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Recent Grads = Future Entrepreneurs

Young entrepreneurs operating in America can be expected to tackle a variety of new and novel challenges throughout the summer and beyond. Chief among them: Ways to drive social innovation; the growing need for more agile, flexible and scalable online business solutions; increasing demand for tools that enable organizational agility and learning; and rising opportunities for addressing the increasingly complex needs of increasingly complex and virtualized organizations. But perhaps more important to note than these issues themselves is just whom may play the role of entrepreneur going forward, with more and more entrepreneurial thinkers emerging from and operating within the confines of existing enterprises themselves.

In fact, these so-called intrapreneurs – individuals who essentially take on the role of entrepreneur within existing enterprises – are becoming increasingly common. Recognizing the exponential value that these innovators and risk-takers add to any corporation, a growing range of organizations such as Intel, EMC and Intuit are actively formalizing programs to groom improvisational and leadership skills into employees at all levels. With corporate culture proven to have a far greater impact on any given business’ ability to succeed than time, money or resources, market leaders are growing waking up to the need to train employees to think like owners – and provide tomorrow’s worker with more opportunities to think entrepreneurially.

Tomorrow’s workers will:
• Want clear goals, an engaging variety of assignments to tackle, and to work for organizations with a go-getting attitude that encourages people to collaborate, share their ideas, and be more innovative.
• Find soft skills such as the ability to effectively communicate, learn, and practice improvisational thinking equally important as technical knowledge, which is increasingly easy to come by.
• Demand a wider range of professional growth, training and development programs, as well as hands-on opportunities to expand their experience and skill sets.
• Discover that a flair for teamwork and winning attitude will be a must as projects become more complex, and growing number of people of more generations and backgrounds collide in the workplace.
• Need to master multitasking and time-management skills, as professionals are forced to make more decisions faster than ever that impact a greater range of individuals and organizations.
• Want more mentorship and ongoing feedback as they progress in their career, as the skills in demand tomorrow will look far different than the ones in demand today.
• Look to leadership to provide guidance and ongoing input about what’s going on in the organization, as well as ways that they can personally contribute to the cause and make a difference.

Shhh, don’t tell senior leaders … The secret to successfully managing and retaining Gen Y workers is simple as well: Start thinking positive. According to recent research by Deloitte, millennial workers are determined to make their mark on the world, and organizations, by creating positive, lasting change (a.k.a. thinking like entrepreneurs).

Here’s what you should know about them, based on its surveys: 78 percent want to work for companies that are innovative; 75 percent said organizations could do more to nurture tomorrow’s leaders; 70 percent believe they’ll work for themselves at some point in life; 60 percent said leadership and entrepreneurialism can be taught; 59 percent think managers have helpful experience to share; and 25 percent are actively asking for ways to demonstrate leadership skills.

Scott Steinberg is a best-selling expert on leadership and innovation, and the author of “Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty.” His website is

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