Author Helps Crack The Generational Code
"Marching Off The Map," written by Tim Elmore with contributions from Andrew McPeak, was recommended to me by a friend after hearing me speak about cognitive diversity and the need to use it as a criterion for selecting our management team and board of directors at work. From the outset, the book is geared toward educators, parents and coaches with a quiz on the first page to assess your leadership style. I was not completely convinced on the idea, but I took the quiz and fell into the middle range between being "old-school" and "new-school." This was a provocation for me, as I did not think of myself in this way. Re-taking the quiz, I started to see what I might be missing.
I started to read the first chapter and realized how relatable this book is for my business and our current needs in hiring, retaining, making better decisions and tracking outcomes from idea to conclusion. The first chapter discusses the narrow definition of education present in our schools and therefore in our businesses — a definition centered on test scores or performance evaluations and keeping up with the competition — and not enough education about life. How many times have I thought to myself, "Why doesn't he or she know that — it's common sense!" What I'm learning is the future is not just an extension of the past.
The book is designed to help us recognize, as employers, the changes we must make as we onboard young employees who may show up without ever having a "real job." The changing approach to information is a noted example. With most information being easily accessible, management's role shifts from providing the information itself to instead providing context. As the author writes, "The task isn't to access data, but to process data and form good decisions."
Providing context to the content also requires us to re-think the way we share information and how learning happens in our organizations. I really appreciated the difference between "pulling" versus "pushing" information, as the author highlights. Pushing information to young employees can cause them to become passive, bored and seemingly uninterested. Instead, the role of management can broaden their role as making the environment ready to inspire learning and collaboration to bring out or make a space for ambition, inspiration and learning.
With all of these changes afoot, we are not left on our own to figure it out or resigned to accept everything that is changing around us. Like a sailor on the high seas adapting to winds and weather, we too can adapt to our organizations and management style — ready to capitalize on, and embrace, the challenges, not merely drifting along.
As the founder and CEO of Growing Leaders, a nonprofit young leadership development organization based in Atlanta, Dr. Tim Elmore has spoken to thousands of students, teachers and management at universities all across the country on the dynamics of generational diversity.
From short attention spans to a reluctance for paying dues in a profession, the ability to inspire much of Generation Z starts with an understanding of their tendencies and motivations. With complementary insight from Growing Leaders Vice President of Content Andrew McPeak, "Marching Off The Map" — published by Poet Gardener Publishing — takes on the complexities of today's students/employees and how teachers/managers can maximize potential.
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