I started thinking about this two years ago when the target protagonists would have been thirty four and thirty five years old. Any professional person today is at risk of realizing a status of “lost generation”. We don’t have enough mentors. And, if people try, they probably don’t know how. That’s another topic for debate destined for another time. But, I’m confident it set’s the stage for an audience that will feel it’s truth at the back of their collective necks.
Today that focus group is best exampled by thirty five and thirty six year olds. I say that because thirty five is the most difficult year for people in their personal and professional lives. It’s the proverbial cross-roads. Through my Coaching practice I realized the epiphany that thirty five is the truest point of mid-life crisis. That is, in itself, another terrific topic.
It can be argued that the most significant difference between decision-makers today is how they receive and process information, and then what they do with it in terms of “situational awareness”, relevance, and execution.
For example, most decision-makers (I can define this better some other time – but, broadly executives from startups to the Fortune 1000) that are under thirty five are comfortable receiving critical information on a mobile device (ie. smart phone of iPad), trusting it’s veracity, distributing and sharing it, and, most importantly, acting upon it. Remarkably, this includes texting. When you think about it, you’ll begin to notice that decision-makers over thirty five are still more comfortable with a desk top computer. NOTE: We more often today include Powerbooks/ laptops in this category. And, more and more over thirty five decision-makers don’t like to use SKYPE for business because they are concerned about how they will be perceived (that is yet ANOTHER great topic, for later). So, under thirty five decision-makers are more likely to believe what they read on the internet is true (it’s the old-line thinking: “if it’s in writing it must be true”). And, with the crowd-sourcing mentality of that age demographic they want to rely on that type of information. It’s a “herd” mentality. Some times the effort results in a self-fulfilling prophecy. But, more often than not they are making decisions that alienate them from their older peers because it’s not genuinely informed decision-making based on emperical research.
DATA, Information, Mobility, and Bandwidth are HOT industries probably because we want more visual-oriented information piped through our mobile devices. An example of this is the growing popularity and proliferation of Video Blogs. But, these are rarely done by people over thirty five. But, much of the information is derived from sources like Google (which I find jaw-droppingly naive and astounding), Facebook and Tumblr (that is a VERY broad generalization).
This schism is broadening. The amazing thing is the cut-off point is so dramatic. But, the level-of-trust between these groups is dropping-off at a remarkable pace. A result that we are tracking is the fall-off in numbers of “young” executive hires and promotions. And, reduced value placed on post graduate degrees like MBA’s. But, the hiring of CPA’s is tracking upward. Probably because the internet can lie, but numbers won’t.
Let’s be part of the solution.
brian patrick cork