Research encourages universities to nourish entrepreneurial spirit in Generation Z

Speaking to a packed crowd at the 2019 ACBSP Conference, Dr. Daryl D. Green from the Oklahoma Baptist University, revealed that recent research shows Generation Z students are not only the most diverse and inclusive yet, but also the most ambitious. Making up nearly a quarter of the American population (some 74 million young adults), they shun the traditional employee route of their predecessors, with 72% of them wanting to start a business with 61% preferring to be an entrepreneur rather than an employee.

This high percentage reflects the differing work ethic of these students. Having never known a world without social media or smartphones, 84% of participants in a recent study by Forrester showed they regularly multitask with an internet-connected device when watching TV, whilst 66% believe technology makes anything possible. Not just digitally savvy, these students are driven to set themselves apart with nearly 50% participating in internships during high school for the purpose of advancing themselves professionally and 26% currently volunteering in their spare time. 

Therefore if Universities want to continue to attract the best students, it is important for them to adapt their teaching practices for Generation Z. Dr. Green broke this down into seven suggested practices;

  • Creating an academic environment that fosters creativity and entrepreneurial thinking
  • Setting clear expectations and boundaries
  • Engaging students digitally in the classroom and beyond
  • Breaking work assignments into smaller, manageable segments
  • Communicating regularly to provide frequent feedback
  • Being relevant and providing practical application and business role models
  • Incorporating a fluidic frequent reward system

Summing up, Dr. Green said “For the first time in history, there are now 5 generations coexisting in the work place and Generation Z, with its diversity and ingenuity, may be the best of all. This is why it is so important for universities and places of higher learning to encourage the natural entrepreneurial spirit of the most tech savvy, pragmatic and diverse generation yet; enabling them to join the workforce ready to hit the ground running and perhaps inspire businesses to adapt to the future.”  

Event Photos:

unnamed-6Caption #1:  Dr. Green presents “Wire for Life: Inspiring Generation Z to Be Entrepreneurial Leaders.”

unnamed-5Caption #2:  Dr. Green engages the audience of academics.

unnamed-4Caption #3:  Dr. Green unlocks the mystery related to GEN Z.

unnamed-3Caption #4:  Dr. Green discusses 5 generations in the workplaces.

unnamed-2Caption #5:  The audience listens as Dr. Green breaks down GEN Z traits.

unnamed-1Caption #6:  Dr. Green reunites with a former classmate from his doctoral program.

unnamedAbout Oklahoma Baptist University/Dr. Daryl D. Green: 

With its campus in Shawnee, and locations in Oklahoma City and Broken Arrow, OBU offers 10 bachelor’s degrees with 88 fields of study and 5 master’s degree programs. The Christian liberal arts university has an overall enrollment of 2,073, with students from 40 states and 35 other countries. OBU has been rated as one of the top 10 regional colleges in the West by the U.S. News and World Report for 25 consecutive years and has been Oklahoma’s highest rated regional college in the U.S. News rankings for 23 consecutive years. OBU is one of the three universities in Oklahoma and the only private Oklahoma University listed on Great Value College’s rankings of 50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest. Forbes.com consistently ranks OBU as a top university in Oklahoma, and the Princeton Review has named OBU one of the best colleges and universities in the western United States for 12 consecutive years.

Dr. Daryl Green, assistant professor of business at Oklahoma Baptist University and Dickinson chair of business.  He is an award-winning author with more than 30 books. He and his wife Estraletta have several years of social and competitive ballroom dance experience, competing in Georgia, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Dr. Green has taught social dancing classes and is a former president of the Knoxville Chapter of USA Dance Inc.  

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Inspiring Generation Z with Transformational Leadership

I was stuck right in the middle. I brought a group of GEN Y and GEN Z college students on a service trip involving our faith. The coordinator for our service project was a good man with great intentions for the team. However, he managed the group as an authoritarian leader with a  militaristic top-down approach. Feedback and input were not necessarily desired. While I was accustomed to this style and could adjust, this leadership style did not resonate well with the young members of the group.

He conveyed to me that the students complained too much about the circumstances while the younger members complained about the leader not listening or caring about them. The relationship could have gone south. I provided each group a different perspective about each other. The leader attempted to make changes, including asking for my input from the group and the young members responded by acknowledging his attempt to build bridges. From that point, the group was able to achieve more and have a better relationship within the group. The situation reaffirmed to me the importance of understanding generational issues and how to inspire younger generations toward great performance.

In today’s organizations, they face an arsenal of disruptive change and chaos all around us.

Disruptive change speaks the changing nature of our society. In fact, our extensive experience about the past can haunt us in a world riddled with uncertainty. Having young employees who are technologically savvy and adaptable to these environmental climates could help an organization succeed. Yet, many executives do not know how to recruit, retain, or to inspire these young generations.    

As a result, organizations that wish to compete today must understand how to inspire Generation Z employees for sustainable success. However, this task is not easy. When Generation Y (aka Millennials) entered the workplace for the first time, some managers were given bad advice. The advice included telling managers to praise Millennials regardless of their performance, reward them for just showing up to work, put hand-held devices in the hands (and get out their way), and allow them come to work whenever they want to (allow them to bring their puppies). In this scenario, the workplace becomes a magical place where every workday is filled with fun and excitement.

That advisement was misleading and created unrealistic expectations of the workplace and resentment from older generations. What organization can afford to get Generation Z wrong under this global landscape?  Thus, understanding generational issues can assist managers with a multi-generation workforce and lead them toward greater performance as a team. In this discussion, I will examine how today’s organization can inspire Generation Z employees with transformational leadership.

Today’s businesses cannot afford to overlook Generation Z. For the first time in history, five generations are co-existing together in the workplace. Each generation has distinct attributes, such as belief systems, expectations, and behaviors. Managing Generation Z will not be easy. Generation Z is the most global, diverse, technological, and entrepreneurial generation ever. In fact, they have never known a digital world without smartphones and social media. In general, they were born in 1995 and after. This generation makes up about 26% of the U.S. population. Each generation is shaped by parenting and its social environment. Managers should not merely lump Generation Y and Generation Z in the same category. Some experts note that Generation Z is more focused than Generation Y or Millennials.

Forbes contributor Deep Patel in his article “8 Ways Generation Z Will Differ From Millennials In The Workplace” notes that Generation Z are more independent thinkers than Generation Y. He adds, “While millennials are often seen as more idealistic, and more motivated by purpose than a paycheck, Generation Z may lean more toward security and money. This is a pragmatic generation — they care about making a difference, but are ultimately motivated by ensuring they have a secure life outside of work. If you’re looking to recruit members of Generation Z, you may be able to tempt them with promises of job security and raises down the line.” Given the unique characteristics of Generation Z, employers cannot afford to use the same old recruitment and retention strategies on this younger generation.

Dr. Green reads to Generation Z students at Revelation Ministries in Cape Town, South Africa.

In this unstable environment, organizations need the right type of leadership for Generation Z employees. These younger employees will tend to respond better with transformational leadership than a transactional leadership style. In a nutshell, all managers are not leaders. Some managers are great at defining tasks and having the employees work toward that goal. They rule by their position in the organization. Otherwise, no one would follow them. In fact, these same managers are lousy at inspiring their employees. In transactional leadership, individuals lead others in an ‘exchange’ of work for rewards/punishment. If employees completed the assigned work scope, they would be compensated with wages, full employment, or other benefits; likewise, if they do not perform, they could be punished or fired.

Dr. Green attempted to connect with Generation Z students at Revelation Ministries in Cape Town, South Africa.

Whereas transactional leadership rarely produce zealots who are inspired in organizations, transformational leadership has the ability of getting the greater buy-in of followers. In the simplest sense, transformational leadership can be defined ‘as a leadership approach that causes a change in individuals and social systems…it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing followers into leaders.” Generation Z employees need leaders who can connect with them and inspire them toward greater achievements. Generation Z are realistic and concerned about their safety and the world. Some would call them anxious. According to one study, 58% of Gen Z’s are either somewhat or very worried about the future. Below are some interesting statistics on Generation Z:

  • 66% say that technology makes them feel that anything is possible.
  • 76% feel that their online experiences will help them reach their goals.
  • 79% display symptoms of emotional distress when kept away from their personal electronic devices.
  • 72% of Gen Z want to start a business someday.
  • 30% feel their college has failed at teaching them applicable real-life business skills.

Leadership guru Dr. Richard Daft argues that transactional leadership may not be enough in a disruptive, changing world: “Transactional skills are important for all leaders. However, in a world in which success often depends on continuous change, organizations also need transformational leadership…Transformational leadership is based on the personal values, beliefs, and qualities of the leader rather than on an exchange process between leaders and followers. Given the generational characteristics of Generation Z and the need for success in organizations, the following suggestions are offered to lead this generation:

  • Create a shared vision within the organization.
  • Get to know employees, especially newer ones in the organization.
  • Define goals, objectives, and desired objectives, making boundaries clear.
  • Ask for feedback when appropriate and follow-up on the endpoint.
  • Show how each person is valued within the organization.
  • Seek to inspire employees by tapping into their intrinsic rewards.
  • Build teamwork in the organization with group incentives (i.e., bonuses).

With continual pressures to compete, today’s businesses need to have employees who are adaptable to disruptive changes. In our society, there are 5 generations that co-exist in the workplace. Perhaps, Generation Z with its diversity and ingenuity may be the best of all generations. Yet, managers who do not understand Generation Z employees may not be able to get the most out of them. In our discussion today, I outlined how today’s organization can inspire Generation Z employees with transformational leadership.  Unlike transactional leaders, transformational leaders must tap into their followers to find what motives them. Working with Generation Z employees will pose the same type of challenges. With change continuing to be more rapid and unpredictable, today’s organizations cannot hope to succeed without getting the best out of each employee. We pray that it is not too late to inspire Generation Z in your own organizations.

Please share your insight on this topic.

© 2018 by D. D. Green

About Dr. Daryl Green:
Dr. Daryl Green provides consulting, guidance, and management training for today’s business leaders. He is the Dickinson Chair at Oklahoma Baptist University. In 2016, he retired as a senior engineer and program manager with the Department of Energy after a successful career. Dr. Green has over 25 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. For more information, please visit http://www.drdarylgreen.com.

The Secret Formula to Connect with Generation Z Revealed: Creating Better Schools and Gaining More Profit in Business

Dr. Daryl Green presents useful strategies to help people better connect with Generation Z. With a greater understanding of this new generation, today’s business and academic institutions can reach success in more effective ways.

Dr. Daryl Green is an international researcher and author. In a recent seminar to educator and administrators in Oklahoma, he outlines how individuals can better connect with Generation Z, those who were born in 1995 and after. This generation is considered to be the most differs, global, entrepreneurial, and technological generation that ever exists in the world. Now in the United States, this generation places 26% of the total population. To know better about the Generation Z, the following statistics might help:

• 30% of them think that do not get applicable business skills needed for real life when they were students in college.

• 66% have an opinion that the technology exists now makes it possible for them to do anything.

• 72% of of this generation have a dream to build their own business.

• 76% argue that reaching their goals is now possible due to their online experiences.

• 79% show emotional distress whenever they can’ access their personal electronic devices.

Dr. Green has identified 5 main characteristics of Generation Z, they are technology dependent, culturally diverse and inclusive, independent thinkers, entrepreneurs, and socially conscious. The secret formula to dig out all of the potentials inside Z Generation consists of some important keys, include:

• Communicate in ways to get frequent feedback.

• Connect to them digitally.

• Give them chances to make innovation at the working place.

• Give instructions in smaller segments only.

• Give them practical and relevant experiences in their learning in the classroom.

Organizations need to foster good human capital behaviors. Every generation is different. We also bring our own generational biases into the workplace. However, Generation Z employees are a great asset to organizations with their fresh ideas and technology intuitiveness. We need to do a better job of handling them in the workplace than we did for Generation Y. If we are successful as leaders in doing this, there will be a huge return on investments,” Dr. Green said.

About Dr. Daryl D. Green

Dr. Daryl D. Green provides consulting, guidance, and management training for today’s business leaders. Dr. Green is also an award-winning author and professional speaker. Currently, he is the Dickinson Chair at Oklahoma Baptist University. In 2016, he retired from the Department of Energy as a senior engineer and program manager. Dr. Green has over 25 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. For more information, please visit www.drdarylgreen.com.

Contact:
Dr. Daryl Green
405-585-4414
Daryl.green@okbu.edu