Generational Change in the Workplace
MindShift is a California organization focused on educating and demonstrating how we can utilize human capital more effectively to achieve positive results.
By MICHAEL GRAY
The world changes. So do we. There is an old saying in accounting that says, “The ship changes course, but the captain remains the same.”
I still don’t agree with that, but for what it’s worth, that old saying certainly isn’t complete nonsense. I know a lot of clients who work at a corporate job or in a small business that seems to change direction just because the economy changes direction. They don’t change their role, it’s just their goals change.
What if the top management could change the direction of their ships and then rotate into new leadership positions or carve out new positions while ensuring that they remained the same person they are today?
This scenario has worked for me, but as I become the principal of a post office in 2019, I’d like to think that these people are going to be a lot more strategic than they are now.
A review of their status is a good place to start. They are a lot like young people who have graduated college and are just starting their first job. They already have the basics, a good education and some experience, but they are lacking one major thing: leadership and perspective.
The part I mean by leadership and perspective is that if they are not very good or very lucky in what they want to be when they grow up, it isn’t going to happen. Everyone is different, but some qualities that make you better in your profession or in life than the next person come with experience.
I once asked the public relations people about my opinion of people in various professions. They said that it was hard to define good public relations people, but I knew they were all good in one way or another. I didn’t have anything to prove and they all just wanted to help communicate the message that each organization wanted to deliver.
I recently read a book about teaching careers, and it said that it’s difficult to be a high school teacher because every classroom is different. Our high school education plan and curriculum is not very consistent. When you compare it to many other countries, like Germany or Finland, the teacher is to always be the teacher.
We want to remove them from the classroom. Teachers put on a uniform and just teach their class, or no matter what they are required to do in each classroom. It is a huge transition to have each teacher in a classroom with 24 to 36 kids. If you can get that many kids together to be active in their lives then everything else is easier. But if you tell them to sit back and listen or be quiet, at first they won’t agree, then will complain and it takes them a couple of lessons before they’ll use their inner child.
The point is that there needs to be a transition period of some sort between when the teacher gets his uniform, then when he gets into the classroom. Most kids are not interested in education or the subject matter, so at that point, they already know how they are going to learn, so the teacher needs to be in a completely different role.
To that end, I thought of a phrase that I like to use in a firm where I work: “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”
The transferability of management is an opportunity that I still have to secure. I think you have a potential for great change, but only if the principals have the proper management structure.
With time and mentoring, they are going to learn the dynamics of how things get done. When they step into this new role, they are going to have tremendous impact in the firm. I know a client of mine who will need a new chairlift in a year, so she’s taking that seriously.
Michael Gray has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management from UC San Diego. He has 20 years of public relations, management, and coaching under his belt, and is the founder of Gray Communications. Contact him at [email protected]
MindShift is a California organization focused on educating and demonstrating how we can utilize human capital more effectively to achieve positive results. Visit www.mindshift.tv