ANAHEIM, Calif.-If you think you're acting your age by simply not tweeting or engaging in other media, what you're really acting like is a poor leader, according to several people.
Following their separate presentations to credit unions on leadership, innovation and building a successful organization at CO-OP's THINK Confeerence, Nancy Lublin and Susan Packard participated in a Q&A with credit unions (see related stories, page 17). The conversation was emceed by former CNN correspondent Valerie Coleman Morris.
Morris: Tell us about being the fifth-largest organization on Twitter?
Lublin: We have 409,561 followers. What's great is it's free and the feedback is immediate.
Packard: The immediacy of the feedback is another of the generational differences, and technology is but one. The employee base of 25-35 is used to immediacy. It's not so much gratification as it is they want clarity and honesty. They want speed.
Lublin: This generation grew up after cable. They are inundated with choice. They want cafeteria options, to pick and choose. Everything is made and customized for them. They want to see metrics, as they grew up with video games. The other thing I love about Millenials is they love responsibility; their icon is (Facebook CEO) Mark Zuckerberg. If you tell them what you want and the end result you are seeking, they want to be sent out to do it.
Morris: How do you make that transition to understanding social media and translate that to teams so it's good for bottom line?
Packard: You have to know what's important to them. You have to reach out to them; that's your job. That's generational, too. If you think about your parents' generation, those people who ran companies had expectations that you would come to them. With Millenials, it's the other way. At the end of the day, you have to build trust.
Lublin: I meet people sometime who say 'I am never going to Tweet' or 'I don't get your iPad thing,' and it's meant to be endearing. It's not. I think meeting employees on their terms and getting to know them on their terms is here to say.
Morris: Nancy, you have advocated term limits for senior management. What do you mean?
Lublin: Senior is not age. I am a dyed-in-the-wool not-for-profit person, and I believe in the public good. I believe we can have great careers and great impact and management impact in not-for-profits. Because they are for the public good, maybe it's worth considering if we should have term limits for credit unions and not-for-profits.
Packard: Whether you agree or disagree, the whole notion is that if you can continue to have fresh ideas generated internally, then great. But if not you need to look at getting new people.