Reverse Mentoring

A couple of posts ago, I talked about the SurvivalWare 20,000 Small Businesses Initiative.  The basic idea is to provide discounted software and training for younger people who could then help seasoned business owners and entrepreneurs apply financial modeling technology to their businesses.  

Just last week an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal:

Reverse Mentoring Cracks Workplace – Top Managers Get Advice on Social Media, Workplace Issues From Young Workers

In an effort to school senior executives in technology, social media, and the latest workplace trends, many businesses are pairing upper management with younger employees in a practice known as reverse mentoring.

The concept is the same as the 20,000 SBI.  There is a lot we can learn from younger workers, and likewise them from us.  Who better to help you harness the power of social networking than someone who spends 2 hours a day on Facebook?  And who better to coach someone on business mores and office politics, not to mention the importance of cash flow – than a 35 year verteran?

Reverse Mentoring Cracks Workplace - 11/28/2011 WSJ

Reverse Mentoring Cracks Workplace - 11/28/2011 WSJ

It seems like several large companies have set up formal programs – and that Cisco set up its “Gen Y Reverse Mentoring Program” nearly two years ago.

Of course, we entrepreneurs have been doing this informally for some time.  It is called nepotism.  Back in the old days, it meant hiring your kids to do menial tasks and learn from the bottom up, expectantly soaking up whatever wisdom you deemed willing to impart.  Now, it is much more of a two way street.  If only we could teach them not to gloat when they prove us wrong about something!


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