Abhay Shivgounda Patil

About what matters.

Gen Y for the dummies

with 2 comments

Had a good time attending the NASSCOM (Pune) session on Gen Y management.  Here is a brief account of my take-aways.Gen Y

When a senior person goes “When I was your age“, what do you think a Gen Y really wishes to say?  “You know what – you were never my age!“.    When Ganesh Natarajan (Zensar CEO) told this story – it reminded me of the school counselor who told us parents – “You know what – you were never teenagers!

Ganesh went on to claim that the single biggest obstacle in having a harmonious relationship between Gen Y and Gen X is the inability of the Gen X to “let go“.

The Gen X is often left wondering why the Gen Y isn’t excited by the great stuff offered to them.  The catch, according to Prakash Iyer (Kimberley Clark Lever) is –  what is “great” in the eyes of Gen X is hardly so for the Gen Y.  

And then there was Mohit Gundecha (Jombay), a Gen Y himself, who put forth the best advice.

When talking to Gen Y just be 100% transparent.  Give them the advice that is best for them, not for you or the company.  They are just too smart to not understand if you are anything but transparent.  One can’t afford to be reactive with them – you have to be predictive.  Don’t go by what they did in college – it will most probably be (at least in India) not by (their) choice.  So let them do what they want to do.

And then came the killer, that could only be believed because it came from a Gen Y himself.

Don’t think that “command and control” strategy is irrelevant for Gen Y!  The old-fashioned managerial behavior is okay, nay even necessary,  if the context is right.

Anshoo Gaur (Amdocs) declared that Gen X and Gen Y are not different.  He set out to explain, in engineering-speak, that we ought to compare Gen X and Gen Y along two orthogonal axes, viz. “what” and “how“.  On the “what” axis, they are the same, and differ only on “how“.  So, his advice was, identify the invariants (i.e. “what“) – e.g. values, performance – and work on them. Don’t fret over the “how“.

The tail-piece was a story narrated by Ganesh about his conversation with the management Guru (late) C K Pralhad about education in India.  On a Delhi Mumbai flight Ganesh rued about the Indian education system (rote learning et al) and Pralhad shot back – “As a thought leader, never ever think of persuading the Government to change our education system.  If they do that, they would ruin the India story!”  To oversimplify – Pralhad’s rationale was that it doesn’t make sense to be liberal with the youngsters.  The Indian system, that stuffs student’s head with rote learning, is okay – as the students get ample time to ruminate over it later to make sense of it!  Now that’s a kind of shocker, right?

Thank you NASSCOM for a thought provoking, and entertaining, evening!

Disclaimer: This note is my interpretation of what I heard which may or may not be what the concerned speakers meant!

Written by Abhay Shivgounda Patil

February 27, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Posted in Gen Y, talent management, Uncategorized

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2 Responses

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  1. There is some justification for all the statements. However I feel that the difference between Gen X and Gen Y and what Gen X should do to endear themselves to Gen Y is over-stated. While the environment has certainly changed, Gen Y is not necessarily the most virtuous generation🙂 They are an entitlement generation, with more focus on demands than duty for instance. My view is that they need not be mollycoddled and we may not impose our views, but to treat them as a species for whom special behavioural patterns have to be developed is going too far.

    Subbaraman Iyer

    February 28, 2014 at 9:48 am

    • Agreed SVI! In fact that’s why I was really happy when Mohit recommended even the dreaded “C” strategy – “command and control”😉 Interestingly, when I appreciated his comment, Ganesh vigorously shook his head and said it needed to be discussed separately!

      Abhay Shivgounda Patil

      February 28, 2014 at 10:18 am


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