This week, I had the opportunity to visit my alma mater, the University of Guelph and help a group of students with a marketing competition project, a competition that I also participated in as a University student. I always enjoy giving back to these types of student activities because I know what it felt like as a student in their position, wanting mentoring for something they've spent months preparing for. The competition itself is such a worthwhile experience because it prepares students for the real world. The competition challenges students to choose an agricultural product/service and develop a marketing plan to successfully bring the product/service to the marketplace which is showcased through an extensive presentation you give to a panel of judges.
In helping the U of G students prepare for their upcoming trip to the competition in Kansas City, it was evident just how open and hungry they were for feedback and ways to improve themselves and their presentation/product. I was so impressed with the students' willingness to really listen and learn from my suggestions. They took the feedback in a mature and productive way.
Generation Y or 'Millennials' as they are referred too is a generation that has often been characterized as over-ambitious without the work ethic to support their ambition. Others have criticized millennials for their lack of listening skills and their unwillingness to take feedback. The group of students I worked were the farthest thing from these criticisms.
I think more credit should given to millennials. These are young people who want support and information and want to learn as much as they can. While they may come across assertive to some generations (or lazy to others) the assertiveness is because millennials know what they want... and you can't criticize them for that. While some may think millennials are lazy, millennials are also coming to terms with the fact that the standard of living and success their parents enjoyed is something that will be hard to come by for their generation.
In spending time with this group of students, it was refreshing to see how great of listeners they were and how open they were to feedback. It was a kind reminder that you can't paint people with the same brush, meaning you can't characterize an entire generation because of a simple few. It was also a good reminder that we should always be 'open for feedback'-- all generations included. We are constantly-growing, ever-changing creatures. We should never get to the point where we believe we know everything. We should always be open to listening; open to others opinions and suggestions; open to constructive conversations with those who may have different opinions; open to growing; and open for feedback at all times.
Kudos to the University of Guelph CAMA team for their inspiration for this post and for proving to be great ambassadors for their generation. Best of luck at the NAMA competition-- you're already all winners.
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Enjoy the Easter weekend everyone!