We hear a lot today about organizations transforming to a more digital environment and transitioning from older ways of thinking and working to newer and more modern thinking and work methods. Many of the conversations focus on the technology while the greatest challenge is typically human, even when there is no technology involved.
To support my statement, I am going to do something I very rarely do and use our political parties as examples. Over the years, both Republican and Democratic parties have been challenged with the arrival of a younger generation of Congressional and Senatorial members. In both cases, there have been challengers to the ways of managing the political and legislative processes. The most recent between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and four newly elected Congress Women who see the traditional ways of Speaker Pelosi as outdated, and are pushing for a transformation of sorts, within the Democratic party and Congress.
There is no technology involved here, but is does show that there is a divide which in my opinion is more one of one generation holding on to tradition “this is how we do things and have done things”, and the other pointing to their sense of need for change away from the traditional, “Just because this is how we did it, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way”. I even see this in families where from generation to generation, what was once a tradition is changed due to now different lifestyles, work and personal requirements, or some other reason driving the need for change.
In my view, change is inevitable in every aspoect of our lives. In some cases we can inflluence what will change, when it will change, and how the change will occur. In other cases, we have no control over the pending changes and should accept that change is inevitable, beneficial for the organization, and hard. Organizational transformation and the transition from current state to future state is a team effort, and all parties must work in unison if success is to be achieved. While the older generation – of which I am now part – must come to realize that while traditional methods (even though they are still fully functional and effective) may not be the best approach in current and future times, the younger generation, full of ideas and knowledge of updated methods and technologies, must realize that change is uncomfortable for those who have been in this role for many years.
Once generational balance is found, and common ground established, as a team there can be success. Gone are the days of running an organization with the mindset of doing things my way or take the highway. Address the transitional challenge with an open mind to change and trust that there may be some glitches along the way, but in the end it is the organization as a whole that wins.