Your future manager is a multi-tasking fiend. She or he will embrace every form of social media and communicate with staff by email or instant messenger. Technology use will be first and foremost on his or her mind, with an understanding that it doesn’t always work perfectly, but incorporating technology into processes is crucial. They will demand it!
I am the oldest of 6 and also have quite a few younger cousins that I’m very close to. They range from 5 years old to 26. The females spend a lot of their free time on MySpace and/or faceBook and are texting fanatics. The males also spend a lot of time playing XBOX Live. They all play team sports, take lessons for a particular musical instrument, read books, and do fairly well in school if they’re engaged that semester. They all have a cell phone (except the 5 year old), a computer (or three), their favorite flavor of social media, and over 900 channels of television to chose from along with an arsenal of movies to watch & videogames to play.
When I get into conversations with my parents, aunts and uncles about the comparisons of what the younger generation has and does compared to what they did, it always boils down to amazement at how the kids can do so much in so little time. Some of these kids have been wrongfully diagnosed for ADD because they can’t multi-task in school – they don’t have Attention Deficit Disorder! But they do their homework beautifully because they can do their school work while watching TV and messaging friends without worrying about a teacher getting upset. They’re addicted to multi-tasking. I am too….as I’m writing this article, I’m also watching the news, following Twitter & faceBook on TweetDeck, and responding to emails. I don’t find it amazing – I think it is just normal.
When we can’t multi-task, we’re bored.
My parents, on the other hand, focused on one thing at a time growing up. Playing with friends in the neighborhood or doing homework was pretty much all they could do after school. They didn’t have a TV in their bedroom and computers certainly weren’t around. They had to walk into another room to use the phone and they also had to stand next to that rotary dialing thing. They weren’t bred for multi-tasking.
I’m going to take things a step further. Have you ever played a video game? Yes, you probably have. Have you ever played a video game online with other people working together toward the same goal? If you’re over the age of 40, chances are you probably haven’t. The current main-stay game on XBOX Live is Call of Duty 4 where you are a special ops soldier for the US and you take on missions to stop terrorism. It is fast-paced and requires that you know your weaponry quite well in order to complete a mission effectively. There are goals and achievements to be made and you have to pay attention to quite a few different things all at once while playing. Then throw another 20 players into the mix and you’ve got an unpredictable human element compounding all the other stuff going on.
My point is, these kids who are playing XBOX are learning to strategize, memorize, plan, and work with others to achieve a common goal. Sounds like some damn good training to me!
Yeah, there’s that gory video game element, but is seeing something in a video game that you can see on the news or in a movie harmful enough to deny these skills that are being honed? I guess that’s a different topic for a different blog.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that there is a gap of misunderstanding between the younger and older generation. I want to point out the good in what our kids are doing today, and say that you need to be ready for what they’re going to do to the workforce in the next 10 years.
Next up: Hiring based on which RTS game someone plays…..just kidding!