It has been said often: “Change is the only constant.” This may be more evident than ever before. Mobility is the new, new thing, driving many changes. We are untethered yet always connected. A dichotomy of change.
Within the waves of change, there needs to be a new truism, and it is: “Trust empowers all relationships.” Individuals stand alone. Generations get stereotyped. Silos began to form. As connected as we are today, we are in danger of becoming islands of aloneness and sameness.
Trust is the answer. It begins now. It begins with us.
More hype has been piled on Generation Y, or better known as Millennials. We are building layers to insulate rather than removing layers to engage. This needs to be our call-to-action. Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silent Generation alike but between two generations. We need to cross the gap and lead anew!
Where Does Trust Begin? Go Horizontal.
Trust begins with a conversation between two generations. Yes, it is that simple. For older generations, when is the last time you:
- Engaged in a give-and-take conversation with a Millennial?
- Shared a leadership lesson with a Millennial?
- Discussed a past failure and how you recovered from it?
- Shared a lesson learned?
For Millennials, when is the last time you:
- Discussed your refreshed approach to doing work with someone from another generation?
- Exchanged ideas on the role of purpose in life, work, and leadership with someone from another generation?
- Shared an innovative idea or creative way to solve a problem?
- Highlighted a lesson learned?
Trust begins with our words. It is about exchanging them in a fruitful and open conversation. This is where trust begins.
Building Generational Trust. Go Vertical.
As our words are exchanged, we then need to act on them. Our actions seal our words in a bond of trust, but it only happens if our words match our actions and vice versa.
To build trust between two generations, we need to act in a way that follows through on our words. This is where the challenge hides; it hides in our words but it needs to be overcome in our actions. Converting our words to key action steps is where trust empowers relationships; it is where depth of trust is built.
Our call to action is to convert our exchanged words into action points.
Get Started. Intersect Words and Actions.
Outlined below is a quick way to move words to action and build solid bonds of trust between generations. Let’s get started!
- Engage in a cross-generational, real conversation. Set a time and dive in. Go in with curiosity and openness, along with a willingness to share and grow.
- Use empathy to understand. Seek to learn. Question to gain depth of perspective. It needs to be two way, an exchange.
- Extend a hand to act together. Determine a project to work together, small or large. Gain hands-on experience, side-by-side.
- Create initiatives to work together and collaborate. Solve real problems. Leverage experiences from two generations. It is not hand-offs but working collaboratively.
- Close the loop on insights gained from words exchanged and actions taken. Share what you learned. Adapt to the changes. Engage further. Repeat!
This is important. We are leading together for a generation. Let’s do it by realizing there is a thin difference between generations and a vast opportunity exists to create a big leadership story.
Jon Mertz is a vice president of marketing in the health care industry and is a leadership populist, writing to empower and inspire Millennial leaders at ThinDifference.com. Connect with Jon on Twitter @ThinDifference or on Facebook.