How young business people are out thinking older business people

 

 

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young innocence decisions context inspires

“The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they – at some distant point in the future – will take over the reigns.

Yet the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely …  because the rest of us need all the energy, brains, imagination and talent that young people can bring to bear down on our difficulties.

For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.”

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Alvin Toffler

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“What old people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can.

Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new.”

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Henry David Thoreau

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I have an entire white paper coming up on what I consider the new business model businesses need to be pursuing in order to be successful <and how it is different from what my 50something generation typically espouses>.

 

 

That said.

 

 

young people smarter egg contextSuffice it to say that young business people are instinctually being smarter than older business people in today’s business world. Notice I didn’t say they were smarter … just instinctually smarter.

 

This is driving older business people crazy because they are confusing instinctual with naiveté or ‘unable to rationalize’ what they believe … and they are disregarding what the young have to offer … at great peril.

 

 

 

Here is where young business people are outsmarting us older business people.

 

 

Young people tend to instinctively understand that:

 

 

– Peak performance is contextual <and inherently more difficult to replicate>

 

 

And.

 

 

 

– Tactics are contextual <and therefore cannot simply be implemented as standard operating procedure … and expect similar results>.

 
This instinctual understanding drives a different strategy and, most importantly, a different attitude toward implementation.

 

context matters

This instinctual understanding of context derives a couple of important benefits to compete in today’s business world:

 

 

 

–  Speed to market.

 

 

This is an easy one. Young people inherently think ‘get there fast before someone else does’ … but older business people hate this because they think ‘get to market smarter.’

 

<note: they are actually not mutually exclusive>

 

 

Too hasty means increased risk to 50something business people. Older managers invest inordinate energy in the planning and development where young people would rather invest the energy and investment into the implementation and learn & adapt.

 

Oh.

 

 

Chafing occurs not just because of speed to market difference but also allocation of resources.

 

Old people use up all their funds upfront. Young people use up their funds in implementation <learning & adapting>.

 

 

 

–      Increased array of tactics to implement.

 

 

Whew. This one is so often overlooked … but … young people are so far ahead of us older people attitudinally & in action it scares the bejeezus out of <most> older business people.

 

 

Older people think & plan and craft tactics with care. And as they do so … the ‘not best of the best’ <but still good to best> are set aside … thrown in some corner … never to see the light of day again.

 

Old ideas are old ideas.

Discarded ideas are ‘not good enough then so won’t be good enough now.’

 

Therefore a limited number of tactics are arrived at and once they have earned some ‘success’ they are used over and over again <regardless of the context>.

 

Young people instinctually understand context and don’t discard ideas … simply find the right context for an idea. The number of arrows in their quiver is typically exponentially bigger than an older managers’.

 

 

And not all arrows are meant for the same competition. And they are willing to shoot an arrow at any time with limited effort … and they don’t measure an arrow simply against did it hit the bulls eye but rather was the arrow more effective in that weather, at what distance, against what competition and whatever environmental contextual factor which could have impacted the flight and effectiveness of the arrow.
Oh.

 

 

And rather than older managers … they don’t use the contextual information as an excuse for why the one tactic <or the few they so carefully crafted> wasn’t as effective <or was effective> they use the information to more accurately select the next correct arrow.

 

 

Now.

 

 

This instinctual thinking does create some issues <practically speaking as well as 50something issues>:

 

 

 

It sure looks unclear.

 

 

Well.

 

Because it is mostly instinctual thinking and not experience driven it can be difficult to explain. And if it is difficult to explain then … well … it is difficult to clearly understand <move it from concept to reality>

Uh oh.

 

People fear what they do not understand.

 

old people context angry at young

The young can sense the right thing to do but when cornered by some crabby 50something they struggle to rationalize or explain the true merits … as well as struggle to explain how it can be done. Therein lies a challenge … well … because the 50something isn’t sure how it can be done <even with sensing the merits> either.

 
This gets frustrating on all sides.

 

 

But.

 

 

Anything new … including a new way of doing business … doesn’t come with a ‘how to’ manual. It takes shaping & crafting & learning & adapting. And this means both generations giving a little and getting a little.

 

 

Regardless.

 

 

While I do note this is a negative, or a challenge, I believe it is the responsibility of the older generation of business people to not only recognize the truth <instead of sliding down into some tired & trite diatribe about the ‘entitled youth’> and ‘fill out’ their instinctual thinking and design the better way to implement for the future of business.

 

 

<note: this is a 50something skill set which not all of us 50somethings embrace: http://brucemctague.com/older-experienced-people-and-transformational-hires  >

 

 

 

It sure looks like chaos.

 

 

<50something questions … typically said with a condescending tone>

How do you know what to do? What plan to do we show everyone beforehand? How can we tell if we implemented the plan we wanted? How do we budget? How do we know what to use the money for? What happens if we run out of budget?

 

 

Question after question after question.

 

What it all comes back to is not having a specific implementation plan which everyone can … well … plan around so they can implement the plan.

 

 

It is not chaos.

 

Not even close.

SmartBaby answer

In fact while the tactics may be amorphous and the implementation ongoingly inconsistent <following up where necessary & watching when appropriate> it all happens against a core strategy <that has never changed> and implementation actually follows the best information of the day.

 

 

50somethings like to plan and implement and sit back … gather information … maybe do something opportunistic here or there … and then invest gobs of energy justifying the plan developed way back in the way back machine.

 

No wonder they think this looks like chaos.

 

 

Silly. Insecure. Pick a word for the 50somethings.

 

 

We have the experience, more so than the young, to scan the learnings and actually be smarter about the actual adapting. We have the experience to know that ‘structure’ can show up in a variety of forms and that a plan <the old way> was simply an easy construct … but <if we are honest> not always the most effective construct.

 

 

The young business person may struggle to articulate the value of this ‘plan of action’ but we 50somethings certainly can, an should, see the beautiful construct rather than simply hear chaos in our heads.

 

 

It sure seems costly.

 

 

Whew.

 

All this ‘execution development on-the-fly’ and adapt & learn sounds like it is really costly.

 

Well.

 

No <it is not more costly than the old way of doing things>.

 

 

Yes only to a 50something. Why? The old way was to set aside money and think and then develop and then implement. Each phase had a cost & a budget and you developed a plan against the budget. It was … well … manageable. Maybe not the most effective but it insured <theoretically> that dollars were prudently allocated and used.

 

 

In the new world the bulk of dollars gets shifted from development to implementation.

 

The high cost perception gets attached to the perception of ‘no plan to work against.’

 

compete connect smart

I will admit that it certainly takes a different cost & budget management ability … but it is not more costly. In fact … I could argue that it is more efficient in that you are more likely to maximize the effectiveness of each implementation dollar.

 

 

I hesitate to suggest 50somethings struggling with this that they should think of this as managing the opportunistic portion of their budgets … but in this case the opportunistic reflects the bulk of your implementation budget. I hesitate because in my experience opportunistic is anything but … it is a slow process to ‘jump on’ some opportunity … where as I am now discussing real-time learn & adapt implementation.

 

 

But.

 

Bottom line.

 

 

It ain’t costly as long as if you decide to play this game to play it the way it was meant to be played. Fast & lots of shifting pieces & parts.

 

 

Look.

 

 

 

I get really grumpy with my generation of business people.

 

 

 

We 50somethings are missing the boat.

 

The businesses we are leading are being strangled with our attitudes, in general, or mislead with antiquated thinking.

 

Worse.

young old context business

We disregard the opportunity at hand – young people and their thinking process.

 

 

We tend to mis-define the young stated ‘instinctual’ attitude which only exacerbates the generational issues occurring in the workplace.

 

 

We should be using their instinctual thinking to inspire our experience to new heights an new challenges.

 

 

We sometimes have to make decisions without having knowledge or information we think we have to have <or maybe what we gathered in the past before executing>.

 

And if we 50somethings get our proverbial heads out of our asses … well … we ARE the asset in this situation.

 

 

It is our capabilities & experience to judge and assess what the right decision could be while moving forward where we prove our value to the young.

 

We shouldn’t impede but enhance.

 

We shouldn’t slow but improve on the move.

 

 

Maybe it isn’t our inability to let go of ‘the way it is supposed to be done’ that is the issue but rather we don’t have trust in ourselves in this new dynamic environment.

 

 

 

The young instinctually trust what they see should be done.

 

The 50somethings instinctually distrust what they see being done.

 

 

It’s crazy.

 

 

The young are out thinking us and all we are doing is slowing them down. We should be steering, encouraging and enhancing … and, frankly, learning a new way of doing things.context make things better young

 

 

As a 50something I tend to believe my generation of business people should be focusing on what we are doing to make things better rather than stifling those who do.

 

As a 50something I tend to believe my generation of business people should be focusing on what we are doing to make things better rather than trying to replicate the things of the past.

 

 

As a 50 something I tend to believe my generation of business people should be focusing on what we are doing to make things better by not worrying about whether we are the smartest & most experienced but rather enabling a new generation of smart thinkers to do great things even better.

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Written by Bruce