May 14, 2023


101. What do Millennials Want from their Leaders?

Hosted by

Brendan Rogers
101. What do Millennials Want from their Leaders?
Culture of Leadership
101. What do Millennials Want from their Leaders?

May 14 2023 | 01:16:49


Show Notes

In this episode, Tim Garth and Dan Osborne, self-titled “podcountants” and hosts of the Two Drunk Accountants podcast, discuss their experiences as millennial leaders and share insights on leading millennials. They advise leaders to build a strong, sustainable culture that resonates with their millennial workforce and emphasize the importance of giving millennials a seat at the table. They also discuss the challenges of balancing freedom and safety for millennial employees, the potential downside of the environment in which millennials grew up, and their perspectives on the future of work.

Tim and Dan also run an accounting firm together, CATS Accountants. Two Drunk Accountants is a weekly podcast that dispels the myths and mysteries of running a small business over a lovely beverage. The show has over 100,000 listens and close to 200 episodes that have helped small businesses for three years. 

Tune in and subscribe to future episodes of The Culture of Leadership.

Discussion Points

  • Millennials seek inclusion, purpose, and freedom in leadership
  • Create strong cultures that resonate with millennial employees
  • Balance freedom and safety nets for millennial workers
  • Focus on purpose, satisfaction, and actual work
  • Encourage creativity and innovation in millennial employees
  • Align organizational values with millennial values
  • Provide flexibility, trust, and accountability in the workplace
  • Foster deep work and focus in millennials
  • Establish accountability systems for millennial workforce
  • Encourage millennials to set lifestyle KPIs
  • Create problem-solving and collaborative cultures
  • Recognize the value of different generations in the workplace
  • 3 Key Takeaways: 
  1. Confident leaders prioritize purpose
  2. Confident leaders embrace uniqueness
  3. Confident leaders embrace remote working
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Episode Transcript

Brendan: Welcome to The Culture of Leadership. We have conversations that help you develop and become a more confident leader. What do millennials want from their leaders? This is the key question we unpack in this episode with Tim Garth and Dan Osborne. Tim and Dan are the hosts of the Two Drunk Accountants podcast where each week, they dispel the myths and mysteries in running a small business one drink at a time. They also run an accounting firm together, CATS Accountants. As the workforce shift towards the younger generation, it’s crucial to understand the expectations and needs of millennial workers. Tim and Dan are two millennial leaders. They share their experiences and insights on what it takes to be an effective leader for their generation. They give some practical advice for leaders who want to build a strong and sustainable culture that resonates with their millennial workforce. This is The Culture of Leadership podcast. I’m Brendan Rogers. Sit back and enjoy my conversation with Dan and Tim. Which one of you guys has the strong idea about where we are going wrong leading millennials if you are not a millennial leader? Tim: I think as a millennial, we can talk about this topic and so I appreciate you asking us this. I think just coining the term millennial can be a tricky thing actually because millennials don't want to be put into a bucket really. Dan: Don't put us in a box, Brendan. Tim: We don't really want to be put in a box but we do kind of need that. It's a little bit of smoke and mirrors with millennials. Brendan: It's a bit of a society now. We put everyone in a box. Isn't that the way we do things? Dan: We don't like it, millennials, speaking of boxes. Brendan: Millennials especially don't like that. Tim: We want to think we are special and unique, that you can't box us up. I think probably some of the mistakes that are being made is just that old school mentality of production line workers, not focusing on purpose or authenticity, not building community or culture, that just approaching work like work is probably the big mistake to make for the millennial. Dan: It's a really interesting way to put it actually. Tim: That work is work. Then you can live your life when you go home. Brendan: Even speaking about when you talk about the box. You don't like being put in the box and we joked a little bit that everything is about identity something or putting people into a box or stuff, is that the biggest problem we are having today as non millennial leading millennials? And putting the stereotypes around people? The Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials, this is how they are, this is what they do and they're a pain in the ass, they’re difficult to lead, they want to be managers in five seconds of being in the business, that sort of stuff. Dan: I think you just hit it on the head actually. Yes, we don't like being put in the box. Yes, we don't want to be told what to do and yes, it may feel like we want to be managers. But really, we just want to be included in the solutions’ process. It might not be that we want to manage, but we just want to feel like our input is valued, our thoughts are valued. Tim: A seat at the table, I think is probably what Dan’s saying there. We want to be a part of the process and feel like a part of the solution. But also, millennials we know prefer a hug than a berating if something goes wrong. Safety net. Freedom, but also safety. Dan: We want everything. Brendan: Freedom but safety. Tim: It's tricky. We want to feel a sense of ownership, entitlement, and control, but the bad sides of that are stress and responsibility and I guess potentially working overtime are the things that millennials don't want as well because they want that balance, the work life balance. Millennials are tricky because I feel like maybe they don't even get that themselves about themselves too. Dan: I think another part of it is yes, we are very purpose driven. We're very much one of those seats at the table, but what that looks like for every millennial could be different. The reason it is so hard to pin down what it is we want is because we all want the same thing overarching which is a seat in the table and to feel part of the process, but that is different for every single person because our values are different, what drives us are different, what we care about is different. The things that we want to solve could be different, but really it's just let us be part of that process I think is the overarching. Tim: Definitely, and even if it's just feeling part of a bigger purpose or culture or that your values are in alignment with the organizational values and that the organization is doing bigger things, then you feel like you are creating change or better outcomes for the greater good. Brendan: If I reflect back on my journey of starting a full time role as an employee working for someone's business, I just had an expectation that I didn't necessarily get that seat at the table, I never felt like my opinion wasn't valued, but I just had an expectation and it was normal that my leader, or the manager, or the state manager for example, made various decisions. They may have had some conversation amongst their team, but I never felt I wasn't valued. Where do you think in my upbringing, Generation X, and your upbringing has created this we want time at the table. We want to feel included. We want to have an insight, an input into what's happening. Dan: It's a really good question. We're sort of unique, especially people who are Tim and I's age, we’re in a unique age where we remember what it was like before the internet. We existed before that was a big part of our lives. Social media didn't really exist until we were in our late years in high school. Even then it was in its infancy. But maybe that access to so much information, that access to so much content, to so much of the world that before those things existed, you live in a very small section of the world. You live in your local community and that is sort of what you knew unless you went out and explored but we have access to the world really. Maybe it's that access that made us realize we can see what's out there. We want to be part of this. We just don't think we are limited to this. We want to be out there. We want to be doing things so therefore give us a seat. We want to explore. Tim: That's hitting on technology a bit there. That has to be a factor. Smart phones. It's funny I've been watching an old TV show, Grey's Anatomy, and back in 2004 they've got their flip phones, Brendan: A bit like my phone. Tim: Brendan is still on the flip phone which is a bold choice. Dan: A Nokia 3310, Brendan? Are you still rocking the snake game? Brendan: Somewhere in my toy box. Tim: I think I read somewhere recently that the average amount of text between two adults in a relationship used to be something like 400 a year and they were long messages that they would send to each other. People will probably do that in a week, 400 messages, easily. It's probably a connection to technology, the amount of information, and just how readily available that has been to us throughout our entire life, maybe for better or worse, just sped up the way that we interact with work, with our friends, with our loved ones. Dan: Guess what? It's going to get worse from here on in. Every generation after us have even more access than we ever did and more connected to technology than we ever were. Brendan: Definitely. Dan: They were born in an era where literally everything was at your fingertips. We went to a conference last year where there was a speaker about the generation alpha, the next generation. Tim's baby son is this generation. Tim: My son is an alpha. I wish I was Dan: Tim was born a [inaudible 00:08:30] anyway so it’s fine, But apparently they are going to get even more demanding and everything should be personalized to them. Purpose in your business isn't just a want, it's an expectation for them. Tim: [inaudible 00:08:42] is going to be like, you were raised with the technology. I was born [inaudible 00:08:48]. Brendan: I look forward to interviewing little Tim in about 20 years time with something. We'll get his own insight, alpha Tim. Dan: We're an introduction to the world of these types of people. Brendan: I guess the serious side of that is that from a leadership perspective, it's not going to get any easier for leaders, as leaders out there. Believe me, I deal with them. I have conversations with them. I am frustrated by these things. It's a real adjustment for them. If someone is leading you, what is the most important thing for you, Dan, to get from that leader? Dan: I think pretty much what we've gone through. I want a sense of purpose. I want to feel like I'm part of a- Brendan: Do you know I said the most important thing? You're a millennial, you want everything. Dan: Exactly. Brendan: You will answer the question with all these things. There is no one thing. Dan: That is true. There isn't just one thing either. We are joking, but there isn't. Tim: Don't box him in, Brendan. Brendan: I apologize. Dan: If you were my leader, Brendan, you walk in and just tell me what to do, I'm just going to be like get [inaudible 00:09:53] Brendan: Sorry, go on mate. Dan: If we can broaden this, it’s just have us be part of the process. Don't tell us what to do. Include us in coming out with that design. That includes what's the reason why we’re doing what we’re doing. That includes how we do it. That includes what the end result is. Tim: That's really cool though, I think. Brendan, you just said that it's hard. I totally agree with that. It would be hard managing us. We have people working with our business who are millennials. It's not easy, but it's never easy managing anyone ever. Let's just throw that out the window. Brendan: That's a good point. Dan: You're right, Tim. People suck. I thought you were going with that. Tim: I didn't say that but managing is hard. Dan: That's your opinion, not mine. I thought that's where you are going with it. Tim: What I really wanted to say though is I feel like done the right way, managing a millennial could actually be easy. It could actually be super easy. My dad, we work in a family business. We bought the business off my dad. I think he did a great job of basically giving us the freedom and the space to do things. Dan: I agree. Tim: By doing that, sure, we had moments where we failed but he was there to help us in those moments and to really fine tune the learnings from that and support us if we needed help. He really gave us free reign. The business grew as a result, definitely. We worked much harder. We ended up buying the business off him as well. It's the best thing he could have ever done. His life became a lot easier because we were doing all the work. I think that is hard because obviously it involves a lot of trust. Easier for dad because it's his son doing it. How do you develop that trust with your millennial workforce is probably the tricky question there. Dan: I think something that you said there Tim is that we did make mistakes and that was okay. Tim: Yeah, it's going to be okay. Dan: We are going to make mistakes. If you empower somebody to have the freedom to come up with the solution to try something, it's not always going to work and you have to understand that and be okay with that. Because if they do have that freedom, they are going to come out with something that is pretty good eventually and you don't have to come out with it because they like doing that. They don't just want to be a cog in the machine that turns around and processes the work. They want to be like no, let's redesign the machine. Sometimes it will work and sometimes it won't but you need the freedom to be able to do it. Your dad was really good at that. Tim: Yeah. I think what would have crushed that is if he tried to control the process, control both our inputs and our outputs, by framing what we needed to produce or how we needed to act or behave to produce those things. Really by basically doing less he achieved more for himself, the business, and for us. If you think something is hard and you approach it as though it's going to be hard, of course it's probably going to feel pretty hard when you are doing it. If you are managing a millennial and you think it's going to be hard, you're probably going to make it hard for yourself and you're going to butt heads. In fact it might be easy to just take a step back and ask them how they think. They should solve the problem. But build a safety net in as well, not just abdicating and letting them fall over, letting the business fall over as well. Brendan: The word that comes to mind is risk and the reason I think of that is he allowed you guys to take some risk and to potentially fail. I'm sure he is giving a guiding light so it's not a big failure and damage to business too much, those sorts of things. There's also an element I think that millennials, in my experience, seem more open to taking risks, to giving things a crack. What's the worst thing that could happen? Really not much. Whereas in my generation are maybe a little less risk averse and the older generation before that even much more risk averse. Where do you think that tolerance, potentially for a greater risk, comes from in millennials? Tim: Great question. All I could probably think around that is we’ve always got participation awards. [inaudible 00:14:50]. I got awards for good attendance in school. I was just literally turning up and I got a certificate. We were really probably protected from a lot of the feeling of failure or that feeling that just participating was a risk. Really by just turning up and being there we were winning and we can get awards and certificates for doing that. That's probably all I could think of. I haven't really thought of that very much until you asked that question. Brendan: It's an interesting point though. Dan: On an individual, I think you're probably 100% right. On a larger scale, if you are looking worldwide, macro sort of picture, we didn't really live through any significant world wide problem. We weren't the war generation. We didn't grow up during the war and you had to just focus on what you are doing. Vietnam and all that wasn't part of our lives. The 90s were a pretty good time really. Tim: There were no recessions. Dan: No recessions. It wasn’t until later on when we graduated high school as the GFC started. Even then it was just like this is the world we live in. I think the combination of the time we grew up in we were pretty lucky and safe which allows us a ground in which to make risks from. Because we know, well, things are fine. We'll be okay. There's a safety net in the world, really, at that time. Brendan: What's the potential downside of it? Dan: Restlessness. There's probably generations before us who get a lot of value in just doing the work. Sitting down, working hard, doing a hard day's work, getting a hard day's pay, you feel rewarded by that. Whereas I think a lot of people I know, a lot of millennials, there's not as much satisfaction in that, which means if you're constantly searching for validation, you're constantly searching for a purpose, things are going to change a lot. You're going to have to keep adapting. You're going to have to keep changing. You're going to have to keep improving. You're never quite settled. I know in our business, we're always looking for how we can improve, how we can change. What's the next thing? What's the next software? What's the next service? What else can we be doing? We’re just constantly pushing. Tim: Which is definitely harder for people who aren't millennials. That change is unsettling for them. We've got team members who aren't millennials as well. All the tech changes, all the way we just change systems is pretty hard for them. There's also just that risk of, we want to have a sense of purpose, community, and culture. We're bored by the work sometimes, but the work is what ultimately creates the value too for our customers and in the world with what we do. We've got to be really careful that we don't go too far with our mentality of work-life balance, and let's make things interesting, and make things more efficient because you end up maybe just overdoing it a bit. You've got less time to just do what it is essentially you're there to do, which is the work. It's very easy to just over-balance and go too far that way. Dan: I think you and I are quite unique. It's been a product of the place that we've worked, the freedom that we have had, and doing things like the podcast. It has allowed us to give some of the creative juices out. We're quite unique in the fact that we're probably one of the only people I know that would be eligible for long service leave. We stay in one job for a long time. Whereas most millennials chop and change, not just jobs, but entire careers pretty regularly. I suppose that would be the downside. You're restless. You're looking for something new constantly. Tim: There may be less dedication to craft, basically, once things get a little hard, or you've got to sit and do something for eight hours a day and focus on that, it could be quite challenging to do because you'd rather just fire off emails, be in a bunch of meetings, or have the big morning tea or the big work function instead. Those things are way more interesting. Brendan: There's a few things out of that again, but as a leader leading millennials, how do you reduce the restlessness? Dan: Variety and having that seat at the table that we said originally. There's a lot of creativity in trying to come up with solutions for things and being part of that process. Whereas if it's just hey, Brendan, this is your job, this is what you do, process this work, you have eight hours, knock off at five, we're just going to get bored. Give us a task, give us challenges, give us things to work on. Find areas that your employee feels passionate about. We have team members who love particular types of work that's not directly related to what they do, but we found a way to help them do that work as part of their job, incorporate it in, and build that purpose into their day to day. I think that's benefiting the business, but also keeps them engaged and excited as well. I think that's probably it. Tim: Yeah, I think it's just like a reward. Brendan: You're giving participation to [inaudible 00:19:24] on your business? Dan: Yeah. Have you seen Severance? We do waffle parties and dance parties. Brendan: I haven't, but I can imagine. Tim: They're definitely like a reward. It may be as simple as just a mention or some gratitude from the manager, which maybe they feel like they don't need to do or they feel like it's overkill. That definitely goes a long way, I think for millennials, if they feel like they're being noticed, and their hard effort is being noticed. I think working with them to figure out what drives their behavior too. Maybe a good and a bad thing we've done recently is putting some dashboards in our workplace, which made output more visible. Brendan: Performance. Tim: That's right. Yeah. We're accountants. Obviously, our time is really our biggest cost and our biggest thing that we can deliver with value, too. We sell knowledge. We have to track billable hours. Unfortunately, we have to do timesheets. Dashboards are also potentially the way that our millennial team members or our team members in general can get ahead. If they're working harder, that's the instant feedback that they're hitting their targets, that they're producing more value, and that they are progressing. We have to balance that because we obviously can't expect them to do eight hours billable of an eight-hour day. That's just unrealistic. I think that's been good in a way because they know we're not going to punish them for not hitting targets overly bad. It's giving them the power to see how hard they're working and instant gratification when they do hit those targets too. We've aligned that with a bonus program. That's something millennials do love, it's money. Money is important. Gen X, Gen Y, they may also not appreciate this either. This amount, the whole smash and dab thing. That’s really expensive. Millennials want to buy a house. They want to live their dreams. At the moment, that is still owning your own home, or living where you want to live if that's in the city, near the beach, or wherever that may be. If you feel like you can directly impact by your actions and your efforts, how much you're going to earn, or be noticed and get reward for that, I think that's huge. If you can build a system for that, or ensure you're doing it every day or every week, just noticing the good things they do, I feel like that would be a massive way to help work with millennials. Dan: It's funny just speaking about this out loud. We're not perfect. We make many mistakes. I think part of what makes millennials strong, this ability to take some risks, and feeling like we can just change on a dime and doing these things, also some of the things that lead to us making big mistakes as leaders because we'll see a problem and go, great, let's just switch it completely, 100% change, this is what we'll do from now on, let's start tomorrow. Half of the team will be like, whoa, what are you doing? I think it is funny that speaking out loud right now, I can say some of the things that are positives for us as millennial employees also can be challenges for us as millennial leaders. We've got to figure out, as millennials, how to manage the other generations as well because they're not going to think like us. Brendan: Definitely. How do you do that? The example Tim shared about the system changes, for example, and you're leading some non millennial people as well, what do you do to adjust your style or make inroads with those people? Dan: This is something we're still learning every day. Tim: I don't think there's a perfect way. Dan: There's not a perfect way. Tim: I think you can just meet people on their level. Good managers are great at that. They know what drives each individual in the team and they’re going to cater for that. That'd be the type of work that giving them all the support, giving them all the targets they set and the accountability. They drive towards that. We've definitely made mistakes and had success with varying things in that area. Dan: There's a few fundamentals to leadership that are consistent across all generations of people because they're just people. People like to feel valued. They like to feel like they have input. They like to know that we appreciate what they do. All these things are the same across everyone. These are people. There are some things that an older generation who does see value, just getting the work done, and doing that, would feel differently to someone who feels strongly about their purpose. Is that incorporated into what they do? We have a team member who's a millennial, who really wants to get into blood donation and charity work as part of work, have all that included. That's a purpose for her. Whereas the older generation sees value in that, but it's not the priority. It's work. If that other stuff happens, that's cool. They both see value in the same thing, but which is the priority in which you focus on with each person? There are common things amongst everyone. People are the same, but you got to tweak it. Brendan: Where does money and purpose sit for millennials specifically on that scale? You've mentioned money. You guys mentioned purpose a lot today. I know you mentioned it through your podcast a number of times as well. You guys have got a purpose through what you're doing in, education of small business owners and all sorts of things, which is really powerful stuff. Where do you think it sits on that general scale for millennials, money, purpose? Dan: I definitely think there's a point, where you just throw the purpose out the window because the money is too low or too high. Brendan: It's got to be a realistic level of income. Dan: Yeah, exactly. There needs to be a realistic level that allows them to do the things like buy a house and progress their life through those ways. But if you can do that while achieving a purpose, that's the prime spot. A lot of people will forgo that little bit of extra money above what they might need or want for a business or for an organization that is also meeting their purpose. That doesn't mean they're going to go below what they need to do that purpose, generally speaking. Really, money first, and then purpose would take over past the point, I think. Tim: I think purpose is super important. People who aren't fulfilling that purpose will definitely take a pay cut. I've seen it time and time again with millennials, with friends. We interviewed someone yesterday who is going to be taking a step back in pay to change roles, but also it's going to be a step back in responsibility, but it will be fulfilling their purpose of working towards becoming an accountant as well. I've known other friends who are doing the same thing, but they all have money in the future as an objective there, too. They say, I know that doing this now is going to mean taking a pay cut, but it's more in line with my purpose, and then in the future, I can earn that money and still fulfill the purpose. Like Dan said, it's a balancing act, but they will make sacrifices now, particularly if they're in the 20s, early 30s. We feel like we have a lot of time left to do this. We feel like things come quickly as well. Maybe in three years, we can progress to that higher role, higher pay, still have the purpose. Dan: Or make significant sacrifices for years. Two years max. Tim: That's right. They're not thinking in a decade. They're thinking in two, three years, my life will be where I want it to be in terms of income, but I will have all the purpose that I'm sacrificing income for now in that time as well. It's super interesting. When we're talking about coming onto the show with you and millennials, we put Google as the gold star. Whether or not, it still is. I don't know. But everyone speaks Google with the beanbags, the snacks, ping pong tables, and that they're given 20% of their time to be creative and fulfill a purpose, whether that's for the business or not. I think for an environment like that, people would definitely be willing to take a pay cut, but they would have in the back of their mind, this is a successful business. I'm going to get in while it's good. I'm happy to take that pay cut because it fits my purpose. Hopefully within five years, I can work myself into a spot where I'm also earning more money than I'm earning now. Dan: Yeah, it's a really good point. When I was saying that they're not willing to go below a certain limit, at least not for that long. I'm willing to take a cut for my purpose, but there's got to be a future financial benefit to that as well. Tim: That's an incorrect way of thinking. I'm not saying that's right, but it's definitely the way we think. It's like I can have my cake and eat it too, type mentality. Brendan: Does this differ in what we've just spoken about on the purpose and money? Do you think there's a different weighting for earlier generations around purpose and money? Dan: I think there's a bigger weight on purpose for millennials and even more so for the next generations than the previous generations. However, I do think that purpose is still there for the older generations, it's just the weight given to it might be less. If it's 50/50 for millennials, it might be 60/40 for the generation before that, where 60% is financial and what I need right now, and 40% is all right, if I can also do on purpose, that's great, but I'd sacrifice a bit of my values or purpose for that money. Whereas I think the next generations, probably more and more are willing to sacrifice for purpose and values. Tim: Yeah, and there's been a big shift as well. If you just look at the household incomes and the way that men and women work these days, there's more balance there. It's not necessarily the man or the woman. If there used to be one main income earner in the house who needs to progress and get to that point where they are earning a quarter of a million dollars a year, perhaps, it is just doable these days to earn $100,000 per person in a household with two income earners. Which means you can focus more on purpose and balance, which is tricky, because then you're going to have two workers and kids to juggle. That's where I'm in the middle of as well. My wife is six months into her maternity leave and will definitely go back to work after 12 months, working probably three days a week. I'm going to be a part time worker at that point, but probably doing full time hours as well balancing all that out. This is the millennial problem, really. Brendan: Dan told me a long time ago, you've been a part time worker for quite some time. Dan: Yeah. Tim's working part time since I've known him. Brendan: He just didn't know that he was. Dan: Tim thinks full time is more than 30 hours. Brendan: Again, does this speak to what's work-life balance? Tim, I think you mentioned work-life balance early. Define work-life balance in the millennial headspace. Tim: It could be being at work 10 hours a day, but then you can go out for a nice lunch, play some ping pong, and then have an Xbox party at the end of the day or something. Those are all the things that speak to me, and everyone's different. Work-life balance is more flexibility of time. It's not less time, which can be a trap that maybe some millennials fall into. They think work-life balance is working less than a certain amount of hours per week so that I can do the other things. I think that's a massive trap. It's not necessarily working less, it's just when you want, controlling those parameters, from home, playing golf in the morning, and then working a bit later. That's my read on it. Dan: I feel the same. It's flexibility. If I need to go run a few errands on a day, that's great. I want to have the freedom to go do that. But I also know, all right, that work doesn't disappear, it's still my responsibility. I'm just going to work a couple hours Saturday morning, when I get home that night, or whatever it is. It's having that freedom to choose that and figure out what you need to do on that day or that moment. It's flexibility. Tim: Yeah, so there needs to be some visibility over the targets. Dan: Hours work and targets, which millennials don't like as much. It is necessary. We do respond well to accountability. Tim: Done in the right way, not in a controlling or breathing down your neck big brother way. It's like, I'm trying to help you succeed and give you the power over your own destiny. Brendan: Let's touch on remote work, then. Do you think that the millennial mindset, from an employee perspective, works well for remote work? Have you actually seen that translate to maybe in your own business, millennial workers have evolved, adapted, been more flexible around that than maybe the non-millennial workers that you have? Dan: To be honest, everyone in our office, millennial or not, has adapted pretty well to working from home. There are some situations in which it doesn't work. We've actually found younger generations and people just entering the industry, working from home is not a good option. Tim: Yeah. There's a lot to just be picked up from overhearing conversations or phone calls. A lot of quick questions that if you're not in the same room as someone... Brendan: That watercooler conversation. Tim: That's right. That's the secret sauce, I think, in the development of young people coming through. Dan: The habits, working in blocks, knowing how to structure your day, and all this kind of thing you don't really learn that well, unless it's a natural skill of yours at home by yourself. If you can emulate the people who are succeeding in the office, figure out what are they doing well, and how does that work for me, that's something that you need to be there to learn, which is hard to communicate to someone via Teams or Zoom. But then once they've got that, yeah, the millennials in our office adapt completely well to working from home. They know how to do it. They know the technology. Tim: In a balanced way, though. I think it only works when they do come in a part of the time, probably not full time. It can work full time, definitely. Don't get me wrong. But they will miss the atmosphere, the culture, and the community aspect. They may end up looking for something that can offer them a little bit of that. They don't want it all the time, but they do want a little bit of it. Dan: Purpose driven or very community driven than working from home actually takes that away, if you’re doing it all the time. Brendan: It's that connection piece. Millennials or non millennials, people want connection. Dan: Yeah, people want connection. That's something we realized over Covid. We've made it a value of our business. Human touch is one of our values. Brendan: I think you should just make sure it's got some stuff paragraphed around human touch. Tim: That's one of my favorite things. Dan: However you interpret that is where we just [inaudible 00:35:08]. Brendan: Thankfully I'm not an HR person. Dan: Yeah, exactly. It's something that we've realized when we all were working from home that our clients missed, that we missed, our team missed. It was important. We've implemented a hybrid working from home system where you get to a certain level. You can have a couple days from home, a couple days from the office, however that works. It works pretty well. I think millennials, the next generations, or anyone who's good with technology and self-motivation, works from home fine. Tim: Yeah, it's all give and take. It's just another one of those flexibility things, which are great if you can offer them. It's also a really good tool as a manager, accountability wise. You can take those things away too, which you don't want to do, obviously. But if they're not performing or doing what you need them to do, then it's like a carrot in stick. That's the way I see it as well. It's a huge privilege to be able to work from home, especially if you only live 15 minutes from the office anyway. It gives you the flexibility to walk the dog, do the workout, or cook dinner during work hours, which is awesome. Actually, I've seen that the response is that most people who work from home work harder too. I've seen it in my house. I've seen it with me. I've seen it with our team members as well. They have more owner’s responsibility to get the work done, as well. Dan: It's that flexibility thing as well if you do take that break at lunch to go grab a coffee or something, then you come home, and then you just keep working. Tim: It's give and take. Dan: Yeah. Tim: I don't think millennials are all take. It's probably the important message. We know we have to give. We just need to understand. Perhaps if the manager is having an issue with a millennial, and they want more give from them, they need to ask what they can be giving the millennial as well, which is going to feel wrong. If they're just not fitting at all, then it's not a millennial problem. This is just a person problem or an attitude problem. Dan: Yeah. If that employee is sitting there and you're telling them that this is the task that you do get your work done, and they're just working the minimum required, at 5:00 they're like, great, I've done what I need to do, I'm getting out of here, I'm not going to think about it again till I'm sitting at my desk, then maybe you're not giving them enough purpose, enough things that they're passionate about to incorporate into their work. Tim: Yeah, or giving them enough responsibility or ownership task as well. If you have given them all those things and it's still not working, I don't think it's a millennial issue. It's a person issue. Obviously, regardless of generation, there are different people, right? Brendan: Absolutely. Yeah, very valid points. Flexibility is a good word, especially nowadays with hybrid working environments and stuff. Do you guys feel that there's any stronger sense from the millennial workforce that they just have to have flexibility, they've got to have this hybrid work situation, otherwise they won't be moving into that type of work where I need to be in an office five days a week versus other generations? Dan: Yeah, I think so. I think we're now more able to work remotely than we've ever been. Even when we first started, the idea of working from your home computer, it was almost impossible. The software we needed was all desktop-based, the information we needed. There weren't central sources of information. It was all based on a server in our office that was hard to log into. It's so much more possible to do it now. The thought of doing it is probably more on our minds because we can. Whereas in the prior generations, you might have wanted to do it, but you just couldn't. You can't work from home if you're working in a factory. That doesn't work. But if you're in a professional service business and everything's online, like we don't have one bit of software that we can't access right now on our phone that we use, then we can do it, so maybe we should. Tim: Yeah, I think it's bare necessity for anyone regardless of generation, really. But definitely, millennials and below are going to want a lot, I think. It's a good thing. It's just got to be balanced, controls put in place, has to be professional. If it can improve your life, but you can also get your work done the same time, why not? Definitely. Brendan: One of the key elements, let's say, is mastery of role for a really good level of engagement for people in the workplace. How do you help millennials? What do we need to do as leaders of millennials to help them reach a level of mastery, or at least competence, mastery swipe here? But somewhere in between that competence and mastery level, what do we need to do? Tim: More and more, I'm convinced it's deep working. I really love the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. I can relate so much to this as a millennial. I'm always connected to a device or a screen. I'm constantly trying to keep ahead of the curve with things and be organized, but sometimes that turns into being reactive, responding to emails as soon as I get them, or messages as soon as I get them. If someone wants to talk, arranging a call that day or a meeting that week. All of a sudden, you get into this habit, you read, it's endorphin bases, you want to get the shallow tasks done or the busy work done. That's probably, I feel, one of the biggest traps for millennials or the younger generations coming through because let's face it, because of all the screens, our attention span is probably reducing a bit. Most importantly, vital work that has been created in the world takes time and focus, at least two to three hours of focus work a day. That’s probably the big one for me, is trying to change the way someone is working so that they don't think the most important thing is to keep their email inbox at zero. By all means, they need to keep it low, respond, and communicate. Take care of all those things, but they're placing more importance on the shallow, busy work than the focus value creating tasks. That's probably the big one to me. Because if they can spend more time focusing and doing deep work, they're going to learn, they're going to get better at their job, and they're going to get more done. Dan: I couldn't agree more. Brendan: Just before you bring in your insight, Dan, what do you do, what do we need to do to set up the space for deep work? Tim: Yeah. This is a work in progress as well because it's a work in progress in my life, too. Brendan: I think for all of us. Tim: Yeah, true. For me, it's being open about my experience with it, how I'm trying to improve that by changing my calendar around, talking to them about why I don't book meetings at certain times or places, why I work in the office on certain days as an example so that I have time to do the focus work. In a way, as well, setting expectations, and it's a two way street. They don't have to respond to my messages or email straightaway and vice versa because the instant message is the path of least resistance when we're stuck, but it's the most distracting thing ever. I think it's just having that open conversation. If there are some courses or some learning you could do, we're trying to get everyone in our office to read that book, Deep Work, but there are many books like that. I think more and more, there's going to be people pitching courses and education around productivity and focused deep work. Everyone's going to be different. If they're most productive in the morning or afternoon, everyone's going to be different. Just being open and having a conversation about it is a great starting point, I think. Brendan: Yeah, absolutely. Transparency is always important, whether you go back to your dashboard and have your transparency out there, or something you're trying in your own space and people look at that. How can they respect that? How can they take insight into that? Absolutely. Tim: I guess if you're getting the feedback from a team that they're burned out or overworked, and maybe the results aren't really even showing that from a performance perspective, it's not instantly reacting like, well, you're obviously just not very good at this. In fact, they might be trying too hard, and therefore missing what's actually important. It's probably just not jumping to conclusions and trying to point them in the right direction. I don’t know if you've experienced this, Brendan, but you've got to really figure it out yourself first through mistakes and learning. Maybe the team members need to do a little bit of that too. We need to put a safety net around that. Brendan: Internalize and looking at ourselves first is always a good starting point for any change, isn't it? Tim: That's right. It's really hard to try and get them to do that if they're not ready for it. But over time, something's got to give if they're feeling constantly burned out and not getting their projects across the line on time, then there's obviously something wrong there. Brendan: Dan, what's your thought if it's any different to what Tim is saying just around how we help them move to competence or even mastery for those who want to achieve mastery in something? Dan: I think Tim hit the nail on the head. The more experience we've had with leading a team and different people, it's so easy to be distracted. It's so easy to have all these millions of tasks, emails, instant messaging amongst team, client calls, whatever it is. But it's hard to then just sit down and learn something for an extended period of time. The more and more we've had more junior team members in, you can just see them lose focus so quickly. Their attention spans are tiny. You just see yawns. You could be explaining something and they yawn. They start wandering their eyes off in the other direction, and you're like, okay. Tim: Tap the phone screen. Do you see those ones, or even the phones on the table? Dan: What makes it even more hard for us at the moment is, you'd be familiar with two-factor authentication. We have 10 different software's that we use everyday at multiple times. Every time you go into one, you're going to need to use that authenticator. Anything that's connected to the ATO requires you to do it everyday now. It's not [inaudible 00:45:37]. We're constantly looking at our phones, and there's no way to avoid that. But if we can help set up processes, where you're teaching them about task batching, when you're putting like-things together, or setting dedicated time to be like, here's when I'll be distracted by email, and I don't need to worry about my email until I have my distracted time, then that's when I'll focus on it. The rest, this is where I do my deep work on this one thing, we're going to learn this hard tax problem, and work my way through a difficult thing. It's just retraining that brain to do that over time. It's not easy. It's not easy for us, it's not easy for them. I think the more and more I've been doing it, the more I think that you're right. Tim: If you think about it, people may not go and do professional development or learning if they're too busy because they need to hit their targets to get their bonus to progress in their career. But they're going to lose out on learning and getting to a higher level if they can't go and mix with other professionals, learn other techniques, and progress their knowledge too. If you're not tasked batching or working smarter and not harder, then it's just not going to work. I think millennials will be open to that mentality. In fact, probably, older generations may shy away from that. They're like, no, I'm just going to work harder. I'm just going to work overtime. I'm just going to work on the weekend and get that done. I'm like, why do you have to work on a weekend? Dan: We're definitely the generation of trying to work smarter, not harder, the laziest productive employees possible. How do I do as much work in as little time and effort as possible? That's the goal, really. Brendan: It's not a bad mindset to have. Dan: Yeah. It is interesting. What are the four quadrants? I always forget the name of that. Tim: There's the urgency, quality. Dan: The more time you spend in that quadrant one, that's the busy work. That's the thing that's urgent but not really that important. You think you're accomplishing things, but you're not. Deep work is not there. Deep Work happens in those later quadrants where you're actually like, oh, I'm actually accomplishing change in my business, my work, or my knowledge here, and because I'm not distracted by all those little things. We get back to our clients every day, but they can wait usually a few hours. Taxes is a good thing. It's not life or death. It can usually wait a few hours. Tim: It's not just even team members. We work with a lot of clients who are millennials too. You see them work such long hours and so hard. They're like, why aren't I getting ahead? All I can bring it back to is, definitely, they're focusing on the shallow tasks as if they were creating more value and focusing more for longer. It would all take care of itself. Brendan: In regards to your client base, are you seeing patterns around your millennial client base and how they are, how you need to interact versus other generations? Dan: We do a lot of business planning sessions with clients. We sit down for half a day with them, we come up with what their vision for the business is, what are the 12-month plans, goals, actions, budgets, KPIs, and all those things. It's a really good session. I think the difference between doing that with a millennial client versus doing that with an older generation client, is they do already come in with a few value ideas and purpose ideas. They know what they want to achieve from it, but then they just have no idea about the actions and in keeping accountable to it. The accountability really helps for them. Whereas the older generations, it might be like, all right, where are you actually going? What are you trying to achieve here? That is eye-opening for a lot of those people who are like, oh, yeah, I had a vague idea that I wanted to retire, or I wanted this or that. I found really that there’s a slightly different approach for both. Brendan: It felt like it's almost suspiciousness. Like, what are you trying to do here? Dan: If you talk to them about their values, we call it a strategic compass. You get your values, your anchors, your purpose, and all these things. The millennial is like, this is great, straightaway. They might already have their ideas. Whereas, I do find a lot of the old generations that are like, okay, but when do we get to the budget? Once you get to the end, they can see the value in it. That is something I have noticed, I don't know if you've noticed that with the ones you've gone through. Tim: You're right with the purpose and the values. Also, it's important to tie your personal objectives to the business objectives. If they're not in alignment, then you're very quickly going to burn out as a human being. It means you're just not meeting your needs of spending time with family, going on holidays, playing sport, or whatever it may be. When you speak to millennials, they know what they want. Personally, I want the caravan. I want to be able to go pick up my kids from school. I want to do this, this, and this. When you speak to older generations, they're like, no, I'm pretty happy working 50 hours a week. As long as I can earn this, that's good. Are you sure there are no other personal goals you have? Dan: We always try and come up with lifestyle KPIs when we do the business plans. You have your business KPIs, but what's something personally that if you achieve this every week, it's like, yes, I'm achieving that balance that I'm trying to get? The best example of this is an accountant friend of ours. He surfs per week. It was one of his lifestyle KPIs. Asking the older generations that question, they do struggle with it. They're like, ah, I don't know. They don't know. Do you have hobbies? Are you trying to purchase something? Have you got financial goals? Yeah, I'd like an investment property, I guess. That's always where it comes back to. Tim's laughing because we had this conversation. Tim: Yeah. Not every generation reacts that way. Brendan: We're putting people into buckets. Everything we said, we shouldn't do. Dan: Yeah. Tim: We did. It's so true. Brendan: A key question I've really wanted to ask you guys, there are always all these other pre quick key questions, but did you guys buy a business because you knew you were going to be crap employees? Or did you buy a business because you knew that there weren't enough great leaders out there that can meet your needs as an employee? Dan: I never considered myself a leader in any space. I think just naturally, Tim's probably the same. We do tend to not take control of situations, but we do tend to try and find solutions, work with people, and do those things as problem solvers. But I didn't buy it because I was like, I want to be a leader. If it's an A or B and I have to choose one, I was probably going to be a crap employee. I wanted to do things the way that I wanted to do them. There's a time when you're studying accounting, where a lot of the people you're studying with are talking about going to work for the Big Four. They're like, yup, I'm going to PwC and working for Ernst & Young, whatever, or I got this internship. They just get slaughtered in time. They really fall into that old school mentality of I'm a cog in this machine, just working away. That just wasn't for me. I knew I couldn't do that. I didn't want to do that. I think Tim's exactly the same. It's the whole reason why both of us stayed in a job, where we could have been earning more money at that earlier point in our career by moving to the city and working one of these jobs, but we didn't want to do it that way, we wanted to do it our way. We felt other people probably wanted to do it our way too. We had an opportunity, let's keep exploring that. That's something that's developed over time for me, anyway. Tim: Yeah, I agree. Family business is a little bit different for me than Dan. I like the culture of the Central Coast growing up in a small town. It's getting a bit bigger now these days because half of Sydney has moved here. For me, it was staying in that simple life, having time to do the things I want to do, which was probably a little bit wrong because running a business is very time consuming, all consuming, really. There's that. I definitely, like Dan, never saw myself working for a big corporate business ever. I had school principals in year 12 telling me, when are you going to go work for PwC or KPMG, because they knew I wanted to be an accountant. They're like, why didn't you apply? We both had the grades to go study in Sydney, and we'll get those jobs. It would have been easy, but it's just not what we wanted. I really wanted to have my cake and eat it too, like I said before. That's a bit different too, even some of the way. A lot of my friends at school moved away from the coast. It was probably maybe a little bit different in that regard, too. I can imagine that's going to be more and more a thing for younger generations coming through, wanting to stay where they've grown up, not necessarily feeling like they need to move to a big city or get a big corporate job to learn the ropes. Dan: It was definitely seen as less then when we were growing. Why would just stay on the coast? If you got this opportunity, you can go do these things. I went to a university in Sydney, and everyone I knew there was like, really, you live in the Central Coast, why do you do that? Tim: Why don't you work with the Big Four for 10 years and then go back? Because it's completely different, and that's not the lifestyle I want. For me, it was a lifestyle choice, which I think has definitely worked out. I have a better lifestyle than I would have if I had gone to the city or corporate. I haven't sacrificed any quality or experience in my knowledge, either. Brendan: It'd be very interesting to know, look back, go and chat with those people that are telling you this, how many wish they were doing what you guys are doing now. It can be a high percentage, to be honest. Dan: We've stumbled into other areas like the podcast, for instance. We've had exposure to all these people in the industry and small businesses everywhere. We would have never done that if we worked at one of these Big Four. You just do your thing, you work a million hours, and you shut up. We felt empowered to be like, hey, let's start a podcast where people can listen to us, yammer on for 45 minutes to an hour with some nuggets of content. That's a lifestyle thing for us as well. Tim: Yeah, we enjoy doing it as well. We're still doing it five years later. Dan: We're running the business the way we'd liked to work in it. It doesn't always work. We still have ways to improve. We still have things we want to do. As Tim said, the realities of running a business is never what people hope. It's always harder, but it's also more rewarding. That's why, to answer your original question, we decided to do that rather than work for someone. Tim: It was never, I thought I'd be a bad employee. I just thought I could get more or have more by working for myself. Brendan: That's a fair point. Let's start to bring this the full circle. Again, you guys are leaders. You happen to be millennial leaders. You're leading millennials in your business, as well as other generations. What do you love about leading millennials? One thing you love, Dan? Dan: You can’t tie me down like that, Brendan. Brendan: I said specifically this time, just one thing Dan. Dan: I remember once you asked me a question at a panel and I said no. Don’t want to answer that one. One thing that I like about leading millennials is probably variety, if I was going to put it that way. Brendan: The challenge of the variety they offer? Dan: Yeah, exactly. They have a variety of wants and needs. Also, there's a variety of things that they want to be doing. Finding opportunities for them to do those things, I think it’s both a rewarding challenge, but also rewarding when you see them doing something they love doing and they get excited about it and be like, oh, we've provided them with that opportunity, and we found a solution to that. That's rewarding to me, and helping people to fulfill their purpose. Brendan: Tim, what do you love about leading millennials? Tim: It's got to be the culture, I think. Spending time together, doing things as a team, that's what gets me going about working with millennials. They're just really fun people. Brendan: As opposed to people like me that aren't fun? Tim: I think they really crave it compared to other generations. It's an optional thing. Brendan: Work doesn't have to be dire. It's a choice. It doesn't have to be boring, those sorts of things. Tim: Yeah, and I'm the same. I knew I was going to be spending a lot of time at work, but I wanted that part of my life to be a good thing, a happy, positive thing. That approach to culture would be what I like about millennials so they can join in with me on that. I am a millennial myself. Dan: We've just spent a decent amount of time talking about us as millennials managing millennials and being millennials, but you're The Culture of Leadership, Brendan. What's your opinion? I'd love to hear what you think. Brendan: I'll give you my opinion soon. It is my podcast, by the way. I get to ask each of you. I know you guys have a fantastic podcast. Great question. I will give you my thoughts at the end. First of all, though, what frustrates you? What's the most frustrating thing about leading millennials? Dan: It's probably the same thing that gives me excitement. It's the variety. It's that it's so hard to figure out what they want and what does work. It's both rewarding and a challenge. Millennials are great and terrible at the same time, and that's me included. I think that's the most frustrating bit. Sometimes it is hard to figure out, all right, I know that I want to give you this purpose, and I want to give you the tools and the opportunities that will fulfill you, but how do I work that into lodging tax returns for me as well? It's not an easy question. That's one of the challenges for me. Tim: For me, if they're slanting more towards the work-life balance, they're using that as maybe an excuse or reason why they can't work harder, or commit themselves more to the trade and taking pride in their work. That's really the thing that kills me. I don't know if that's just a millennial thing or not, but it probably is more skewed towards millennials. Dan: This is our clients as well as our team. We see clients all the time who have these goals. They want financial things, but then that's really clashing with their lifestyle. You're like, all right, well, there is a trade-off here. Just trying to find that happy medium I think is hard. Tim: That kills me, and usually they're self-aware about it too. We've had this with team members in the past as well where you're like, you've got to learn and work hard at this. Just like being an athlete, the best athletes work the hardest, aren't they? That's why they're superstars, earn the most pay, and they're world famous because they are working probably harder. Yes, they have a lot of talent, but they're probably working the hardest as well. Don't expect to be in those shoes, unless you're willing to get down and dirty, do the hard stuff as well, and put time towards your career and your own skills. Don't just think it's going to happen without working outside of nine to five, because certainly, that wasn't the way I ever approached working in my career, even though I'm a millennial. Brendan: Discipline and sacrifice, and things have to be good at anything at work. Tim: Definitely. Let's have fun while we're doing it, feel fulfilled, and feel like we're making a difference. It doesn't mean it's easy. That's probably the thing that I really don't like, if anything, about millennials. That could be any generation again, but I think it's probably more prolific in younger generations or millennials, unfortunately. Brendan: Dan, what was your question? Dan: As I said, we are the millennials, you've been asking all these questions, but you're The Culture of Leadership here. We want to know, what's your opinion? What are your tips? Brendan: I'm actually of the belief that there's very little difference. For me, part of the takeaways going through my head whilst we're having these conversations is that there's a number of factors that help people better engage that weren’t engaged in the workplace. You've actually spoken about all three of them at length. One of them is autonomy, like having that level of autonomy, how you get that from people. We're all unique.Whether we're an old fart like me or young guys like you guys, we're all unique in how we get that level of autonomy, the conversation we need to have, what drives this level of motivation around people. Some of that's related to work, some of that's related to a greater purpose, and how the work drives that. The other point is purpose. Fundamentally, even though older people may be not attuned to as much as the younger generation is what you're saying, if you can find that purpose, then it leads you to do stuff that's not that exciting, but there's a greater cause, and that creates another level of engagement. The other thing is you’ve got to be good at your job. Whether you're 30 or whether you're 60, if you're good at your job, that also creates another level of engagement, another level of satisfaction. If you're satisfied with stuff, you're feeling good about stuff, you're growing in confidence, it's a big part of why I talk about creating confident leaders. There are always bits and pieces around that if you’re learning to have good meetings and how to have tough conversations, but also praising type conversations, giving out participation awards, and that sort of stuff that might work. To me, fundamentally, those things underpin irrespective of who you are. If as leaders, we can try and do that and be focused on doing that, and not knowing all the answers but being okay with that, let's just have a conversation. Dan, what motivates you? What gets you off in this? Oh, great one. Even if you just understand that, then you can have conversations around that. That may have nothing to do with work, but it's showing you're feeling valued. Oh, Brendan cares about what I've been up to on the weekend, or my tennis game that night, or whatever it was. Dan: I think that's absolutely right. I think maybe the difference between each generation might just be the priority on which of those three they put first. An older generation might be, I'm good at my job, is my number one. Tim: Confidence in your skill and your ability. Dan: Then its autonomy and then its purpose. For a millennial, it might be, well, I want to put autonomy, then purpose, and then I'm good at my job. The next generation might be, well, no, I want purpose number one. That could be person to person as well. As we said right at the beginning, don't put us in a box. But putting people in a box, it could be broadly speaking, every generation prioritizes each one of those things slightly differently, but it's still those three things. Brendan: Fundamentally, if as leaders, the people who were lucky enough to lead, then if they feel like they matter to that person, then you're over such a big brick wall. If we were working together, and you're feeling like Brendan doesn't even care, I don't feel like I matter to him or her, then you haven't got a lot of foundation to build from him. People are people. We want to connect with people like you guys said, fundamentally. Dan: That might change. At its core, it's the same. Brendan: That’s my belief, is why there's so many great leadership developments, all these books out there, they're fantastic. You guys read, I read. But there's no magic bullet because every single person is unique. If there was, then we'd have been in a hell of a lot of money and say, this is how you do it every time. The problem is that I'm going to do this today with you and it works, and then I think it's going to work tomorrow. Who knows how you've woken up that day? It just might not work. That's the variation that we get to deal with. It's like your point about challenge. Dan: Back to Tim's original point, people suck, right? Brendan: People are people. They're beautiful beings. Tim: I'm curious about people and the way they behave, act, and think. Brendan: Absolutely. That's a nice way to put it. Tim: They interest me. Brendan: All right, let's get to our last very, very serious question. I'll start with Tim. I love this one thing. What's the one thing that has helped you become a more confident leader? Tim: That's a great question. Actually, I still think I've got a lot to learn in being a leader, to be honest. I think it's coming back to that purpose. It's believing in what we're trying to achieve. I think I'm a really detail-oriented person. I really get bogged down in the details sometimes. But if I take a step back and think about the why, it just simplifies things. More and more, I'm trying to catch myself for not getting in the weeds and not trying to control things. All the things I said not to do with managing a millennial, I'm falling into the trap of sometimes doing. Through trial and error and mistakes, I think I'm learning. It's really got to be simpler and easier, which is focusing on the why. Brendan: Nice. You said it like a true millennial. Dan: I think a similar, but slightly different answer to Tim. I think there's a lot of pressure when you're in a leadership position to feel like you need to have the answer, or a way to fix any problem, or solve these things. But more and more, you realize, and probably it's the fact of getting older as well, that you don't know everything, and that's okay. Part of it is just being able to be there to help create the solution, not necessarily providing the solution to something. Similar to what Tim was saying is sometimes, as accountants, we're just naturally very detailed people. We want to get in the weeds when I say, no, this is the best way to do this thing. But that leaves us in a position where we're constantly having to tell people things or micromanage something. We might not know the best way to actually do that. They might have a better way to do it. Having trust in the team, having an understanding that I don't necessarily need to provide an answer, I just need to be there to support people to create that answer, I think that has helped me more recently. That's a learning I'm still trying to develop because there is pressure on leaders to feel like you need to come up with a solution. Tim: Particularly, I think just during the Covid years, everything went out the window. Now we're rebuilding. I would have said before Covid, I felt more confident as a leader or a manager than I probably do now. There's just been so much change, and whether it's my reaction to that change, or the change in the people that we work with. It's not trying to solve everyone's issues. It's just being there for them, which you hit the nail on the head before with what you were saying, Brendan. It's showing them that you care and you're there for them. That can be hard in that busy, shallow trap as a manager. You get 10 minutes in your day to be like, oh, hey, you are there still, aren't you? It's just having the time and the space in your mind to be there. Dan: Coming from positions of, we were the doers in this business for a very long time. We were the ones doing everything to step back and no longer do it is also a transition that I'm sure many leaders go through. I think that's all part of that as well. Brendan: Absolutely. Spot on. Really good points. Again, I guess my takeaway from what you guys are saying is that if your why is driving that, it's probably maybe even giving you the boldness and the courage to take the next step, so helping you feel confident that I don't know everything, but my why is driving some of that. Yours is similar in actually just being comfortable with the fact that we don't know, and it's okay to not know. It's funny. That is what turns around to make you more confident. Just being comfortable with hey, we don't know. Awesome, let's move forward. Tim: It's simpler than it seems when you're in the thick of it and dealing with things. Brendan: This is the thing that always becomes really simple—I like to say I'm a really simple man. I'm a bit complex in some of the things I do from time to time, but I'm simple. I like to keep leadership simple, and it is. It's just down to some simple thinking, some simple framework, some simple mindset. Fundamentally, if you know yourself, and you're open to learning about yourself more and more, then you'll get through. I think both you guys said more on the top of the show that if you can help your people in your organization start to think like that as well, then you're on some secret sauce stuff. There's not a problem you can't solve together because you're open about it. You’ve got a level of vulnerability. We can work through it. We can pull on each other's strengths. We can help cover weaknesses that we all have from time to time, and we can move forward. That's what it's about. Dan: That's something we're still learning every day. Tim: Yeah, because it's not easy to put yourself out there in that capacity. It's not easy for your team. It's not easy for you. Brendan: Guys, it's taken a while to get us together. You guys have such a busy schedule and in such high demand. It's been very, very difficult getting you on, but very, very happy that we've had a conversation, the Two Drunk Accountants. Thank you very much for coming on, Tim and Dan. Tim: Thanks for having us on. Brendan: Here's your participation certificate for coming on to The Culture of Leadership and being such fantastic guests today. Dan: Thank you. Tim: Yes, I appreciate it. Brendan: Pleasure having you. As leaders, do we really need to treat millennial workers differently to other generations? For me, the short answer is no. If you make people feel that they matter, set clear expectations for their role, but give them the autonomy of how and where they do it, support them to be good at their job, and ensure they understand how their role is connected to a greater purpose, then you will do well with retaining and attracting good people. These are my three key takeaways from my conversation with Tim and Dan. My first key takeaway, confident leaders prioritize purpose. Millennials are motivated by a clear sense of purpose. They have to feel they are contributing to a greater good. It's important to communicate the purpose and how the employee's role contributes to achieving it. Provided there isn't a great disparity between a millennial salary and what they need to fund their lifestyle, they are likely to prioritize purpose over financial reward. My second key takeaway, confident leaders embrace uniqueness. To create a culture of leadership that empowers millennials, leaders must foster an environment where every person's unique experiences and perspectives are valued. They want to feel included and that their voice is heard and considered. Millennials like to know they are part of the process to help the business and drive solutions. When embraced, millennials, like any generation, have unique perspectives that will add value to the team. My third key takeaway, confident leaders embrace remote working. They know remote work enables access to a broader talent pool. It allows for greater flexibility and work-life balance, which is not only highly valued by millennials, it's increasingly seen as a standard option in many industries by all employees. Remote work also provides opportunities for deeper focus and less distraction leading to more productivity. Recognizing the many benefits, confident leaders will adapt their leadership style to support remote work. In summary, my three key takeaways were, confident leaders prioritize purpose, confident leaders embrace uniqueness, confident leaders embrace remote working. What were your key takeaways? You can leave me a comment at or on YouTube. Thanks for joining me. Remember, the best outcome is on the other side of a genuine conversation. Thanks for listening to The Culture of Leadership. You can access the show notes at If you enjoy the show, please follow, rate, and give a review on your favorite podcast platform.

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