Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Wisdom of Youthful Organizational Decision-Making

During all of my managerial positions I was older than my staff.  My job was to understand them, their needs, the reality of the organization, and do whatever, but leave them alone.  They were talented.  Rarely did I override their decisions.  The exceptions were at times of major strategic changes in direction or the inevitable crisis; those were the times to pull experience from my cerebral cortex.

The talents to lead are honed when you follow.  It's not easy working for someone you don't care for or who lacks talent.  It preps you for your time at the podium.

Of course getting to the podium is just the start.  My constant advice is continual re-education.  There are few professions or crafts that are not continually developing and changing.  Listening to younger people, your staff and others offers insight.  The challenges of a youthful employee and a more senior employee are much different.  One can be comfortable with their achievement (don't get comfortable) and one wants more challenges and growth (that's your are the waiter).

Organizations that fail to change fail (duh).  My approach in hiring was to always include a younger staff member.  In the IT space I worked really hard to be ahead of the curve in strategy and opportunity but I knew that interviews were about discovering what kind of person wanted to work there.  As a senior person did you know all the trends and lifestyles that you should?  Did you put a candidate in the reject pile because of their ink?  Your youthful counterpart might have explained that half the world wears ink.  

The secondary and more important reason for bringing a youthful employee to
meet candidates is because you might have 3-5 years of employment left.  The young employee seated next to you might be working with this candidate for 25 years.    The young employee and this young candidate are the ones that will shape the future, not you.  It's one of those times that you have to poke yourself in the eye and remember that despite your manager status you work for your employees.  Listen to them.

It's also possible that anyone achieving a 'C' level position should either have to go sit in the basement, out of sight or automatically be laid off in 24 months. That would improve innovation, creativity, etc.

P.S.  "Office Space," the movie, should be viewed annually.

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