Are Millennials Good Leaders?

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Are Millennials really effective at leadership?

Here’s a quick story about one Gen Y guy who’s making a difference. Welcome to the story of The Millennial CEO.

Why does everyone pick on Millennials?

The foreword to “The Millennial CEO” by Daniel Newman, to be published by Marie Street Press in December 2012.

Daniel Newman, author of The Millennial CEO

Author Daniel Newman

From books, we learn that “Not Everyone Gets a Trophy”. Tales of the tech-savvy and entitled are commonplace these days. But, are these stories true?

In my experience, a pundit’s perspective is never the whole story. And if you’ve picked up this title, I suspect that you are not interested in stereotypes or research, but a real-life chronicle of ups and downs, with some guidance along the way.

In my book, The NEW Elevator Pitch, I talked a lot about the importance of a person’s story. More specifically, the ability to tell your story in a way that’s persuasive, concise and compelling. For example, a story about someone defying the odds. A story about overcoming stereotypes; a story about how to create something unexpected.

For me, that’s the story of The Millennial CEO. I’ve been friends with Daniel Newman for quite a while. When we first met, he was a sales representative in Chicago. Coming from the Chicago suburbs, we had a common background – but I knew right away that Dan was an uncommon guy.

We worked together on a couple of projects – projects that created career opportunities for both of us – and I watched his story unfold.

Like all good stories, there were challenges and adversity. (There are more adjectives to describe the place where we used to work, but I’ll stop with those two).

However, the best stories don’t get stuck on what’s wrong – they concentrate on making it right.

When I sat down to write the chapter on how to use The NEW Elevator Pitch to move your career forward, I wanted to connect with someone who had to walk the walk, as opposed to studying the walk, taking a sabbatical to ponder the walk, and then lecturing about the walk that others had taken.

I featured Daniel Newman’s career experience as a resource in my book, because it was his experience that really intrigued me.

Think about it: experience is something we all have. Some of us have more than others. Some have experience in areas that are highly valuable; some experiences seem relatively meaningless, particularly in a corporate or business context. But no matter where you are in your career, your experience is both an asset, and a liability – depending on how you make it relevant.

How can you take your experience and turn it into something meaningful for the people that matter most to you? In essence, that question is the central theme of my book. Understand how to make your experience matter, and you can influence the way that you manage your career, your customers, your employees and your relationships. Making your experience relevant and valuable is really the trick – it’s not necessarily about the amount of experience. The value comes when you can use your past history to create a new and more compelling future.

I’m passionate about helping Millennials to tell their story, and that theme was really the driving force behind my grand-prize winning elevator pitch. (Check it out on my YouTube channel if you’re curious). My remarks centered on proving the value of the college degree – a question that faces every Millennial at some point or another. It’s part of a larger question that goes beyond your birthdate and education, namely: what’s your unique value proposition? What’s the “special sauce” that you have to offer?

Your story is about more than your experiences or academic studies – it’s about what you can do for others. Daniel Newman is someone who discovered how to create a value equation that went beyond his experience. Here’s his roadmap – with the bumps and bruises along the way – for your consideration.

Why not get serious about making your experience matter to others, and see what happens in your career, your causes and your relationships? Get ready for the rest of the story from the guy who’s lived it – the story of The Millennial CEO.

Find out more about Daniel Newman on his blog, The Millennial CEO, or follow him on twitter @danielnewmanuv.

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Chris Westfall, Keynote Speaker and Author