This is the iceberg generation that’s going to sink the Titanic. And there aren’t going to be any survivors. The Rome mindset, the wait your turn advice, the tick the boxes for your next promotion rationale doesn’t work for this generation anymore — Let’s repeat that, it DOESN’T WORK FOR THIS GENERATION ANYMORE. Leaders aren’t made in promotion cycles when check boxes are ticked for experiences already gained. They’re forged through exposure, faith, opportunity, and the sheer will to go beyond the call of duty; through new adventures and unexplored choices. Sadly, we promote when specific criteria are met. Instead, we should provide opportunity, rationalize outcomes, and see how individuals excel — by meeting their needs halfway. We promote based on the past, not the present, and certainly not the future. Sure, promotions aren’t everything. But when you have the leadership of your organization unable to connect with this iceberg generation that’s where the flaws lie. Also notice, the iceberg generation does not have an age limit. While most of them are the “millennials”, they could also be anyone and everyone who’s willing to take a stand against the rules set by stuck ups. The folks who want to do new things in an entirely new way are being restricted by the hierarchies and mindsets of yesterday.
The age where the Associates do all the work and Creative Directors present the vision to the client is coming to an end. The icebergs need better opportunity, exposure, self-actualized value, social impact, and competitive pay to survive in the agencies of today. With greater access to knowledge and information, the BS of “wait your turn” doesn’t work anymore. Today’s talent is willing to take the risk to get what it wants (and there are plenty places out there that value this), and it’s time for the agencies to step up and manage this expectation before it’s too late.
Agency talent is hurting. Now, more than ever before. Talent has lost its faith in the agency structure and this is the biggest problem that needs to be solved right now. In a world where agencies have now become training grounds for lucrative offers from product companies or the place to “get paid while working on your startup” — agencies need to start by winning the trust of talent. This is why I’m writing The Agency Innovation Playbook — to bring back the love talent once had for the Agencies; to change the mindsets of the leaders of today so they can give the few outliers and the incredible people we have in our world today an opportunity to build their legacy.