Tenure and youth – there is no shortcut
I am a fan of the Mad Men series. I was watching an episode when lead character Don Draper scolded Peggy over her overzealous pursuit of recognition. It happens everyday in real life too. There is no shortcut to recognition if you lack experience.
Look around us, and it is not difficult to find many organizations populated with very young management running them.
There is nothing wrong, except that experience is something that can only come through decades of labor and pains, frequent meeting of failures and conquering them. Sure, talents may abound in the young, but talents are not privy only to the young. The older predecessors do not lack talent, and some may very well be much better than the young. Technology can be an enabler for the young and it may appear that the young seems more nimble and quick in their work, but the reality may not be so. Many of the older executives who are keeping pace with technology, have no trouble outperforming the younger peers simply because they have decades of field and battleground experience to tap on at the speed of thought.
I have observed some young people who become complacent and lethargic at their work, believing that their skills and talents are under-appreciated. However, merely doing the same tasks over and over again, without putting in more effort, more learning, more enthusiasm, and more participation with team members, do not make the hours clocked any more valuable to managers.
Conversely, I have also observed some young people whom I admire and respect a great deal and would gladly recommend them for work. The most appreciated young executives are often those who are extremely hardworking, optimistic and cheerful, respectful of leaders and peers, eager learners, and cooperative to make every peg and nut in the corporate machinery work for the macro objectives of the organization. No talent is indispensable, if the person insists on behaving like an out-of-sorts prima donna with no respect or regard for fellow team mates. The bright and successful young executives are often humble and respect knowledge and experience, and are eager to absorb the tenured experience of their older counterparts.
A word of caution for us who are older executives too. Just because we have tenure and field proven experience, do not make us immune to the transient and rapidly changing business environments. We need to learn constantly and to improve our expertise and skills as much as the young. In the world of computing, we too, must keep abreast with what the young finds as second nature.
Like the fictional character Draper in Mad Men commented, I would concur that every need for recognition, must be tempered by real field experience, and with time. The crux has to be in a person who is positive, eagerly learning, committed, and patient. I applaud those younger ones who are positive and humble, and who have continuously aligned themselves with the macro objectives, realizing that without the organization and the team, their own ground is but hollow.
Life is as much what you put in more upfront for the benefit of others, than what you expect out of it without putting in anything, or much at all.