Before the Super Bowl, my son and I made a trip to the Home Depot to get replacement bulbs for my sidewalk track lighting. When we returned home to replace the lights, I was having the hardest time getting the top off of the light. My 6 year old says, “Dad, why don’t you just twist it?” When it worked, he says, “Dad, you should thank me, I’m a genius.”
My boy is smart….and cocky, but he teaches me something daily. He blew me away, not just because the exchange was hilarious, but because he constantly reminds me that just because I’m the older, wiser person that I’m still teachable….and it can come from someone that’s not as old, but wise in their own little way.
I learn daily from those who have been in the game for decades. From those that have multiple letters behind their names, to those that have successfully lead and/or managed thousands of employees. But I also learn a lot from the young lady that sits not too far from me at work that just graduated from college. She shows me new things daily. Different ways of thinking about age-old HR issues. New ideas to throw into the pot. And when I boldly exclaim “Well what we’ve done before in this instance is…”, she naively and common sensibly says “Why not just try this?”, and I pause because her suggestion makes perfect sense. And that youth, those little nuggets of uninfluenced wisdom are what keep our various professions thriving.
A part of professional development is realizing that you don’t know everything and that everyone has areas of weakness. Not weakness to a point where you just suck as a person, but areas where someone else’s knowledge or expertise can complement your strengths. And that someone else isn’t always the oldest person in the room.
We do ourselves and our organizations a disservice when we discount what the professional “babes” have to say, because not only will we then just continue to do things the way we’ve always done them, but we’ll drive the eager and excited away leaving no one to man the helm when we croak.
We were once the youngest, most energetic person in the room. And remembering those times should help us ensure that everyone has input and that we are all learning from one another. Ensuring that the experienced and inexperienced are collaborating and contributing so that the all-important mission of the organization is actually being achieved….and so I can scratch “Change Sidewalk Lights” off of my Honey-Do List.