Monday, December 10, 2007

Learning in Tampa

Had a great time in Tampa working with Achieve Management, The Children's Board of Hillsborough County and the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay. Their hard work had gathered around 150 people to discuss Generation change. Each participant got a copy of Generations, and they were a very interactive, fun group to work with. All in all a great day for me and, I hope, a useful one for them.

One interesting vignette from the day: in the early afternoon, we broke into 8-9 groups and discussed the one thing that the group was most vexed about or most critical regarding their nonprofit and generation change. After 40 minutes or so, the groups reported out. I expected at least 3 groups to talk about inter-generational conflict, a couple to talk about executive transition, perhaps 2 to report that the age of their board as their big problem.

I was so wrong. 9 groups; 9 different issues. I've been saying that generation change is a broad issue, but I keep learning how broad every time I go out and speak.

And, as always, I heard some new questions or new, critical twists on old ones. Here are a couple.

1. "You tell us to recruit younger board members in groups. But with a small board (18) and term limits there are years where only one or two slots may come open--and we have other skill set needs. What do I do?"

2. (From a GenX supervisor) "How do I get a Silent Generation staff employee who is totally tech-averse to buy into our our email-based reporting system?"

Both of these questions highlight very good hands-on applications of the generational shift. I gave both people a few suggestions, since I couldn't answer in any depth since I didn't know all the details.

The answer to the first question is, in brief, prioritization and balance. Which skills are more important to your organization-and I understand that Generational representation may not be the priority right now.

The answer to the second question (again, lacking a lot of specifics) seemed to me to be mentoring--having a younger staff peer assist the older one until she became adequately comfortable with the technology needed to do the job.

As always, when you teach, you learn. I learned a lot!

1 comment:

winner said...

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