I really like the AT&T campaign, “It’s not complicated”. I applaud AT&T and their ad agency for delivering such a great campaign. The message in these ads is pretty simple, and that message is simply this… if it’s too confusing then something’s wrong.
This message of clarity and simplicity is especially critical when it comes to leadership in today’s multicultural and multigenerational workforce. I often hear the commentary and sometimes complaint that “millennials always want to know why”. This is simply seeking clarity. There are also the scenarios where the directions, assignment or mission are just confusing and your enthusiastic young twenty-something employee just doesn't understand what’s expected of him or her, let alone why.
Nobody said it would be easy, but it shouldn't be confusing. Clarity equals efficacy. It’s really that simple. The time and effort that it takes to ensure clarity is well worth the investment.
If the direction, process or assignment requires a lot of effort just to explain, then you may need to re-evaluate the task. There are also times when you may need to re-evaluate the task-giver.
There are times when leaders interpret their millennial counterpart’s desire for clarity as laziness or even resistance. There is an assumption that the millennial employee is questioning the direction because they are looking for an easier way or that they are just being difficult because they think they have a better way. I am sure that there are isolated incidents where that is the case. You should also consider the possibility that the message or messenger may be confusing.
Millennials seek clarity and aren't afraid to ask for it. Providing clear and concise messaging and direction along with the benefits and/or implications of why it matters makes a big difference in productivity.
Millennials aren't expecting easy, they just don’t expect confusing.
“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” ― Albert Einstein