Movers and Shakers

Moving offices is a dangerously stressful time for a business: Employee retention rates, cultural harmony and productivity will suffer. Your relocation might just be the straw that breaks your bottom line.

Today, your employees are continuously being asked to adapt to a stream of new processes, systems and technology, and master new skills and competencies. The list goes on. For your employees, the one constant is their personal office space.

Employees typically have a reassuring home base: the desk where they sit, the chair they lean back in, the coffee shop they visit each mid-morning and the view from their cubicle. During an office relocation, those reassuring baseline constants get ripped away, and employees lose the one anchor that allows them to cope with the never-ending requests to “pivot,” “disrupt the industry,” “get out of the box” and “increase agility.”

Unconscious Bias in Talent Reviews

In his 2005 book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,”Malcolm Gladwell polled Fortune 500 companies and found that 30 percent of CEOs were 6 feet 2 inches or taller. In comparison, only 3.9 percent of the U.S. population are of that height.

Why? Unconscious bias.

Also known as implicit bias, this tendency refers to the mental processes, classifications, stereotyping and decisions that are made in our minds, but outside our mental awareness. These snap judgments lead us to, for example, be more likely to see a tall individual as a leader than a short individual, and are a result of genetically determined processes in which we make quick decisions in order to survive hostile environments. Our brains take shortcuts to judge, classify and act based on limited — and often inaccurate — information.

Debunking Myths about Millennial Stereotypes Globally

Sometime ago, a skit was premiered on Saturday Night Live (SNL), an American late-night show, that showed millennials as new hires in a traditional office. The millennials were shown fussing over their smartphones, bragging about their technical superiority, demanding promotions and time off to “get some perspective”. The fact that this stereotype was placed on a national TV show, showcases how deep this myth is running in our mindsets. 

As a general rule, all stereotypes are exaggeration of insecurity. This stereotype pertaining to millennials, has given birth to a clan of consultants who charge exorbitant fees to help managers in navigating this supposedly ‘tricky’ set of inter-generational workforce issues. But this stereotype vanishes under scrutiny, like all other stereotypes. 

Is your mission statement gathering dust?

Do your eyes roll when you hear the words “mission statement?” You are not alone.

Many of you work at organizations with a mission statement that is now gathering dust on a shelf, framed on a wall or, even worse, carved in stone above your portal. If the following sounds familiar, you’re in trouble: “Our mission is to be the number one (fill-in-the-blank), while driving customer satisfaction, engaging our employees in meaningful relationships and synergizing with our partners and suppliers.” Sounds like a line straight from Alec Baldwin’s character on “30 Rock.”  

Employees and leaders alike are burnt out on mission statements and, frankly, customers don’t believe them. It is time — past time — to rethink the whole mission statement concept.

Listen to Jessica Kriegel on Comstock's Update the State (Worker)

On this episode of Action ItemsDr. Jessica Kriegel, an organizational development consultant at Oracle and author of the book “Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes,” and Angélica Quirarte, a government innovations strategist for the California Government Operations Agency, and join host Tre Borden to discuss how the State — and private organizations — can address an aging workforce and prepare for a younger generation of workers.

Taking stock of a generation: the millennials are all right

“It’s imperative that you get to know the person in front of you and you don’t assign all these stereotypes to them because of this 20-year-wide age bracket that they happen to fall within,” writes Jessica Kriegel, author of Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes.

Lumping an entire generation of people together and ascribing them with broad personality traits doesn’t really make a lot of sense, Kriegel writes, issuing a caution about the “generational snake oil” you find in every other magazine and on a growing number of shelves in the business book section.

The malignant myth of the millennial featuring Jessica Kriegel

Despite the fuzzy definition, "our culture is currently obsessed with generational labels and the stereotypes that go with them," said Jessica Kriegel, author of Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit from Ditching Generational Stereotypes. "Although I would say that this trend of thinking differently about the younger people in our world has been prevalent for thousands of years," she added.

Kriegel said her research found most books, articles and consultants focused on Millennials rely on "an oversimplification of human behavior." She also found that they frequently contradict each other.

Those contradictions are inevitable because of the diversity within the demographic group, she said.

We need to stop our obsession with generational differences

y all accounts, Amanda Blackwood is a successful millennial in the corporate world. At age 33, the Sacramento resident is vice president of operations at Kings Casino Management Corporation and a partner in OE Consulting Group, an organizational effectiveness consulting firm. She was previously the chief financial officer for a multi-million dollar real estate development company and has 13 years of experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Yet, she still hears the words “your lack of experience” every couple of months in professional settings.

How can someone so accomplished be perceived as unseasoned? The answer lies in society’s obsession with generational differences.

Comstocks reflects on Jessica's All Male Panel article

Back in mid-January, Jessica Kriegel wrote an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee calling out the Sacramento Business Review’s refusal to diversify the all-male panel presenting the organization’s 2017 economic forecast. The response was swift and brutal: Kriegel’s name and photo were removed from all digital materials for the review — of which she was one of 17 authors — and the organization’s account blocked her on Twitter.

All-male panels lack diverse perspectives, limit quality of message

The words “yield politely” are seared in my mind ever since the director of the Sacramento Business Review responded to my objections to an all-male panel of experts at the annual business forecast scheduled Tuesday at Sacramento State.

Two years ago, I was asked to lead the development of a human resources section for the forecast. The theme was gender diversity in the corporate world. Our findings, which I presented at last year’s event, were not surprising: Women are greatly underrepresented in upper management levels in Sacramento...