Ever had a problem that you just couldn't think yourself out of?

I'm talking about a real ugly problem where the solution just didn't come?

A few months ago I had one.

It was a complex situation that I had spent an entire day trying to solve without any luck.

Before I knew it, the entire office had left for the day. Only three of us remained - a college intern, a recent college graduate, and myself.

My look of frustration must have been pretty clear, as one of them nervously offered to help.

Nice gesture I thought, but how could they help this Gen-Xer? They were both too young and inexperienced in the business world.

But... what did I have to lose?

So I let them help.

What flowed wasn't structured. There were no brainstorming formulas or techniques applied. There were just "what if" questions asked by a couple of Millennials who didn't know any better.

And you know what?

It was one of the best brainstorming sessions I've ever participated in.

Millennials have become one of my best weapons. Not because they have all the answers, but because they have the courage to ask the right questions.

Here's why I'll always keep a Millennial (or two) on speed dial. You should too.

Millennials Are a Source of Optimism

Millennials don't see the same boundaries - or restraints - that we Gen-Xers do.

Gen-Xers grew up thinking, "How will this go wrong?"

Millennials grew up asking, "Why wouldn't this work?"

They are two different mindsets - that drive two different outcomes.

The Gen-X mindset can be restrictive in thinking. The Millennial mindset removes the boundaries that inhibit breakthrough thinking.

Millennials Are a Source of Inspiration

As a Gen-Xer, my conditioning taught me to look out for my own self-interest. To always be alert of my basic needs.

To get close, but not too close to the edge. To push the envelope, but not too far.

Millennials are out to change the world. They are looking for noble causes. They are looking to make a difference in a big way.

They're willing to take risks and big leaps of faith.

Because of that, their scope of thinking tends to be much broader. Their reach is a little bit further. Their ability to connect the dots a bit quicker.

And that's good when you're trying to solve big business problems.

Millennials Are a Source of Hustle

As a Gen-Xer I learned to do things the right way. I learned to be respectful of superiors and chains of command. I learned to become expert in working within the system to get things done.

Not Millennials.

They act. They don't let arbitrary constraints, systems, or corporate hierarchy inhibit their thinking or actions.

That means they have a source of hustle that pushes us all out of our comfort zones.

Millennials Are a Source of Honest Feedback

As a Gen-Xer I've always hated feedback.

That's because feedback has always meant that something was wrong.

Millennials like feedback - good and bad. Feedback for a Millennial is a guidepost to results.

Their social world has taught them to pay attention to feedback and how that shapes results. Feedback helps a Millennial adjust their actions so they can get the outcomes they desire.

Compare that to a Gen-Xer who spends far too much time defending "their truth".

Feedback is critical for breakthrough thinking, and Millennials will drag you there if necessary.


I'm not trying to paint a picture that every Millennial is a perfect, ideal corporate citizen.

Who of us is?

But... if you find yourself looking for fresh eyes to challenge your assumptions and help you with some breakthrough thinking, find a Millennial or two and keep them on speed dial.