The Big Bad Millennial Pt. 2

This is the second random blog post/thought piece I’ve written regarding millennials in the workplace. As one, I feel like I know my kind well enough to have some ideas and advice for those with the opportunity (good or bad) to work with us.

Often times, you will see millennials leading the charge for cultural inclusion. Culture is such a broad and vague term, and I use it here intentionally. We as a whole seem to be very open and accepting to a vast amount and unclear spectrum of peoples, ideas, technologies, and methodologies. I DO understand the frustration this can cause when a simple task with a simple solution suddenly becomes much more complex. However, in the proper context, this can be incredible!

I’m about to use a word I typically detest due to its languid usage: open-minded. In this situation though, I feel the ambiguity of that word perfectly explains millennials in the workplace. We will usually consider using ANYTHING to get a job done! No solution seems too crazy from the get-go. Ever been to a restaurant with a modern menu created by millennials? Chances are there are some outlandish items, bizarre ingredients, or irregular cooking methods. We like new. We like risk. We like diverse.

Why is this a good thing though? “Business as usual” just isn’t good enough. The world around us shapeshifts more than Animorphs (millennial reference), thus it stands to reason that we need to evolve our processes as well. This isn’t to say that all business practices must be replaced, but change should be considered and potentially explored. “Why change something that works?” is also not a good mindset to keep around. It is detrimental to outside-the-box thinking, deters critical thinking, and certainly does not prepare for the future. In fact, that way of thought entrenches workplaces, forces them to be reactive, and could end up drowning a company.

Our tolerant acceptance of peoples and technologies is great for another critical business practice: teamwork. Think about it. An environment blending different cultures and backgrounds forces workers to act as a team, and as a generation that has built itself on the image of inclusion and receiving, I would argue that we are some of the best at teamwork. Again, I use the broad term of culture intentionally as the workplace is filled to the brim with people of all economic, social, political, spiritual, and racial backgrounds.

As a business-owner, manager, director, or person-of-authority I believe it would prove wise to harness this. Does change always work? No. In fact, this is where those in authority need to exercise proper judgement; many problems or situations do indeed require the simple tried-and-true solution! However, I urge those same leaders to be open to the idea of other solutions. Let your millennials roam a bit and discover new territory. There is a very strong likelihood that millennials will help drive the company to stay ahead of the current in order to maintain relevance and build resilience. In the ever-changing world that we live in one needs to adapt and evolve with the market, and millennials will often provide the vehicle needed to drive the change.


The Big Bad Millennial Pt. 1

This is the first of what I hope to be a number of pieces on the stigmas surrounding millennials. As a millennial currently in the professional workforce, I am seeing these often-skewed perceptions of my generation impact productivity and efficiency. Thus, I’d love to help decode my generation and provide some insight on how to work with us…it seems as if we are a new species of human to a lot of coworkers so this can be thought of as something of a user manual. Before I go further though I do want to say that millennials are not perfect misunderstood people that just need a chance. I get it. We can be lazy, privileged, cocky, and distracted. We have a need for instant-gratification, and we question everything. The intent of the following piece is not to excuse millennials for our flaws, but rather to encourage those in the workplace to understand some of our strengths in order to help foster a more healthy and efficient environment. There are quite a few flaws with my generation, but I’d argue that looking honestly at all generations will reveal an equal number of flaws in a variety of areas.

By far the most common complaint I hear about millennials is that we have a work ethic issue. Where many past generations are known for completing a given task with no questions asked, millennials will question orders immediately. Believe it or not, a large part of this has to do with reason. Especially with jobs requiring tedious work, millennials often need to see the purpose and importance of their work. It isn’t necessarily the work that has them questioning, but rather the perceived impact. We want to know how our small assigned task will fit into the bigger mission to accomplish a goal. Furthermore, we have been raised more or less in an era where things have been marketed to make our lives easier. Thus, a tedious job will often strike a thought in our heads that there has to be an easier way to complete the task. In this way, the perception of laziness or sluggishness can actually be understood in many circumstances as a reach for efficiency.

Dealing with millennials? My recommendation is to assign work and also mention the end goal. Not only would a professional worker of my generation appreciate knowing where their work is going, but it also may drive them a bit more to provide a better product! I know from personal experience that when the end result is in mind I will work harder because there is a goal that I can believe in and internalize. My other recommendation is to occasionally meet with millennials in the workplace to learn from them. This probably isn’t enticing to many, but the aforementioned culture we’ve been raised in of comfort and ease may also help breed new ideas of productivity and effectiveness. We look at, study, and process the world differently, and empowering us to make positive change may be what your business needs.


Today marks one years since I walked through the doors of the HUB New Mexico office as an employee; the experience has already proven monumental in my life. The occupation and field of work has taught me quite a bit, but the true growth has come from the employer. HUB has consistently shown itself to be a healthy company both internally and externally, and I will always be thankful for the opportunities I have here. Below I wish to detail the healthy habits that my own office has demonstrated the past 365 days…habits I believe other companies would benefit from implementing into their own practices.


  • Smooth On-Boarding Process

There are few things in the professional life of an adult scarier than the first day of a new job. The fears are similar to the first day of a new high schooler: Will I be accepted? Will I succeed? Will I like it? Where will I eat lunch? Will I show up and realize I forgot to put pants on?

HUB assuaged those fears as soon as I walked through the doors though, and ensured I felt as comfortable as possible. Given a personal tour of every nook and cranny of the workspace, I was also introduced to staff that were supportive, welcoming, and encouraging. The tour ended in my office where I was acclimated to my surroundings and walked through the process of setting up my voicemail, email signatures, etc.….. (Stuff that I feel is easy, but apparently I forget how to use tech when nervous). Walking me through this all though allowed me to see the company standards, and also assured me that there are guidelines to function within.

Not only was I welcomed and made to feel comfortable through a smooth on-boarding process, but also I was beginning to see the high principles and ideals my new employer strove for.

  • Top-Down Support

I met with the president of the branch immediately, but it was more than just a standard operating procedure for a new employee. I soon found out that the president genuinely cared for each and every employee, and that included the newest rookie. You can often here him walking throughout the office calling workers out by name and asking about their families; an open-door policy is something he not only says he has, but something he promotes and implements.

I remember vividly a day in which my boss walked past my office, then reversed back to check on me. He simply said I didn’t look like I was 100%, talked to me for about five minutes to see what he could do to help, and then carried on to the meeting he was now five minutes closer to being late for. That’s the culture here, in which care for the employees is not simply a nice thought and piece of marketing literature, but is practiced first by the president.

  • Resource Support

I happen to have the opportunity to work for a company that has a seemingly-endless reserve of national and international resources. However, this vast amount of resource can often seem difficult to access on a local level, especially in a smaller market like New Mexico. Not here. This sort of gap is bridged often by a strong management team that ensures employees are as trained as possible for the tasks at hand, and will often bring specialists from other parts of the country to coach and mentor through the resources necessary to best serve our clientele.

Also available though, is resource support from an HR perspective. Our strong HR team ensures that the staff is taken care of as well. This shows me that my office understands the fact that a happy and healthy staff will not only serve to maintain business, but will grow it greatly! Thus, I feel it is apparent that our company sees that our needs are met, and also empowers us with the tools to see the same for our clients.

  • Transparency

There are a lot of changes in the industry I work in, and this is true both internally and externally. However, our branch has successfully implemented a culture of open communication that allows all staff to be involved and informed. Furthermore, it strengthens the staff and makes us feel as if our voice matters for the betterment of the culture we work in. Feeling this way helps to know we work for more than a paycheck.

  • Team-Oriented

Feeling as if we all work as a team is truly critical to my work experience. This has been achieved through the aforementioned open communication, as well as the emphasis that every single position is critical to the success of the mission. Recognizing each part of the workforce provides value, confidence, and knowledge. It helps the “hotshots” realize their inadequacy without the others, and helps the others realize “hotshots” as people providing value as well. It breaks down barriers, and provides a purpose great than the individual. In essence, our missions here do not get accomplished without TEAM.


I feel as if I could detail my first year’s impression all day, however I DO have work to accomplish…I better go get with the team!

A Time to Mourn

My wife and I are sick of it. Sick of tragedies in the United States immediately exploited by *insert agenda here. It has become a frightful and sickening affair, and it needs to stop. It occurs most often in the political realm as each candidate, seat-filler, or pundit rushes to interpret the next crime against humanity as a case study for their own personal use.  Election year or not, pro vs. anti gun, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, woman, man, Democrat, Republican, etc. the fact of the matter is that people were attacked and murdered; immediately using that as fodder to feed your own motive is repulsive. I wonder what these folks think, if they do at all, about the victims and their families.

Next is the Church. It breaks my heart and truly stirs up anger when I see the Church using tragedies to immediately speak for or against a lifestyle or belief system. I get it. As a Christian myself I agree we need to be open to all opportunities to spread the news of Jesus Christ and His defeat of sin and death. The Gospel needs to be heard and spread! However, I feel it is often forgotten that mourning is an appropriate response. We forget God mourns, and that His heart is broken when death, hate, and sin prove prevalent. Mourning for the loss of life and the hatred shown is the appropriate response. I can’t speak for God, but I would say it is safe to assume that He is also broken when His Church is capitalizing on tragedies. How can we as Christians hope to be heard in a world that pushes us out more and more if we fail to promote compassion, empathy, love, and grace too?

Something else is bothering us. How do we “unite” for Brussels, Paris, and other foreign tragedies, but eat our own when the attack occurs on our own soil? It genuinely sheds a negative light on our society and culture if we are unable to unite as a result of tragedy. Pray for the surviving victims. Pray for the families of all victims. Pray for our nation. Pray for the world.


Patton & Eisenhower

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How many pieces on leadership have you read? 5? 10? Too many? Me too. However, one thing I have found to be true as I continue reading and continue leading, is that many (most…all) of the pieces I have read are from the perspective of learned lessons over a career. What about the here and now? What about leadership in real time? We live in an ever-changing environment, so leadership style, methodology, and practice must be fluid in order to accommodate such change. Throughout the blog, and amidst the varying topics I hope to cover, I plan on detailing leadership as I have experienced. This will include lessons I have had to learn the hard way, lessons that have been taught to me, and lessons I have witnessed. The hope is that readers will see these, apply them in some form or manner, and thus become a more dynamic group of leaders.

Patton vs. Eisenhower

I once had a boss that was from Texas. This being said, he was like what you may be imagining now: loves football, loves rock music, loves John Wayne movies, loves guns, and loves the military. Being a history major and in the National Guard myself, he took an immediate liking to me because we could discuss a wide variety of military topics . As I grew in the organization and promoted in position, he would often mentor me using military analogies; one such analogy has stuck with me, and I think on it often.

I tend to be a hands-on leader. Not out of a lack of trust for my subordinates. Not because I can do the job better. Not even because I necessarily want to perform the job others are doing. I simply feel as if I should be doing the job their doing. My father always taught me to lead by example, and never gave me a task or chore that I hadn’t seen him perform himself. I love rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty, turning wrenches, or cooking on the line. I love scrubbing the floors after hours, or helping out with some closeout paperwork. This can be a great trait to have, especially when building credibility with your staff. It shows concern for everybody’s job or task, competency in your own tasks and procedures, and character in that you are not above doing the work of your subordinates.

My boss told me this form of leadership is like that of General George Smith Patton Jr. General Patton was widely known to be a hands-on leader. Even in World War II, towards the end of his career, he was known to be out with his men on the frontline. His affinity for action and love of the fight is what earned him the name “Old Blood and Guts”, and his expectation of adherence to military protocol by his soldiers was only reinforced by his own commitment to Army standard. It was not uncommon to see him towards the heart of the fight, acting as a leader and motivator. In the workplace though, this can sometimes cloud judgment. This type of leadership makes it  difficult to see the forest from the trees, or see the bigger picture. In order to make informed decisions in realtime, it is often necessary to step away from an immediate skirmish or situation, and get a broader perspective. In this way, a leader can pull from all resources and gather all facts. Often times, being in the middle of the battle keeps one from seeing the entire war.

Enter General Dwight David Eisenhower. Forever lauded as one of the greatest men ever to grace our nation, General Eisenhower was one of the best military leaders and national leaders as he served the armed forces in the Army, and the nation as Commander in Chief. When looking into his participation in World War II though, it is interesting to observe his position. Where General Patton was very involved with the daily workings of his Soldiers, General Eisenhower was very “big picture” oriented. His involvement in the creation of war plans leading to the defeat of Japan and Germany led to him being appointed as Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. Aside from having a cool Star Wars sounding name, this position meant he needed a big picture mentality. He needed to be able to view the entire war, and decipher the impact each battle had on the entire fight. He couldn’t let himself get muddled down with every little detail from every single fight, but rather had to receive information, filter it, and interpret it in order to make lasting decisions regarding the entire war.

Which style is better? Neither. Each one has their pros and cons, and as one spends more time in their own leadership role, he/she will find themselves doing both roles at various times. Often, as a person is promoted or rises in the ranks, he/she will find that they perform like General Eisenhower (or at least should), as they are required to make decisions that affect the organization as a whole. Junior leaders often find themselves acting like General Patton in order to establish credibility and a sense of camaraderie with those within their leadership. For all leaders though, a healthy mix of both is necessary. There is no perfect formula, rather every job has specific needs that must be met. However, merging the two styles efficiently and effectively ensures a dynamic leader.

Dear Remnant

Thank you. Thank you for loving me, caring for me, and showing Jesus to me. Thank you for taking the Biblical model of fellowship, community, and hospitality, and trying your hardest to embody it.

Thank you leadership. Thank you for shepherding the congregation well. The personality of the church is one of joyous love, and that is simply beautiful. The sermons are full of the Gospel, and the Spirit of Truth is present at all times. Does the leadership respond to the Gospel, and thus inspire the congregation to react similarly? Absolutely. You teach Biblical love, and the proof is in the congregation.

Thank you body. Thank you for overwhelming me with love. My first Sunday? I had met four different gentlemen BEFORE the service began. People were moving from different rows of seats to come talk to the one guy who wasn’t actively engaged in conversation.  After the service I was introduced to more people and invited to three different CGs. When I walked out these doors into the Virginia sunlight, I was promptly invited to join a group at Hardywood…great for a number of reasons…

Thank you Hal Moser. Thank you for loving me personally, and caring about my own spiritual growth. Thank you for opening your home to welcome fellowship and discussion, and for challenging me weekly. Remnant Church is blessed incredibly to have you as another shepherd to tend to the flock throughout the week. You have inspired me to lead more effectively and dynamically as I return to my own CG, and I am confidant church leadership will grow as a result of your influence as you are led by Christ.

Thank you Josh Tucker. Thank you for also loving me personally, and taking my spiritual growth as a matter of your concern. Your interest in my life and development as a church leader and scholar has humbled and blessed me. I look forward to the friendship we maintain as the Army takes you in various places, but the Holy Spirit keeps us united.

Thank you Austin Rackley. Thank you for opening your home to my family and me, and for allowing your wonderful family to bless my own. Your friendship and mentorship has also been encouraging, and I was blessed to know you. You and Josh stepped up as companions at a time I truly needed one, and I thank Christ for you.

I was reading 1 Peter today, and a passage caught my attention as I reached chapter 4 verse 11 which reads, “Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Immediately I thought of Remnant Church. Your teachings and service are testament to your faith in Christ, and desire to be on mission for Him.

Thank you Remnant for loving.

Peace & Love

Kevin N. Shannon

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