Among young people, our hope, our challenge.

I’m on O’ahu right now, madly dashing from one place to another doing my biz-thing.

When I’m here I stay with my daughter, who at twenty is taking on the world in the “big city,” amazing me with her intelligence, bravery and independence with each choice, each action. Her friends and peers are those in this new generation that Doug talked about in his Ho’ohana comment. Every time I’m here with her, living briefly in her world, I am grateful for the chance I have to be reeducated – perhaps I should say enlightened – on the expectations she and her friends have.

I couldn’t agree with Doug’s words more, that these young people are “well educated, ambitious, and have a decent work ethic.” I’ve found that they have a terrific work ethic – when they are given the opportunity to engage wholeheartedly in the jobs they take, jobs they think of as partnerships, as career builders, and as investments in their future.

To Doug’s list of attributes I would add impatience, as a good and positive thing. They value their time and don’t like wasting it. They know what they want (they have watched us very carefully, and they have reached some definite conclusions!) and they see no reason why they can’t have those things much sooner if they work for them.

And they’re right.

Now here’s the rub: for now, they are stuck with us, an older generation that may be stuck in some old ways, at the helm of places that will hire them. What else did Doug say?

Additionally, the generational differences in terms of values, behaviors, expectations, etc. are significant and employers need to recognize and plan for that in the way they manage the generational diversity.

This suggests to me huge opportunities to make positive changes in our workplaces to take advantage of the emerging diversity.

I couldn’t say it better, but I had to highlight Doug’s words with the evidence of my own experience – not past experience, but what I’m seeing daily – because folks, we have to pay attention! We have to respond. We have to grab this chance we have to reinvent the workplace.

We won’t just be doing it for them, we’ll be doing it for ourselves too. They want us to be efficient, they want us to be smarter, they want us to offer work value which equates to building their intellectual and emotional capacity, they want to be successful — aren’t these the same things we want?

So weigh in my friends: there are many of you out there reading this who are responding, doing great things in today’s marketplace. Share what you know: as Doug says, today’s workforce needs “to be managed differently.” What does that mean to you?

Comment lines are open …


  1. says

    Today’s workforce is going to manage itself, with inspiring leaders who won’t be held back by that old Dick and Jane world of the 20th century. Guys and gals are going to work side by side, together, as individuals but also as respected colleagues. I hope the gender wars stop…I hope this decade sees women come into their own, supported by strong men who aren’t threatened by them…and I hope that we can give our sons the strength they need to become the men these young girls want to work with — men who value their abilities as well as their femininity. It’s possible. I see it every day…a new world order. Hey, what’s not to like about that?

  2. Doug Murata says

    So my son isn’t the only one who is impatient…I am relieved to hear that. But the impatience attribute is unfortunately, a double-edged sword. It takes time and experience, and a few bad ones too, for the impatience to mature into a sense of urgency. That is how I characterize impatience that has been aged.
    It takes work and a lot of patience to help tutor and mentor the next generations. We of the earlier generations, especially if we are in management, have to find a systematic way to help the next generations find their way.
    We have to find ways to transfer our knowledge and experience to the next generations so they have the benefit of assimilating our know-how into their developing know-how. We can help accelerate their learning curve if we put some effort into it.
    That’s how knowledge transfer occurred in the old days…we have forgotten that somehow in this day of electronic information, real-time data, etc. We assume that having knowledge or information is sufficient. But true know-how isn’t only about knowledge acquisition…it’s about application as well.
    And that is where we come in…we can help the next generation learn how to apply and use their newly acquired knowledge. Without our help, they may have to stumble along “learning things the hard way”, as the old saying goes. This is an opportunity for reinvention…changing the way learning occurs in the workplace. This is how we can help create/increase intellectual capacity in our workplaces.
    Sorry if this posting sounds too abstract…just some ramblings on from a slightly frustrated parent trying to deal with with a son that is intelligent, impatient, ambitious, but not always willing to listen to the voice of experience.

  3. says

    Rosa! I just finished writing my December 31st post, cruised to your site and read this. Kindred Soul? In the universe of thought my friend, we are traveling very close.
    I flat out love this generation!! I would like nothing more than to flatten the resistance that stands (or slithers) in the way of their progress.