Why do you think we are finding so many Boomers having bosses/colleagues who are younger than them vs. years ago when it was the other way around?

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Technology: Without a doubt this has been a major factor in turning traditional leadership hierarchy on its head. Due to younger workers’ familiarity, comfort and ease with technology they tend to embrace the rapid change that is necessary to keep up. Many organizations are promoting technical skill sets over longevity.  What is lost however is the seasoning and perspective that longevity can provide.

Education: It is easier to obtain and increasingly pertinent as a pre-requisite for jobs.  Younger people as a whole are more educated for their age than their parents or grandparents; especially in the technology that is so crucial for success. In higher education, MBA’s of yesteryear emphasized more management skills because of the organizational structures in place at the time, whereas today, there is more emphasis on leadership skills.  

Innovation: New markets emerge almost on an annual basis due to new technologies, procedures, and systems of business.  It is strategically beneficial to young people that they were raised using higher technologies such as computers.  They have new perspectives of innovation in new markets, and bring fresh perspective to well-established markets such as finance, manufacturing, and development.  They are frequently called on to help re-align the old with the new and bring standards up to relevance.

Diversity: Rather than simply cross-cultural or cross-gender dynamics in the workplace (an emphasis of the mid-to-later 20th century) diversity is increasingly becoming an issue of cross-generational dynamics.  Different generations mixed in an organization create an atmosphere of both tension and creativity.  It’s simple…different ages, different perspectives, different concerns, and different communication skills create different ideas that blend together to make dynamic ideas.  Dynamic ideas can often breed successful dynamics of innovation in organizations, if innovators are embraced.

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