The 2020 Manager
Remember when the year 2020 sounded like a long way out? Back to the Future promised we’d have time travel, Blade Runner predicted megacities run amuck by pollution and overpopulation, and Soylent Green warned of an unpleasant (and, hopefully, unlikely) source of protein.
2020 is sneaking up on us and, while many cinematic predictions may be falling short, one ongoing concern remains: how to develop and prepare managers of the future. As we work on plans for developing the managers of 2020, 2025, and beyond, there are important considerations to understand about the make-up of this group.
A large percentage of these up-and-coming leaders are Millennials. In fact, “nearly half (46%) of all US workers will be Millennials”1 by 2020. This significant subset of the workforce grew up with highly visual, rapidly changing technology and knows only a world in which information can be found and shared immediately.
“(Millenials) don’t view managers as content experts (like their predecessors) because they know where to find multiple versions of the information,” write Brack and Kelly, “the constant launching of a newer or better app has made them continuous learners.”
If these future leaders don’t look to their managers for guidance and wisdom, where will they learn the intricacies of their organization’s operations?
Most Millenials grew up with highly coordinated schedules of team sports and summer camps. As a result, they are generally great collaborators, “play well with others,” and seek groups to align themselves with.
The characteristics of the next wave of business leaders – team players with an affinity for visual learning and technology and an expectation of instant access to information– are considerations when planning leadership development programs. This is not likely to be a group that will respond well to lecture-based seminars or text-only instruction. They will want their learning to be accessible anytime, anywhere, to be immersive and hands-on, to be immediately applicable, and to engage and inspire them. The solution could be to engage Millenials in online, cloud-based business simulations.
Business Simulations as Safe Environments for Testing
A business simulation provides a safe, visual, high-tech means of teaching decision-making skills,critical KPIs, and important business lessons. It can mirror the realities of your operations, with operating decisions made by executives at no risk to your survival as a company.
How do we prepare for the learning needs of the 2020 manager? The clock is ticking…
1Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace, Jessica Brack & Kip Kelly (2012), UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School (http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/executive-development/custom-programs/~/media/files/documents/executive-development/maximizing-millennials-in-the-workplace.pdf).