When removing pride can drive growth

I’ve worked in demographically young companies pretty much all my adult life on the agency side. Well, I thought that until I spent the last two years at a web-based agency. I think they had chutes linked directly from the local hospital’s maternity ward straight into ergonomic desk chairs sat in front of rsi-reducing wrist bars and high-powered computers. I was the 4th oldest, out of 75, with a 9-year gap between my doddering age and the next oldest. Boo-hoo, I’m sure I was always one of the ‘young ones’??

But you know what? I absolutely loved it.

Yes, they occasionally took the Michael out of how ‘old’ I was [41], how little hair I had left and the usual ‘ooh, watch out if you brush into him, his arm might fall off’ age-based gags. But the other 99% of the time [ok, 79%] they were respectful, asked for advice, were genuinely curious and enthusiastic about what they did, and bloody bright. They also know more about now.

So what, you might ask.

My faith in the younger generation had been a bit dimmed in recent years. There seemed to be a cohort coming through that were taught they deserved things simply because they existed and weren’t we all blessed by that fact. It might have been a Blair-era thing. But from what I saw [and granted, it’s a small sample], these guys and gals are well-adjusted, responsible but still have fun, learn rapidly and have the confidence to apply their skills.

Here’s a challenge. If you’re in a company that’s lucky enough to have a number of apprentices, grads or under 30’s, embrace their skills and knowledge, get them involved in one thing you thought should only be for middle or senior management, and enjoy the energy they bring to your business. They may add something you’ve never thought of sooner than you imagined, and generate growth you’d always hoped for.

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