Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The new members of the workforce (Generation Y) have been criticised by their sense of entitlement and need for validation. These characteristics exist in the elder business strategist as well (baby boomers).

I overheard an interview with a young lady yesterday who spouted misnomers with mislead confidence. She had distinct opinions about everything. I was intrigued by her confidence but alarmed by how the elder interviewer did not help her navigate her opinions. There is no way that young lady would learn from the interview because the interviewer was too politically correct to deliver candid feedback. There is a way to help young professionals understand their need to adjust their strategy without shattering their confidence and aspirations.

In a similar vein, there are a group of retired gentlemen who gather at the coffee shop every morning to complain: the country is going to hell, these youngster don't even wear suits....! The common thread between Grandpa and his Daughter's Daughter? Motivation by discontent.

Why wake up everyday to prove your critics wrong? Why formulate a basis of motivation in insult of another's efforts? When was the last time you engaged in conversation with someone who spouted negativity and walked away enlightened?

The easy thing to do is stand back with arms crossed and criticize the efforts of others. The easy thing to do is wake up every day and formulate excuses for why we cannot be better for our failures. The blame game requires no genuine effort.

The ivory towers are crumbling and the new regime might not quite to ready for the world's extremes. One thing is certain: the more you let your lack of effort become an excuse, the closer you get to obscurity; whether your 21 or 72.

I have been that young person with distinct and mislead opinions and I came to learn that the opinions I expressed really were not my own. I think I have learned enough in my life not to become the bitter old man who lets his past guide his future. At some point, I stopped talking and started listening. I witnessed that those who I thought I was impressing with my bravado were smiling politely in hopes of ushering me away (not in validation of my opinions). I have made countless mistakes thinking I was doing the right thing, self-validating through tireless effort. The greatest lesson learned: if you are climbing the wrong mountain it matters not how hard you climb.

So as you ponder the dynamics of generational diversity in the workplace you may be better served pondering human similarities. If you are not receptive to candid self analysis you may be sliding down the mountain instead of climbing it. Seek sage like wisdom and take it with an appreciative grain of salt....you may realize that those dispensing advice are speaking to their own validation more than driving your motivation. Let your energy drive you through the day but be sure your intent is genuine. Sometimes we have to break our climb to catch the sunset and survey our footprints.

The world will be a better place if we can give and accept advice with the understanding that there are no certainties. It is, however, certain that all conclusions are easier to accept when we ponder potential based on our own actions. The best way to control your destiny is by understanding only you can control it. Excuses are unnecessary when you don't need them. It is more rewarding to climb the mountain with focus on the summit not fear of what is behind you.

Don't forget to remember!

- Dave

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