By Caroline Creedon
The Next Generation
Time is whizzing by. The next generation is quickly approaching the market, both as professionals and consumers. If we want to continue to scale our businesses, we need to keep up.
Scaling your business is the natural outcome of doing a whole bunch of things consistently well. So what do we need to be doing consistently right now to scale moving forward?
We need to be doing our research on who the next generation is and what makes them tick. Whether we’re thinking internally, externally, or both, the next generation is going to play a huge role in keeping our businesses roaring. So naturally, we need to get to know them.
This probably sounds like a big, neverending job. And while that’s partly true, I’ve come up with a list of 8 core things you can do today to help you develop the next generation and prepare them to step up to the plate.
Every business has a culture. Ideally, yours is one that’s collaborative, open to feedback and questions, and all-around support. When we encourage people to bring new ideas forward, we’re presented with new opportunities that are truly invaluable.
Keep an eye on people in your business who you think have a lot of potential, whether that’s someone who might someday step into your own role or someone who might just step up as a leader, simply because they’ve got the skills and drive to do so. A lot of companies have what they call an “emerging leaders” program that does just this.
There’s an inevitable cultural gap between generations. What you need to do is find out what each generation is looking for. Baby boomers, for example, value job stability. Millennials value prestige. The next generation, Gen Z, values sustainability and social awareness. Learn to speak their language in order to earn their engagement.
Those people on your watchlist? Don’t just watch them for leadership roles. Keep an eye out for talents that may surprise you. You might have someone on your team working in finance who would actually be more valuable as a salesperson.
Some people have a predisposition to leading others, but I truly believe leadership skills can be honed. The people around you may not necessarily make good managers, but a lot of them can probably take on more responsibility than you’re currently giving them. Let them take ownership for small things first and see if they’re ready to step up a bit further.
You’re already doing this. Just that you’re reading this proves that. But something to think about is bringing in new opportunities for people to bring their ideas to you. Whether it’s a brainstorming session, a comment box, or a simple open-door policy, invite those ideas in.
Use the people around you to build each other up. Think about how you can get your current superstars to pass their wisdom on to those in the rising. Maybe you set up a formal mentorship program or perhaps it’s as simple as pairing the right two people together on an ongoing project.
Between young entrepreneur groups and school work experience opportunities, there are a lot of young people out there who are eager to learn and grow. If you put in a bit of effort, I can almost guarantee you’ll find a whole new cohort of superstars that would be over the moon to work with you and/or learn from you.
If you’re looking for the next layer of leadership, don’t shy away from thinking outside the box. You never know who you’re standing next to in a lift.
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