This NFL Team Is Adapting Its Leadership To Engage Millennials

Ryan Jenkins

In no other industry are generational gaps as evident as they are in professional sports, and particularly in the National Football League. This is an industry in which every year, the dynamics of each team changes as eager Millennials join the ranks. These teams already have established ways doing things, and now those ways are being tested.

When San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula was asked about his position on social media, he responded. “I don’t like it at all. I don’t know anything about it. I don’t do it. I don’t use it.” Leadership of Millennials? Fail!

The 49ers average an age of 25.2 years old, so it didn’t take long for Tomsula to change his stance on social media. About a month after his initial statement was made, he began to understand how critical social media would be to the success of his team as well as to his leadership of rookie Millennials.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article titled The NFL Team That Is Solving Millennials. It described the various things the San Francisco 49ers are doing differently when it comes to the leadership of Millennials.

  • Reverse mentoring:  Tomsula sets aside time to learn the new apps and latest technology his players use in weekly meetings.
  • Shorter meetings:  Meetings last 30 minutes instead of 2 hours. They focus more on visuals and interacting.
  • Going digital:  They no longer print schedules. Now, the players receive digital reminders on their mobile devices

Some 49ers fans and staff are a bit skeptical of these changes. They’re thinking, “Why should we cater to Millennials?”

Nobody wants to be coddled, and leaders shouldn’t cater to Millennials. However, it is 2015, and business should reflect that fact. The world is not going to revert to a time when technology was scarce. It’s here to stay. Technology and the Internet have changed our lives forever, and they will continue to change. Millennials were simply caught in the crossfire and were blamed for such changes.

In a related blog post, Tim Elmore provides a different point of view. In contrast to Coach Tomsula’s Millennials approach, Elmore states that one should “coach as a missionary.” He suggests becoming a pioneer, leaving the comfort zone to study and learn about different cultures. First study and learn the values of the culture. Then it’ll be easier to relate to those people and share a message.

Coaches aren’t the only ones who need to make adjustments. I recently had the pleasure of hearing five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning give a keynote presentation at a conference. He spoke about an ongoing need to “adapt his leadership to the next generation [of players]” by keeping his expectations, perspectives, and vocabulary fresh. Manning uses the missionary approach; learning first, and then earning the trust and leadership of the Millennials.

World-renowned leadership expert and author  John C. Maxwell taught something similar. He spoke about posterity and legacy, explaining that leaders need to pass the baton. Moreover, leaders must pass the baton at “full speed.” They should not be on the sidelines, out of touch with today’s technology. They should be in a full sprint, completely aware of these exponential times in which we live, work, and play.

Coach Tomsula is pushing his leadership to new gears. He knows that Millennials (along with the entire 49ers team) can only go to the next level if he achieves higher speeds.

Are you ready to change gears?

Want more insight on managing the current-generation workforce? See Millennials Are The Workforce: A Plea For Present-Casting.

The post This NFL Team is Adapting Its Leadership to Engage Millennials appeared first on TalentCulture.

Photo credit: Bigstock


The Changing Role Of The CIO [INFOGRAPHIC]

Charmian Solter

We have been thinking a lot here at Switch & Shift about technology, how it impacts work culture, and how important its role is when it comes to sustaining a motivated, optimistic workplace. One member of our League of Extraordinary Thinkers, Bill Jensen, regularly talks about the future of work where technology may replace HR.

There is no doubt that the role of the CIO is changing. The same can be said of the careers of C-level executives.

Corporate leadership is rapidly evolving, in particular the role of the CIO. Just as information technology advances every day, so does leadership methodology. Leadership transformations include a shift in priorities and even the qualities these top decision makers must possess.

Have you ever asked yourself what makes a great CIO? Well, if the answer is yes, take a look at this infographic, The Changing Role of the CIO, courtesy of Wikibon, and see how you match up.


The Changing Role of the CIO

Via: Wikibon


Want more on leadership in today’s rapidly evolving work environment? See 3 Ways To Be An Effective Leader In Times Of Change.

Did you like today’s post? If so you’ll love our frequent newsletter! Sign up here and receive The Switch and Shift Change Playbook, by Shawn Murphy, as our thanks to you!



CIO , future of IT

The Millennial Leader – Rising To The Top [INFOGRAPHIC]

Charmian Solter

Colleagues listening to young woman on business meeting --- Image by © BUCK Studio/CorbisWe have reached the tipping point when it comes to the percentage of Millennials in the American workforce; they now outnumber Generation X. With the oldest Millennials in their mid-30s, we are also witnessing Millennial leaders rising to the top.

We are watching Millennials become the new leaders, CEOs, CIO, CFOs, CMOs, and chiefs of industry. Along with their rise to the top comes change.

Millennials think differently, interact with their peers and employees differently and lead differently. This infographic, “Building the New Leader-The Rise of Millennials in Leadership Roles”, is courtesy of University of Denver. It outlines the Millennial leader – their characteristics, management style, and focus on social responsibility. You’re not a Millennial, you say? Well, it is likely that your boss is!


millennial leader infographic

Want more insight on managing Millennials? See Stop Worrying About Millennials And Start Leveraging Them To Change Your Company.

Did you like today’s post? If so you’ll love our frequent newsletter! Sign up here and receive The Switch and Shift Change Playbook, by Shawn Murphy, as our thanks to you!


Diving Deep Into Digital Experiences

Kai Goerlich


Google Cardboard VR goggles cost US$8
By 2019, immersive solutions
will be adopted in 20% of enterprise businesses
By 2025, the market for immersive hardware and software technology could be $182 billion
In 2017, Lowe’s launched
Holoroom How To VR DIY clinics

From Dipping a Toe to Fully Immersed

The first wave of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is here,

using smartphones, glasses, and goggles to place us in the middle of 360-degree digital environments or overlay digital artifacts on the physical world. Prototypes, pilot projects, and first movers have already emerged:

  • Guiding warehouse pickers, cargo loaders, and truck drivers with AR
  • Overlaying constantly updated blueprints, measurements, and other construction data on building sites in real time with AR
  • Building 3D machine prototypes in VR for virtual testing and maintenance planning
  • Exhibiting new appliances and fixtures in a VR mockup of the customer’s home
  • Teaching medicine with AR tools that overlay diagnostics and instructions on patients’ bodies

A Vast Sea of Possibilities

Immersive technologies leapt forward in spring 2017 with the introduction of three new products:

  • Nvidia’s Project Holodeck, which generates shared photorealistic VR environments
  • A cloud-based platform for industrial AR from Lenovo New Vision AR and Wikitude
  • A workspace and headset from Meta that lets users use their hands to interact with AR artifacts

The Truly Digital Workplace

New immersive experiences won’t simply be new tools for existing tasks. They promise to create entirely new ways of working.

VR avatars that look and sound like their owners will soon be able to meet in realistic virtual meeting spaces without requiring users to leave their desks or even their homes. With enough computing power and a smart-enough AI, we could soon let VR avatars act as our proxies while we’re doing other things—and (theoretically) do it well enough that no one can tell the difference.

We’ll need a way to signal when an avatar is being human driven in real time, when it’s on autopilot, and when it’s owned by a bot.

What Is Immersion?

A completely immersive experience that’s indistinguishable from real life is impossible given the current constraints on power, throughput, and battery life.

To make current digital experiences more convincing, we’ll need interactive sensors in objects and materials, more powerful infrastructure to create realistic images, and smarter interfaces to interpret and interact with data.

When everything around us is intelligent and interactive, every environment could have an AR overlay or VR presence, with use cases ranging from gaming to firefighting.

We could see a backlash touting the superiority of the unmediated physical world—but multisensory immersive experiences that we can navigate in 360-degree space will change what we consider “real.”

Download the executive brief Diving Deep Into Digital Experiences.

Read the full article Swimming in the Immersive Digital Experience.


Kai Goerlich

About Kai Goerlich

Kai Goerlich is the Chief Futurist at SAP Innovation Center network His specialties include Competitive Intelligence, Market Intelligence, Corporate Foresight, Trends, Futuring and ideation. Share your thoughts with Kai on Twitter @KaiGoe.heif Futu


Jenny Dearborn: Soft Skills Will Be Essential for Future Careers

Jenny Dearborn

The Japanese culture has always shown a special reverence for its elderly. That’s why, in 1963, the government began a tradition of giving a silver dish, called a sakazuki, to each citizen who reached the age of 100 by Keiro no Hi (Respect for the Elders Day), which is celebrated on the third Monday of each September.

That first year, there were 153 recipients, according to The Japan Times. By 2016, the number had swelled to more than 65,000, and the dishes cost the already cash-strapped government more than US$2 million, Business Insider reports. Despite the country’s continued devotion to its seniors, the article continues, the government felt obliged to downgrade the finish of the dishes to silver plating to save money.

What tends to get lost in discussions about automation taking over jobs and Millennials taking over the workplace is the impact of increased longevity. In the future, people will need to be in the workforce much longer than they are today. Half of the people born in Japan today, for example, are predicted to live to 107, making their ancestors seem fragile, according to Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, professors at the London Business School and authors of The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity.

The End of the Three-Stage Career

Assuming that advances in healthcare continue, future generations in wealthier societies could be looking at careers lasting 65 or more years, rather than at the roughly 40 years for today’s 70-year-olds, write Gratton and Scott. The three-stage model of employment that dominates the global economy today—education, work, and retirement—will be blown out of the water.

It will be replaced by a new model in which people continually learn new skills and shed old ones. Consider that today’s most in-demand occupations and specialties did not exist 10 years ago, according to The Future of Jobs, a report from the World Economic Forum.

And the pace of change is only going to accelerate. Sixty-five percent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist, the report notes.

Our current educational systems are not equipped to cope with this degree of change. For example, roughly half of the subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree, such as computer science, is outdated by the time students graduate, the report continues.

Skills That Transcend the Job Market

Instead of treating post-secondary education as a jumping-off point for a specific career path, we may see a switch to a shorter school career that focuses more on skills that transcend a constantly shifting job market. Today, some of these skills, such as complex problem solving and critical thinking, are taught mostly in the context of broader disciplines, such as math or the humanities.

Other competencies that will become critically important in the future are currently treated as if they come naturally or over time with maturity or experience. We receive little, if any, formal training, for example, in creativity and innovation, empathy, emotional intelligence, cross-cultural awareness, persuasion, active listening, and acceptance of change. (No wonder the self-help marketplace continues to thrive!)

The three-stage model of employment that dominates the global economy today—education, work, and retirement—will be blown out of the water.

These skills, which today are heaped together under the dismissive “soft” rubric, are going to harden up to become indispensable. They will become more important, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, which will usher in an era of infinite information, rendering the concept of an expert in most of today’s job disciplines a quaint relic. As our ability to know more than those around us decreases, our need to be able to collaborate well (with both humans and machines) will help define our success in the future.

Individuals and organizations alike will have to learn how to become more flexible and ready to give up set-in-stone ideas about how businesses and careers are supposed to operate. Given the rapid advances in knowledge and attendant skills that the future will bring, we must be willing to say, repeatedly, that whatever we’ve learned to that point doesn’t apply anymore.

Careers will become more like life itself: a series of unpredictable, fluid experiences rather than a tightly scripted narrative. We need to think about the way forward and be more willing to accept change at the individual and organizational levels.

Rethink Employee Training

One way that organizations can help employees manage this shift is by rethinking training. Today, overworked and overwhelmed employees devote just 1% of their workweek to learning, according to a study by consultancy Bersin by Deloitte. Meanwhile, top business leaders such as Bill Gates and Nike founder Phil Knight spend about five hours a week reading, thinking, and experimenting, according to an article in Inc. magazine.

If organizations are to avoid high turnover costs in a world where the need for new skills is shifting constantly, they must give employees more time for learning and make training courses more relevant to the future needs of organizations and individuals, not just to their current needs.

The amount of learning required will vary by role. That’s why at SAP we’re creating learning personas for specific roles in the company and determining how many hours will be required for each. We’re also dividing up training hours into distinct topics:

  • Law: 10%. This is training required by law, such as training to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • Company: 20%. Company training includes internal policies and systems.

  • Business: 30%. Employees learn skills required for their current roles in their business units.

  • Future: 40%. This is internal, external, and employee-driven training to close critical skill gaps for jobs of the future.

In the future, we will always need to learn, grow, read, seek out knowledge and truth, and better ourselves with new skills. With the support of employers and educators, we will transform our hardwired fear of change into excitement for change.

We must be able to say to ourselves, “I’m excited to learn something new that I never thought I could do or that never seemed possible before.” D!