“Those Who Dance Are Considered Insane by Those Who Can’t Hear the Music”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Sometimes quoting a little Nietzsche can get your perspective back. Life is all about perspective. And when it comes to perspective, nothing distorts it like myths.

Myths can be fun; think Unicorns, Big Foot and Nessie.  But they can also cross over into the mainstream where they become de facto truths.  Truths with no basis in fact. Then they can really warp perspective and cause otherwise rational souls to look past the obvious.

As a marketer I look a lot at popular press, industry studies and virtually every snippet of information that someone drops into my mailbox. And truth be known, I do watch people intently. It’s a habit I developed as a research analyst; take what you’ve read or observed, form a point of view and then test it in the real world.

So with that not-so-scientific-but-occasionally reliable methodology, I want to challenge three workplace myths.  And reshape them as three truths that can help you connect with and develop people into your most valuable and sustainable asset.

Popular Myth Number 1 – “Age defines millennials. They were born between the early 1980’s and 1990’s.“

Nope! Certainly age has something to with it. That is what makes it fit nicely into a demographic box or slide into position in an Infographic. But millennialism is more about behavior than years. Look in the mirror. Do you text? Are you “connected” most hours of the day? Have more than one social profile? Spend more time interacting in the virtual than the physical world?

Truth Number 1 – “With few exceptions—-We are all millennials at one level or another.”

Popular Myth Number 2 – “Consumers are different than B2B’rs.”

Wrong! Very few of us have the ability to turn off one side of our brain and turn on the other. In other words, we do not check our consumer behaviors at the door. Once we’ve downloaded an app in minutes that made life easier, had a product or service recommended to us by an application, or gotten used to the slick user experiences consumer brands bring us every day, tools at work look a little dusty and dated don’t they?

Truth Number 2 – “People expect a consumer-like experience at work.”

Popular Myth Number 3 – “Employees on social media damage your brand.”

This could be a coin toss. Reams of research validate that people value peer opinions—those other member of social communities—far and above any corporate positioning. Your employees ARE those peers and should be equipped to build your brand. Companies like Adobe, Dell, Starbucks, IBM, and a host of others are doing it now and with great results.

Truth Number 3 – “Creating, participating in and interacting in social communities gives you a voice where it matters most.”

So at the end of the day, how does all this add up?

The smart money says that if you’re trying to engage with people, inside or outside your firewall, in today’s workplace you should assume that you’re:

a.    A consumer marketer
b.    Who can tap the most powerful channel ever developed
c.    To engage, build and sustain relationships with your millennials—of every generation—every day.

And that…..is the truth.