While conversing with Michael Cappa and Kamil Bhatty on A Millennial’s Journey, Certifed EOS implementer and 7Q7P Founder Walt Brown explained how he unearthed what he calls “The Millennial Myth,” and how his 7 Question - 7 Promise Framework helps companies to combat and correct the perceived problems business owners believe they are having with their young employees.
Walt commences the podcast by explaining how he considers each day he has on Earth to be a productive one as long as he has learned something new, even if he hasn’t accomplished anything tangible. The discussion then shifts to how Walt got his start with executive coaching, which began after Walt sold his first company after 20 years and was prompted to coach by friends who thought he would be good at it. Walt says he was initially reluctant to get into coaching because he was an accounting and statistics guy, and he thought coaching would consist of touchy-feely stuff, but he eventually relented and became a coach.
Once Walt became a Certified EOS Implementer, he says he began the process of turning companies around. He says he has turned around more than 170 companies to date, but he began hearing negative discussions about millennials around the time he was assisting his 100th company. Walt explains how he assumed millennials didn’t have any unique or special problems because human beings are fundamentally the same, so he decided to get to the bottom of the issue.
Walt talks about how he asked his clients if he could speak with the millennials on their teams to see what issues they were going through. He did informal focus groups with the millennial employees of those companies, and he recognized they were able to get those employees realigned with their companies by getting everyone within them to say “yes” to seven fundamental things, and those then transformed into seven promises.
Ultimately, Walt says he determined what the millennials wanted was to work for a company where they felt they fit or belonged. They wanted to work for a place they believed in, which meant they understood where the company was going, and also the strategy and tactics of the company, and they also wanted to know what they were accountable for, how they were measured, how the organization listens and how they’re heard, and they wanted to embrace their own development and to know what balance means in that company.
Getting into foundational issues, Walt states how every founder starts a company knowing the type of people they want to surround themselves with, and the essence of what it means to belong, which is the heart of the 7 Question - 7 Promise Framework. This prompted Walt to write The Patient Organization about how simple the process of developing a corporate culture could be.
The conversation moves to other stereotypes about millennials that Walt doesn’t believe. Walt says a common stereotype he has heard about millennials that he doesn’t think is true is that they don’t know what they want. On the contrary, Walt thinks millennials know exactly what they want. They have a firm rubric in their mind and don’t want to be wasting their days. If you can’t tell them where the organization is going and what they’re accountable for, they’re not going to suffer fools long. It’s not their fault; it’s the owner’s fault if you’re the owner and you’re not giving them the answers they’re looking for.