This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

April 20, 2005

Call the Next Generation "Independents?"

The development of children currently in school---the next group to enter our workforce---suggests that they, their employers, and their co-workers may encounter some difficult times. A great many of today’s children are being raised to be independent and to compete. Their lives are heavily scheduled. They are measured so frequently that their classes have become more focused on test preparation than on learning. Many hours of their days are spent in front of the computer screen, interacting with others indirectly instead of face-to-face. There is little time for unbridled creativity, play just for fun (away from the computer), and learning for the enjoyment of deeper understanding and the pursuit of knowledge.

Upon graduation, children with this upbringing will be thrust into a world of work that demands a much different preparation.

The employment skills of the future will be more focused on creativity, communication, and collaboration. In his new book (highly recommended), “A Whole New Mind,” our colleague Daniel Pink says we are moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age.

In a conceptual age, workers will be expected to think. As employees and contractors work together to find new products, new technologies, new methods for achieving results, out-of-the-box thinking will be the norm in successful organizations,. We are already seeing some companies apply these principles, generating among stakeholders a long-lost feeling of excitement. Success will be driven by how many people on the team can see the big picture…and beyond. Workers will be encouraged to dream, to envision a world that is dramatically different

Employers will seek young, energetic workers who are open to new ideas. They will want people who challenge the status quo, who ask challenging questions, who are not satisfied with doing things the old way just for the sake of tradition. Regimented educational processes and over-scheduled lives do not prepare young people for tomorrow’s work environment. Yet this segment of the workforce has the potential to reap the greatest reward.

Employers will seek graduates of liberal arts colleges and secondary schools that have inspired students to make a difference, not merely exist.

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