Face Forward to Win!

While it is true that building on previous success is a valid business philosophy. Maybe for some, it is also a strategy, I’m not sure that applies to how we handle our people “stuff”. Why? For several reasons. The short answer is the way we work and who works with and for us continuously evolves.  

The number of generations in the workforce.

To this point, four generations in the workplace has been the norm. Soon, a fifth joins us, as well*. All kinds of opportunity for new challenges and “growth edges” come with them.

Diversity is much more than skin color.

Business Dictionary definition of “Workforce Diversity”: Similarities and differences among employees in terms of age, cultural background, physical abilities and disabilities, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/workforce-diversity.html#ixzz45AZQaAD9) Right. You’re thinking, “What could go wrong?”

Each generational and diversity group mentioned might view their work, their organization, and their life away from work differently from the others. How they view these things matters and is relevant to how we manage and lead them in their work. We’d be fooling ourselves to believe managing these people the same exact way.

Technology takes our work beyond the walls of the organization.

The use of mobile devices holds the potential for improved productivity and deeper levels of engagement. Potentially increased levels of accountability, too. But, does it work this way?Really? Should it? Hmmm…

The way we acquire skill and knowledge is evolving, too.

Both formal and informal education no longer requires lugging a backpack full of textbooks, across college campuses, to lecture halls. We have an almost endless set of choices for learning what we need to know and/or know how to do, right now. On any device; Any time of day; Any day of the week. For credit courses too, might be completed via the Internet synchronously or asynchronously. The only limits that exist are my choosing how I prefer to learn and/or what the school and educator have made available.

Awareness. Agility. Flexibility. Resilience. These skills will keep you facing forward and, more importantly, handling your people and managing their challenges in a forward facing manner. The short answer to, “How?” is to ask them what they need, what they prefer, what they value, and how they prioritize. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that what is true for one is true for more than one. Will this take more time? Of course. But, it is worth it.