Generational transition is a natural part of evolution. And, right now, we are in the middle of a significant one. By 2020 75% of our workforce will be under the age of 40. The magnitude of this change has not been seen since the Boomers “came to power” 50 years ago.
History has shown that every generation is labeled as being different as they enter the workforce. But, the so called Millennial generation, and the Z Generation / Plurals that will follow them, are different and as leaders we need to not only recognize these differences but also realize that corporate cultures and organizational structures have to evolve.
In my opinion, the question history will ask of present day leaders is, how well did we grow and evolve the way all think, do and lead, therein preparing the next generation to lead and assure future business growth?
So the question we have to address is “how do we keep the plane flying while we re-engineer it for a new type of fuel?”
We, as leaders, have to be willing to be flexible and adapt our businesses to a new digital consciousness. It is not productive to blame Millennials or reduce the issue to “they don’t have the soft skills they need”. We need to recognize we all need a bit of “reprogramming” if we are to successfully recruit and retain, not only the Millennials, but our existing more experienced talent.
For transition to succeed we need to rethink our organizational structures and perhaps go back to basics and pull lessons from the Berkana Institute’s Lifecycle of Emergence — without massive disruption.
“Change never happens successfully as a result of top-down, preconceived strategic plans, or from the mandate of any single individual or boss. Change begins as local actions spring up simultaneously in many different areas. When these changes become connected local actions can emerge as a powerful system with influence at a more large scale or comprehensive level.” (Principles of Healthy Living Systems, The Berkana Institute, 2006.)
Gaynor Strachan Chun is Co-Founder of TCoY: The Culture of You. A company focused on helping youth, young adults, and the next generation of leaders develop the skills needs to better navigate life’s big transition and our changing culture and workplace. To do so, we create and curate, self-directed learning courses, interactive curriculum for education platforms and professional development labs/workshops for workplaces. TCoY is an inter-generational, inter-disciplinary, diverse team with extensive expertise in media, entertainment, youth studies, and graduate education.