What would it take to engage you in the work you are doing? Is it passion? Is it some shared sense of purpose? Is it because you like checking off the tasks that the boss gave you? Do not get me wrong. Any answer is a good answer but the last question marks the differentiating point between what the Millenial generation will not do, for any length of time that is.

The internet abounds with news on how to engage Gen Y, their preferences, values and style. Yet meanwhile, under the surface of social networking sites, embedded in the so called leadership gaps business grapples with news that Gen Y is about making business on their terms. We had better take notice.

Boomers went through the sixties of risk-taking, pushing back on authority and all things established. Systems busters by definition they lived out loud through word and action. Now Gen Y arrives on the scene full of the sense of entitlement that older generations believed had to be earned. While seemingly different belief systems clash, there are elements that link the Boomers and the Millennials. Gen Y is taking action with the very real and clear intention to either make money, and then give back or to make money while giving back. Some are not waiting until they have their own business. Opportunitas Aequa is about changing lives one soccer ball at a time. Take a look at Envirolution.org. Their appeal is to business. The call to larger action is showing up in how they lead their lives and it is no surprise that many Boomers feel right at ease with that notion.

Books like Beyond the Bottom-line by Paula Raymen (2001) made the case for restoring dignity at work by focusing on self-respect for workers and the opportunity to contribute to a larger society. Though the book was published only seven years ago much has changed and fast. As Gen Y and X generations shun traditionally organized business cultures to start ones of their own, the proliferation of social enterprises has taken off. With the internet available to monetize giving back while contributing to make the world a better place, young professionals and entrepreneurs are dynamically recreating the purpose of business. The Economist has several articles that debate the role of business and its fundamental purpose from serving as an economic engine, and that is all, social responsibilities excluded to existing to serve shareholders, risk-take, provide goods and services. Could it be that what we are seeing in action is the redefinition and the defining moment for the existence of business? Its fundamental purpose?

The line we have drawn in the sand that says business is on this side and your personal expression, dreams and fulfillment lie on the other side has just been obliterated by the wave of focused, clearly intentional change. Passion and purpose is shared, is intrinsic, and is powered by creative contribution. It resides in the collective intelligence and supported by social networks. No longer is personal contribution rejuvenated by a return to the self, though there are still those who espouse that greed is a human need and therefore legitimate. For the wave that is building is about giving back and making a difference. What Gen Y needs to be engaged in their work, is in fact, what everyone needs once they are stripped of their notions of what business should or should not do or be to the world.

The pivotal question big business, to medium-sized enterprises grapple with the engagement issue is: Is your company built to a narrow definition or the widest definition imaginable? If it is built on an inward view of profit: shareholder interest, provide goods and services for example, without seeing or serving the inter-action and inter-relationships that make up society, environment or any other aspect of service, fasten your seat belts because you may be in for a bumpy ride. The bottom-line is not what it used to be.

Author's Bio: 

Dawna H. Jones brings over 25 years experience guiding individuals and organizations to the next level by mastering the invisible forces that drive creativity, innovation and personal fulfillment. She guides those who seek to guide themselves to a deeper and more whole place capable of surfing the speed of thought and leading from the heart. She hosts the Evolutionary Provocateur podcast with www.management-issues.com and is constantly pushing the learning edge to merge science, metaphysics, human and physical dynamics to optimal advantage. She can be reached at 1.866.605.0880 or dawna@FromInsightToAction.com