Not Everyone Gets A Trophy: How to Manage Generation Y

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This book will frame Generation Y (children born between 1978-1991) for corporate leaders and managers at time when the corporate world is desperate to recruit and retain worked in this age group. It will debunk dozens of myths, including that young employees have no sense of loyalty, won't do grunt work, won't take direction, want to interact only with computers, and are only about money.

This book will make a unique contribution in four key ways:

It will disprove the idea that the key to recruiting, retaining, and managing this generation is to somehow make the workplace more "fun." To the contrary, Tulgan argues that the key to winning the respect of this generation, and getting the best effort out of them, is to carefully manage their expectations by never downplaying any negative aspect of a job.

He will show managers how this Generation thinks transactionally in all negotiations. For them it's about what they will do for you today and what you will do for them today, not tomorrow, not five years from today, but today.

He will explain why they have no interest in tying their futures to your corporation. But he will also make clear that they do have a well thought-out plan for themselves, one that requires that every job they take build up their skill sets, so they become more valuable employees for someone else--if and when you do not fulfill your end of the bargain, or drag your feet in doing so.

But most of all, it will explain to corporate leaders that for this generation their personal life comes first, so that each job they take must accommodate itself to some need defined by their personal life. Tulgan argues that until you know the personal need the job can satisfy for a potential employee, you and the applicant may be talking past each other. Those needs are so beyond the imagination of most bosses that Tulgan devotes a third of the book to explaining how they affect the job decisions of this generation.

Customer Reviews:

  • Great advice in hard times
    Tulgan's book lays out just how to manage a generation that we desperately need to be creative, productive and efficient in these challenging times. His advice makes sense and his book was a pleasure to read. ...more info
  • Tulgan does it again!
    When other experts advise business managers to handle Gen Yers with kid gloves, Bruce Tulgan takes a more practical, realistic approach: Coach them from day one using an engaged leadership style that lets them know what your expectations are and that you are going to hold them accountable every step of the way.

    Having worked with Gen Yers who consistently complain that their managers don't know how to manage, I applaud the strategies Bruce offers. Without a doubt, this exciting, demanding, talented generation will only be as productive as their leaders are effective. Thanks, Bruce, for your strong, clear message!...more info
  • secondary school teacher
    Tulgan does an excellent job of explaining what makes generation Y tick, and what they need to function. The traits and myths he discusses are the same qualities teachers have been discussing in faculty rooms across the country-- only there, it's often a debate between "Are these kids dumb, or just lazy?" Tulgan's book reminds us that they are neither dumb nor lazy, but definitely high-maintenance. I wish this book had come out in 1990-- but, of course, we didn't know what this generation was going to be like then! ...more info
  • Counterintuitive common sense
    Once again, Bruce Tulgan offers up advice for managers who may find themselves intimidated by a generation whose motives are supposedly markedly different from their own. As he has in past works, Tulgan debunks the myth that young people are somehow an alien species--and reminds readers that mutual respect is the timeless and proven way to a productive and happy workplace.

    One way in which Tulgan's books stand out from other popular management manuals is the quality of his writing. He employs the usual breezy anecdotes and conversational style, but his prose never condescends. His logic and grammar are impeccable, and the man could give lessons in concision. And, as the best explanatory pieces always do, his books may leave the reader with her viewpoint completely altered--and the feeling that of course, what this guy is saying is just common sense, I knew it all along....more info
  • Excellent book!
    Once again, Mr. Tulgan is ahead of the crowd in understanding workplace relationships. Truly insightful and a must-have for anyone in uppermanagement. This book is even good for parents, as there are many keen observations about human behavior and how to get results. ...more info
  • Tulgan deserves a trophy
    Bruce Tulgan has done it again with a book filled with his usual wry wit and management savvy. Tulgan shows that managing Generation Y isn't all sunshine and lollipops, but rather a finely tuned balance of care and discipline. Readers of his latest book will surely find what managers discovered in Tulgan's previous efforts: the secrets to unlocking the mysteries of a generation's psyche....more info
  • Not Everyone Gets A Trophy
    Absolutley a brilliant assesment of todays culture trend. Essential reading for those who have anything to do with personnel or hiring. Or, if you're just trying to understand todays entering first time potential work force, you cannot bypass this book. It should be business 101...more info
  • I loathed Generation Y 'workers'. Now I understand them. I could even (maybe) manage them.
    Bruce Tulgan published his first book about young people in the workplace when he was 27 and arguing on behalf of his own generation. After fifteen years of working with business leaders in companies ranging from Aetna to Wal-Mart, he felt this was the right time to present business leaders, managers, and other grown-ups with a reality check about "Generation Y" employees (those born 1978 and later). And so, at 42, he has assessed the new generation of young workers.

    I have rarely resisted a book more. Not because of the book, which is lively and wise and provocative, but because of the attitudes that Tulgan attributes to this generation. I loathed these kids, even though I felt like some descendant of Spiro Agnew ranting against hippies. Bruce knew all about that position --- and why I had it. So when we got together to discuss his book, he not only had a smart answer for every question, he had a trenchant analysis of his interrogator. And, perhaps, you as well.

    Jesse Kornbluth: Reading this book now, with unemployment rising and rising, I kept thinking: Bruce wrote this book in a different world. The book is an artifact of a time forever past. For example, you write, "You're not the only one selecting. The employee is selecting you too." That's so 2007 to me.

    Bruce Tulgan: Sorry, but it's still true. Ask anyone in health care --- the demand for skilled talent still outpaces supply in certain industries. There will be many casualties ahead, many young kids can't get hired, but competition for the best people will always be fierce. Remember, the title of my book is 'Not Everyone Gets a Trophy' --- not" `cater to the young upstarts.' My message is about giving a wake-up call to the young upstarts. The terrible economy may be just the opportunity managers need in order to make it stick.

    JK: You write about the kid who says, "Surfing is really important to me. If the waves are big, I might not come in." Isn't the right response: "Great. Here's the rest of your life to go surfing. See ya..."

    BT: If this young person is the best person for the job -- besides being really annoying -- then the right thing for the hiring manager to do is to use the surfing as a quid pro quo. GenYers are very transactional in their thinking. Their parents have been negotiating with them since they were very young with small incremental rewards. Use that to your advantage. Trade the surfing with this young person in exchange for getting tons of work done very well, very fast all day long when he's not surfing.

    JK: Yes, but. In 2009 reality, if I didn't have a job, I wouldn't feel that choosy. Why do these kids think they're so valuable?

    BT: Well, they may find out they can't be so choosy in this economy. Still, there's a paradox here --- in an environment of uncertainty and rapid change, the playing field is leveled. Long-term payoff no longer is the game. And these kids are smart in a new way. They have more information at their fingertips than any generation in history. They've never been in an environment in which they couldn't find the answer fast. And they are willing to do tons of grunt work very well very fast --- as long as they know somebody is keeping track.

    JK: Still, there's a protocol in organizations, and it starts with an appreciation for the hierarchy and the elders. Who told these kids that the rules didn't apply?

    BT: Throughout the '60s, '70s and '80s, there was a lot of research about childhood self-esteem. And then came a shift from parents being groovy to kids being over-parented. In the '90s, every kid was a winner at something --- every kid got a trophy just for showing up.

    JK: This also makes me want to puke. But you say it like it's a neutral fact.

    BT: I'm not in the "good news, bad news" business. I'm just describing the way it is. My personal view: The self-esteem experts are wrong in many respects. They argue that because this generation of kids has been raised this way, we must continue to praise them and find things for them to do that they like. I argue the exact opposite in my book. I believe that most of the experts have it all wrong. And that's the reason companies hire me: I come in and say, `The way to deal with unrealistic expectations is to help show the young upstarts what expectations are realistic. Make the quid pro quo explicit every step of the way.'

    JK: Do you say this when kids are in the room?

    BT: Yes. And they love it.

    JK: Why? Aren't you saying: The party's over?

    BT: No. I say: drive a hard bargain. Make expectations clear. Set them up for success. Help them earn more of what they need and want. But hold them accountable every step of the way. Don't tell them they are winners when they are not. But help them win, for real. I'm telling their bosses to say, "You don't want to work on Thursday? Then here's what I need by midnight on Wednesday."

    JK: If you made these deals, I'm betting that the manager's inbox will be empty at midnight on Wednesday.

    BT: Then hold that person accountable. If you take the time to try to teach them how to succeed, acknowledging the transactional relationship, and then shine the bright light of scrutiny on their performance, it is much easier to hold that person accountable when he fails to perform. After the first empty inbox, maybe you take away the surfing. After your inbox is empty a second time, you might have a difficult conversation. After the third time, maybe it's time to take away the paycheck. But first you have to put in the time up front to try to really try to teach that person how to meet expectations. You have to put in the time to teach that person how to succeed.

    JK: That goes against the grain for me. You write about the kid who says, "Surfing is really important to me. If the waves are big, I might not come in." And I think the right response is: "Great. Here's the rest of your life to go surfing. See ya..."

    BT: You have to hire someone to do the work. If you send the surfer off to surf, then you'll probably just get another high maintenance young applicant in his place. But remember many young people in this labor market still have plenty of negotiating power. The more schooling you need to do a job, the more leverage the kid has with the employer.

    JK: This is a first for me --- I'm taking the side of Management.

    BT: You're not. You're taking the side of grownups. But I also say: If you do the transactional math, it may be better to let a high performing upstart take Thursday off and bring his dog to work if that means you get better work out of him. You have to negotiate every step of the way.

    JK: But what about: If you give a mouse a cookie...?

    BT: It does seem poor taste that Gen Y-ers think of employment relationships as so short-term and transactional, but I teach managers to use that attitude to get more and better work out of every person.

    JK: As a boomer, I find this hard to swallow. I feel I should call their parents.

    BT: But their parents are likely to be calling you! In our interviews, I hear stories every day about parents calling the boss. At a public safety conference a fire chief told me this story about a young man who became a fireman. After a few weeks his mother called to say he had been working the night shift and he had a hard time sleeping during the day and so he was exhausted all the time. The fire chief snapped, "Ma'am, your son is a fireman" --- and hung up.

    JK: If you had to choose between hiring/firing a 23-year-old Gen Y-er who thought he/she was the greatest thing since sliced bread and a 45-year-old who has a family to support and is infinitely grateful for the job, who would you choose?

    BT: You need more information to do the business math. All things being equal, maybe you hire the grown-up. But you need more information to know who you really want to hire. I remind employers: Gen Y-ers walk around with a flashing neon sign on their forehead saying "I'm a special case."

    JK: And I, of course, think that sign should be on their back: "Kick me hard."

    BT: Baby boomers had this attitude too. But they kept it to themselves when they were young. They kept their heads down and mouths shut. But they tell me every day in our interviews, "Hey I want flexibility too. I want a lot of the things that these kids are demanding... and I've been here for thirty years!" Everyone's a special case. It's just that some people are better at hiding it than others. Today's young workers are just really unaware that they seem like such squeaky wheels.
    ...more info
  • Parent/coach model works!
    Having mentored recent Gen Y grads in elementary school, I know that Bruce's advice to managers is right on. I engage, clarify expectations, deliver good news/bad news immediately, and offer them opportunities to be creative within guidelines. For years I have subscribed to his message that "it's okay to be the boss." That takes firmness, discipline, and fairness on my part--aren't those the qualities of a great parent?-- and, if it works in the academic world, it can work everywhere.

    Leaders at all levels of every industry will be inspired and reassured by Bruce's latest contribution to management literature....more info
  • Insightful Management
    Having been around the workplace for "too many year", this book really helped changed my thinking about young people today, especially my younger co-workers. I learned a lot about how to rethink ways to bring out the best in them. Many "experts" say they need praise and fun in the workplace. This book really turns that set of assumptions on its head. What these young people really need, according to this book, is structure and boundaries and strong teaching style leadership. It makes a lot of sense...more info
  • Shrewd, balanced, persuasive
    Bruce Tulgan has produced another lively, accessible blending of management advice with contemporary sociology. The workplace generation born between 1978 and 1991 is different, he argues, and therefore needs different management techniques. The book is tough-minded yet good-humored, like a Marine drill sergeant with a sense of humor. I am already applying Tulgan's conclusions to everyday issues at my office. Highly recommended to anyone now managing high-maintenance young people....more info
  • Insightful analysis from the Master of Management
    Bruce Tulgan fills the pages with yet another brilliant breakdown of the youngest workers. These new participants in the American economy, Generation Y, are given the same thoughtful analysis that Tulgan provided for Generation X a few years ago. Tulgan knows of what he speaks, and his delightful style keeps the reader enthused and knowledgebable. A wise choice for all managers....more info
  • A refreshing perspective
    In a world of management books that play to "new thinking" Tulgan provides a refreshing reminder that what employees want (and need) is to be challenged and held accountable. He is right that today's young workers do require a high level of management, but he questions the increasingly popular view that we have to adjust the workplace in to be fun, casual and highly focused on quality of life in order to motivate young workers. As someone who hires and manages 20somethings he is spot on....more info
  • Sage Advice
    I like Tulgan's book "Not Everyone Gets A Trophy" because it gives real-world, concrete, and useful advice in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand, and easy-to-apply fashion. He shows managers how we can be tough while actually boosting morale at the same time. The timing couldn't be better given our current economic climate where we have to demand more from our workforce than ever before.

    I've read other books by Tulgan and this one does not disappoint....more info
  • It just makes sense now...
    I ordered this book a few days ago and just finished reading it, it's an easy and enjoyable read yet extremely valuable and practical. As someone who faces challenges every day managing generation Y employees, I was looking for a solid reference that could walk me through the mentality, goals, aspirations, and motivations of this new generation of professionals. I must say that I got exactly what I was looking for. Most of my questions (if not all) were answered with this book. I am now eager to put Bruce Tulgan's suggestions to practice. So, if you are a manager of employees in their 20's I would strongly recommend getting this book. It is a very effective way of avoiding costly problems and get the results of Tulgan's comprehensive research on generation Y become a management asset of yours....more info
  • Another success
    Ever since the publication of the informative "Managing Generation X", Bruce's followup books, "Work This Way", and more recently "It's Okay to be the Boss", as well as the many manuals he has authored have continued to be valuable contributions to management. Now, he has scored again with the most necessary and long awaited guide to Generation Y, "Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How to Manage Generation Y". In it, Bruce clearly defines who these folks are, how they differ from their predecessors and helps us in understanding their needs and how they can become valuable contributors to today's work force. Bravo!! ...more info
  • a must read for anyone who works with people
    This is an easy read full of moments of thinking, "yeah, that's so true". If all people followed Tulgan's advice, it would be a saner world. Great insights and a sensitive understanding of human behavior and contemporary times. Well worth reading....more info
  • From analysis to action
    I've had an opportunity to see Bruce Tulgan speak several times over the last decade and I own several of his books... here's what stands out, to me: Bruce talks to lots of people in his research/analysis phase, gleans the critical leadership aspects of these relationships, the employer/employee role, and offers best practices based on real-life scenarios - something situations on every level can really relate to easily. Few people capture creating effective managerial relationships from every angle as effectively with actionable steps. Definitely worthwhile... thanks again....more info
  • Makes a lot of sense
    I got a lot out of this book. Bruce Tulgan's articulate argument in Trophy makes so much sense that it seems obvious... once you've read it. He makes a great argument for old fashioned accountability but informs it with valuable new insights (and real world examples) of how these savvy young career builders view the employee/employer relationship. If you manage people and appreciate a really useful tool that is free from cliches you should read this book....more info