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The Generation Gap is Getting Old - Why Older Generations Need to Build Bridges to Millennials and Centennials not Roadblocks by Brian Solis

As a digital analyst and anthropologist, Brian Solis has studied the effects of technology on markets and societies. In his work, he observed consistent, preconceived opinions about Millennials and Centennials that are not based on reason or actual experience. Brian developed this Slideshare to give a voice to Millennials and Centennials among audiences who are quick to judge younger generations. When it comes to leadership, there is much work to be done. After all, it's not about "us vs. them." It's about "us" and how "we" pave a more productive, collaborative and rewarding future for all.

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The Generation Gap is Getting Old - Why Older Generations Need to Build Bridges to Millennials and Centennials not Roadblocks by Brian Solis

  1. We’re [not] the Kids in Dystopia by Brian Solis
  2. dystopia |disˈtōpēə| noun an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. @briansolis
  3. If it’s one thing I’ve learned in all of my work, it’s this…when we see something new or different, we tend to do so based on our conventions and beliefs. As such, our perceptions and opinions ignore, miss, or undervalue the relevance or importance of what’s new or different if it contradicts or challenges our beliefs. This is especially true when we look at how people are changing. @briansolis
  4. “Stop grouping us by age.” @briansolisImage Credit: Regan @theindiealto “Millennials…they’re ruining everything. They’re killing the ‘American Dream.’ They’re killing brands. They’re killing customs. They don’t work they way we work. They want to color outside the lines! Let’s hire Millennial experts to explain to older people how to talk to understand and manage younger people!”
  5. I’ve spent years studying our youth, their relationship with technology and their behaviors that evolved as a result. This short story was inspired by the lack of empathy they face from parents, teachers, managers, media, et al. who expect them to conform to their beliefs, traditions and routines. We practically demand them to follow the same rules…the same path as the generations before them. But, why? Because that’s the way it always was? Because that’s what you did? We live in times of great disruption. The only way to survive and thrive is through great innovation. The future is built upon innovation and creativity, not conformity. Our youth and their differences is what we should understand and celebrate. After all, the young and the young at heart can open new doors. My intention for creating this was to promote empathy, shift perspective, and inspire collaboration on all fronts. Someone has to take the first step… DON’T JUDGE ME BY MY IDEAS OR CHOICES IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME OR MY BELIEFS OR PASSIONS.
  6. When it comes to bridging the gap, true innovation lies in all the work you do to exceed the expectations and aspirations of people as they evolve instead of making them conform to your legacy perspectives, assumptions, processes and metrics of success. @briansolis
  7. The following narrative is told in the voice of our youth… @briansolis
  8. To Whom It May Concern, Please don’t judge or look down upon us. We are different. We are not you. The truth is that we can only be us. It’s all we know. But, that’s what’s so special. We represent new possibilities. We didn’t ask to be born in a digital economy, yet here we are. We’re trying to exist and thrive in a time that’s still wresting between analog and digital mindsets and behaviors. If you don’t pave a way forward, we will. We are human. We are not a group of stereotypes or demographics. All “Millennials” and “Centennials” are not the same. Just like all matures, boomers or Gen X’ers are not the same. We’re diverse. We’re individuals. We all are… If you keep blaming the idea of us for the challenges you face or the things you don’t understand, we will never grow closer. Whether at home, in the workplace, at school, or anywhere else, we, like you, are a product of the times and trends. We’re trying to learn, grow and succeed in a paradigm that was designed for the generations before us. As digital-first natives, we’re trying to adapt in a world that still largely operates in an analog-first archetype. We all face challenges. But we’re not going to get anywhere by pointing fingers, taking sides and digging in. We need guidance. We need mentorship. We need leadership. In the absence of it, you leave us to figure it out on our own. But make no mistake, we’re going to pave our own way. We’re not going to conform. And, you really don’t want us to. True leaders don’t create followers or disciples, they empower other leaders. They create communities who collaborate, to solve differences and build new bridges toward a brighter future. Let’s start here. @briansolis
  9. Every generation has an opinion about the generation before and the up-and-coming generation after it. It’s a virtuous circle of “old people” judging “young people,” but the world still evolves. Yes, these are generalizations as well. But, it all sounds so familiar doesn’t it? Matures came up in a time of war and post war change in a pre-feminism, marriage- and career-for-life era where suburbs, automobiles, radio/early TV, and big band music helped shape the genre. They were called conformists, old-timers and stubborn. Boomers embraced rock-n- roll challenging the status quo. They were called self- centered and self-righteous. But TV, music, “free love,” and activism gave way to two-income families, divorce, early equality, career shifts. Technology had to be learned. They are generally skeptical about new tech. And, they believe it’s “just too much” with some believing society will regress. Gen-X were street smart, “latch-key kids” who had working, career-driven parents who often grew up in divorce-led two household environments. They were caught between the traditional analog world and the digital era. They were called selfish, unfocused, uncommitted, shallow, and suspicious. They are early adopters of tech and more willing to pick up new trends than their predecessors. @briansolis
  11. Pretend for a moment, that someone else was asking you this question. Do you really know me? It’s easy, sometimes too easy, to think of yourselves in every situation. You might naturally see this and wonder why others don’t take the time to really get to know you. But, this is one of those moments where you need to take a step back and ask questions about yourself to see and learn new ways to engage with different people...differently.@briansolis
  12. @briansolis To move forward, there are several things we’d like to explain…
  13. Please, just stop generalizing us. Seriously. What if we simply referred to you as “old people” and your ways as “old- fashioned.” We, like you, are human beings and are held back by your stereotypes. We are all different. We have unique values and beliefs. We have different goals and aspirations. Nurture us. Direct us. Also, learn from us. @briansolis Drawing by Ann Truong
  14. Please stop telling us we’re not in the moment. We are always in the moment. We experience and share experiences at the same time. It’s how we stay connected. It’s how we feel alive.@briansolis
  15. Please, stop saying that we’re not actually communicating. We talk to ALL of our friends. We share what’s happening right now. We see what’s happening with our friends as they happen. It’s the only way we know. We’re communicating in more ways with more people than you can imagine and appreciate. It doesn’t make what we do wrong. We see it as real life. @briansolis
  16. Please stop telling us that our friends online are not real friends. Our networks are full of close and casual ties. We understand the differences and our intentional about what we share, where and with home. In fact, we share different slices of who we are with different groups of people in different networks. And, we have audiences now who have audiences of their own. We are media. We are influential. Yet, we still keep important people close while still talking to everyone. Think about that for a minute… @briansolis The Human Network
  17. Please stop telling us to “look up” or we’ll miss everything happening around us. Every generation is faced with distractions. It’s how we manage though them that defines who we are and what we do. To be fair, we’re all learning how to be distracted through technology. It’s not an age thing. For better or worse, it’s now a lifestyle. We could all benefit from learning how to better manage our personal relationships with tech. We would only become more focused, productive and creative as a result. @briansolis
  18. Please stop telling us that we can’t multi-task. We do multi-task. It’s just a matter of life. Our brains work differently. Help us improve how we focus and work. In reality, we aren’t alone here. While we grew up this way, you’re reprogramming your brain to multi-task the more you use social media, mobile devices, apps and real-time technology as well. Maybe we are more similar than you may realize. @briansolis
  19. Please stop saying that we are the biggest challenge to the workforce. We represent your biggest opportunity to compete in a digital economy. So what if we want to learn new things, gain exposure to new experiences, forgo meetings, swap email for messaging apps, engage with management for reverse mentoring. At least we’re trying new things. We simply care about things that many organizations forgot. Celebrate that we’re willing to contribute…at least for now! @briansolis
  20. And finally, please stop referring to us as a stereotype. We’re not all the same. That’s like us referring to you as “old people.” We’re not solely defined by the years we were born. Instead characterize us by our interests, aspirations, capabilities and our environments. Work with us. Find our strengths. Help us with our weaknesses. Let’s learn and achieve great things together. There’s a lot to fix. @briansolis
  21. Our behaviors are what they are. But if you really want to have an impact, please take the time to get to know us. Partner with us. Guide us. Then, and only then, can we move forward and do great things together. @briansolis
  22. We’re not the last to challenge convention, norms or values. There’s more change on the horizon. There always is. It’s how you react and adapt that defines you and our future. - Millennials and Centennials everywhere @briansolis
  23. To truly grow and prosper, we need one another. @briansolis
  24. Brian Solis Brian Solis is a one of the world’s leading digital anthropologists and futurists who has been called "one of the greatest digital analysts of our time.” Brian is also a world renowned keynote speaker and an award- winning author of seven best-selling books. With a loyal online audience of over 700,000 people online, his work makes him a sought- after thought-leader to leading brands, celebrities such as Oprah, Shaq and Ashton Kutcher and over 1,000 startups.