August 16, 2012

An August story in INC (11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media) by Hollis Thomases (CEO of Web Ad.vantage) is generating plenty of buzz as an army of 20 year-olds defend their generation by attacking Hollis’ generation. “One reason why menopausal women should stop writing.” “Sounds like a middle-aged woman fearful of younger, possibly more vibrant or dynamic people.” Well, everyone, welcome to the world of age discrimination that I see every day.

In an age when every company needs the best and brightest minds, most people (no matter what their age) still define people FIRST by age. The INC article and the comments demonstrate we just can’t seem to move away from using age as the starting point in defining competence. Truth is, one of the best social media experts I know is over 60. I also know some talented internet experts that won’t see their 60th birthday for three decades!

The bigger issue here is how can we all look beyond age? The Beach Boys are all over 70. Mark Zuckerman started Facebook at 20. Who cares? Creating a powerful team that uses the talents of everyone, regardless of age, is one of the biggest issues small businesses are dealing with today. That’s why I conduct seminars on the subject. People’s work ethic and ability to deal with change is different for every age (generation). Yet, age diversity in the workplace is the most powerful tool you have working for you. What are you doing to eliminate age discrimination and build a winning team?

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