At a recent conference, it was mentioned that the millennial generation will comprise 50% of the workforce by 2020. As I contemplated this fact, I wondered, “What have I learned that I could impart on this next generation of leaders?”

And when I was asked to contribute to the “40 Under 40 in Staffing” issue of this magazine, I asked myself, “What would I say to this youngest crop of industry leaders?” I found myself revisiting certain themes that have remained important to me throughout my career, and that I believe will matter to our future leaders as well. Here are a few of them.

Possibility thinking. I am not a big fan of the “this is the way we’ve always done it” argument. Rather, I think embracing change is a must. I encourage you to take some calculated risks, think of the possibilities and don’t be afraid to fail.

Possibility thinking was a learned behavior for me. My “awakening” came in the fall of 2009 when I attended a weeklong intensive course at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business entitled, “Creating the Future: The Challenge of Transformational Leadership.” We were encouraged to think of the possibilities, beyond what most thought was possible. I learned that if you can influence 15% of your team, they become your early adopters for change and they’ll help you effect that change. As a leader, I realized I needed to change the way I think, lead and make decisions. We now employ the concept of possibility thinking regularly in our discussions at work, and it’s led to some remarkable transformations for us. Paint a picture for your team of what these possibilities might look like, get their buy-in, communicate it to the team, commit to it, and amaze yourself with the heights you can climb!

Fail fast. Don’t double down. Be willing to course correct and, using an Agile term, fail fast.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a perfect batting average on decision-making? The reality is that we all make mistakes. What is most important is the timing of recognizing these mistakes, the willingness to admit them and discuss them with candor and clarity with the team, and then rapidly course-correct from them when necessary.

Reflecting a bit, we’ve made bad investments, poor assumptions and strategic errors but we are still here to talk about it. Leadership is about continuous learning; I’m certain we haven’t made our last mistake, but we will drive forward, we will learn from our mistakes and we’re committed to not repeating them!

Culture matters. Promoting, supporting and sustaining a vibrant work culture is very important to us. We want our employees to be successful. We want to provide them with opportunities for growth and advancement. We want them to experience a healthy work/life balance, and we want to recognize and reward them often, celebrating their successes and achievements. There’s no question that a vibrant work culture promotes productivity, and we’re committed to doing our part.

We continue to work on the culture and bringing the right people into the company who buy into our vision and who will thrive in this environment.

Good listeners. We at Eliassen strive to be a very transparent company and we love to reward and recognize our people. We do so in many ways, such as with Town Hall meetings and calls, company kickoffs, award trips, contests, newsletters and social media. Perhaps most importantly, we work hard to be good listeners. There’s plenty that can be learned from our next generation of leaders. We should be paying attention to what drives them, motivates them, challenges them, and inspires them, taking cues from them.

I wish you great success in your future endeavors and suggest that in considering some of the suggestions I have laid out here, your success will be less about luck and more about skill! Good luck!