When I speak, it’s almost exclusively to entrepreneurs turned CEOs or “hired guns” – the CEOs/COOs hired by the entrepreneur because they know they can’t (or don’t want to) grow a company. You can guess where that audience typically lies…50+ white men. So you can also guess the resistance I get when I begin to talk about the shift in how we communicate and how technology is not going away, but it’s here to make us more productive and efficient.
Imagine this pretty little girl who comes in and tells them their whole world is changing before their eyes and it’s time to take their heads out of the sand and pay attention. Imagine she begins to tell them their employees won’t talk to them – they want to text and iChat instead. Imagine she tells them the way they’ve always pushed sales out to their audiences no longer works. Would you shake your head and say, “She’s not my generation. She doesn’t know hard work.”? They do.
In fact, last week, the man who introduced me said, “The more resistant you are, the better Gini is, so put all your baggage on the table and let’s have a real conversation.” And resistant they were…which really is fun for me because now there are enough case studies that I can pull up on the screen and show them why they’re wrong.
But the fact of the matter is that they’re still resistant (a gross stereotype; not all of them are) and one audience member a few weeks ago said, “I’m just going to retire before Gen X and Gen Y are the real decision makers. I can’t take where all of this is going.”
Which brings me to…is social media forcing retirement?
Alright. I know that was in jest and that it’s out of frustration. This same man is incensed about citizen journalism and the way we’re getting our news, instead of getting it by reading the good ‘ol Wall Street Journal while you drink your coffee at your kitchen table. As if I’ve had something to do with all of this. That whole don’t shoot the messenger thing? Yeah.
But it does raise an important issue. Are CEOs going to just get by in this technology age until they retire and let someone else worry about the young ‘uns?