The positive energy was overflowing at the 14th annual Women in Consumer Technology Luncheon held at CEDIA Expo, which kicked off with Carol Campbell being recognized as this year’s recipient of the CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award. After saying a few words, Campbell then surprised Michelle Guss, vice president of hospitality for Crestron, by announcing she would be this year’s recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award.
The panel discussion then began with Becky Magnotta of Homestead Coaching and Consulting hosting a discussion on the importance and impact of coaching with panelists JoAnn Arcenal and Sonia Hernandez, both from Crestron Electronics, Norma Garcia-Muro from Kaleidescape, and Tracy Christmann from Somfy North America.
Magnotta started the discussion with some statistics about employee resignations, noting that “for a highly skilled employee, it costs [the company] between one and a half to two times their salary in lost opportunity, finding a replacement, and training them to get them up to speed.” This is only one small obstacle in the grand scheme of an ever-changing workforce, however.
“There are over 5 million millennial managers right now, and by 2030 the majority of managers are going to be millennials,” continued Magnotta, before citing a study by Zenger Folkman. “The average age of a first-time manager is 30—but 42 is the average age of the first time somebody goes through leadership training. So, for 12 years you’ve got people out there that don’t know how to build strong teams, delegate or build feedback. So, what can we do to prepare these leaders?”
Magnotta’s comments helped launch a discussion among the panelists, who had all attended the CTA Leadership Coaching event in June, on how to best build future leaders.
Christmann has observed how the needs of millennial leaders differ from the developmental needs of other generations. “What I’ve noticed personally in managing is that millennial employees are much more interested in active feedback on a regular basis,” she said. “Being able to provide that feedback in the right way is an important skill for a manager [of millennials].”
Arcenal added that the days of waiting for an annual review for course correction are over. “We need to be able to foster these different learning styles,” she added. “It’s really important to recognize that in bringing up today’s leaders.”
For the closing question, Magnotta asked the panelists what they would want most for the leaders at the luncheon. “Coaching should be available for middle management,” said Garcia-Muro. “Times are changing…companies have focused for way too long on only nurturing their C-suite. Why build one leader when you could build many early on? Invest in your people, and you will see a change.”