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3 Ways to Lead in a Fast-Paced, Technological and Multi-Generational Workplace

January 23, 2012

Speed has infiltrated every area of our lives, faster personal lives, more activities and scheduling with families and constant data from media, social media and the workplace. It can be downright stressful OR we can adapt to the new reality that we are living in.
The truth is if you are resisting the speed by complaining about it or seeing it as evil then it is likely you are experiencing stress and being less productive.
However if you see the increasing pace of life on the planet as exciting and a growth opportunity then you are likely feeling plugged in, going with the flow and in control of how you manage speed in your life.

There are 3 ways we can lead in a fast-paced, technological and multi-generational workplace:

#1- Use Technology to your advantage- I am not talking about continuing to use your Blackberry or Iphone I am talking about increasing the use of the TOOLS provided with your existing technology. Many people have the apps but they are not using them to make life easier or faster. I recently bought the Evernote app for my Iphone and this is an amazing app that allows me to take a photo of articles, newspaper clippings and other information and it will instantly store it and catalogue it so that you can find it later. I am speaking at an Agriculture event later this month and I took a snapshot of an article about a demographic that is looking for work- this is useful for my ag clients who are constantly looking for recruitment and retention strategies. Probably the best app I use all of the time is the new Starbucks app where your Starbucks card is loaded on your phone. Whenever I go to Starbucks I just scan my phone for my purchase and I am done. Recently I had a Gen Y behind me in line and he said, “man I didn’t know that you could do that” and when I told my twenty three year old daughter she downloaded it right away and loves it too.

If you are reading this and you are a Gen Y then you are likely already using technology to a high level and if you are a Gen X you may be as well and trust me there are some highly technical Zoomers out there too- regardless of your demographic I want you to self assess areas where you could be using technology to make your job easier, your communications better and increase your productivity.

#2- In order to speed up- you need to slow down- Deepak Chopra

When things speed up we need to focus on what we can control. We cannot control how fast everything is moving but we can control our ability to stay centered and calm during it. A sped up reality requires a slow down strategy- for me that means in the past year I have committed to a daily practice of getting quiet and contemplative for thirty minutes a day twice a day. Oprah was recently interviewed by Dr. Oz and she said that all of her staff at Harpo stop what they are doing and meditate at 9:00 am and then again at 4:30 pm and she says their staff are calmer, more effective and make better business decisions.

What is the daily practice you are willing to commit to that will keep you calm and centered during speedy times?

#3- Speed learning is the new reality. We no longer have the luxury of sending people away for days upon days of training- you already know that BUT we do need to provide ongoing skill development especially during times of massive change. Speed learning means real time training whether that be computer based training, Webex delivered training where you can show your desktop and guide others step by step and bringing in outside experts through Webinars, Skype and other formats. I have a consulting client where I am coaching his leaders and some of my coaching sessions are delivered by Skype. This works well for them and for me and they get increased skills development in a one hour time frame. I see the future where HR leaders and senior leaders will have a resource of experts that can be available on call for real time training. This is happening already for many organizations and their training departments.

The advantage of increasing technology is that it is becoming easier to use- which means it levels the playing field among the generations. We can view the increased speed of change as daunting or we can excitedly take on the challenge with openness, a desire to change and a willingness to grow quickly.

Cheryl Cran, CSP is an international consultant, author and keynote speaker with expertise in leadership, generations and change.

She works with an assortment of industries including agricultural, food, health, finance, insurance and more.

Cheryl’s clients include Growmark, CHS, Mosaic, 3M, TD Canada Trust, Big Lot Stores and more.

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