to find the best way to send you a complimentary report on ways to increase productivity in your industry.” Offering something of value is often less stressful than asking for something.

Once you’ve role-played long enough that you’re no longer feeling butterflies, you’re ready to try a live-fire situation. Keep in mind that it will clearly be more difficult when it’s for real, but a few real attempts after role playing will settle you down and help get you into a very productive groove.

Cold calling is one of the most critical steps in sales and business success. If you want to become a top producer, there is simply no way around it. The key is to take pride in your work as a sales professional, knowing you are solving problems and adding value. Get comfortable with your value and your role, and you’ll be well on your way to consistent sales results.

Get your memo read

The unanticipated but important memo has a difficult road. It will likely be ignored.

The difficult parts:

A. No one is waiting to hear from you

B. You need to have the clarity to know who it’s for, what’s it for and precisely what you want them to do

C. You have to have the guts to leave out everything that isn’t part of (B)

Consider the memo below that was left outside my door at a hotel recently. The management distributed 1000 of them and perhaps ten people read it and took action.

Here’s what to keep in mind:

  1. Pattern interrupt. When was the last time you listened to the seat belt announcement on an airplane? We ignore it because we’ve been trained to ignore it. When you show up in a place, at a time, with a format that we’ve been trained to ignore, we’ll ignore you.
  2. Write a story. You seek engagement. Talk about me. About you, about yesterday, today and tomorrow. If you earn the first sentence, you’ll need to sell me on reading the second sentence.
  3. Frame the story. Help me compare it to something. Create urgency. Make it about me, my status, my needs.
  4. Chunk the message. How many things are you trying to say? (Hint: two might be too many). Let me scan instead of study.
  5. Include a call to action. Right here, right now.
Maker:L,Date:2017-8-28,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

by Seth Godin

5 Little Words That Will Make You a Much Better Leader

Author Simon Sinek offers a dead simple mantra to instantly level up your leadership.

We all know great leaders excel at articulating their vision. What’s less often appreciated is that listening is an equally valuable leadership skill.

Why? First, because feeling truly heard is deeply empowering for a team. As Yale business professor Marissa Kind has explained, “when employees feel listened to, they are less likely to feel emotionally exhausted and less likely to quit their job. They are also more likely to trust — and like — their bosses, and feel committed to them.”

Second, because you need to actually hear and process information about the world to be able to set a sensible vision in the first place. Listening well makes you smarter.

So how do you get better at this essential but under sung skill? There are a million suggestions out there, but perhaps one of the most powerful is also the simplest. It comes from author Simon Sinek and consists of all of five little words.

“Be the last to speak.”

In the quick snippet of a talk below, Sinek offers a profound leadership lesson that’s dead easy to remember: be the last to speak.

“I see it in boardrooms every day of the week, even people who consider themselves to be good leaders, who may actually be decent leaders, will walk into the room and say, ‘Here’s the problem. Here’s what I think, but I’m interested in your opinion. Let’s go around the room.’ It’s too late,” he warns.

Instead, cultivate the skill to hold you tongue until everyone else has weighed in. Not only does this allow other participants to feel heard, but it gives you an obvious advantage: you get to hear everyone else’s brilliant ideas before you contribute your own. Of course, you’ll say smarter things compared to when you first walked in itching to put your ideas instantly out there.

The logic behind the idea is unassailable, but actually putting this wisdom into practice can be harder than it sounds, Sinek warns. We’re all dying to jump in and prove our brilliance or correct others’ errors, after all. But if you can manage to just keep your mouth shut, you’ll instantly level up your leadership.

Here’s Sinek’s complete advice if you want to check out the complete two-minute clip.

5 Pieces of Advice From John Bogle

John C. Bogle, is widely seen as having changed how ordinary people invest their money. His firm, the Vanguard Group of Investment Companies, which grew to have $4.9 trillion under management, was built on a belief that, over the long term, most investment managers cannot outperform the broad stock market averages.

“Jack Bogle made an impact on not only the entire investment industry, but more importantly, on the lives of countless individuals saving for their futures or their children’s futures,” Tim Buckley, Vanguard’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Here are some of Mr. Bogle’s investment tips:

“Wise investors won’t try to outsmart the market,” he says. “They’ll buy index funds for the long term, and they’ll diversify.”

Long-term investors must hold stocks even though the market is risky, because they are still likely to produce better returns than the alternatives, Mr. Bogle said in 2012.

Investors should weather any storms, he told The Wall Street Journal in 2016.

“If we’re going to have lower returns, well, the worst thing you can do is reach for more yield. You just have to save more.”

Money managers missed all the warning signs before the 2008 financial crisis, Mr. Bogle noted:

“How could so many highly skilled, highly paid securities analysts and researchers have failed to question the toxic-filled, leveraged balance sheets of Citigroup and other leading banks and investment banks?”

In 2017, he waved younger investors away from financial advisers and gave his approval to robo-advisers.

“Unless you need a financial adviser to help you get started in that routine, you probably don’t need a financial adviser at all,” he told CNBC.

Vanguard’s fund shareholders own it collectively, so there is no parent company or private owner to siphon profit, allowing the firm to keep costs down.

“In investing, you get what you don’t pay for. Costs matter. So intelligent investors will use low-cost index funds to build a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, and they will stay the course. And they won’t be foolish enough to think that they can consistently outsmart the market.”

Mr. Bogle became a harsh critic in his later years of the mutual fund industry and the high fees charged to investors for stock-picking expertise.

Invest in a diverse selection of stocks and bonds, trust in the arithmetic and stick to it — this was the essence of Mr. Bogle’s advice for Vanguard investors. “Impulse is your enemy,” was one of the mantras.

“Eliminate emotion from your investment program. Have rational expectations for future returns and avoid changing those expectations in response to the ephemeral noise coming from Wall Street.”

Mr. Bogle was the leading proponent of structuring an investment portfolio to mirror the performance of a market yardstick, like the S&P 500 stock index.

“The S&P 500 is a great proxy,” Mr. Bogle told The Wall Street Journal last year, adding that he hadn’t bought an individual stock in about 25 years.

Mr. Bogle also told CNBC that the United States market was a safer bet than other markets. “U.S. companies are innovative and entrepreneurial,” he said.

THE GREATEST GENERATIONAL CHANGE IN HISTORY HAS BEGUN

The United States, and many countries in the world, are about to experience the greatest transfer of generational influence, power and absolute number of people in history.

The Millennial and Digital Native/Gen Z generations, those born since 1981, will become the majority of the U.S. population in 2020. Each of these generations are now bigger than the Baby Boom generation.  This will trigger massive change for all businesses.

I use the name Digital Natives as it more clearly defines the generation than the moniker Generation Z [I have never understood this alphabet thing.  What happens next, another run through the alphabet starting with A?]  They are the first generation born into the digital age.  They were born into information overload, but to them it is simply reality.  Studies have shown that they have more synaptic activity going on in their brains than we do as a result.  The Digital Native generation is truly different in thinking, awareness and consciousness.  They will be the first fully formed generation of the 21st century.

Today we live in a country – and a world- that was largely shaped by the Great Generation [born prior to 1928], the Silent Generation [born 1929- 1946] and the Baby Boomer Generation [ 1946-1965].  Our mind set, social norms, workplace values and structures were put in place by these three generations. This is what Boomers and GenX [1966-1980] people in business consider “reality”.  That reality will be transformed in the next 10 years.

Here are several ways to think about this as you look into the future of your business:

-These two generations, particularly the Digital Natives, the first generation of the 21st century, do not value, trust, or even respect the institutions of their elders.  The don’t see the government working well, they don’t trust big financial institutions, they are the first generations to come of age with both war and less than a prosperous economy being all they know.

-These young generations are less materialist and more experiential than prior generations.  They would rather take an adventure trip with their friends than buy an expensive thing.

-They want meaning in their lives and want to feel they are both contributing and making a difference.  Sure, they want to make money, but they are not as materially focused as their parent’s generations.

-The Millennials and Digital Natives will soon be the potential majority of both your customers and your employees.

What all this means is that workplace and marketplace realities will change substantially by 2025.

Relative to the workplace, complete equality of the sexes will be expected, more vacation time might be more important that a raise, flexibility of dress code, work hours and what purpose or social good your company stands for will be of importance.

In the marketplace, the sharing economy, the more collective social aspect of these young generations, the complete comfort and reliance on technology, the desire to have access to things rather than owning them will alter the economy.

Look at your children or grandchildren, recognize how different they are than you.  Then prepare for a changing economy and ways of doing business that reflect those differences.

Current Millennial Leaders

 I have had conversations with numerous Millennial CEOs – yes, there are already a lot of them- and they voice common thoughts:

-They feel they need to alter or buck the management theories and practices of the Boomers and GenXers. They question current processes and practices.

-They express impatience with the slow pace of business and are always trying to find ways to get their companies to move faster and to be able to change course quickly if needed.  Flexibility and speed are two words I have heard Millennial CEOs say a lot.

-They consider themselves to be a bridge generation between the prior generations and the Digital Natives born since the late 1990s. They see how different this 21st century generation is from them.  I have heard several 30 and under CEOs tell me that they feel their responsibility is to be the bridge from past/current ways of doing business to the future ways business will be done by the Digital Natives.

-They are deeply into technology.  They view it not as tools, but the core of any business.

-They are not at all afraid to fail.  This makes them almost supremely confident.

-They want to make an impact.  Yes, they want to make money, but making a difference, changing the way people think, altering how people work and aligning work with values or the common good are topics they often express

Timeline

This unprecedented generational shift is already underway.  By 2025 it will be clearly seen and felt in the United States in most business sectors.  The new generational attitudes, sensibilities and outlook on life will affect American  culture and society before they transform the business sector.

We will be living in the new world of Millennials and Digital Natives in a few years.  Be open to it as they are leading us into the developing reality of the 21st century.

Oh, one last fact: only 20% of Millennials have ever had a Big Mac. Change is coming!