Spanning the Generational Divide:

The why, what, how of the art of building a culture of co-existence


Problem Solving Capability: Resourceful & unique way to problem solve versus problems solving based on relevant experience

 

Characteristics of social engine of co-existence

  •  Culture, Performance Measures and Incentives: As with every philosophy, thinking, initiative it is critical to have a comprehensive look / re-look at the existing culture, players, their performance measures & incentives. Every journey starts with the right cultural set up, role redefinition, set up the of right performance measures. Experienced leaders should be measured on their ability to coach, mentor young leaders into matured future leaders, bring ideas to life & deriving future promised potential. The young leaders should be measured on their ability to collaborate with experienced leaders, influencing and being influenced, ideation process. Incentives should be in place to drive this behavior and monitored.
  •  Inclusion & Respect: Emphatic listening to all perspective ideas from all levels, providing value to conversation by Socratic style questioning, ensuring that people feel welcome in a dialogue and decision process is key to inclusiveness. To really walk the talk, leaders should deal firmly with people who don’t follow collaboration at all levels? Inclusion also creates powerful ideas which may not been possible otherwise as it creates environment where seemingly simple and non-workable ideas get refined, revised and redefined through positive dissention. Inclusiveness improves the ability to catch issues and potential lapse in thinking that may have otherwise skated through. It builds trust in people that their ideas are heard and will be worked on which improves the ideation process.
  • Leveraging strengths: A key skill, if well-developed ensures incredible success. It is critical to know not only your strengths but also the strengths of your team members. Like any good sport, play your role well, occasionally pushing and stretching yourself is key to winning games. Also know what motivates your team members and use it appropriately to get the best of them. One key to note is that no two individuals have same motivation and so your style should adapt. The biggest watch out in a team structure is the issue of role swap where an expert in one area starts playing the role of the other or think they can do others job. So beware of situations like this and approach stretch as a knowledge gaining exercise but not a knowledge mastery demonstration.
  • Working Better Together: Understanding the landscape, players, thinking what’s in it for them is key to working better together. Young and experienced leaders should always have a mental working model of what is absolutely critical to effectively think win-win.  Beware of over-engineering and practice 95 percent now versus 100 percent never, a key thought to get idea to market quickly without sacrificing quality and service. Personable and approachable style leadership, practicing taking high roads gets more followers, opens doors to work together and creates solutions which are more robust and sometimes considered infeasible.
  • Looking at world from someone’s perspective: It is human for people to judge others by their own framework that has been heavily influenced by their generation’s formative events, traits, characteristics and experiences. As a leader, both young and experienced should practice thinking from others perspective and ask the question “how would the other person think & why?” Though extremely difficult practice this by seeing the world from others viewpoint. This is a key leadership trait which helps in all business settings – be it understanding your customers intimately and devising appropriate offerings; envisioning new strategy; cross functional collaboration; inspirational leadership & motivating.
  •  Shared Vision & Goal: Working on the shared goal is all about putting team and company interests ahead of personal goals. Though seemingly simple, people always tend to forget this simple truth. Be open to taking blame for the team even if it’s not your fault and celebrate the wins together. This builds your reputation as a team player and builds credibility as a selfless leader. Successful implementation creates a domino effect of confidence and produces virtuous cycles of success.
  •  Two generations in Supply Chain: An experienced hand usually brings history, operational know- how, chronicles of past successes and failures and are important for the survival of the next generation of supply chain. The role of the young leader is to bring new ideas, optimism and fresh, diverse perspective to the process of decision making. We take a more in-depth look at the roles of the two generations in Part II.
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