Someone I connected with on Twitter asked me how I handle the generational gap with things related to technology. She mentioned that there are some who are not open to new technological advancements and that these same folks rarely want to get retrained (or trained for the first time, for that matter) to use the latest tech devices/sites/etc.
It’s pretty ironic that this is being directed at me, since I’ve referred a couple of times to my record when it comes to patience. But suffice to say I’ve been able to keep my cool, which has done wonders to help me push our social media campaign forward, even when it’s something that the people in charge aren’t as comfortable with.
So let me take a step back and say that a few months ago, I was constantly at odds with the person (a cusp Boomer/Xer) who is ultimately responsible for the campaign. It seemed like everything I was proposing (which was obviously perfect) was being ignored and/or shot down. My frustration got to me and I started pushing and pushing with a frequency that I later regretted. Let’s just say, this doesn’t get you anywhere. Trust me.
After wandering down this path, I let it be for a while. After a long enough break where I resisted every urge to raise new ideas, I got in touch and started to share my knowledge instead of hounding about what needs to be done. I realized that while technology is something I’m comfortable experimenting with, not everyone (including my colleague) feels that way. Sometimes, people need to have their hands held while navigating the technology. They need help to get all of the pieces of the puzzle. So once I imparted what I knew, I worked with my colleague to build a strategy, combining the knowledge and expertise we had in different arenas. And now, we’re a team, which has allowed us to put out a product that I’m proud of (warning shameless Facebook page plug!): http://www.facebook.com/SmithGroup.JJR.
So, how do I deal with generational-related technology challenges? I deflate my ego, put myself in someone else’s shoes and share my knowledge with the people that are struggling. While they claim they don’t want to be trained, in my experience, they just don’t want to spend the time because they think they can’t do it and they don’t want to have to do the work to get themselves up to speed. But if you’re willing to shelve your air of superiority (and believe me, if you’re asking ‘why is my generation more apt at technology’, you think you’re better) and take the time to explain to them the value and then dive into detail about the way things work, they’ll appreciate you and acknowledge that you want to help, that you want to work from the same page and that you’re looking for consensus before moving forward. With those things in mind, these folks will definitely be more willing to look to you for your input while crafting a strategy. They’ll respect you for what you know and involve you instead of pushing you away.
How have you dealt with things like this? Did I miss something? Am I throwing a lot of corporate-speak crap out? What do you think?