Tag Archives: business transformations

Is there room in the boardroom for Generation Y

Question-Mark-HeadAs globalisation and the fast pace of the digital economy speeds up, customer expectations shift, and the impact of social media rises, the global market place is now more complex than ever before. Businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition – especially in customer-facing sectors like finance, retail and media – need Generation Y to help them understand and respond to the big trends that are already shaping the future: understanding tomorrow’s customers; responding to the desire for more responsible business; and gaining a competitive edge in emerging markets.

Rapid cultural change has been matched and it driven by rapid technological and demographic change. Today’s consumers are heavily influenced by social media, which has given them more access to information about how companies do business than ever before. If the industrial revolution gave power to corporates, the digital revolution has empowered the consumer. Companies that fail to respond to Gen Y’s desire for good business find their brands tarnished and their valuations plummeting. Generation Y business leaders can add value by acting as cultural translators, helping their colleagues navigate the new business environment.

As traditional models of business leadership break down, demand for Gen Y leaders who understand these changes will only rise. Globalisation has created increasingly complex decision-making environments which require new skill sets and fresh perspectives that were simply not around when many of today’s board room executives entered the labour market. Simply accumulating decades of experience in a corporate silo no longer means you will become a successful leader. In the fast-paced, digitally-enabled, multi-cultural and multi-lingual market place, every company now needs to balance Gen X’s experience with Gen Y’s dynamism, inherently global outlook, digital aptitude and understanding of responsible business.

So who are Generation Y? Sometimes referred to as millennials – employees who entered the workplace after 2000 – they are broadly classified as those born in the 1980s and early 1990s. They are characterised as a tech-savvy group, whose members are visionary, highly ambitious and not afraid to fail or to speak their mind. Mark Zuckerberg and Sergey Brin are among the elite few who have become standard-bearers for this generation.

The influx of these fresh, talented individuals, many of whom find themselves among the business elite at a relatively young age, has proved a magnetic draw for organisations. Some businesses in pursuit of greater diversification have sought to bring Generation Y on board through such strategies as reverse mentoring (junior staff advising seasoned executives) or mergers and acquisitions, thus subscribing to a meritocratic culture that helps push aspirational young people to the top table.

The problems of ‘generation integration’ in the boardroom do not only lie with senior executives. Being a director, particularly of a large multinational, is not just about applying a standard set of procedures that might occasionally benefit from a shake-up and youthful energy.

Understanding that it can take time for individuals, particularly those of a different generation, to ‘click into’ the language of a board and have their point heard by colleagues is crucial to avoid this imbalance of power developing.

Integrating fresh young talent into businesses has always been crucial but is not without its challenges. Each generation can disrupt custom and practice within an organisation, but the hope is always that this disruption can be a catalyst for something better to take its place. This is where it gets interesting, because Generation Y has not just opened up new markets with revolutionary products. Over the last few years we have also seen the huge impact of their input on core traditional industries.

A final view on the way Generation Y can disrupt traditional industries is akin to a new industrial revolution. While such rapid change may make some feel uncomfortable, an even bigger upheaval is right round the corner. Just behind Generation Y is Generation Z. Born after the mid-1990s these are the first generation of ‘tech natives’, who have grown up never knowing life without the internet. Their impact on the workplace could make Generation Y seem like a mere blip in comparison.

Surviving the Upturn!

Transformation needs change, change needs focus. As I said before:

Logo: surviving the upturnDuring the conference “Surviving the Upturn” I asked the audience:

  • How many of you achieved all the change you wanted to in your business?
  • How many of you have changed the organisation in the last financial/fiscal year?
  • Do you think you will have a disappointing or progressive report this year to the business?

Tip 1: Brand; discussing the need for a strong strategy across brand and culture.

What is a brand; vision, mission, values and the need for a brand blue print.

Defining the company’s competitive advantage correctly is the most crucial part of any brand program, while external communications may raise expectations in the marketplace from brand perceptions; it the brand experience that clients have that will translate into customer satisfaction and therefore greater profitability.

A true brand program needs to be established to make sure that all employee’s, partners, teaming arrangements and agencies are engaged with the brand, the message can be then carried externally to clients, and prospects.

The brand needs to be brought to life through a variety of media channels to engage, explain and motivate employees, we need to measure the improvements and refine marketing plans based on this approach.

Communication is all about making connections, connecting people physiologically, engaging appropriate communications to the mind, culture, learning’s that provide long-term memory of representations.

Tip 2: Why organisation change fails

Leaders today must understand and apply the knowledge of behavioral psychology and the business lessons to manage organisational change successfully. In the past, efforts at organisational change which has focused on the structural aspects of organizations have systematically failed because they have neglected the reality that change doesn’t happen without each person changing their thinking, beliefs and behavior.

chart why organisational change fails/GSearle

Click to enlarge!

Tip 3: Why sustainability is so key to a business success and driving performance

Most organisations will tell you they know what good management and leadership looks like and will be able to identify people with skills and qualities they admire. They may also tell you they know that good management makes a real difference to organisational performance.

There is strong evidence to support this contention: historically, our greatest business leaders have driven economic prosperity and growth. The economy has been shaped and driven by the pioneers of business; driving change and making the most of new technologies and opportunities. Entrepreneurial spirit, drive and influence has been the key to this success

Equally, at a local or personal level, managers who stand out, for either good or bad reasons, for their impact on the lives of employees, influence of those who had the ability to engage and inspire, to help us learn and make sense of the business environment and to meet the right balance between challenge and support.

Managers who possess a high EI and TI helped shape not just current performance, but our own behaviours and practice.

There is no question that the performance of leaders and managers can have a truly significant impact on organisational performance, both in the immediate and longer term. Skills such as people management, strategy and planning, budgeting and risk management can transform the fortunes of an organisation. But evidence shows that in general – both in the public and private sector – company’s fall behind because of talent recruitment and an inability to apply strategy internally and engage employees at the highest level.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!