Multi-generational mentorship as a survival tactic


Those who adapt survive. Those of us that adapt will even thrive. 

To put this into marketing language, this is called an early adopter. Stay with me now, but what I am interested in as of late is the topic of mentorship. The dictionary definition that I think makes the most sense is "an experienced and trusted advisor". What you will notice in this definition is that there is no reference to age. 

I hear a lot of conversations around age and, unfortunately, often in a not-so-positive way. I think that older people with lots of experience can get criticized because it appears that they may be falling behind, particularly as technology takes on a larger and larger role in the workplace and society in general. The facts are that older workers are increasingly allocating more time to retrain and gain skills that keep them competitive. This looks to me like now they are a triple threat—or a triple asset depending on your perspective. Now you have experience, skills and ultimately wisdom. 

multi-generational mentorshipPhoto by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

This is not the only way to look at this. I can also see that younger generations can play the mentorship card. We are seeing more and more examples of multi-generational mentorship. This ties in beautifully with millennials and gen z because we raised them to question authority, believe that they can be and do anything, and ultimately, we see that they want to be part of something purposeful and bigger than themselves. This of course can be the perfect partnership for mentorship for those who get the potential in understanding that everyone can be a mentor and everyone can be mentored, regardless of age. 

Early adopters who understand this have a keen advantage. Business leaders who understand this and create a culture of inclusiveness have a definite advantage in talent recruitment, team retention, competitive edge, and human resilience and well-being.

Let me give you an example. In a hair salon, style trends are very important to stay current with and be an influencer in. This can be a difficult task, and someone like myself, who has been around for a couple of decades now, can say that I have seen it all before. What is important to note, is that this go-around has particular nuances that make a world of difference. How do you communicate that trend? How do you present it in social media so that you influence and grab the attention of your target audience? 

This is where mentorship across the ages comes into play. This is where people with specific experience, talent, passion, knowledge and wisdom can come together to create an intergenerational multi-faceted competitive edge. 

This seems like an obvious way to function, and of course, we are humans and we are often threatened by change and the unknown. Mentorship from an egoless place really does offer up the best of both worlds, where everyone can be a contribution and be contributed to as well.