JOIN THE REVOLUTION!
Todd Dewett | December 10, 2019
What a fascinating time to watch the shift in generations across the modern talent pool. To put it mildly, what was considered progressive just a few years ago will become an absolute expectation in the next few years.
Much has been said about what the younger generations value and what we must do to make them feel welcome. In short, it’s about creating more flexibility and inclusion – in everything! That includes dress code, work times and locations, career paths, time off, civic participation, voice in decisions, stronger ethical behavior, executive positions, and so on.
Meeting these demands will require hard work, creativity, and sacrifice. Organizations that don’t energetically get ahead of this curve will experience serious unnecessary pain. They will have trouble attracting younger diverse talent. They will watch the silver tsunami happen without the knowledge capture and knowledge transfer that is required. They will watch bad bosses who are allowed to survive ruin any progress that has been made.
Here is the tough prescription:
First, you not only have to be aggressive in recruiting younger diverse talent, you have to make a serious effort to promote this talent into management. If you want to build a new and improved workforce, shift your culture forward, and remain competitive – put some of these new folks in charge. Sure, you need to vet people accordingly, engage reasonable leadership development efforts, etc. Just don’t get too hung up on old precedents. If you spot great young talent, you want them to grow as fast as is reasonable for them to grow.
Consequently, your next task is to deal with any resistors among the current crop of middle managers and senior leaders. To be frank, there are only two camps here. One consists of talented good people who for whatever reasons are resisting this massive change taking place in your organization. With kindness and generosity, help them move on or retire. The second group are the people who get it, so empower them to work on making the transition as successful as possible.
The last step involves bad bosses. Whether young, old, black, white, male, female, or otherwise – they need to go. It’s true that as the modern leadership paradigm continues to evolve, we’ve gotten much better at finding, retraining, or releasing bad bosses. Now it’s time to kick this effort into overdrive. We spend most of our lives at work, so flip the standard now before it’s too late. The old standard was to find great talent and hope for great personality and team-oriented behaviors. Now you must vet first on personality, kindness, group orientation, etc., and then, of course, also vet for talent. No mean people or bullies allowed – period.
According to the demographers, sociologists, economists, and many types of other organizational experts, the revolution has already begun and can’t be stopped. The only question is how well your organization uses this reality to become a better version of itself. It’s going to be a fun twenty plus year ride – long live the revolution!