Trust is Key to Intergenerational Dialogue


Last summer at Vistage, we had the most robust internship program in our history.  While I believe these interns learned a great deal from the experience, I can’t begin to describe how much we all learned from them.  That’s because the conversations were as broad as they were deep, spanning far beyond technology or business.  We learned about their experiences growing up in a post 911, 2008-financial-crisis-shaped world and how those experiences influenced who they are today.

Here are some of our takeaways:

  1. They put great emphasis on thinking outside of the box and being creative.
  2. They aren’t afraid to speak up and possess the desire to contribute and make a difference. They don’t want to wait 10 years to do so.
  3. They are determined to create value while being purposeful.

While seeing the future through the eyes of our interns and youngest employees will give us all a clearer window to the challenges and opportunities of the future, there’s an even bigger outcome to be realized. Intergenerational dialogue builds mutual trust. Without a culture of trust, empowerment is impossible and any prospects for innovation go right out the window – not exactly a prescription for success.

Many of our members have used reverse mentoring to achieve this level of dialogue and it has been a win-win. These informal exchanges have jumpstarted larger conversations that could open up possibilities for the future. If you’re not currently inspiring these conversations formally or informally at your organization, today may be a great day to start!

In the coming weeks, we will be launching an organization-wide internship program called SummerWork, which will give Vistage members and Chairs a platform to post their internships and share them with their young adult children. We’re excited to help more of our members and Chairs reap the benefits of the intergenerational dialogue.

 

 

 

2 comments
  1. John Vincent

    March 5, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Leon,
    This is sensational.
    As a 17 year YPOer I can assure you that for our older members with internship age kids – this is a huge winner.
    How do I get on board in Canada!
    JV

    Reply

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