4. Looking to the Future
Today’s kids become tomorrow’s leaders
People who are currently in their teens represent the next generation of organisational leaders and managers. By 2020 the brightest and best of them will already be in leadership positions.
Research shows that texting is replacing talking as the preferred mode of teenage communication. The average teen in the US sends or receives an astonishing 4,000 texts per month, equivalent to sending or receiving a text every 6 minutes.
Over two years ago, a US national survey conducted by CITA and Harris Interactive found:
‘The feature is so important to them that if texting were no longer an option 47% of teens say their social life would end or be worsened – that’s especially so among females (54% vs. 40%).
Teens say texting has advantages over talking because it offers more options, including multitasking, speed, the option to avoid verbal communication, and because it is fun – in that order…’
As well as the obvious convenience benefits, teens value the fact that texting offers ‘the option to avoid verbal communication’.
This must surely be an ominous sign: the next generation of organisational leaders will be people who have grown up with a strong preference for the use of electronic messaging over real interaction with people.
Why would they approach communication at work radically differently from their social interactions? We can expect them to eschew contact with people, as this is deemed too messy, too time-consuming and too difficult to control.
This represents the logical end-game of a trend in communication and relationships at work which has been developing since mobile phones became widely used in business in the mid 1990’s.