I recently finished reading Don Tapscott’s latest book “Grown Up Digital”. Building upon his earlier work “Growing Up Digital” published over a decade ago, his new effort sets forth the most thorough, balanced, and useful insights I have seen regarding the 11 to 31 year old segment of our population he calls the NET GENERATION or Net Gens for short. From a manager’s perspective, many of them now represent that segment of our workforce whose life experience has been so heavily influenced by the digital world that surrounds us, that their ways of thinking, behaving, and interacting are, in Tapscott’s view, changing every aspect of our society including the world of work.
In my management workshops I am frequently treated to extended participant discussions regarding the challenges of managing the Net Gens and their 30 something generational cohorts. The older the manager, the more mystified they often seem regarding the behavior, motivations, thought processes, work habits, and expectations of their younger colleagues. If you put yourself in this mystified category, then “Grown Up Digital” is a must read.
Inspired by a $4 million research project that included corporate sponsorship and thousands of interviews of Net Geners, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers in 12 countries, “grown up digital” provides enlightening stories, anecdotes, and examples of managers, teachers, parents, advertisers, and politicians alike who have already figured out how to begin tapping and unleashing the unique potential Net Geners represent.
In addition, Tapscott takes the eight behavioral norms he believes define the Net Generation — freedom, customization, scrutiny, integrity, collaboration, entertainment, speed, and innovation — and offers chapter after chapter of highly applicable suggestions for engaging those behaviors to great advantage across our society and at work.
If, as Tapscott argues, the Net Generation with all their strengths and potential weaknesses, represents the future — and I for one believe it does — then as I like to tell my management clients and Workshop participants, learning how to maximize their potential contribution at work is not an option. I have long believed that you can teach older dogs new tricks and “grown up digital” is chock full of timely, how-to hints. So let the practice and learning begin
Terry Joseph Busch
Amazon Link to “Grown Up Digital”: