Note: Edward Boches is the founder/creator of The Next Great Generation.
I just got back from SxSW. One of my favorite panels was the “We want to work with you” Gen Y panel #sxgeny. For the simple reason that it actually proved to be what the panelists claim they are: collaborative. While virtually every session at SxSW had a hashtag, the panelists in this session actually used it, viewing the stream in real time and responding, even to criticisms (admittedly from me). Thirty minutes into the session the floor was opened to questions. And a rich, interactive conversation ensued.
Sure, the group on stage, like many Gen Y’ers I know, was confident, opinionated, and determined to set their own expectations and define their professional roles and relationships. But at the same time they are anxious to learn. They’ll show loyalty to mentors. And commit time and effort to anyone who’s willing to teach them and help them succeed. Not that these are generational characteristics, but this group clearly expressed both what they want from an employer and what they’re willing to give.
No doubt there are boomers and Gen Xers who resent Gen Y’s self-proclaimed digital prowess along with their determination to work “with” us rather than for us. But in many ways this generation is narrowing gaps. At least for me. It’s a blast working with them, mentoring them, learning from them. This video is a brief recap of TNGG to date and shares some of my enthusiasm.
Oh, thought you’d be interested in this Twitter exchange between me and another boomer, Rick Murray, president of Edelman Digital. During the session I reminded the room that even boomers hate aspects of their job (during a discussion about whether every aspect of one’s gig should be rewarding). Rick saw it and answered back.