March 25, 2012

Dear Catalog CEOs: In The Workplace

Dear Catalog CEOs:


I talk about Judy, Jennifer, and Jasmine as being separate and distinct customers.


Similarly, you have Judy, Jennifer, and Jasmine in the workplace.  Or in the vendor community.


A few weeks ago, I observed this phenomenon in person.  Jasmine was trying to explain a new technology to Judy.  Judy dismissed the technology, saying "nobody" would use it.  Judy had a good reason for saying this.  You see, Judy has seen just about everything in a career that began in the 1970s.  She remembers the transition from checks to credit cards, she knows how that fundamentally changed the world.  She was also jaded by those who tried to "monetize eyeballs" in the late 1990s.  She lived through the "social media revolution" in the first decade of the 2000s, she knows that almost nobody monetized a process that promised to "change everything".  


Judy is skeptical.


Jasmine is hopeful.  She knows how her generation uses technology.  She hasn't experienced three decades of technology hyped to save the world but ultimately resulting in failure, sprinkled with intermittent success.  


Jasmine sees potential.  Judy sees potential failure.


Then you have Jennifer.  Her career started in the 1990s.  For better or worse, her career is linked to the dot.com movement.  Instead of earning promotions into leadership positions at companies, Jennifer was asked to solve small problems ... like search or email or affiliate marketing or retargeting ... Jennifer was asked to wait for Director/VP level jobs until Judy retired.  Often, Jennifer had to move into the vendor community if she desired career advancement ... a vendor community where she has to sell solutions to Judy, the very person jaded by unrealized solutions!


We have three generations, each with important skills that cannot be matched by other generations.

  • Judy = Career Experience, Management Experience, Profit and Loss Accountability, Traditional Advertising Knowledge, Seasoned.
  • Jennifer = Practical Online Experience, Entrepreneur, Individualism, Technology.
  • Jasmine = Social / Mobile Knowledge, Energy, Enthusiasm, Hope, Collaboration, Technology.
Of course, each generation possesses qualities exhibited by other generations ... but I'm generalizing here to make a point.


The point is, "in the workplace", we have three generations of employees, each bringing interesting and valuable skills to the table.  As a CEO, you have a responsibility to harness the unique qualities of each generation.  Too often, this isn't happening, we default to the preferences of one generation, and sales suffer.


Maybe it is time to see how we can better leverage Judy, Jennifer, and Jasmine in the workplace?

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