Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Reverse Mentorship is a Great Idea...

but NOT for the reasons you think

A few days ago I came across a great article on Reverse Mentorship by Erica Swallow at Mashable - an idea I point out in my new book Liquid Leadership - an idea whose time has come.

Why is Reverse Mentorship so important you may ask? 
This is type of mentoring is necessary in today's disruptive climate of change for many reasons. First, Reverse Mentorship is a great idea, but not so executives can learn how to use Twitter and Facebook, but because Generation Y is in touch with technology that just might put your company out of business.

Today, many a Baby Boomer (I am a Boomer myself) are out of touch with what is happening. Cynical business executives may not be aware of a simple phenomenon that is taking place right in front of them: their favorite brands are dying away. Brands like Fortunoff, The Sharper Image and K.B. Toys are shrinking or even disappearing. Much like Drive-In Movie Theaters became ghost towns, the local Mall is soon becoming one as well.

The reason many a Mall Brand is dying is they didn't realize that early on, The Internet was destroying their foot traffic. On top of that, many established brands assumed they had the same relationship with the real world consumer as they did with the Internet consumer. Au contraire! 

The new trend to capture our attention away from Internet shopping is the Mega Mall - complete with a built-in amusement park, giant theater, super food courts and a big time entertainment complex.

But what they may not realize either is that many of the billion dollar companies we are all going gaga over, were started by 20 somethings!

So as a Boomer you can continue to ignore the trend, seeing the young Millennial as a "kid" and suffer the consequences, or you can start listening to that Web designer.

You see, companies that are staying relevant in the 21st Century are adapting to new that digital natives can't live without. Take a look at Kodak, a survivor. They adapted by acquiring young companies that were developing new products. Today, 50% of their 10 billion dollar revenue comes from products that did NOT exist 5 years ago. Products that a Baby Boomer may not be aware of that Generation Y uses every single day!

If you are a Baby Boomer and want to stay on top of your game, you need to get rid of that generational cynicism and listen. Millennials have a skill set you do not, and the jobs of the future require those skills.

Want to learn the hard way, or learn the easy way? Erica's article is right on track, we need to get rid of the "us" versus "them" mentality. Try a Reverse Mentorship program today.

Thank you for you time and interest in my work,

Brad Szollose

PS: Happy Thanksgiving 2010!!!

All of this is covered in my new book Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia. Available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Amazon, as well as your favorite ereaders.