It’s 2017 – time for a new round of prognostications from today’s “business thought leaders.” Beware! Whether it’s business school journals, white papers, or trade magazines, new management “philosophies” are everywhere. As consultants, we are right up there with the business school gurus throwing around the latest jargon and catchphrases – digital transformation, autonomy, customer experience, TOTAL Customer Experience! Call me a cynic and you’ll be correct.

Some say it’s the millennials that compel us to think a new way and manage a new way and come up with new strategies. That’s true in part, but it’s not that simple. I have a group of millennials whom I regularly observe – my nieces and nephews and some of their friends. They include business people, teachers, lawyers, nurses, wall street wannabees, and undecideds. It turns out they can’t be defined by a nebulous term such as “millennials.” They are individuals with unique and often fresh perspectives. And they have many of the fundamental attributes that successful people have always had. They question the status quo. They want to raise the bar, improve, and create successes. Some in business, some in art, some in lifestyle – just as those from earlier generations. And they are willing to work hard to do those things.

Can those individuals help us with one of today’s most-hyped management topics?  In the ‘90s, there was a tidal wave of business writings about “quality.” The core concept then was redesigning business models “from the outside in” – from the customer’s perspective. Today’s customer experience “breakthroughs” sound very familiar. That said, there are fundamental differences today that have changed the game, for example: personal technologies, ubiquitous connectivity, mass personalization, social norms, globalization. Who better than next-generation leaders (millennials included) to help us understand and capitalize on these changes?

At Nolan, we use some not-so-secret formulas to help our clients grow, evolve, and navigate change. Those include focusing on the fundamentals (analysis and design among them), and incorporating diverse ideas. As you embark on strategic change efforts this year, resist the temptation to get caught up in the NEW “silver bullets.” Instead, prioritize on what matters most to your customers AND to your emerging leaders.  We’re here to help.