The five Bs for Baby Boomers to cultivate a culture of innovation
In this week’s guest post, Sonya Law offers an explanation of the five Bs for Baby Boomers and the ways in which they can help to cultivate a culture of innovation.
What’s the most important part of being a leader today?
It’s not about being the smartest, wittiest, or being politically astute.
It’s about being innovative, leveraging the talent of the people around you, and thinking beyond today to solve the future problems that society will encounter.
How the best leaders make everyone smarter is to utilize the talent of everyone in the organization through effective listening, communication, and collaboration. The book Multipliers by Liz Wiseman explores why some leaders drain capability and intelligence from their teams while others amplify them to produce results. Post the pandemic, the number one skill employers seek in their people is Innovation. Prior to the pandemic, we expected innovation to be the top skill for startups and tech firms but now it is a requirement of all employees in today’s world.
However, those for whom being innovative, open-minded, curious, and experimental comes most naturally that is Millennials, are being overlooked which erodes agility. Especially in work environments where both Millennials and Baby Boomers cohabitate, they are often not on the same page and speaking the same language. In some cases, not all, Baby boomers think Millennials can’t focus are distracted by their mobiles, and are not motivated or ready to be taken seriously. So how do we get baby boomers and millennials working together to better understand each other and leverage their combined talents, we everyone serves each other.
The five Bs for Baby Boomers when communicating with Millennials:
- Be an empathetic listener
- Be prepared to give informal feedback more regularly
- Be clear about the goals and connect us with our WHY
- Be socially aware of how we are making a difference in the world and share these good news stories on social media
- Be open-minded to take a different route and open to using digital platforms as a collaborative workspace
The most comfortable with technology are Millennials so why would you not capitalise on this if we are to be smarter aren’t we best to leverage what they know?
Millennials are digital addicts and want to do and share everything online whereas baby boomers in most cases they draw a line between their work and home lives and do not necessarily live out their entire life online, across multiple social media platforms.
This disconnect is real and endangers the passing down of valuable knowledge cultivated by the baby boomers and all their hard work they have poured into organisations, at the risk of this not being passed on, legacy yes but innovation no. If we could harness the knowledge of the baby boomers, this intelligence could be used to inform the innovation of the future.
In a global economy where we are experiencing climate change and pandemics, the challenges that we are facing together are the responsibility of our leaders to unblock your people. To leverage the talent of all the people to think tank, unlock potential, work more innovatively, learn to fail fast and move on, adapt, grow and thrive if we are to compete. The success off the backs of the baby boomers’ hard work has laid the foundation on which to build, so let’s build in collaboration into our workspaces that leverages the talent across the whole organization.
So why not leverage technology to innovate, collaborate and even assign tasks and set priorities?
Stratappsaas.com is a connected workspace that facilitates innovation and enables execution of the strategy in real-time, where everyone works on one connected workspace, a focused workspace that eliminates inefficiencies of switching between emails, apps, and static documents and is especially attractive to millennials, who want to use technology as a platform to get work done and share ideas.
This idea of leveraging technology is not only useful for Millennials it is a practical one given the shift toward hybrid work models and work from home becoming the norm, the need for technology to enhance communication, collaboration, and execution has become a necessity.
The five B’s for Baby Boomers are applicable for all leaders in attracting, motivating, and sustaining talent in any workforce.
Especially at a time when there is a war for talent in a candidate short market. It is also a good idea for leaders to get familiar with spending time away from the desk, especially true of Baby Boomers who prefer to man their post but a step away from their command-and-control leadership style can be refreshing and good for innovation.
Remember the last time you went for a long walk how good it felt, to clear your head and the solutions came up freely, this is what progressive leaders practice, it is expansive and visionary. This big picture thinking inspires innovative thinking and essential to staying ahead of the curve in coming up with better products and services for your customers. If we get too stuck in the weeds of operations and forget to step out and come up with new thinking it stifles new ideas and innovation.
It is good to seek new thinking and challenges, but stability also matters too, so it is a blend of the two generations – baby boomers’ steadfastness and the millennials’ enthusiasm – which will inspire the future of work!
Leaders who leverage the talent of all their people will cultivate a culture of innovation … take care of your Millennials and they will solve the problems for you!