Usually executive development is the other way around. Your new employees benefit from the experience of older, more seasoned employees--especially at the executive development level. Mentorship provided by executives is a proven way to get newbies up to speed.
But something dramatic has happened recently . . . everythings been turned upside down. And the newbies are becoming the mentors! While brash young workers have always felt they know more than senior management, the truth is they just might.
For example, the new wave of employees in their twenties knows how to set up a blog. They know how to text message with their eyes closed. They know how to manipulate obscure browsers to research global statistics. In other words, they can teach a thing or two to senior employees.
Some companies call it reverse mentoring. It includes informal discussions or spontaneous meetings that senior managers are using to glean new skills or advice on trends from younger colleagues. Its about bouncing around ideas. Its about learning how a different generation wants to be managed.
Enlightened managers say its about staying current on all trends relevant to your work. They understand that they must go outside their circle to help their customers stay innovative.
Large employers have found that reverse mentoring can reduce training costs. And small companies have discovered it gives them a competitive edge.
The incoming generation wants flexibility and work-life balance. They plan to change careers often. And they expect to use technology to solve problems. They have a faster, better way of getting information. Tapping into this amazing executive development resource can make a huge difference in team coherence and motivation.
Reverse mentoring is just one of the many alternative job search strategies and non-traditional career advancement techniques that can put you candidacy at the top of the list. Bringing this unusual executive development concept to the table when youre interviewing is one of those practical, bottom-line recommendations that make employers sit up and pay attention to you.
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