In Part I of this exclusive three-part on-line series, we looked at why the intergeneration gap is widening and how the cultural characteristics/process side of the house drive success. In this article we bring our focus back to the people who live with intergenerational tension everyday—young leaders and their experienced counterparts. Both generations bring their strengths & weakness but the key for healthy co-existence is that both young and experienced leaders can leverage this generational gap to develop skills for future success.
The young leader
It goes without saying that young leaders are adept at technology, entrepreneurial spirit, structured problem solving and analytics. Young leaders should think of the intergenerational gap as a learning lab to hone skills to improve their promise and potential. We particularly focus our attention on nine qualities, which are organized in two parts. The first part is quality to be developed. The second part, leverage, explains how young leaders can seek value from the experienced partner.
Influence Leader: This is the key to professional success even at the CEO level. Great leaders change the hearts and minds of people through their vision—inspiring, motivating and guiding people through the process of change. It is the art of building and leveraging informal network of people and gaining alignment. It also includes being influenced and courage to change course when presented with new details.
Leverage: Change starts with you, your ability to inspire and mobilize experienced leaders. You can then leverage the experienced leader’s credibility and make them the voice of your change.
Effective Collaborator: Effective collaboration is about understanding that others need to accept and embrace your thinking. It is being cognizant about people’s needs, strengths, motivations, and striking a mutual “win-win”. It requires creating a mental-model of working solution (95 percent now versus 100 percent never), and drives simplicity in thinking. It is also about knowing that the central idea evolves with time and changing realities but the key is putting points on the board.
Leverage: Experienced leaders provide the opportunity to practice collaboration, drive solution simplicity, build credibility and develop deep understanding of essential and acceptable levels of change.
Technology Centrist: He/she practices moving away from technology as solutions to all problems, instead developing the art of finding areas of application and content of technology to solve business situations. She/he also demonstrates maturity of timing, organization readiness, its adoption success by being sensitive to people’s learning ability. Techno centrist understands balance between pace, pipeline of ideas and rapidly building on success.
Leverage: Experienced leaders provide the chronicles of success and failures, lessons learned, pulse of the organization, areas of opportunities and meaningful changes. They can help prioritize your initiatives effectively.
Ideation Master: Ideation mastery is about quality and impact of the ideation process. Being skillful at the art of understanding the current business process and using business acumen to pinpoint changes in the external landscape or where the future is headed is at the core of ideation mastery. It is then cleverly and uniquely combining people, process and technology to drive change.