Death, taxes, and now, change, are the eternal verities. As I said in another post:
The pace of change has accelerated to the point that everyone’s challenge, from Pre-Boomers and Baby Boomers through Generation Y to Generation Z, is how to cope with significant change over the next ten years. If we are, as some predict, moving to an innovation economy, then it is the ability to adapt that is most important. Those betting their organisation on a generational change will be sadly disappointed as no generation has a monopoly on coping with change.
While the youngest generation (whichever that is at a particular point in time) might have the advantage of coming unencumbered to the new ways of working, every generation has a unfortunate habit of treating what they learnt in their formative years (~24) as dogma once they hit their late 20s. Social research has shown that most people’s interest in novel ideas or experiences peaks around the mid to late 20s. (Tell me your favourite band and cuisine, and I’ll tell you what decade you grew up in.) Or, put another way, 24–28 might have the advantage in a rapidly changing world, but once you grow out the top of that age bracket you’ll find yourself at the disadvantage.
However, as with all gross generalisations, and the exceptions are more interesting than the rule; in this case the commonalities between groups are usually stronger than the differences between them. Research like Forrest’s Groundswell show that its more productive to think in terms of personality types.
I prefer to focus on getting stuff done, and ensuring that each and every stakeholder has the tools and support they need to get their job done. This is not a static thing either, something we do once for each stakeholder, as someone’s needs and preferences can change month-by-month, week-by-week, day-by-day or even minute-by-minute.
And this is probably the most important mega-trend we’re seeing emerge at the moment: the drive to continually personalise communication/products/services/tools for each and every individual, rather than trying to divide people into coarse-grained, and increasingly unproductive, demographic groups with predefined needs. If you’re managing change, then you’re still thinking in terms of a static work/home environment that needs to be transformed (however regularly). If you’re managing personalisation, then you’re focused on creating a continually optimised environment for all your stakeholders, ensuring that they have the information and tools they need at that moment. Change isn’t an enemy that should be managed—its a tool to help you achieve, and sustain, peak performance.