Creative solutions, Living innovation.

Gen Y Leadership Crisis?

Over the last couple of days I have run into a familiar theme several times.  These themes and thoughts sort of coalesced while I was roller blading this afternoon, so now you get to read about it.

Google SearchingWhile I was assisting in the preparation of a powerpoint for a seminar this week I was asked about a poem that was to be copied and handed out during the session.  The organizer only had an old printed version of the poem and said he would simply photocopy it for the group.  My instinctive reaction was, give me a couple lines and I'll google it, copy it into a new page, add some graphics, and there we have it, a fresh, possibly inspiring bit of copy.

Seems trivial, but the point here is that the organizer (a generation ahead of me) did not expect to be able to locate it.  His comment was: "With Google, I wonder why should anyone need to study anything or go to school for that matter?".  Of course the comment was in jest, but interesting.

I consider myself fairly computer literate and I participate in a number of social media connections, forums, webinars, chats, yada, yada, so I consider myself a light year beyond my previous generation, and a few light seconds beyond many of my peers.  Gen Y WorkstationStill, I watch how both my sons develop software and applications, how they use social media connections as an assumed collaborative tool, multiple windows open to unknown experts, and I have to admit that they are not just beyond me in their use of these tools, they think completely differently about them.  In the same way that I just assumed Google or Wikipedia, or something else would provide the answer I needed, this Generation Y views Social Media and the collaborative results with the same level of expectation.

As an experienced (slightly older) people manager, I think it's obvious that bringing Gen Y into our companies demands an intentional shift in how we approach the development of our products, deployment of services, and inspiration for innovation.  Gen YAs I browsed around reviewing management culture articles, I read many similar view points with some commenting directly on innovation and culture and how it will likely change as Gen Y increasingly takes on the leadership roles in our organizations.  If you've been noticing these changes creeping or stomping into your organization, you might want to check out the following two articles:

"Gen Y and Leadership in the Organisation" by Vineet Nayar's Blog in Search of New Leaders, or

Mitch Ditkoff's "Go Beyond your addiction to Incrementalism!" in Blogging Innovation.

I found them quite interesting points of view.