What Do You Do with Decision-Deficit Disorder?

I have grown fond of coming up with self-explanatory alliterations that describe some of the behaviors employers are now dealing with in today’s workplace. These include menu-driven thinking, safe-decision syndrome and now decision-deficit disorder. This week’s inspiration was inspired during a conversation I had with a colleague who was lamenting the reluctance of many young people to take initiative and act independently.

Now, before the under-thirty crowd goes off on me for making an unfair generalization, allow me to explain my reasoning. You see, I believe that the responsibility for decision-deficit disorder rests on the shoulders of the previous generations that fostered it through their social practices. This coupled, with some evolutionary changes within the marketplace, has allowed many of those entering the workplace to come of age without being compelled to develop the skills and confidence necessary to thrive in everyday business environments.

Many, but certainly not all, of those born from the early nineties forward have been raised in an environment where conflict is abhorred by those around them. They have come of age in an environment of bully-proofing, safe spaces, helicopter parents, and other euphemisms that seek to shield them from the discomforts generally associated with life. At the same time, we have informed them, as a society, that they are entitled to anything they want, any time they want it with a click of a mouse or the touch of a screen.

Is it any wonder then, that many entering the workplace possess a skewed set of beliefs about how they, and everyone should be treated. The workplace has, and always will be, an amalgam of personalities and conflicting beliefs and priorities. Yes, there is a never-ending series of policies and regulations put in place to correct the perceived injustices suffered by one individual or another, one group or another. But while all of these policies are well intentioned, few are truly enforceable. The end result is that many young people end up thinking, “That’s not fair,” when they don’t receive the treatment to which they believe they are entitled. This, by itself, fosters a sense of disillusionment and fear that making mistakes or failing to do or say the right thing will result in the humiliation they’ve been conditioned to dread.

A second part of this equation is the road that many of today’s young people travel, or don’t travel, on their journey into the adult workplace. Historically, those coming of age took on their first paid employment during their mid-teens. This was through babysitting, mowing lawns, delivering newspapers, busing tables, working in fast-food and the like. But in the past two decades, three phenomena have conspired to alter this right of passage.

First, a number of these jobs have disappeared due to technology and changing consumer tastes. (Think newspapers.) Second, many of these entry-level positions have been assumed by adults. Lawn care, for instance, is now handled by a service, rather than the kid next door. So-called entry-level positions in food service are now filled by those in their twenties and older. (As a fast-food manager, who would you hire for $15 per hour – the 16-year-old with no work experience or the 27-year-old supporting a family?) Finally, there are the teenagers themselves and their beliefs about work. College-bound students are encouraged travel abroad during the summer, obtain internships and other experiences to polish their resumes. Then there is the dismissal by some, about the value of working at an early age. As a freshman engineering major asked me recently, “I’m going to be an engineer. What would a fast-food job possibly teach me about engineering?”

So, how does all this relate to decision-deficit disorder? To put it bluntly, young people who delay their entry into the workplace, postpone their development of the basic skills and understanding essential to thriving in ANY job. If you don’t develop these skills as an adolescent, you will have to develop them upon entry into a professional position in your early twenties. But then you will be saddled with developing not just those basic skills, but the skills of the professional-level job for which you have been hired. Is it any wonder then, that managers complain that so many of their young contributors lack “common sense?” When I’ve asked managers to explain what they mean by common sense, they describe the lack of these basic work skills and the confidence to use initiative on the job.

Is there a solution to all this? Yes, but it has to take place on a granular level. Our policy makers can’t enact common sense skills regulations. Employers can’t implement company-wide decision-making and take-initiative policies. It is up to individual supervisors to teach their young hires the critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential to contributing in a meaningful way.

The good news? Take comfort that when compelled to do so, most of these individuals come up to speed quickly. We just have to stop enabling them with policies and practices that reinforce their beliefs about avoiding discomfort and any sort of failure. Begin today. Whether they know it or not, this generation is depending upon you to help them to do so.

Employers! Does iGen Require Parenting?

Yes, you read that question right. In her brand new book, iGen, San Diego State University psychologist and author, Jean Twenge maintains that, “Maybe today’s teens and young adults have an underdeveloped frontal cortex because they have not been given adult responsibilities.” The brain’s frontal cortex, of course, functions as our center for reasoning and judgment. (iGeners, by the way, are defined as those born 1995 and later, making the oldest 22 this year. Others have labeled them Nexters and Generation Z.) While this is a rather explosive hypothesis, Dr. Twenge has the research to back it up. Historically employers have assumed that young applicants arrive with basic life skills, this is no longer the case for many.

Teen participation in the workforce is also at a fifty-year low, meaning that the majority of new high school and college graduates applying for jobs have little, if any, understanding of the rigors and rhythm of full-time work. If you hire them, anticipate another level of complexity to your already busy days.

A business owner recently told me he started a newly-minted engineering graduate on a Monday. The next day was a payday for the organization. This young man asked why he didn’t get paid. The owner explained that payday is every other Tuesday and if he completed his time sheet every day, he would be paid in the next cycle. After two weeks, this young professional complained he still hadn’t been paid. Upon investigation, the owner discovered that no time sheet had been submitted. “Why do I need to complete a time sheet?” this engineer objected. “You see me in the office every day.” Does this sound familiar? Brace yourself. It will become more widespread.

So what should you do? Here are three quick and easy suggestions:

Send them an orientation video before their first day. Assume every new hire possesses little, if any, work experience. Include items like, what to wear, what time to arrive, where to park, where people eat lunch, what to expect the first week, and so on. Need ideas? Ask those hired the past six months what they wish they would have known beforehand. By the way, the video should “star” one of their age peers, not the HR manager or a top exec.

Be extraordinarily specific in your instructions for the first 30 days. The nature of communication has become more transactional. This means that many young people struggle understand nuance and are uncomfortable inferring what to do from off-handed instructions. Simply saying, “figure it out” may result in an employee who fails to act and is afraid to ask for clarification. This doesn’t mean you have to conjure up your inner control freak. As employees assimilate, back off from these specific instructions when they become more comfortable thinking for themselves.

Buddy them with a recent newcomer for the first few weeks. Those who have joined the organization within the past twelve months still possess empathy for those new to the job. Not only will this provide a bit of aid and comfort to the new contributor, but it might also give you a quick look at how the buddy coaches and trains others.

The iGen experience has been significantly different than that of previous generations, including the Millennials. Take time to get ahead of the attitudes and practices of this new cohort before they become a force to be reckoned with.

Stay Interviews from the Millennial Point of View

One of the more recent fads in HR circles has been the so-called stay interview. In other words, meeting with top performers to discuss their concerns and aspirations in an effort to keep them on the job. As the economy gains momentum and the skills gap continues to grow, employee churn is becoming a significant cost. But I have to wonder about the value of this effort.

On one hand, anything an employer does to build connection and trust can’t be a bad thing. On the other hand, shouldn’t managers maintain enough of an on-going connection with their people that they can detect restlessness and discomfort as it begins to fester? Why make a production out of it?

Some managers will complain that it’s tough to stay in touch with everyone these days and offer a litany of reasons – too much on the plate, off-site employees, the transactional nature of today’s communication and so on. But isn’t taking the time to stay connected with your people the key role of supervision?

There is also a congenital urge on the part of most organizations to systematize everything. Stay interviews are no exception. If the firm is losing top performers maybe interviewing the ones that are left is a good way to find out what’s wrong. Create a set of forms. Conduct a training session on what questions to ask. Analyze the metrics. Hmmm.

Examine this from the Millennials’ skeptical point of view. This generation has always looked at employment relationships as contracts, as in “This is where I happen to be working right now.” Millennials see work as one slice as a larger life.

They are also uber-connected, meaning anything you explain to one will be posted to others almost immediately, probably with their own take. You don’t want your retention efforts to be reduced to a joke – “I have my stay interview today. What do you think I should tell them?” I’m kind of surprised that we haven’t seen a parody of stay interviews go viral on YouTube.

Millennials are also focused on fairness. If you select only “top performers,” how are you defining that? Isn’t everyone a top performer? How will the top performers who weren’t selected feel? Maybe this discriminatory process will drive those people away or, worse still, they will tell their friends that the firm isn’t a workplace focused on fairness.

As with many other similar efforts, the effectiveness of stay interviews comes down to corporate culture. It’s been said forever that employees join companies and leave managers. If you have to implement stay interviews to address employee retention, you might have a more systemic problem.

Generation Z — What a Crock!

Shocked and surprised boy on the internet with laptop computer concept for amazement, astonishment, making a mistake, stunned and speechless or seeing something he shouldnt see

Fortune Magazine is out with an article this week based on a Monster survey that claims to identify the future expectations and work habits of a generation that has yet to be clearly defined. They interviewed a selection of youngsters, ages 15-20 who “who pre-qualified themselves as either employed or, among younger teens, planning to work in the future.” These, they claim, are members of Generation Z whose membership, according to them, is 60 million teens, pre-teens and toddlers.

The research, conducted by TNS, included 2000 people across four generations, including this supposed cohort. If you assume that their sample included 500 of these young people, they surveyed .000008 percent of possible respondents. I wouldn’t have been able to get this kind of survey design past my undergraduate behavioral stats professor.

I’ve been asked for the past five years what the next generation will be like. I’ve always demurred by saying no one knows yet. Firstly, they have barely entered working age. Secondly, their consumer habits have been based primarily on the money they’ve received from parents. This fact, by itself, should give competent people a reason to withhold judgment. But not Monster. In a transparent attempt to get a step on their competitors, they’ve released some shallow findings that were picked up by the erudite editors at Fortune who are, as well, anxious to remain ahead of the curve.

So what are employers to do with this “research?” Ignore it. It’s easy to become intoxicated by all the new, new, new “findings” out there. While the media, and others remain desperate to capture your attention, this cohort will not be relevant for another several years unless you employ teens. Even then, this sample lacks adequate veracity due to it’s tiny size and self-reporting data collection.

With a workforce of transitioning Baby Boomers and Millennials who are reaching critical mass, you have better things to do than worry about the expectations of today’s teenie-boppers. And remember, just because a big magazine published it doesn’t mean the research is holds water.

Managing Millennials in the Midst of Hyperbole


This past week, Shane Ferro of the Huffington Post, published an article entitled Cranky Employer Blames Texting Millennials For Economic Problems. The inspiration for this simple-minded title was one comment made by an employer in the Dallas Federal Reserve’s Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. (Nothing like some cherry-picking journalism to guide a writer’s focus.) Aside from Ms. Ferro’s failure to perform professional research, however, she illustrated the fundamental challenge of managing across the generations – Few of us can resist the temptation to jump to uninformed conclusions.

There is plenty of responsibility to go around, of course. On one side of this disconnect, we have employers who still cling to some version of “My way or the highway.” It’s bee a while since I’ve heard one of these Neanderthals say that Millennials have no work ethic. But actions and off-hand comments are always more indicative of what’s thought than what is said in public. The plain truth is that many companies don’t do an effective job of integrating these eager young souls into the workplace.

To be fair, there are plenty of managers who do work diligently to on-board and develop the Millennials joining their organizations. They take time to explain the business, model behaviors, and adopt practices that work for both impatient young contributors and the firm itself. These leaders are rewarded with longer retention, more enthusiasm and better results, at least most of the time.

Then we have the Millennials. In the comments section of Ms. Ferro’s article, I was amused to see Damian Diersing’s insight that “We (Millennials) are the most educated and diverse generation, EVER. We have more critical thinking skills than any other generation.” It is ironic that the silliness of Mr. Diersing’s comment undercuts the very point he is attempting to make. This is not to say that most of this cohort believes their own press clippings. But between mainstream media, social media, the experts, and the advertisers, it’s hard not to lose perspective when you’ve been called “the next great generation.”

Is it any wonder, then, that many Millennials arrive at the employer’s front door with a vision of how things need to be without regard to the firm’s practices and traditions? Ask Millennials to explain the business model. Most can’t. Ask them to discuss the company’s role in the marketplace, industry and among its competitors. Most will fumble for an answer. Ask Millennials to place themselves in the shoes of those making the tough decisions. Most will give you a blank stare. There are exceptions to this of course. Those are the young contributors who can address all the questions I just posed and will be the first to say that entitlement has nothing to do with the equation.

So, what to do . . . Here’s a bit of advice for both groups –

Employers: Begin by doing a better job of hiring. Yes, there appears to be a talent shortage right now. But that does not excuse impatient or, dare I say, desperate selection. Continue by ensuring that every employee, regardless of position can answer the questions I posed above. Finally, set and enforce clear expectations. Successful managers will tell you this is harder than it sounds. But Millennials need to know that while you are invested in their success, you are more invested in the firm’s success. When the two coincide, everyone wins.

Millennials: Learn to look at your job through the employer’s lens rather than your own. Will you be able to effect change, make contributions, and develop the work-live balance you do desire? Yes, but over time. In spite of numerous attempts to change the inherent structure of organizations, the vast majority are still pyramid-shaped. Learn to work within it. Emulate the leaders you admire. They will tell you that working your way to a meaningful position requires the age-old attributes of patience, grit, resourcefulness, an element of risk, and an element of luck. Sure, you can express your discontent with the present state of affairs. But that’s more likely to harm you than help you in most organizations. Sorry, don’t shoot the messenger.

Sadly, the workplace and society in general have become so sensitized to the possibility of hurt feelings that we’re losing the value of the frank communication that may result in momentary discomfort, but long-term respect and growth. Enough with the blaming and generalizations!

5 Things to Stop Doing When Managing Millennials


The blogosphere has been rife with experts, many of them Millennials, advising people about how to manage . . . Millennials. As with the Baby Boomers of fifty years ago, they’ve been hailed as “the next great generation.” But in spite of their demographic size, the Millennials are no more special than any other group. As with each cohort, they’re just products of the times in which they’ve come of age. So rather than the five things you should do when managing Millennials, how about the five things you shouldn’t do? Here goes:

Number one, stop thinking of them that way! They are not the next great generation. I don’t say this to disparage them. I’ve been researching and writing about Millennials since the leading edge entered the workplace in 1998. But I’ve always tried to keep all the generations in perspective. Each has its own proclivities, its biases, and makes contributions that the others have not. The big difference now is technology. The Millennials have had a digital bullhorn. The Xers, Boomers, and those that came before did not give advice about how they should be managed. They just worked and learned how to fit in. Did they force transition? Of course. But employers didn’t have twenty-somethings trying to advise them how to manage . . . twenty-somethings. Maintain your perspective.

Number two, stop assuming that they know how to think on the job. This may sound harsh, but consistently more than half of surveyed employers say many Millennials have trouble with critical thinking. I could spend ten paragraphs postulating why, but that’s not the point. The key here is to assess problem solving during selection. Assign tasks. Place them in uncomfortable situations. Pose problems that require judgment and see how each applicant comes to resolution. I may still hire newly minted college graduates who don’t possess work smarts. I just want to know before they come on board.

Number three, stop comparing them to your kids. Most people don’t do this consciously. But when the teenager behind your counter behaves the same as your teenager at home, it’s tempting lump them together. We want to assume that the values will be similar, the family structure the same, the beliefs about money, faith, politics, entertainment, and social issues on the same plane as ours. And when they’re not, we instinctively think “Why not?” Countless employers have complained to me over the past several years that “These kids have no common sense.” The first thing I do is remind them that they’re not kids. They are the people upon whom we depend for our livelihoods.

Number four, stop lumping them all together. In recent decades, one in four workers has graduated with a four-year degree. Yet those are the only ones studied and surveyed for the most part. What about the other 75%? Do you manage the 27-year-old engineer who’s earning $52,000 a year the same way you manage the 27-year-old tradesman who’s earning exactly the same thing? Do you inspire the middle class clerk from Minnesota the same way as you inspire the first-generation clerk from Ecuador? Today’s Millennials are extraordinarily diverse, even compared to those coming of age 15 years ago. When some Millennial expert says “always” do this or “never” do that, ignore them. Take time to examine the bigger picture. There’s so much more to each one than just age.

Number five, stop getting angry, frustrated or indignant about the time being consumed by managing and leading these eager young contributors. Instead, shape them. Show them how the firm really makes money. Be specific. Explain the organizational structure and it’s reasoning. Explain your firm’s role in the marketplace and industry. Introduce them to mentors who will light the way but also help them understand that promotions don’t happen every six months. Encouraging their passion is good, but so is finding ways to help them channel it so that both they and the firm thrive.

These are not the rantings of a bitter Boomer, just observations of someone who talks day in and day out with employers who are struggling to manage the ongoing transition within their workforce. The Millennials are here, but so are the rest of us. Let’s learn, grow and thrive together.

Why Restless Millennials Lose Out in the Workplace

Young smiling woman in a business suit. Isolated on white background

Society has sold the Millennials a bill of goods. They’ve been told that they’re special. They’ve been told that their influence will run the world. They’ve been told that work should fit into the rest of their lives. For the statistically insignificant few, this all may be true. But for the other 99%, becoming special will requires hard work, sacrifice, perseverance, and more than a bit of luck.

I am both amused and saddened every time I see the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Serge Brinn and Marissa Mayer on the covers of Fortune, Forbes and Time. These individuals are remarkable, but they are also anomalies. Even with their hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance, they happened to be in the right place at the right time. At one point or another, every one of them has admitted as such.

But here’s the thing – When an ambitious twenty-two year-old sees an image of these tech titans, he or she is inclined to think, “Wow! He’s 32, I’m 22. That gives me ten years to get there. But I’m not going to do it by working in this lowly job.” And so the restlessness begins. Many in every generation enter the workplace with that kind of exuberance. But any seasoned contributor will tell you that success is the product of grit, strategy and patience. That doesn’t mean you need to wait six years to get promoted, but you do need to wait six months.

Yes, a degree of impatience keeps you motivated. But when it drives you to jump jobs, strike out on your own prematurely or cut corners, the success is liable to take longer. Malcolm Gladwell and others have written about the 10,000 hours it takes to become an expert. Whether it takes ten thousand, eleven thousand or nine thousand, it takes more time than many Millennials think they have.

Then, of course, there is the structure of most organizations. As much as much of society has come to believe in the benefits of an egalitarian way of working, most businesses remain meritocracies. That means lots of people at the bottom and fewer and fewer opportunities as you rise within the firm. There’s only so much room.

Finally, there’s perception. More than one Millennial has shown up on day one with a belief that he or she is just humoring the boss by doing the grunt work. They “know” that within six months their brilliance will have earned them a place “at the table.” But having experienced the same desires decades before, seasoned managers recognize impatience when they see it and are likely to dismiss this behavior as immaturity than as a new brand of acumen. Millennials who are perceived as restless and impatient do themselves a disservice.

So what’s the wisdom here? Number one, act strategically. Get to know lots of people, not for the purpose of positioning yourself, just for developing relationships. Do this face-to-face. Arrive five minutes before the meeting. Hang around a bit afterward. Shake hands, make eye contact, remember names, ask questions and listen three times as much as you talk. Be genuine. Seasoned contributors can detect a “positioner” a mile off. After a while you’ll be come known. When you are invited to the table, observe. Opportunities to participate will come over time.

Number two, be curious. Asks lots of questions. Know more about the organization than the people around you. Connect with people in other departments and get to know what they do. Read industry blogs and magazines. Read the Wall Street Journal, even if you’re three thousand miles from New York. Know how your employer compares to its competitors. Know how the industry is evolving. Become a student of the business you’re in. Moral? People who ask intelligent and thought provoking questions get noticed by those who count.

The days of waiting ten years to get promoted are long gone. The era of the six-month promotion is never going to arrive. Strategy and curiosity always win the day.

The Big Difference Between I Would and I Will


Over the years, I’ve presented several hundred case studies for discussion in the sessions I conduct. The thing that fascinates me is the way that participants in those case studies tell me, and the group, what they would do instead of actively participating in the role-play. But telling everyone what you would do is not the same as doing it. Inevitably, I have to stop them and say, “Wait a minute. Don’t tell me what you would say. Say it. What are the exact words you would use?” That’s where it gets awkward, and where the learning really takes place.

The same thing is true in real life. It’s easy to offer an opinion of what you would do. But dealing with the angry customer, troublesome employee, or difficult colleague is a whole different matter. Over the years, I’ve been faced with a host of these situations, just like anyone else. I’ve discovered that the key to a successful outcome is rehearsal. Don’t just think about what you’re going to say. Rehearse it out loud to a friend, spouse, colleague or whomever is willing to play along. This gives you the chance to refine the words and clarify your desired outcome. It ensures that you are not derailed by the other person’s comments or reactions.

The worst thing in the world is confronting a difficult situation and hearing the wrong words coming out of your mouth because you didn’t prepare. Have you lost a customer due to a slip of the tongue? Have you been out-argued by an employee you know is working the system? Have you been talked out of firing someone by the person being fired? Yeah, me too.

The difference between I would and I will costs time, treasure and reputation. Isn’t it worth a few extra minutes to prepare?

The Millennials are NOT taking over!

In a Linked-in article this past week, the author claimed that by 2025 the Millennial generation will represent 75% of the US workforce. This is simply not true. It’s not the first time, I’ve seen some exaggerated statement about how the “next great generation” is taking over. In fact, the estimates seem to get higher by the month. Having spent the past 20 years researching generational demographics and characteristics, this makes me a little nuts. So let’s set the record straight once and for all, at least in round numbers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be approximately 164 million members of the civilian workforce in 2020. (It hasn’t published an estimate for 2025.) According to the US Census, the Millennial generation resulted in 81 million births. (1981-1999) Now, we could add to this number those who have immigrated to the US, legally or illegally, who are this same age. Then we need to subtract Millennials who have died, are serving in the military, along with those who have never entered the workforce or who have left for a variety of reasons. (I could spend a few days with government estimates and my calculator, but you get the point.)

But, if we generously assume that all members of the Millennial generation have joined the workforce (81 million) and we even add ten percent (8.1 million) to this number due to immigration, that gives us with a total of 89 million members in the civilian workforce in present terms. Of course, this number will diminish over the next five years due to deaths and those who leave for other reasons. So if seventy-five percent of the 2020 estimate of 164 million is 123 million, that will leave us with a gap of at least 34 million. Hmmm . . .

We have all seen a continual stream of stories coming out of the media, consulting firms, and independent writers claiming that the Millennials are taking over and the rest of us should step out of the way and learn from these digital wizards. Some of these are written by Millennials who happily believe all this clap-trap. So why don’t we all take a deep breath and embrace a little perspective. The Baby Boomers and Xers have a lot to learn about Millennial learning styles, desired approaches to work, and attitudes about life in general. But the same should be said of the Millennials. Enough with the wild-ass estimates and claims. Let’s just get to work.

Engaging Today’s Young Consumers On-Line

Group Of Happy Young Friends Looking At Cell Phone

If there is one universal way to engage today’s emerging generation of consumers, it is thru technology. While this may appear obvious, the subtleties of doing so are more elusive. Regardless of the platform, there are five characteristics that all electronic marketing efforts share if they are to be successful with young buyers:

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Relevant content – The old saying “sell the sizzle, not the steak” is counterintuitive for engaging emerging consumers. Successful marketers have discovered that value offered up front is the most effective way to establish a relationship with those in this young generation. Whether it’s an excerpt of a book, a free upgrade on a product, the latest issue of an electronic magazine, or something else of perceived value, young visitors expect to walk away with value every time they visit a site.

Retailer Amazon.com and others have mastered the art of suggestive selling by matching visitors’ navigation through the site with the electronic data they gather using cookies and other applications. While no one is advocating the surreptitious use of this technology, research indicates that emerging consumers are accepting of this practice provided it moves the relationship forward in a productive way. How can you accomplish this in your marketing and service efforts?

Intuitive navigation – Call it the Amazon.com effect. Granted Amazon has hundreds of programmers working 24-7 to make sure you not only find what you need but also what you don’t know you need. Suggestive selling used to consist of “Would you like fries with that?” Amazon.com, and other organizations like it, have taken this to an entirely new level. You, on the other hand, may be your organization’s webmaster, top salesperson and chief custodian. Unfortunately emerging consumers do not draw that distinction. That said, development of intuitive navigation takes little more than being able to place yourself in the users’ minds and create a system that most visitors would be able to understand with little effort. Then observe people navigating the site and modify the navigation that they find difficult. Remember, this is not about engineering. It’s about common sense and logic.

Entertainment/stimulation – With the introduction of YouTube and a number of similar sites, young consumers are expecting a bit of humor, fascination or wonder with every message. One community college, for instance has developed a cartoon character that walks students through the registration process. Another organization has a site filled with individuals that narrate the visitor’s path through the offerings available. Mouse over an icon and up pops a person to provide a whimsical explanation of the product.

The key are engagement and instant gratification. Remember, emerging consumers are texting their friends, surfing the TV, participating in a conversation, listening to their favorite music, and oh, by the way, searching your site for what they need. You got that?

Speed – If it takes more than three seconds to load whatever you’re providing to a visitor, you are probably toast. The multi-channeling mind has little, if any, patience for the concept of “buffering.” Granted, both you and they can be uploading and downloading on a fiber-optic T-1 line, but it’s still you’re fault if they see nothing but an hourglass toppling end-over-end. Solutions? Smaller pictures. Fewer effects. More engaging content and less complicated pizzazz that loads before the meat of the message. Streaming video? Sure, but cut your clip length by two thirds and reduce the size of the image. Remember, if you’re buffering, you’re beaten.

If your efforts are to be successful in tomorrow’s “big click,” among emerging consumers, you need to begin today to engage them through the technology that dominates their everyday lives.