Tuesday, 17 March 2015

#DigitalTransformation: More cultural than technological?

IBM recently published a very refreshing piece of research busting the myths of 'Millennials' in the workplace. Myths such as being "lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow"which are most probably created by small sections of the older generations to help make them feel better about themselves. [Different Discussion]

The IBM report: Myths, Exaggerations and Uncomfortable Truths discusses a number of behavioural and motivational attributes of three groups; these being:

  • Millennials (21 to 34yrs)
  • Generation X (35 to 49yrs) ... the group I find myself in
  • Baby Boomers (50 to 60yrs)
The hypothesis is, Millennials will revolutionise the workplace, because they are the first generation to grow up immersed in digital.' The report goes on to explore the ambitions, decision making, rewards, digital addiction and work priorities of all three groups. Many comparisons are made between the Millennials and connecting groups and there are also some recommendations offered too. You should read it!!

However, looking at the data there is, for me, a bigger underlying story that emerges. This becomes much more apparent when you compare Generation X with Baby Boomers. Here's a couple of charts to consider:

A significant gap indicating Gen' X's place a higher value on work/life balance & flexibility than Baby Boomers.
Baby Boomers appear to believe they make better decisions themselves, in isolation.
Even compared to Millennials, Gen' X's are heavier users of social for business purposes.
That's all very interesting of course, but what are the implications to businesses, both large and small? Well consider this:
  • What if the Boardroom mainly consisted of Baby Boomers?
  • And fast tailing behind them on the career ladder were the Generation X's and Millennials pushing for change on a number of fronts
There is a tension. From making decisions, based upon slightly differing beliefs and motivations; the lack of input from others around them; and the slower adoption of digital and technology. This goes way beyond digital transformation.

It appears that the delta between Millennials and Generation X is not so great on a number of fronts. So, from an organisational perspective, in order to evolve at the pace needed to survive and succeed, transformation at the top of organisations is what maybe required?
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