I still enjoy the Who’s 1979 movie ‘The Kids are alright. But in my case the years snuck up on me – the notion that I am no longer the young guy who can outdo my older coworkers and business associates. I’ve been running a company for fourteen years now and I am the second oldest on our 12 person team. I wonder if the oldest feels some job security knowing that maybe I’d prefer to not be the oldest. I had not really thought of that until now to be honest.
We have a number of really talented experienced professionals as a part of our team. Those that have been around the longest have endured what they likely feel is a state of constant reinvention. Kudos to them for embracing the changes (ok they may not have had much choice), and continuing to contribute at a high level.
Yet we’ve added a number of young (20’s and even a teen intern) to our roster and I constantly get a fresh perspective on how ‘they’ look at and do things. Some of my fellow CEO’s lament that young people are unmotivated, have unreasonably high expectations, and show little or no loyalty. But I’ve not seen any of that. And by the way – loyalty is a two way street and the past several years would not offer a young employee any confidence that companies will show loyalty to their employees when things get tough as they have been.
These ‘kids’ (I have a son who is twenty-one so I still fight the temptation to call them that) are smart, can multi-task at light speed and are better at writing than I would have imagined. They don’t have the same perspective that we more ‘experienced’ members have – and that’s a good thing. No actually it’s a VERY good thing. They think and process information differently. I somehow knew that in the back of my mind but it took me a while to actually put it into practice and now we are a better team because of it.
The integration of the younger members with the older members (doesn’t experienced sound so much better?) has its challenges but it is well worth taking on that challenge. Going forward as we continue to grow (hopefully) we will need both sides of the team equation to be filled. It makes for a more vibrant workplace and I think makes everyone a better contributor.
It’s great for our team as we can learn from each other, great for our clients and thus great for our company.
So if you are running a company and have reservations about bringing in the young and inexperienced – get over it. The future is bright and these kids are totally alright.