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June 18, 2020

Think like the youth, embark on success

Think like the youth, embark on success

It is inevitable that every business will go through tough times somewhere during its lifespan. The recent effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession on South Africa’s economy, brought most businesses to a halt, and other to its knees.

On 16 June we celebrate Youth Day. It reminded us why we have a day dedicated to the youth and that it may not be a bad idea for organisations to embrace the characteristics of the youth. During this tough business climate try thinking more like them to embark on a fresh growth path.

It is because of their unique character traits that they are able to apply fresh thinking. Let’s have a look at how a few of these traits can be of immense benefit when applied by organisations:

  1. Resilience

Resilience can be summed up as the ability to bounce back from adversity and adapt to new circumstances.  Due to the different stages of development in the brain, the youth needs to adapt to change more often throughout the cycle, which cultivates resilience. It’s vital for businesses to step up and look forward, irrespective of the difficult time the business is going through.

This is not an easy task, as company culture is heavily dependent on the people working in the business. Resilience should be apparent in the behavior of business leaders and credible high-profile individuals in the business for the trait to filter down to the rest of the organisation.

Practice open communication in the business and deal with the challenges at hand. Lead with integrity, provide support to employees and be a mentor.

  1. Tech savvy

In a study  investigating how the youth are using technology it was found that young people in developing countries are twice as likely to access the internet as opposed to adults. Not only was it found that the youth are creative in using technology to earn an income, but they are also using it to operate their businesses.

Businesses should embrace technology like the youth and use it effectively and to its fullest potential to identify business opportunities and streamline business processes. Approach your smart digital strategy to stay ahead of the pack.

  1. Open-mindedness

The youth are typically more curious to learn and explore new things. They love to give their opinions, but they are aware of the possibility that they might be wrong. They see this possibility as an opportunity to expand their skillset and are therefore willing to recognise the value of others’ opinions.  To quote the self-improvement author Mark Manson: “We can be truly successful only at things we’re willing to fail at”.

Organisations should have a well-informed outlook on the needs of their customers and an interest in the future and how things can possibly change. Embrace different perspectives to identify new business opportunities and improve on existing business activities.

  1. Hopefulness

Its no secret that the youth are biased to positive thinking and living a hopeful life. A survey by Ipsos showed that nine out ten young people in developing countries are optimistic and invested in their future.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, optimism is “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something;  a tendency to take a favourable or hopeful view.”  Cultivating a hope-driven culture is all about keeping individuals engaged while inspiring them to thrive and grow. Allow individuals to think ‘unreasonable’ because realism might limit them to excel beyond their average ambition level. Larry Page once said:  “You have to be a little silly about the goals you are going to set”.

Peter Ducker, a leader in management education, once said:  “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. By saying this he didn’t mean that strategy was any less important, but rather that a culture that is powerful and empowering is a more fail-proof route to organisational success.

Embarking on a journey to adopting these character traits are certainly not a management concept or accounting entry, but rather a leadership approach that needs to fits snugly and deeply into the business culture for sustained success and relevance when times are changing.