Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Latest Installment

As in, I haven't written anything in a while...it's now pent up. And a certain double-meaning derives from the fact that I have just met with the most recent class of Co-op students getting ready to enter the job search cycle.

No apologies for not having written. It's the first two months of a new job and that over-ruled several other priorities.

What I want to remark upon is the tremendous quality of the preparation that students have put forth. We have been reviewing their resumes for grading purposes and I can say that I have been very pleasantly surprised. I see order and attention to the requirements which may not always have been evident before. Congratulations to this class.

Having just returned from a CAFCE event in Winnipeg, we were able to learn from some experts int he field about the nature and nurture of the upcoming Generation Y. What I remember specifically about the characterization of these people is their reliance upon their parents for guidance and nurturing and the social and workplace habits that result in them having a dependance in instantaneous social connections (read: Facebook and Twitter). What and how should we respond?

We (the older generations, be it Gen X or Boomers) need to acknowledge that IT IS NOW DIFFERENT. Our models and our expectations are not transferred to these people. They need to be responded to differently, but we should not yield on our business-performance expectations. It's just that we need to tailor our strategies and styles to suit. That's what leaders do. For example, if I want to lead a horse to water, I don't pull and I don't push. I need to motivate the horse on her terms. Is the horse thirsty? It will be. If it isn't, how much am I willing to accommodate until the act of drinking the water is done? That's not meant to be trite. My point is that you need to understand the natural balance between comprehending the other and where you need them to be.

In other terms, if you've been to another culture, you'll understand that your way is not THE way. In the Globe and Mail the other day, in a discussion about work/life balance we learned of a young father who sells flowers for 17 hours a day. He does this for 2 months in a row and takes a month off. Why? So that his cousin can work and have an income. Wouldn't we naturally assume that he needed a vacation? No. He was balancing against a greater need that the extended family would be successful.

It's really challenging to look at things from the others' perspective. Give it a try...everday.

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