One of the things we as Millennials love to pride ourselves on is our ability to innovate and create. Like the generations before us, we've grown up dreaming of new ideas and new ways to change the world. The big difference for my generation is that we've had access to tools that have allowed us to spread ideas around in a way never seen before. The Internet and social media have given us the ability to collaborate, connect, and construct relationships with people all over the world. We can spark a dialogue, start a blog, create a video, and push our ideas out to the world. We can find money, partners, and customers with little out of pocket capital. The barrier to entry has been demolished. The game has been changed.
As a result it's pretty hard not to feel supremely empowered and seriously confident. The challenge is it can lead to a false sense of confidence if you're not careful. When you know you understand the tools that are dramatically changing our world better than your boss, it can be very easy to start acting like you've got it all figured out, and that is a dangerous place to be.
It's importantly to remember there are aspects of business and life that can only be learned over time. Elements of collaboration and innovation, sales and leadership that require years of challenges and missteps. Hard lessons learned in the trenches. Lessons that help mold and shape people into the types of leaders people want to follow.
We need these lessons. We need the words of wisdom from those that have gone before us because at the end of the day, all the tech skills in the world won't be enough to save us from making the same painful mistakes. We have a incredible opportunity today in that many of us are working along side 2 and sometimes 3 generations in our workplaces. We have access to generations that have 20, 30, sometimes even 40 years of experience. Knowledge that is just waiting for someone to come along and genuinely seek it out.
Of course I realize there are people working in young industries like tech and social where the average age is 23 but the reality is most people don't work in Silicon Valley. Most people are working in industries like health care, engineering, manufacturing, consumer goods, construction, etc. Industries where there is an incredible wealth of knowledge and I believe we have a responsibility as future leaders to tap into that wisdom before it's gone.
Smart organizations are making this a priority today. They understand that by bringing the generations together they'll tap into a distinct competitive advantage. Combining the tech skills and know how of the youth with the wisdom and knowledge from the experienced generations to do truly remarkable things together. Ask yourself if you're leveraging the strengths of all of your generations. If you're not, isn't it time to start?