I attended a fabulous talk at the 92nd Street Y last night, not coincidentally conducted by my daughter, Lindsey. I thought I’d gotten a lot of this information through reading her book Becoming the Boss. But this time around my ears tuned in to other, well-described messages that keep replaying in my head.
Lindsey talked at length about the different generations in the marketplace today: the Silent Generation, Boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials. She helped her audience made up mostly of Millennials (especially on the left side of the room) to understand the impact of their preferences on each other. Fascinating stuff!
What Lindsey reminded me of was the value this young and mighty (the largest generation yet) population brings, particularly their tech and social media skills which are vitally important in today’s business environment.
According to Lindsey:
When Jack Welch was CEO of GE in the 90s and the Internet was just ramping up, he insisted on having an intern or young mentor help him understand it.
Lindsey recommends to the companies she addresses in her talks that the CEO have what is now called a “reverse mentor.”
I remember when my daughter-in-law was traveling with the CEO of her company, clearly a highly successful gentleman who knew his industry backwards and forwards. But during their travels he needed cash and had not yet learned how to work an ATM, relying on his young associate, without whom he was helpless that Saturday in a remote city.
Same thing with us Boomers. We need our young staff and/or vendors to bring their formidable skills to us. In return, more than money, they’re looking for training and development, flexibility and experience. Lindsey made this abundantly clear in her articulate, fascinating, humorous and intelligent talk. (Even if I weren’t her mother I’d have thought so!)