When it comes to discussions between Millennials and their IT Managers, "open" vs. "closed" is not just about technology any more, it's about mindset.
A new article in Accenture's Outlook magazine, "Does Your Company Have an IT Generation Gap?" lays out all the ways Millennials (the generation born between 1980 - 1995, 80-million strong, many of whom are now in their 20's at work) are seriously messing with the organizational status quo.
The zinger for me: "The way they use technology causes them to think and act differently." They're the first "entirely technologically savvy generation, " says consultant Cam Marston. "They act as if they were born with a new strand of DNA."
All of which old-school managers find pretty challenging. It's not that they're not smart, old-school managers. It's just that many of the systems, structures, protocols and policies that they helped create are now getting in the way of Millennials' nature to work faster, smarter, more creatively.
Time to get over it.
Most aren't, however, which may be the explanation for so much of the Millennial reporting being filled with scary scenarios and adversarial headlines:
Washington Post: "Boomers Had Their Day. Make Way for Millennials."
Radar Online: "A Call to Arms Against the Millennials"
Who's writing this stuff? Definitely not the leaders trying to create "The Enterprise of the Future" as we wrote about in our last post. They know you have to disrupt to innovate and there's no question Millennials are willing to oblige.
Manage. Control. Direct. Supervise. Those are verbs I've ditched from my old job description.
Bottom line: You have to transform yourself before you can allow others to help you transform your business.
Vision-setting. Letting go. Listening. Inspiring. Challenging. Tweaking. Supporting. Those are the characteristics I'm honing as I collaborate with talented people of all ages in this new economy who have new ways of thinking, doing and creating.
The Accenture article also reminds us that "high-performance businesses see uncertain economic times as an opportunity to tap into new sources of talent and to equip their people with the right capabilities to anticipate and satisfy changing customer needs."
Next to compelling business objectives and a clear strategic map, maybe the best capability senior leaders can offer Millennials is an open mind.
It's easy. Be transparent (post graphics courtesy of Norton's – very cool!). Be available for flat, frank conversations – online and off. Become aware of your own tech resistances and gently let go of them. Tinker with the most interesting stuff at midnight. And most importantly, learn to laugh at, value and leverage M's new of ways of working. As Robert Lanham describes in his above Radar Online piece: "They think updating a spreadsheet while posting to a Twitter account about gossip on perezhilton.com is an essential corporate skill."
Could be. I've been doing a lot of things the same way for a long time, so it's worth the shot.