Posts Tagged ‘Generation Y’

Understanding the Gen Y Quarter-life Crisis and what all of it means for you

Posted on: May 30th, 2014 by Raymond de Villiers No Comments

quarter-life-crisis-test-resultQuarter life is a stage that runs through a person’s twenties, and possibly into the very early thirties.

Some academic writers have aligned it with Erik Erikson’s Intimacy vs Isolation stage in human development theory.

Intimacy vs. isolation – This is the first stage of adult development. This development usually happens during young adulthood. By successfully forming loving relationships with other people, individuals are able to experience love and intimacy. Those who fail to form lasting relationships may feel isolated and alone.

Gen Y’s experience of the quarter-life crisis is broader than Erikson’s lifestage description, though the search for authentic intimacy is certainly a significant part of the experience.

Putting the Quarter-life crisis in a generational context

The concept of having crisis associated with a lifestage is nothing new, but it does shift the marker earlier in life and the focus of the crisis seems to be different.

Silent generation crisis stage

The Silent generation was born into a time of crisis. Just being alive and living through their formative years was an experience in crisis survival. But, as children they experienced these crises as part of their worldview and values formation processes. Consequently, the Silents didn’t need to / have to experience a developmental crisis in later life.

In essence the relative stability and change resistance of the Silent generation life experiences is rooted in the crisis that was childhood. The Silent generation didn’t go through a life crisis in adulthood because they had gone through one in childhood, and everything they had learned mitigated against life being taken over by crisis later on.

Baby Boomers crisis

The Boomers grew up in a world that was stable and increasingly affluent. Their childhood experiences were essentially idyllic – encapsulated in their nostalgic recollection of the “Good old days”. Boomers entered adulthood having experienced little disruption and moved into a world of work that allowed them to aim for, live, and achieve their dreams. Sprawling suburbs filled with nice houses, manicured gardens, shining cars, and Boomers off at the office enjoying working hard to make it all happen.

Then they hit their 40’s and mid-life. They had achieved what they wanted to career wise, or realized that they were doomed to never achieve their goals. They looked at their kids and didn’t know them because they worked too hard to spend time connecting with their progeny. Critically they also looked at their partner and questioned whether this was the person they wanted to spend the rest of their life with.

Trigger the mid-life crisis.

The reaction was escalating divorce rates, second and third marriages and families, and burn out in the workplace. A generation of people suddenly realized that they didn’t know how to live if they weren’t chasing a goal or target. Some Boomers decided to kick up a gear in the workplace and built amazing careers and corporations. Others decided that family was their new goal and redirected all of their drive into making sure that their second or third family didn’t fall apart the way their first ones did. As they had Gen Y children with their new partners they switched into Super-Parent mode and actively engaged with their young kids and their development.

Generation X crisis

The Gen X crisis kicked in as they transitioned in true adulthood and were confronted with being expected to act and be “grown up”. This happened as they transitioned into their 30’s.

As Gen X made this switch they considered the chaos they experienced as a result of the decisions Baby Boomers made in their mid-life crisis. They also looked at the world they were in and the steady erosion of stability that older generations took for granted. At the same time they looked at the “boring” world of the Silent generation. Gen X looked at the two extremes in the adult lives of the generations who preceded them, the boring stasis of the Silents, and the self-centred workaholic loneliness their Boomers parents put them through. Now adulthood confronted them and they didn’t want to be like either of these.

Couple this questioning and possible disillusionment, with the self-sufficiency generated by how they grew up, and add in the increasing awareness of alternative choices generated by growing globalization. The effect is that Gen X entered their thirties and experienced a crisis as they realized they weren’t sure if they wanted to stay in the job they moved into once they had finished studying whatever their parents had been prepared to pay for. They also looked at their families and decided they wanted something different for them. But, they couldn’t just quit life…..

Trigger the adulthood crisis of Gen X.

Gen X responded by finding ways to create space to consider their future. Many chose to step out of work for a period and do post-graduate studies in a field of their choosing if they knew what they wanted to do with the rest of their life. Many, though, knew what they didn’t want to be but weren’t sure of what they wanted to be so they stepped into a more general sphere. This second trend gave rise to the escalation in people signing up for MBA’s in the 90’s with the average age of MBA students dropping down to the upper 20’s by the early 2000’s.

Gen Y Quarter-life crisis

Gen Y have moved into young adulthood and as they have done so they have been confronted by an earlier and more existentially focused quarter-life crisis. Men and women in their mid-20’s are asking the type of questions and experiencing levels of angst that older generations were completely oblivious to in the corresponding stage of life.

Gen Y are questioning life on all levels:

  • Spiritual
  • Emotional
  • Professional
  • Personal

At all of these levels they are asking: “Is this who I want to be?”

There is, however, a difference in the orientation of these questions that is significantly dissimilar to the corresponding ones asked by Boomers and Gen X. Older generations experienced their questioning and crisis from the perspective of disillusionment or lack of self-awareness, Gen Y are asking these questions from a place of heightened self-awareness and optimism for what the future could be like. From this space they want to be positioned to take best advantage, or make the best contribution to, the world that they optimistically see far more positively than their seniors do.

The correlation between lifestage and existential crisis can be more clearly seen when we line the generational lifestages with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Life Crises and the evolution of human need

maslowThe Silent generation had their crisis experience low down on Maslow’s hierarchy. Essentially the experiences of needing to survive the impact of World War 2 and the Great Depression meant that the crisis experience in their childhood occurred between the Physiological and Safety levels. It was an intense existential crisis focused on survival and managing with little. Jobs were lost, homes were not secure, incomes were tenuous, and in the war zones themselves living itself was uncertain. Living through experiences at this level it is little wonder that any trials and tribulations faced in later life were taken in stride and created little crisis in this stoic generation.

The mid-life crisis experienced by Baby Boomers was in the Love / Belonging level. The world Boomers experienced was stable and safe with all of their most basic needs met. The high divorce rates that accompanied the mid-life crisis events of the Boomer generation indicate the love / belonging nature of the crisis.

As Boomers have moved into new families the renewed focus on their Gen Y children having a clear sense of family and stability also reflects the love / belonging nature of their crisis and their desire to meet those needs.

As products of the sexual revolution [love / belonging activity in earlier life] it is also possible that experiences from this period have found expression and resolution in their attempts to resolve their mid-life crisis. The presence of the sexual revolution within their young adulthood indicates that Baby Boomers have been grappling with this level of need for most of their existence.

Mid-life ended up being the period during which they were forced to meet the need in a way they were not fully equipped for.

As a result of the “broken family” and “workaholic” dynamics Gen X experienced with their Boomer parents they have grappled with needs at the Esteem layer within Maslow’s hierarchy.

As Gen X entered adulthood and experienced their crisis they asked questions related to who they wanted to be in their life. These questions were asked more holistically than the Boomers mid-life challenges as X’ers looked at life in total and avoided segmenting into work and life.

The self-reliance Gen X developed growing up generated crisis because they realized that nobody else was going to live their life for them. They wanted to, and needed to take control of their lives and be comfortable with where they were going. The increased importance of their children in their lives meant that they wanted to make sure that their kids would benefit form the adulthood crisis resolution. Unfortunately, they probably didn’t effectively communicate this priority to their children because they are so self-driven in the way they address issues.

Realising that they didn’t want to be the same as their predecessors, and that life is too short to live regretfully Generation X moved into their 30’s attempting to make decisions that give esteem, respect, and achievement to their self-sufficient way of living.

Gen Y’s Quarter-life crisis

Generation Y’s quarter-life crisis has come on earlier. Gen X studied what was expected of them, then moved into an initial career consistent with these expectations, then only began to question when the expectations of adulthood pressed in. Gen Y is experiencing this crisis of identity as they move out of the “education” phase of life into young adulthood and entry into the world of work.

Gen Y have a highly developed sense of esteem and confidence based largely on the way in which they have been parented by both Boomers and X’ers – though each parent group motivated by different drivers. Gen Y have also grown up in a world that is largely affluent with Gen Y having a sense of very little actually being needed to live. This world of security and relative stability does have a shadow side that Gen Y is experiencing. Boredom is ever present.

Generation Y are transitioning into the world of work and young adulthood with a sense that the world is their oyster and they can do whatever they set their minds to. Overly supportive and protective adults have drummed this message into them. At the same time, Gen Y have a very tempered sense of failure brought on by being told that they were winners just because they tried something, or that they didn’t fail at something as long as they had fun doing it.

Consequently, as they start to look forward and consider their future they are in crisis because they don’t know what they actually want out of life, and they have never been pressed to develop any sense of this. Pair this with the Gen Y paradox of being one of the most street smart yet naive generations ever and they end up have a very real understanding of ALL of the options available to them, and yet are consumed with questions about what it all means.

Generation Y’s quarter-life crisis is driven by their striving to meet the needs inherent in achieving self-actualisation.

Understanding that the Gen Y crisis is a continuation of the crisis events experienced by older generations and also driven by a logical progression from humanity’s survival toward self-actualisation, how is the quarter-life crisis survived?

Surviving the Quarter-life Crisis

Generation Y need first to accept that it is a real life experience and embrace it for what it is. They also need to realize that older generations will look at the quarter-life crisis through the lens of their own crisis experience and probably not understand that it is as significant as it is. Boomers and X’ers may even deride or reject the crisis totally.

The mid-life and adulthood crises forced Boomers and X’ers to make decisions leading to significant change – whether they were ready to do so or not. The quarter-life crisis is similarly forcing Gen Y to make decisions that will change their life. Gen Y need to accept the responsibility for these decisions as they make them. If the consequences are not fun, or what the Y’s hoped for, they will be tempted to fall back into the nest. Generation Y is being called the Boomerang generation because of this tendency to move back to their childhood homes when the going gets tough. Gen Y need to learn to accept the consequences of their decisions and move on with life. Of all the generations alive at the moment Gen Y is the most likely to be confronted with further choices that will redirect their life again, and again. If they don’t learn to live with, and follow through, on their decisions they run the risk of future lifestage paralysis.

Some advice for older generations living with Generation Y through the quarter-life crisis:

At Work

  • Acknowledge that this crisis and associated experiences is very real
  • Realise that Gen Y are going through transition in the quarter-life crisis and it is very possible that they will move on. Your chances of keeping them for an extended period are remote.
  • Because you won’t keep Gen Y hedge your bets and have alternatives constantly in the wings. Other Gen Y’s can move into your business due to crisis just as easily as those with you may move out.
  • Talent runs in herds – talented people have talented friends. Tap into the social network of your Gen Y’s to bring in fresh talent most similar to the talent who may transition out.
  • Broaden your recruitment horizons. Look at fine arts, engineering, business science, the humanities, and other areas you wouldn’t traditionally have recruited from. Gen Y’s going through the quarter-life crisis may be perfect for your business, but be sitting in a field that doesn’t traditionally land on your radar.

At Home

  • Acknowledge that your children are going through real crisis and it is giving them valuable life experience for a future unlike anything you have ever been through.
  • Realise that you probably won’t understand what they are going through.
  • Give them the space they need to work through the crisis in a way that works for them….but may not make sense to you.
  • Don’t carry the consequences of their choices for them. Allow them to fully experience all that this crisis is developing and instilling in their skill set. This will probably be tough because it will be counter to the way you have parented them through the trials of adolescence.
  • Come to terms with the fact that the quarter-life crisis is not a bad thing that they are going through, just a different thing

Do speak to us if you would like more insights into Gen Y or working with the different Generations in the workplace.

Surfing the TIDES of Change – part 1

Posted on: February 7th, 2014 by admin-kablooey No Comments

An introduction to a three part series looking at harnessing the power of the TIDES of change.  The video considers the parallels with surfing and how we can use the surfing analogy and metaphor to “Surf the TIDES of Change”.

When we are confronted by ocean tides we can be overwhelmed by them, like a tsunami, or we can harness them like a surfer.  Understanding the changes coming as a result of the TIDES [Technology, Institutional, Demographics, Environment & Ethics, Social values] is only the first part.  Once we know what is coming we need to response and position ourselves for action.

The brief introductory video will set the scene for the two more that will follow.  Once we are ready to Surf the TIDES of Change we need to understand the external factors that influence surfing, and also the internal factors that make a good surfer.

http://youtu.be/wWYc2mBcctU

When will they Revolt?

Posted on: July 10th, 2013 by admin-kablooey No Comments

iStock_000019353873XSmallIn 1968 it seemed that the whole world was in dispute or turmoil. Many of the disputes were student led; there were student protests in Poland against the oppressive Communist Government, there were protests and riots in France that ending up involving workers that took France to the brink of revolution against the wartime hero Charles de Gaulle and his right wing government.  There were protests from places as diverse as Mexico, Brazil and even in conformist Germany.  There were clashes in the UK after Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech and real fears that the Britain would be led to the brink like France.  There was the brutal stamp down by the Soviets when they sent in over 750,000 troops to quell the largely peaceful “Prague Spring” that was a protest against the Soviet puppet control of the then Czechoslovakia.  And there was of course huge unrest in the world super power of the USA – student protests that started in Carolina spread all over the country and became a civil rights protest against the government.  There was even a national teachers strike.  The demonstrations initially started peacefully, but escalated into full civil riots especially after Martin Luther King was assassinated.  1968 was a pivotal year in the Vietnam conflict.  It was the year of the massive conflict at Khe Sanh, where American troops foolhardily tried to fight a pitched battle against Viet Cong forces.  The Tet offensive took place, which made it clear that America was not in control even in Southern Vietnam.  There were massacres of women, children and old people at Ha My and My Lai that would shock the world.  This was the year when popular opinion changed and there were demonstrations all over America against the war.  There were even demonstrations outside the US Embassy in London.  Wherever you looked there was uproar and the call for change.

 It is often referred to as “The year that rocked the world”.  So why were the young people revolting?  This of course makes you want to say one of the oldest jokes in the book, but of course there is a serious side.  The young people felt that the “old guard” were not in tune with their ideals, ethics and values.  These young people have gone on to become known as the Baby Boomers.  They weren’t as compliant as their parents, they would not put up with the oppression of being told what to do by people that had very little in common with themselves.  These were what we would call today human rights issues – the cry went out that all people are are equal, so why should I have to suffer under the yoke of a foreign administration for the colour of my skin, or be sent to a war that I think is wrong?

This was certainly an idealistic revolution taking place across the globe, led by the power of free speech.  But something that is often overlooked is that technology had a major part to play in the process.  1968 was the year when the amount of TVs in the world reached 200 million.  Almost wherever you were, ideas and information could be viewed by people in their own homes or that of a neighbour.  In America by 1968, 95% of homes had TVs.  The sale of colour sets had rocketed from only 9.6% of TVs sold in 1966 to over 24%.  The pictures of students and blacks being brutally assaulted by white “redneck” policeman at American college campuses and in the streets horrified the majority of people.  There was the first interracial kiss when Captain Kirk kissed Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek.  These pictures led to uproar and great divisions within society.  Public opinion firmly changed in relation to the Vietnam War when the famous Eddie Adams photograph showing a Viet Cong officer being executed by a Southern Vietnamese police chief were beamed around the world via magazines, newspapers and TV.

Young people of today are revolting though, just not in what we call the western world. The Arab Spring saw real change in Yemen, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt and demonstrations in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Kuwait, Bahrain and, of course, in Syria that have subsequently mutated into a brutal civil war.  The demonstrations and bloodshed continue in Egypt after the new administration was found to be incompetent and no better than the previous government.  In relatively westernised Turkey, there have been disputes that started from a building project that proposed to fell trees in a beloved city square.  Bulgarians have reacted against the corruption and cronyism of their government.  In Indonesia the people have rejected higher fuel prices and in Brazil there have been massive demonstrations and violence that originated from a rise in bus fares. The interesting point, however, is that these people are not your normal ‘trouble makers” or rent a mobs that we saw in the 80’s, activated by Unions or other powerful groups. These people, by and large, are middle class and well educated.  In Brazil, 77% of the protesters have further education, 53% are under 25 and 71% have never demonstrated before. They are protesting for change to governments and systems that they believe are not fair, equal or in tune with their beliefs.

This new wave of protestation is being instigated and activated by technology, just like in 1968.   medium of communication today is social media.  The speed at which information and images can be sent around a city, country and the planet is now instant.  Some of these messages are proven to be wrong in hindsight, but anyone with a smartphone can widely spread fact and fiction.  This wave is happening not just in oppressive areas of the world, but also notably in democracies. Democracies, by their very nature, allow freedom of speech and protestation and have a vested interest in making change; otherwise leaders will be voted out.  It seems inevitable that we will sooner or later see protests from young people in the streets of first world countries like America and Britain, once they become disenfranchised with the politicians and businessmen that are in charge of their world – unless there are huge changes made.

Most of the people “in charge” are those very same people – the Baby Boomers – that called so vehemently and effectively for change in 1968.  It will be hugely ironic if they find themselves on the receiving end of a new wave of protests because they have failed to make changes that take into consideration that the young people of today have their own futures to look after.

Is it evil to avoid tax?

Posted on: June 7th, 2013 by admin-kablooey 1 Comment

Devil business manGoogle famously has the slogan “don’t be evil”. They are however embroiled in a worldwide issue – is tax avoidance evil? Not only have Google been dragged into the fray,  but Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Starbucks and even famous individuals such as Jimmy Carr have come under the spotlight for not paying their fair share of tax

Tax evasion is illegal, but avoidance is not. It is recognised that the more money you have, the more likely you are to be able to afford expensive accountants and lawyers to reduce tax. Apple, according to a study conducted by Millward Brown Optimar, for WPP is the most valuable brand on the planet, with Google second.

So how have Google only paid £10 million in corporation tax on revenues of nearly £12 billion, when they openly claim to make 25% profit? They carry out something called “Double Irish”. Their business is registered in Ireland where corporation tax is a lot lower and is allowed to move their profit offshore. In Google’s case this is the British Overseas Territory of The Cayman Islands, which has no income, capital gains or corporation tax. They end up with an effective tax rate of 2.4%. This obviously makes great business sense and if the British Government wants to change this arrangement they can obviously change the status of the Cayman Islands.

Google does indirectly pay tax though. All their employees in the country that they are working from pay income tax on their earnings, state taxes, national insurance and VAT. Google are also making a huge investment in the UK by building a massive HQ at Kings Cross in London, reputedly costing £300 million that will give much needed work for the construction sector. Once built it will directly provide jobs and indirectly give a boost to services such as bars, restaurants, shops, gyms, transport etc., in the local area.

Tax evasion is not illegal, so why all the fuss? At TomorrowToday we believe they are missing the point and are not taking notice of a major disruptive force; the opinions and power of the people within Generation X and Y. Even though Google was very famously founded by Gen Xer’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin they looked to a classic Baby Boomer in the form of Eric Schmidt to be the CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011 He was recruited to run the company under the guidance of Venture Capitalists that are in turn Baby Boomers. He went about his task to make the business more productive, more efficient and more profitable, because that’s what is expected; companies are there to make money and deliver returns to shareholders. As the CEO, it is his duty to reduce costs and if tax can be reduced, so be it. His systems are still in place even though Larry Page took over the reigns in April 2011. Ironically Eric Schmidt is part of Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron’s Business Advisory Group. At Apple the CEO is Tim Cook, Microsoft is Steve Bulmer, Starbucks Howard Schultz, the list goes on of household names that are CEO’s of businesses that are not paying their taxes. All of these Baby Boomers might be great business people to increase productivity and decrease costs, but are they in touch with the values of the younger generations? The days are over of having only your shareholders to answer to. Today’s younger generations are more attuned to the creation of a fairer world that looks after the whole, not just the individual. If you want them to buy from you, you need to show how you care for the world and its people. People will vote with their feet (Starbucks) or more likely their fingers in today’s connected world if businesses are not trusted and do not contribute to society. Generation X and Y are not brand loyal; they will find another service or product that suits their needs and values.

Superstar businesses of today, be wary. Back in 2000 Apple wasn’t even in the top 20 companies and you had probably never even heard of Google. Already both Apple and Google have fallen out of the top 20 Most Trusted Businesses in the USA according to the Ponema Institute. Huge companies and famous brands such as Cisco, Yahoo, Myspace, AOL, Dell and Nokia have fallen from lofty heights. You are never too big or famous to fail (unless you are a bank of course, but that’s another story). Plug into the values of today’s people and ignore them at your peril. It would be a shame that worthwhile projects that are being progressed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, to try and solve the worlds energy and climate problems were cut short because they were not in touch with the very people they are trying to help be rid of evils such as pollution, famine and poverty.

The Fergie Factor: A Disruptive Force

Posted on: May 14th, 2013 by admin-kablooey No Comments

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-sir-alex-ferguson-caricature-editorial-use-image29928670After 26 years in charge of Manchester United Alex Ferguson has finally decided to take life a little easier by moving to a new role as a Director and Ambassador for the club. At 71 years of age he wants to move on, he is not as healthy as he used to be and is probably finding it tough to continue his punishing regime, especially when he is in need of a hip replacement operation. He will be aware of his own mortality and will have memories of being by the side of his mentor, the then Scotland manager Jock Stein when he died on the touchline during an international match from a heart attack.

Along the way he has become recognised as the most successful British football manager ever and arguably the world’s greatest. He is a true leader in his field both in achievement and the way he has gone about it. In his managerial career he has won 49 trophies in 39 seasons, including two Champions’ League titles. He has kept Manchester United the top performing team in the Premier League for 20 years, seeing off the challenges of tactician Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, the charisma of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and the vast wealth of Manchester City. While other teams have constantly made managerial changes in the pursuit for glory, Ferguson has remained the captain of the United ship. The once great Liverpool of the 70’s and 80’s are a poor shadow of itself today after a host of poor performing managers with the failures of Graeme Souness still being felt today.

The question has to be how has he done it for so long and so consistently? Those that would like to knock his achievements will point to how his first years at United were not fruitful, that he inherited the Golden Generation of Butt, the Nevilles, Beckham, Giggs ,Scholes and the wealth of United would make anyone succeed. So let’s have a look at how he has done it.

Something that we talk about a lot in TomorrowToday are Disruptive factors in a business. Alex Ferguson was certainly a disruptive factor; he had already proven this in Scotland by upsetting the domination of Rangers and Celtic in Scotland whilst managing Aberdeen. When he arrived at United in 1986 things weren’t quite how he had hoped: the previous manager Ron Atkinson had spent all the money on dubious signings and the Edwards family were looking for a buyer and needed to re-fill the coffers. Ferguson systematically sold most of the players that Atkinson had brought in and United went from a pre-tax loss of £930K in season 87/88 to a profit of over £2 million in 88/89. Utimately the sale fell through, but this gave Ferguson the opportunity to spend time on his youth system, which he passionately believes in. Even though Ferguson was born in 1942 and would be considered to be from the Silent Generation he has great insight and respect from the then young Generation X development players. He went about nurturing them, caring for them and protecting them. He has many times been referred to as a father figure and continues to understand the Generation Y players that he has recently developed. He recognised the talent and went about keeping them. He made sure that they had good contracts, were well paid and looked after. The ensured the talent would have no desire to leave. He did however bring in tough rules that were to be broken at their peril; if they wanted the softer Gen X values, they would have to put up with the tough Silent Generation values of duty, discipline and dedication. Regardless of their stature, if they went against Ferguson’s values they would be subjected to the famous “hairdryer” and found themselves leaving the club regardless of who they were. Just ask Jaap Stam and David Beckham, respectively the world’s best defender at the time and the Golden Boy of English football. He insisted on being called Mr Ferguson or the Boss. He would show great loyalty to players and staff, but it would be according to his rules. By 1989 the chequebook was opened up to him and he brought in a host of talent to complement his budding stars.

He understood that if he were to pay top wages to keep and attract talent it would result in a better league position. A higher league position would result in increased annual revenue and then the cycle would begin again.

He has turned a provincial club with an annual turnover of about £7 million in 1986 to an International Superstar with a turnover of £320 million. He has attracted a host of footballing star talent to the club; Cantona, Keane, Ferdinand, Ronaldo and recently Van Persie. He has retained Giggs, Gary Neville and Scholes for their whole professional playing careers. He has inspired a host of former players to go into management – Robson, Hughes, Bruce, Coppell, Keane, Ince, Kanchelskis and the new Scotland manager Gordon Strachan to name a few.

What he has done is truly remarkable and of course there has to be an element of luck in it, but to have remained top of his chosen profession for over 20 years is outstanding He has done it through foresight, planning, understanding, professionalism, recognising talent, hard work and outstanding leadership. These were the Disruptive Factors of Ferguson that he brought into football.

What are the Disruptive factors that you should be looking at in your business sector that are going to change the way you work and operate? Understand these and you too could be the next Ferguson. Ignore them and you could be the next Graeme Souness.

Does a CEO need to blog?

Posted on: November 30th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 4 Comments

If you were to take one look at the world today, it would be obvious that social media has become a very important communication tool. Ask yourself this question “can a CEO remain relevant if they are not versed in this new communication style the world has adopted?”

More and more social media is changing our consumers and our employees. This change is frightening at times, we recently discovered that younger generations have a total disregard for email communication and prefer to communicate in social and business contexts through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Even older generations are warming to social media communication with 128 000 new CEO’s joining LinkedIn in South Africa alone.

In general there seems to be a mixed opinion about a CEO having a blog. Some believe it to be something they should only engage in once they have the time to manage it correctly (which may never happen) and others seem uninterested. There is a small group of blogging CEO’s who are embracing this new communication style and using it very effectively to engage with employees and customers.

Think of a blog as a place to drive company vision, address general concerns, highlight great stories about customers and to educate your employees on matters that concern your business.

Zappo’s CEO’s have also used their blog to update employees on the progress of specific projects and achievements. I would like to suggest taking a look at the CEO & COO blog for Zappo’s to see how they have successfully used it to promote and communicate the vision of the business and deal with employee concerns about business changes – especially after the Amazon buy out. This is a great example of effectively using a blog as a business leader.

Blogs can also be used to improve your personal profile by blogging on specialized topics. As a CEO of a social media agency, I use my blog to promote the internet marketing industry I work in and recently Keith Coats used the TomorrowToday’s New World of Work blog to share his directive as a “story telling” CEO. Keith’s article was key to communicating his leadership style to the TomorrowToday team as he took the reigns as CEO.

So if you are planning to start a blog as the CEO of your organisation here are a few tips:

Use you blog to lead by example

Share examples of the type of leadership and work ethic you believe makes your organisation better. Highlight great customer experiences and new product breakthroughs. Don’t be shy to give credit where it is due.

Use your blog to educate and motivate

You can’t educate and motivate each person in your organisation personally but a blog does allow you an increased chance for your employees to hear your vision straight from you. You are also able to share insight into your motivations and by passing these on they usually inspire and motivate others.

Keep your blog personal and authentic

Don’t get your PA to write this for you. It’s value is that its from you. If you are not a strong writer then write the “essence” of the article and a basic structure and let someone edit it for you.

CEO Blogging

Reply to your comments

Replying to comments this will show people you care about your readers and that the opinion you share on your blog is actually yours.

 

To find out more about how to harness social technology in you business please take a look at our presentation “Social Reinvention

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Where are the jobs you promised: Universities sued by Gen Y graduates

Posted on: August 27th, 2011 by Graeme Codrington No Comments

This is a story I should not have enjoyed. I have many friends and family in higher education, and many colleagues whom I respect and admire, including two who have founded colleges. I know it’s a tough gig, and generally underpaid for the value it adds to society.

And yet, I can’t help but feel that many universities, especially those offering professional qualifications that lead into the business world, have lost their way. With ever inflated claims as they compete more and more with each other, increasing business mindsets (read ‘profit motive’) in their structures and operations, and a cookie cutter approach to education, they are failing to adequately prepare a new generation of graduates for success in a rapidly changing business world.

They promise to generate innovators, business leaders and to ‘give you an edge’, but are none of these things themselves. I am generalising, of course, but this is definitely the norm. And it seems that the more successful the institution, the more likely it is to be conformist.

So, although I should be more supportive of my family, friends and colleagues in higher education, I did take some delight in a recent news story about a group of graduates who have decided to sue the universities they attended. The universities had made certain claims in their advertising, specifically about the jobs the graduates would get. Now graduated, the students have found no jobs, and so they’ve decided to sue. I should read this story and shake my head in disgust at an American litigious culture out of control (I think it is). I should also see it through a generational lens, and tell the students to suck it up and make their own future (they should).

But it is the generational lens that also causes me to love this story. Generation Y is unlike their Gen X older siblings who were more phlegmatic, reactive and pragmatic. This younger generation is not going to accept that they’re being handed a world that is less than the world their parents experienced. In America, and many other countries around the world, this will be the first time in many centuries that has happened. And Gen Y are not going to just accept that. They are not going to allow an older generation to use up the world’s resources – whether those are natural resources or jobs or societal assets – and leave scraps for them.

So, I like this story. They might not win, but this is an indication that a new generation is coming into political and social life, and they need to be taken seriously. The full story is at Washington Post, or read the Huffington Post summary here, or an extract below:

(more…)

Technology’s influence on our performance in the new world of work – part 1

Posted on: June 3rd, 2011 by admin-kablooey No Comments

The illiterate if the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn Alvin Toffler

I think Toffler’s words are insightful and profound; and I agree with him.

According to Donald Tapscott,author of Growing Up Digital: the Rise of the Net-Generation

today marks the first time in history that children are outpacing and overtaking adults on the technology track; parents, teachers, and other adults are looking to children for help with computers and computing. In Finland, for example, the government has chosen 5,000 N-Geners to teach the country’s educators how to use computers! Tapscott contends that the “N-Gen is transforming the new media from a cult enclave to a cacophonous cauldron of millions. Through their massive demographic muscle and unconstrained minds, N-Geners are creating a new world”. This world is one in which any idea, regardless of how threatening it may be to the contemporary social order, has voice and can spur radical views on such topics as business and the process of democratic governance.

Tapscott believes that N-Geners will soon want power in every domain and will take it. Using data from Internet discussions with approximately 300 youngsters between the ages of 4 and 20, he examines the characteristics of N-Geners as well as their role in the “new” world; he then discusses the implications of technology and the N-Gen on our changing culture. How will non-N-Geners fare in the future? Will they be able to share power? Will they have the courage to accept the N-Gen and its culture and media? Tapscott delves into these issues as he examines what it is like to grow up digital.

According to Tapscott, N-Gen kids think, learn, work, play, communicate, shop, and create in fundamentally different ways than their baby boomer parents. He identifies the following ten characteristics of N-Gen culture and advises educators to take each into account as they rethink teaching and learning:

  • Fierce independence: a strong sense of autonomy derived from active roles as information seekers rather than passive information recipients;
  • Emotional and intellectual openness: a priority for those with Web pages and chat rooms through which they explore and expose who they really are;
  • Inclusion: evidenced in the way children from different cultures meet, collaborate, and accept each other as never before;
  • Free expression and strong views: the result of access to a wide range of ideas, opinions, and arguments;
  • Innovation: encouraged by constant exposure to ways of doing things differently and better;
  • Preoccupation with maturity: the need to be taken seriously based on ideas and capability rather than age;
  • Investigation: a strong ethos of curiosity and empowerment to change things;
  • Immediacy: the expectation that things will happen quickly (because in the N-Gen world, they do);
  • Sensitivity to corporate interest: the awareness and avoidance of controlling and exploitative businesses; and
  • Authentication and trust: the continual questioning of the veracity of what is on the Web.

“Kids look at computers the same way boomers look at TV. This shift from a broadcast medium (television) to an interactive medium (the Net) signals a ‘generation lap’ in which the N-Gen is lapping its parents on the ‘info-track.’ We don’t marvel at the technology or wonder how television transfers video and audio through thin air, we simply watch the screen. TV is a fact of life. So it is with kids and computers”. What does this mean when we consider the larger context of how we prepare kids in school and what they need to learn to become contributing members of society? When and how should children interact with technology both at school and at home?

The current delivery system is designed around the broadcast model, in which lecture, text, and homework assignments are centralized, delivered unilaterally, and based on pre-designed structures that work best for a mass audience. Tapscott believes that learning should be customized, student-centered, and non-linear, with teachers acting as motivators and facilitators of learning rather than transmitters of information. In such an interactive environment, construction and discovery replace traditional instruction and learning becomes a lifelong endeavor. Tapscott states that the “new media enable—and the N-Gen needs for learning demand—a shift from broadcast learning to what I call Interactive Learning”

In response to questions posed regarding the impact of technology, most notably social media, I think about where this is all going and what it is going to look like in say 10 years time. I also wonder what kind of divide technology and social media is going to further create between developed and under-developed brains, which will be dependent on accessibility. But most importantly I wonder what kind of impact this is going to have on:

  1. developmental skills and abilities in infants
  2. education and learning
  3. socialization
  4. physical health

The four topics above shall be the headings for my next four blogs. These are big questions that will have an impact on performance and productivity of talent in the new world of work in to the future.

I just want to make it clear that I am pro progression, change, evolution, technology; and social media, I am just interested in where it is all leading us and it’s best to be informed.

 

 


Technology's influence on our performance in the new world of work – part 1

Posted on: June 3rd, 2011 by admin-kablooey No Comments

The illiterate if the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn Alvin Toffler

I think Toffler’s words are insightful and profound; and I agree with him.

According to Donald Tapscott,author of Growing Up Digital: the Rise of the Net-Generation

today marks the first time in history that children are outpacing and overtaking adults on the technology track; parents, teachers, and other adults are looking to children for help with computers and computing. In Finland, for example, the government has chosen 5,000 N-Geners to teach the country’s educators how to use computers! Tapscott contends that the “N-Gen is transforming the new media from a cult enclave to a cacophonous cauldron of millions. Through their massive demographic muscle and unconstrained minds, N-Geners are creating a new world”. This world is one in which any idea, regardless of how threatening it may be to the contemporary social order, has voice and can spur radical views on such topics as business and the process of democratic governance.

Tapscott believes that N-Geners will soon want power in every domain and will take it. Using data from Internet discussions with approximately 300 youngsters between the ages of 4 and 20, he examines the characteristics of N-Geners as well as their role in the “new” world; he then discusses the implications of technology and the N-Gen on our changing culture. How will non-N-Geners fare in the future? Will they be able to share power? Will they have the courage to accept the N-Gen and its culture and media? Tapscott delves into these issues as he examines what it is like to grow up digital.

According to Tapscott, N-Gen kids think, learn, work, play, communicate, shop, and create in fundamentally different ways than their baby boomer parents. He identifies the following ten characteristics of N-Gen culture and advises educators to take each into account as they rethink teaching and learning:

  • Fierce independence: a strong sense of autonomy derived from active roles as information seekers rather than passive information recipients;
  • Emotional and intellectual openness: a priority for those with Web pages and chat rooms through which they explore and expose who they really are;
  • Inclusion: evidenced in the way children from different cultures meet, collaborate, and accept each other as never before;
  • Free expression and strong views: the result of access to a wide range of ideas, opinions, and arguments;
  • Innovation: encouraged by constant exposure to ways of doing things differently and better;
  • Preoccupation with maturity: the need to be taken seriously based on ideas and capability rather than age;
  • Investigation: a strong ethos of curiosity and empowerment to change things;
  • Immediacy: the expectation that things will happen quickly (because in the N-Gen world, they do);
  • Sensitivity to corporate interest: the awareness and avoidance of controlling and exploitative businesses; and
  • Authentication and trust: the continual questioning of the veracity of what is on the Web.

“Kids look at computers the same way boomers look at TV. This shift from a broadcast medium (television) to an interactive medium (the Net) signals a ‘generation lap’ in which the N-Gen is lapping its parents on the ‘info-track.’ We don’t marvel at the technology or wonder how television transfers video and audio through thin air, we simply watch the screen. TV is a fact of life. So it is with kids and computers”. What does this mean when we consider the larger context of how we prepare kids in school and what they need to learn to become contributing members of society? When and how should children interact with technology both at school and at home?

The current delivery system is designed around the broadcast model, in which lecture, text, and homework assignments are centralized, delivered unilaterally, and based on pre-designed structures that work best for a mass audience. Tapscott believes that learning should be customized, student-centered, and non-linear, with teachers acting as motivators and facilitators of learning rather than transmitters of information. In such an interactive environment, construction and discovery replace traditional instruction and learning becomes a lifelong endeavor. Tapscott states that the “new media enable—and the N-Gen needs for learning demand—a shift from broadcast learning to what I call Interactive Learning”

In response to questions posed regarding the impact of technology, most notably social media, I think about where this is all going and what it is going to look like in say 10 years time. I also wonder what kind of divide technology and social media is going to further create between developed and under-developed brains, which will be dependent on accessibility. But most importantly I wonder what kind of impact this is going to have on:

  1. developmental skills and abilities in infants
  2. education and learning
  3. socialization
  4. physical health

The four topics above shall be the headings for my next four blogs. These are big questions that will have an impact on performance and productivity of talent in the new world of work in to the future.

I just want to make it clear that I am pro progression, change, evolution, technology; and social media, I am just interested in where it is all leading us and it’s best to be informed.

 

 


Short Study: Generation Y in South Africa

Posted on: March 2nd, 2011 by admin-kablooey 8 Comments

Over the last month Mike Saunders and a few associates ran a small study on Generation Y in South Africa. We interviewed 144 students with an average age of 18 years old. The gender split was 60% female and 40% male.

Generation-Y-in-South-AfricaThe findings were quite interesting and echoed many generalizations about generation Y.

In South Africa, Generation Y uses digital platforms for communication and prefer Facebook and BBM over any other communication tool. Email continues to lose its effectiveness as a communication vehicle with this generation.

Google is starting to lose search market share to Facebook as 50% of Gen Y chooses to use Facebook as a search engine over Google.

Although MXit is popular it’s loyalty is much lower (less than one hour a day) than Facebook (up to five hours per day).

When given the choice Gen Y chose the internet over magazines, their cellphone over the internet and tertiary education over their cell phone. They are also a healthy bunch of individuals choosing healthy food over junk food, restaurants over fast food and bottled water over fizzy drinks.

Click Here for a complete list of some of our findings

It’s not information overload – it’s filture failure

Posted on: February 16th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 3 Comments

The digital world is always inventing a new way for you to connect with people and for people to connect with you. To add to all this the information on the internet is becoming more and more complex to manage and organise information.

This does not seem to worry younger generations and digital influencers. These people just seem to have a handle on how to deal with all this information. They naturally organise and distrubute information into the digital and physical space without to much concern. However most of us need to get a handle on managing digital communication (email, cellphones, social media, instant messaging, skype and SMS.)

Managing Information Overload

Digital communication ALWAYS seems urgent to us. Something happens inside us when we get an email that compells us to stop what we’re doing and answer the email right away. Leading to a very unproductive lifestyle that is dictated to by email. Add to this all the other digital communication options and soon your life is over-run with ‘urgent’ requests from everyone everywhere. We lose control of our To Do lists, project management, personal time, and so much more.Filture Failure for managing information

I wrote about managing information overload on my blog a few weeks ago and got a few comment that may prove helpful to people looking to manage the influx of information and communication. To kick off here is a except from the blog post:

I don’t think that I have all the answers by any means but here are a few principles/technologies that I use to manage/filter the information that I am expected to consume each day.

  1. I use Google Reader to keep track of the blog I like reading – This saves me time because I am not distracted by advertising and additional ‘interesting’ articles by visiting the actual website. Google Reader allows me to subscribe to blogs and consume their content without wasting time on being distracted/redirected to other content
  2. I don’t push any email or social media updates to my phone - By constantly being interrupted by email and social media alerts I find I am always in a state of urgency to reply even thought the people on the other end do not expect an immediate reply. I find mobile email user amusing when they reply to my emails telling me that they received my email and will reply later as they are in a meeting. No one actually needs to be on their email 24hrs a day. They only need to ensure that they answer all their email. There is a difference!
  3. I use a content filter - There is a dark side to the internet and I got tired of bumping into it. Yes I know I am over 18 and can consume that sort of media but I just don’t want to. Pornography and violence don’t add anything good into my life and therefore I opted in for a content filter that would warn me of “the dark side.” Keeping my internet experience more enjoyable.
  4. Unsubscribe from facebook emails - you don’t need an email every time someone tags you in a photo. When you login to Facebook again you will be notified that someone tagged/poked/emailed or posted to a message. Fit your social media life on your schedule.

I recieved a comment from Elenor that adds a great tip on email management:

“Something I find very helpful is email filters. I apply rules, and auto-post out of my Inbox to folders for certain email addresses, and diarise a time when I will look at the contents of those folders. That way I always get to the emails, but at a date and time that I choose. (Eleanor)”

There are quite a few way to take control over your digital communication and information. My advice to to take control of it before it takes control of you.

Share your thoughts!

So in the spirit of sharing, have you got any information or communication management tips that you can share with us? We would love to hear from you.

MTV asks students about their digital lifestyle.

Posted on: February 8th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 1 Comment

MTV Online presenter Tom Thurlow went on the streets to ask students about their digital lifestyle. What mobiles are they carrying and why? Are they adopting Foursquare or Facebook Places? Do any of them still read newspapers or do they get all their news online?

Researching the Millennial Mind with @carol_phillips

Posted on: December 6th, 2010 by admin-kablooey 3 Comments

Carol Phillips is someone I follow on Twitter. If you’re looking for insights and great thoughts around Marketing and Generational Theory, then she’s definitely worth following.

This week she uploaded a presentation onto Slide Share titled, ‘Researching the Millennial Mind‘. You can watch the presentation below, or click directly into Slide Share using the two previous links.

Of course it’s not the same as hearing from her directly, but there are some interesting thoughts for Marketers included on some of the slides.

I’ve been talent managed!

Posted on: December 2nd, 2010 by admin-kablooey 1 Comment

I’ve just had to update my profile on the new TomorrowToday website as my role within the company is changing from a client manager / sales position to an operational one.

As I was updating my profile I realized that I’m coming up for 3 years working with TomorrowToday.  If any of our readers have heard Barrie presenting on ‘Talent” you’ll know he talks to companies generally not being able to hold on to Generation X for more than 2 to 3 years before they move on – not because they’re unhappy, but because that’s what us Gen Xers do.

We also know that just because a Gen X has had a very successful 2 years in your marketing department, but that this doesn’t mean that they’ll stick with marketing as a career path – in fact chances are their next position will be completely unrelated and you’ll find them in the IT department, as the social media consultant or the heading up a call centre in India next.

In his presentation, Barrie goes on to suggest that because you are armed with this information on Gen X’s behaviour that one suggestion is for companies to rather create a position within their company for the Gen X who would be moving on looking for a new adventure regardless.

So… I’m wondering whether the fact that I’m a Gen X and that I’ve been with TomorrowToday for almost 3 years has got anything to do with a new position being created for me? Have they just talent managed me without me even realizing. Just goes to show – whether it’s been a conscience decision or not – these guys don’t just talk the talk, but put into action their advice for other companies. Keeps me happy!

What’s your digital lifestyle?

Posted on: December 1st, 2010 by admin-kablooey 6 Comments

I am a firm believer that every person hasa certian level of digital integration in their lifestyle. The is something in almost all of us that uses the digital landscape in someway or another. This is what excites me about digital media – its different for everyone.

Each person experiences the digital landscape in their own way, from their own vantage point and with their own personal agenda. This is the Consumer 2.0 I have spoken about before. I go into this in more detail in our presentation but I wanted to share a bit of insight into a study by TNS Surveys which outlines six digital lifestyles. These are:

INFLUENCERS

The internet is an integral part of my life. I’m young and a big mobile Internet user and generally access everywhere, all of the time. I’m a blogger, a passionate social networker with many social network friends. I’m also a big online shopper, even via my mobile. I want to make sure as many people as possible hear my online voice.

COMMUNICATORS

I just love talking and expressing myself, whether that’s face to face, on a fixed line, mobile or on social networking sites, instant messaging or just emailing people. I really want to express myself in the online world in the way that I can’t in the offline one. I tend to be a smart phone user and I’m connecting online from my mobile, at home, at work or at college.

KNOWLEDGE-SEEKERS

I use the internet to gain knowledge, information and to educate myself about the world. I’m not very interested in social networking but I do want to hear from like-minded people especially to help me make purchase decisions. I’m very interested in the latest thing.

NETWORKERS

The internet is important for me to establish and maintain relationships. I have a busy life whether it’s my profession or managing the home. I use things like social networking to keep in touch with people I wouldn’t have time to otherwise. I’m a big home internet home user and I’m very open to talking to brands and looking for promotions. That said I’m not really the kind of person to voice my opinions online.

ASPIRERS

I’m looking to create a personal space online. I’m very new to the Internet and I’m accessing via mobile and internet cafes but mostly from home. I’m not doing a great deal at the moment online but I’m desperate to do more of everything, especially from a mobile device.

FUNCTIONALS

The internet is a functional tool, I don’t want to express myself online. I like emailing, checking the news, sport & weather but also online shopping. I’m really not interested in anything new (like social networking )and I am worried about data privacy and security. I am older and have been using the internet for a long time.

Which one are you?

I would love to hear your comments on which digital lifestyle most described you. Feel free to comment. Thank you

Calling out to those connecting to – and connected to – call centres

Posted on: October 20th, 2010 by admin-kablooey 1 Comment

“Call centres are the electronic assembly lines of the new economy” – Phil Jennings, Union Network International

The last few months have been a busy and exciting time for Tomorrow Training. We have been up to a lot of good things, which have been really fun and educational and so it is not always easy to decide what to talk about. But after some deliberation I have decided to talk about call centres, since they are such a prominent part of how we do business today.

Call centres became widely used in South Africa in the 1980s although one could argue they have their origins in the humble ‘telephone exchange’, which was used in South Africa even up until the 1960s. Their wide-spread use, globally, coincided with the quickly emergent Computer and IT industries, as companies needed to set up ‘support centres’ or ‘HelpDesks’ as they came to be known. These centres promptly came to be seen as useful in promoting efficiency for communication between the inside and outside of the business. To a large extent, they really have changed the face of how companies interact with their clients or customers (although the use of social media is now becoming increasingly popular in some sectors). Essentially the need for call centres rose out of massive and relatively fast population growth globally, increased competition, and a major increase in the volume of activity necessitating communication between big organisations and their clients. Simultaneously, conglomerates were being developed, multi-national corporations became more widespread and mergers, both national and international, took place.  So much so that in South Africa in the mid-1980s about 500 people were employed as call centre agents. However, it was in the 1990s that call centres really ‘took off’ in South Africa with companies like M-Net (later to become MultiChoice), Eskom, ABSA Bank, Standard Bank and First National Bank pioneering this sector.  Today there are about 150 000 people employed in call centres across South Africa (although the majority are in Gauteng); and this sector is currently one of the fastest growing economic sectors in South Africa, according to the Department of Trade and Industry. (more…)

An Open Letter To Boomer Bosses Everywhere:

Posted on: October 20th, 2010 by Keith Coats 2 Comments

Dear Wally, (if the name fits or even if it doesn’t…)

I need to speak to you on an important issue.  For some time I have been watching a tsunami looming large on the horizon and it seems that the majority of corporate leaders I get to engage with remain oblivious to the impending danger.  It seems that they continue to believe that the impressive sand castles they have been building on the beach will remain untouched by this looming threat. They won’t.

May I suggest that, regardless of whatever name you go by, that for now you consider ‘Wally’ to be the name that fits best – and I will do the same. Whilst I don’t regard myself as some sort of contemporary Paul Revere, his mission certainly comes to mind as I write to you. Thankfully my means of getting the message out is not dependent on a horse (in his case several horses), my riding skills and ability to navigate the route. Yet, with the same urgency and earnestness of Mr. Revere I write to warn you of an impending danger to the way you live your business. And like Paul Revere, I hope that this too might contribute to a tipping point of awareness that saves the day!

For some time, many have peddled the attraction and retention of  ‘Talent’ as the most significant corporate strategic challenge. The ‘war for talent’, as originally framed by McKinsey’s, was as recently as last year verified as the number one challenge by a global survey and research project done by the Boston Consultancy Group. Of course, this agenda item has played out in different ways and forms depending on where exactly in the world Wally finds himself. This undoubtedly remains a significant strategic challenge and is fuelled by a generational demographic shift that needs to be understood if the threat is to be countered.

But it is not this challenge that I wish to warn you about, although the new threat is not entirely unrelated to the generational shift that is taking place. (more…)

How Gen Y sees the Gen gap

Posted on: March 20th, 2010 by Graeme Codrington No Comments

The 11 March 2010 edition of the TIME magazine had a great cover article on “10 ideas for the next 10 years“. In the same edition, Nancy Gibbs (who has often written on generational issues for TIME), wrote an interesting short piece on how young people perceive the generation gap these days. It’s an interesting mix of articles, as it actually helps to prove the point she’s making.

At one level, there is less of a gap than ever before. Parents and young people today wear similar clothes, listen to similar music (even go to concerts together), watch the same movies and use similar technology. But, Gibbs argues, there is a big divide in world views – maybe bigger than there has ever been. It’s about how we see the future and how we embrace it, too. It isn’t just what technology you use – it’s also how you use it, and why. That’s where the biggest divide comes.

Read her article here, or an extract below.

(more…)

You're going to have to change your management style

Posted on: March 17th, 2010 by admin-kablooey No Comments

I spend a large part of my year in conversation with managers working hard to try and understand today’s younger workforce. The pain they’re feeling is palpable. The evidence of change is overwhelming. Making the necessary changes, at times, seems impossible. The hope is that the challenges are being interrogated and slowly but surely acted on.

Business Week has a great article called, Working with China’s Generation Y. It’s a well written article that does a fantastic job describing a younger workforce entering today’s business world in China.

In urban China, Gen Y is a group of exceptionally talented people. No other generation in Chinese history has received such high-quality education for so many people. Chinese Gen Ys are single children born under China’s one-child policy. According to studies such as those by Posten and Falbo of the Guttmacher Institute, China’s solo children perform significantly better academically than peers with siblings. These single children have grown up in traditional extended families (including four grandparents and two parents), under pressure since kindergarten to pass entrance exams. This means that the child’s educational performance has been a top priority for six adults.

The article describes the different approach of this younger set and the challenges that face today’s managers (Baby Boomers and Generation X).

For Gen Y, the good boss is like a kung-fu master who stays in the background, teaching through small hints. The good boss is highly available to his employee and has trust in them. He is balanced and nonemotional. He knows how to share his skills without talking much but rather expresses himself in the right dose, at the right time and place. It is not about telling workers what to do but waiting for the right time to drop by their desk and ask: “Have you asked yourself X? Perhaps you might have tried Y?” Difficult to achieve? Yes, but it is important to show Gen Y why they should respect their boss—and then they will.

I often get the sense that the current set of managers are caught between the reality that they will have to adapt their management style, but also hoping (pleading) that this younger set will do the the adapting, instead of the other way around. Attachment to ‘how it’s always been done’ is a powerful anchor for many managers not wanting to do the work required to make the necessary changes.

Bottom line is that change is required in order to ensure a successful business into the future. It may take some time, but it will have to happen. Today’s younger set will not, and can not change sufficiently. For one, they don’t have a view of ‘how it’s always been done’. They only know who they are, and are going to need those older than them to do the shifting.

You’re going to have to change your management style

Posted on: March 17th, 2010 by admin-kablooey No Comments

I spend a large part of my year in conversation with managers working hard to try and understand today’s younger workforce. The pain they’re feeling is palpable. The evidence of change is overwhelming. Making the necessary changes, at times, seems impossible. The hope is that the challenges are being interrogated and slowly but surely acted on.

Business Week has a great article called, Working with China’s Generation Y. It’s a well written article that does a fantastic job describing a younger workforce entering today’s business world in China.

In urban China, Gen Y is a group of exceptionally talented people. No other generation in Chinese history has received such high-quality education for so many people. Chinese Gen Ys are single children born under China’s one-child policy. According to studies such as those by Posten and Falbo of the Guttmacher Institute, China’s solo children perform significantly better academically than peers with siblings. These single children have grown up in traditional extended families (including four grandparents and two parents), under pressure since kindergarten to pass entrance exams. This means that the child’s educational performance has been a top priority for six adults.

The article describes the different approach of this younger set and the challenges that face today’s managers (Baby Boomers and Generation X).

For Gen Y, the good boss is like a kung-fu master who stays in the background, teaching through small hints. The good boss is highly available to his employee and has trust in them. He is balanced and nonemotional. He knows how to share his skills without talking much but rather expresses himself in the right dose, at the right time and place. It is not about telling workers what to do but waiting for the right time to drop by their desk and ask: “Have you asked yourself X? Perhaps you might have tried Y?” Difficult to achieve? Yes, but it is important to show Gen Y why they should respect their boss—and then they will.

I often get the sense that the current set of managers are caught between the reality that they will have to adapt their management style, but also hoping (pleading) that this younger set will do the the adapting, instead of the other way around. Attachment to ‘how it’s always been done’ is a powerful anchor for many managers not wanting to do the work required to make the necessary changes.

Bottom line is that change is required in order to ensure a successful business into the future. It may take some time, but it will have to happen. Today’s younger set will not, and can not change sufficiently. For one, they don’t have a view of ‘how it’s always been done’. They only know who they are, and are going to need those older than them to do the shifting.

Gen Y in Japan not consumerising

Posted on: February 15th, 2010 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Interesting article from CNN Go Asia on 8 Feb 2010 about Japanese Gen Y simply not buying.

How times have changed. Japan’s Generation Y have become famous for hating to buy anything. They were first reluctant to buy cars. And now we find out that Japanese youth are also disinterested in motorbikes. Sales for 2009 were a mere 10% of the market’s peak some 23 years ago.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this younger set are different. Generational Theory suggests that each generation, based on the world they grow up in, develop a set of values that in places are different to the generations before them, and those to follow.

I guess what can be surprising is just how different they are! The challenge from a marketing and product development perspective is trying to read these trends and shifts in order to respond accordingly and quickly. Around the world, in most countries this market segment is a large segment. They’re large in number and in wallet size. Not seeing their changing needs and wants can be be detrimental to any business setting their sights on them to secure future growth and revenue.

In most developed world economies there is still a healthy baby boomer population to support short term sales and growth, but once they begin to exit the economy, business is going to have to pander to the younger set coming through. The developing world economies don’t have that luxury. They need to adapt and adjust to these young people NOW!

As this article suggests, this particular group in this particular country are not simply interested in a different colour, shape and size. They’re fundamentally different. Business is going to have to radically change how it goes about what it does, or hope and pray like crazy that they’ll change their world view. Fat chance in my opinion.

Loving Gen Y

Posted on: September 4th, 2009 by Dean van Leeuwen 1 Comment

Lindsey Pollack give 5 reasons why she loves Gen Y: They bring up things that never occur to her, are just tech-ier; understand personal branding; not really into the 9 to 5 and have phenomenal energy. You can read why Lindsey loves her Gen Y assistant below or follow the link: Why I love Gen Y

I recently hired a part-time assistant to help me get a bit more organized. As someone who studies generational relationships in the workplace, I was curious to learn how my personal experience as a Gen X-er managing a Gen Y-er would compare to other people’s experiences. Though we’ve only worked together for a couple weeks, I couldn’t be happier with the arrangement. Aside from the obvious advantages of working with someone younger (she tells me when I need to ramp up the cool factor in my speeches and blog posts), here are the top five reasons I love my Millennial employee:
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