Traditional mentor - old dude teaching the young dude Everywhere in history the pictures are different but the story is the same
Problem with this approach in the business world today is a growing digital divide. Times are changing and doing so at a faster pace than ever before.
Here's a scenario you may be familiar with. Jared here is fresh out of school. He's pretty smart, but he doesn't have what it takes to participate in a leadership role. Lucky for you, he don't have the experience to your job. After all it took a long time to build up that knowledge, right?
This may look familiar too. Maybe Twitter IS total crap, but that's not the point. Brace yourself. We have entered the Digital Age, and there's no going back. If you can't identify all the words and terms Jared is talking about, you'll want to pay attention here.
If you haven't been introduced, welcome to the Digital Age. We are an information society working in a knowledge economy. Here are some amazing statistics you've probably already seen. - Groupon, a company just under two years old is generating $50 million a month in revenue. Google is in the process of buying them for $5.4Billion - cited as the fastest growing entrepreneurial company in history
What if your business toolkit today consisted of a fax machine, only a land phone line, no Internet, and a few people in your office fighting to keep their typewriters. If you tried to do business (today) the way they did just 15 years ago, you wouldn’t be very effective. Technology is now evolving at an exponentially faster rate than just 10-15 years ago.
Let's take a deeper look at this. Most of us here, including myself, are digital immigrants. We either avoid it, tolerate it, or embrace it. We were born before computing became a daily part of our lives. Other traits of Digital Immigrant: You remember when a fax machine was the only way to send an electronic document. You have, at some point, printed an email so you could share or edit it. You have sent the &quot;did you get my email?&quot; phone call Many Immigrants are active users of technology almost as fluent as a Native. However, it doesn't always come easy - as shown in the comic.
Meet the digital native. Now entering the workforce in large numbers. Has never known life before MTV or the Internet. Other traits of a Digital Native: You like information really fast. You'd rather look at a graphic than read text. You are more likely to use the search function on a website than use a navigational menu. You are more likely to text someone than pick up the phone.
Young or old, everyone has sterotyped the other generations. It's way too easy. Hell, I even went there a bit trying to create these slides. You may think the ME generation is, well, all about me. You want to know the something interesting? Many of them think your generation is the ME generation. So, let's just avoid the whole argument. It's tired, old, and just plan lazy. It's easier to pick at differences than to look for similarities. Whichever generation you belong, the other can teach you things that will not only make you stronger, but it will make your organization stronger.
The times are more critical now than ever to learn from each other.
Most experienced marketers (and many IT directors) I’ve met are rock solid on the traditional ways of doing business. But they are often not exposed to the newer technologies which are rapidly changing our workplace. Unexposed these leaders will often avoid things they don’t understand and not take them seriously. Unless you plan to retire in the next six months, avoidance of new technologies will get you left behind.
Unless, of course, you plan to retire in the next few months you cannot afford to stop learning. If you are retiring and don't plan to find employment elsewhere, then slack away my friend. For the rest of you, I'd like to introduce the concept of reverse-mentorship.
Chances are good you don't have to travel across the country to attend a conference on social media or the latest technological trends like cloud computing. I would bet there is someone right in your organization you can tap into. Find a digital native or fully &quot;integrated&quot; digital immigrant within your organization. Have them teach you about Twitter, Facebook, blogging, wikis, or any other technology that you may not be 100% confident.
Business and the office environment has changed The up and comers are not interested in climbing the traditional corporate ladder like you might have done. You've hired a young knowledge worker. Maximize their potential, and tap into the Digital Age. They may lack the business acumen and wisdom to develop your next IT or Communications strategy, but I'm here to tell you they can be more beneficial to your organization than their job description may entail. Digital Natives are capable of learning fast, and they understand learning continuation as a necessity. This is a cue you can take from the next generation.
I Challenge You! Develop an official reverse-mentor program in your organization. Find a potential mentor within your organization for yourself. Next, seek other potential mentors and mentees. To all potential mentors, approach a supervisor or executive within your organization, and propose this idea.
Find a way to make it official - You'll only be able to get an education for so long without some type of benefits or recognition. This doesn't fall under duties as assigned. Remember, Digital Natives are wired a bit differently than you. Just some simple recognition goes a long way. Try an award, public ceremony, or at least a place they can document their mentorship - like their resume or LinkedIn profile.
Start simple - it doesn’t have to take much time or resources - meet before the workday or over lunch for a few minutes each day or each week. Don't put too much focus on the tools. Rather, understand the technologies and how their applications might be beneficial to your organization. Have specific goals. You'll be able to stay motived, and you can measure your progress.
Bridging the Digital Gap - Sean Hudson
Bridging the Digital Gap or Why your organization could benefit from a reverse-mentor program <ul><li>Sean Hudson </li></ul><ul><li>@seanhudson </li></ul>
Photo: http://alexascordato.com/ Logo: tedxboston.com Alexa Scordato Barry Liebert, CEO of Mzinga
I'll call you on the phone. Why don't you just tweet me?
Twitter is total crap! Why do I care what you had for breakfast?
300,000 iPads sold on the very first day. 13.5 Days - iPhone Apps (1 billion in the first 9 months) 38 Years - Radio Time to reach 50 Million Users 13 Years - TV 4 Years - Internet 3 Years - iPod 5 Months - Facebook Every 60 sec another 24 hrs of video are uploaded to Youtube Google activates 100,000 Android devices every day
<ul><li>Today email is still a "can't live without it" tool, but what about tomorrow? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only 11% of teenagers use it on a daily basis.* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As of 2008, Americans spend more time using social networks than email for general communication.** </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By 2014, according to Gartner Group research, social networks will replace email as the primary communications vehicle for 20 percent of business users. </li></ul></ul>* http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Teens-and-Mobile-Phones/Summary-of-findings.aspx?r=1 ** http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/nielsen-news/social-networking-new-global-footprint/
<ul><ul><li>Start simple </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Few minutes every day or week </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meet before work or during lunch </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don't focus on the tools </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have specific goals </li></ul></ul>
Make it a two-way street - the executives also have something of value to impart to the younger professionals eager to learn the ropes of leadership