Updated: Apr 7, 2020
In our modern culture, we literally have answers in the palm of our hands with access to what seems to be an infinite number of online articles, videos, and opinions. Baby Boomers, like me, are simply trying to keep up with these changes to extend the length of a career and of course our life expectancy (JAMA). The Generation Z (1995-2010) population is more adept with the latest digital modes of communication. Now that they are entering the workforce, how will older generations pass on what they know to younger generations? How can multigeneration ventures learn from one another as one generation retires and the other replaces them in the workforce?
No one sets out to fail and the fear of failure can paralyze the decision-making process of an organization. I have failed more time than I can remember, but from failure, I learned what not to do, and from failure, I have learned that I am not as smart or skilled as I thought I was. In a culture that catalogs failure through social media, it's no wonder that new hires are concerned about what others might find out about them. How can people overcome a fear of failure and use failure to achieve their dreams? Ask an entrepreneur about what they have learned the most and they will most likely begin with points of failure, Jeff Bezos , click on the video.
We should begin with a look into the entrepreneurial mindset, one in which people share how they have succeeded and failed. There are innumerable articles on growth versus a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is one in which a person believes that they have innate talent and ability or lack thereof. When constructive criticism is given, they see it as a personal attack. A growth mindset is evident in a person who learns from his or her own challenges and failures when criticism is given, they see it as an opportunity to learn. Those who have a growth mindset ask why not, those who have a fixed mindset as to how come?
Can we move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, thankfully yes? An entrepreneurial mindset is one that seeks awareness of an opportunity to create value, it is a growth mindset that is based upon what has been learned by experimentation.
So how can a generation that rarely received praise effectively communicate with one that has been praised at every stage of their development? Instead of praising the person’s ability, praise the process the person used to arrive at the conclusion. This reinforces to others that when they critically think, whether the results were positive or negative, that coming up with the wrong answer is just as important as arriving at the correct one. Well as long as they learn from it.
The dilemma that many employers face is how to encourage innovation in the workplace while managing risk related to metacognition or thinking about the way that we think. To develop an entrepreneurial mindset in others, one that fosters critical thinking, we have to examine the process of metacognition, click on the video.
When someone says they can’t do something, ask them a series of questions to find out why. If their answer relates to a lack of ability, train them on how to become more capable. If it relates to a lack of knowledge, show them how to discover the answer. If it relates to attitude, ask them why they believe that they can’t. Neither generation possesses all the information. Leaders and co-workers should point each other to the source of information for self-directed learning and ways to teach old dogs’ new tricks.
Jenkins, R. (2019, January 15). How Generation Z Will Transform the Future Workplace. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/ryan-jenkins/the-2019-workplace-7-ways-generation-z-will-shape-it.html
Dweck, C. (2013, January 13). What Having A Growth Mindset Actually Means. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/01/what-having-a-growth-mindset-actually-means