In January I learned that I would be partnering with our new intern-turned-employee, Desiree, to support some social media programs. In our first conference call it took me about 12 minutes to discover that my new partner in crime was going to “out-digital” me in just about every subsequent conversation. I felt something sting; it was my wounded pride. I have been managing social media programs for years, and it stung that she knew more about the latest digital tools and tactics than I did.
That evening, alone with my thoughts, I decided I had no other choice than to soak up any new knowledge I could, even though my pride was still smarting. I conceded her ideas were pretty interesting; perhaps we’d have some really fun opportunities ahead.
The next day I dialed in for our second conference call. With about a half dozen attendees, it was a lively call with lots of ideas being bandied about, and lots of process and workflow issues to resolve. I was pretty surprised when Desiree followed up privately with me and expressed admiration for my knowledge of the “inner workings” of the organization. Huh, I thought, maybe I’m not as worthless as I felt last night!
And then it hit me – picture the proverbial light bulb. What a powerful team we could be as Desiree keeps us updated on all the latest in digital-land, and I shepherd the projects through my internal network of peers – a network I’ve been building for years!
I went from embarrassed to energized in less than a day, but I suspect my transformation was quicker than most. While I’d love to flatter myself and say my quick turnaround was due to my magnanimous nature, the truth is that I was already working with social media, so new tactics and platforms weren’t completely foreign concepts to me.
Plus, one of Desiree’s great ideas was for us to co-manage a blog about mixing Millennials and Gen Xers in the work place. While I’ve been working with blog platforms and bloggers for years, I’ve only authored a few posts, so admittedly I was initially apprehensive. However, since I committed to being more open to new ideas (and I really did like the concept of “a Millennial and a Gen Xer walk into the conference room”), here I am writing my first piece for the XM Files!
Now, enough about me. What do you think? Do most Gen Xers and Baby Boomers have a hard time accepting digital natives into their work groups? Do Millennials feel overwhelmed or unappreciated by Gen Xers who have a firmer grasp of the inner workings of the organization? What do you think is the most effective way to build a truly collaborative intra-generational team?
This post originally appeared on The XM Files.