With the technological advances in today’s workplace, we have seen a shift in the role that information plays in our communication and relationships. Baby boomers view information very differently than the generations that follow them, and as they retire we are seeing information take on a new role.
A brief synopsis of how each generation views information:
Boomers: Holding information is power
Xers: Sharing information is power
Millennials: Knowing where and how to access information fast is power
Boomers had ruled with the philosophy of “Information is Power” so hold the information close to your vest. In his book Generation Blend: Managing Across the Technology Age Gap, Rob Salkowitz, says, “Some Boomers also perceive new collaborative content and distributed decisions-making technologies as a threat to their hard-won authority.”
Xers adopted a new tactic. With only 44 million peers ever born, Xers knew they couldn’t compete in numbers. However, they could compete by turning the philosophy around and saying, “Creating and sharing easy access to information is powerful, and profitable too.” We have seen Xer-led organizations such as Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Craig’s List, Salary.com, and Pandora enter onto the world stage, capitalizing on the information power equation.
Millennials have grown up as the first generation of digital natives. Communication for them has always been a natural and connective tool. The world of information is at their fingertips and they pride themselves on being able to find information at Mach Speed. For Millennials, communication is all about 24/7 access, self expression, and getting it done fast. They don’t wait for anything (or anyone). They feel they just need to give you enough information for you to get to the meat of the matter, and that’s it.
As technology continues to progress, we will see a continuous shift in how we handle information. The more we understand each other’s Generational Codes, the more successful we all will be. I hope that this insight can help you form lasting relationships and improve communication within your organization.