If not…it’s time to look at cleaning out your company and heading on home.
Over the last four years, I have been traveling around the country speaking to Baby Boomers (Birth Years: 1946-1964) about Generation Y (Birth Years: 1977-1997) and the huge impact this generation is having on our world. I also speak extensively about new media (blogging, social networks, apps and smart phones). The interesting thing is this: When I talk about these topics, here are the responses I can always count on:
- What is a blog?
- So, are you saying that we need to restructure our entire company to meet the needs of Generation Y? That sounds like pandering.
- Uh…we don’t have time for Facebook and to try to stop people from using their work time on Facebook.
- Twitter…that is so stupid. That is something my grandchildren use.
- I am so tired of Generation Y and their demands for “custom work hours”.
I honestly have felt like a Southern preacher…going around preaching the demands of the new business world. I don’t mess around…I tell people that if they don’t get with the program of meeting the needs of our largest adult demographic (Generation Y) and incorporating the use of new media into their business development and marketing plans, they will be out of business by the year 2014. This is just an estimate of mine, but many people do agree with this date…that the race for relevance is zooming forward and that by 2014, millions of companies are going to be left in the dust.
On the flip side, I hear Generation Y saying these things:
- This company does not have a blog. I have no way of interacting online with this company, so I am moving on to their competitor who does blog and who has a presence through social media.
- This company does not use Facebook or Twitter for networking purposes. Moving on!
- I was told in my interview that there would be opportunity in this company…that I would be able to climb the ladder to the top! What? Like my dad did who got a pink slip two years ago after 30 years of service.
- I went to work for this company, and they leave all of the under 30 employees out of the conversation. We feel like we have a lot to share, and we don’t get a word in edge-wise.
During the last four years, I hope that I have made an impact with a few people, but the majority of people I talk to over 50 just roll their eyes, hoping Facebook will suddenly go away and barking that they are not going to hire the entitled generation (Generation Y)…that they are inexperienced and want way too much. WOW! What a big mistake. Just think of the talent you are missing out on that other companies are scooping up right and left.
So, since I have not been able to make an impression, there are two people who hopefully will be able to get this message to you. They are Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers, authors of the book Race for Relevance. The book was published over a year ago, but this is a must read for anyone who wants to stay relevant in the business world. I don’t want to give away the book, but I will tell you that they address in depth the following:
- The availability of time
- The way companies are structured (hierarchical structures are collapsing right and left)
- Consolidation and Specialization
- The value people expect
- Demographic shifts (there is a changing of the guard, and the new kids in town: Generation Y: are the largest demographic in our workforce today, and their needs are not being met)
- Your competition who IS relevant
- Changes in technology and the use of new media
I see examples of people that I interact with on a daily basis who are NOT in the race for relevance and those who are. As an example, I was a member of a group on LinkedIn who spent most of their time “discussing” if people posting blog posts on their discussion board was considered spam. After a few days of this, I dropped my membership. I was growing tired of the discussion, and it was adding no value to my life. While they were doing that, groups like Problogger on LinkedIn begs for great, valuable content on their wall. Darren Rowse and Company are in the race for relevance. Just go to their group on LinkedIn, and you will see right there on their discussion page, a list of highly valuable blog posts, and Darren Rowse gets it. He knows that if he encourages people to share their posts, they will get visibility, the members get valuable content, and everyone wins! And…I just have to mention that Darren Rowse has over 321,000 people following him online. While he is not a huge corporation, he is an example of someone who is using every approach mentioned in the book Race for Relevance to build a following of over 321,000 readers and a waiting list of paying customers.
I also want to bring up Jeannette Paladino. About three years ago, Jeannette attended one of my blogging courses and admitted she was a bit of a technophobe. Jeannette flipped her whole paradigm to the point that she is now one of the most influential leaders on LinkedIn, and she teaches me about the new ins and outs of technology, how to add more value and how to speak more to the younger generations using communication tools that speak to Generation Y. If you visit Jeannette’s blog Write, Speak, Sell, you will see that she is truly utilizing everything she can to speak to a changing marketplace. Jeannette will be the first to tell you “If I can do this, so can you!”
So, if you don’t do anything this year, I recommend that you pick up a copy of the book Race for Relevance, and do what the authors tell you to do. The time to make changes was five years ago, so you really cannot wait any longer. You have to get bold and make some radical changes if you want to keep up with what is going on in the world. If you are living in a bubble, thinking you are immune to these changes, I wish you luck.
Bea Fields Companies, Inc. is not receiving any type of benefit, financial or otherwise, by recommending this book and consultants.