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Penny Power Ponders how we keep up with the constant disruption in business

This week I have been pondering how Baby Boomers and Gen X are navigating the digital disruption that defines our current business landscape. These generations, born before the digital age, face unique challenges as they adapt to technologies that are native to Millennials and Gen Z.

While digital innovation accelerates at a pace, it’s fascinating to see the resilience and willingness of Baby Boomers and Gen X to learn and thrive amidst these changes. Unlike our parents who enjoyed predictable career paths and retirement, today’s professionals must continuously adapt to remain relevant. This adaptation isn’t just about learning new technologies; it’s about embracing an entirely new mindset towards how business operates in the digital era.

I am also aware that there is no choice, I joined the tech sector in 1984, and became an entrepreneur in 1998, I know I must give time to learning, testing and being aware of the way our business can be disrupted. Staying relevant is about how we manage our communication, productivity, marketing, finance, operations, and mental health, and expertise. Constantly seeking to have a growth mindset and have time to meet new people and discover new ideas that will help our business.

I am curious to know how other people keep up, innovate, gain new ideas, stay relevant and ensure they can keep building their businesses when they were not born into a digital world.

Digital has disrupted the fortunes of many BB’s and Gen X’s. So many of our friends and close contacts are going to work way past the age of our parents’ retirement age. Some have been fixed minded, and they are now that frog in warm water, and the water is getting very hot.

I feel for our Generation as we are squeezed between two types of business generations and we have been the channel of change, that is not easy.

My dad was a successful business man, Managing Director of a Global Medical Devices Company, he had a driver, a secretary, thousands of staff in offices and factories. He provided a home for our mum and 4 children. Paid for our education, was home at 6.30pm every evening, never worked at home, and I remember a 3-week holiday that we took, and my mum being cross that he had to make one business call. Not much disrupted his business life, perhaps new competition, occasionally, but so long as he kept close relationships with his larger clients, managed the business well, life was predictable. He retired aged 62, good pension, house paid for. Golf, travel and spending time with his grandchildren, only when he really wanted to, was his life. He lived to 94.

So what about all of us who started working in this same climate in the 1980’s, pre-internet? Have we had a predictable life, have we managed to keep work separate from our home life? Is digital a joy to us? We love to have fun and meet people face to face, become friends, not emotionally disconnected connections on social media.

Then look at our kids, born in 1992, 94 and 97. Born into a digital world, absorbing digital through a process of osmosis. Many choosing to work for themselves, as Freelancers or Entrepreneurs, never really needing to consciously learn, never seeking to have boundaries in work and life. Starting work later after the gym, not commuting. Ensuring that work is a pleasure, using digital as THE boundary that protected their life, creating business models that enables online, detached delivery where possible.

Is digital a joy for them? I think in part it is, even though social media has created mental health issues around self-worth, it has created a powerful lifestyle for those that can embrace the ‘work anywhere, anytime’ models.

It’s not just about the lifestyle though, this generation has created a level of productivity and creativity that is incredible. They are problem solvers. Using digital tools and platforms to transfer the way they gain and deliver business. I watch our own children and how they navigate business, we constantly learn from them, looking at business models, engagement tools, how they use Ai, how they organise their businesses. We also observe their joy in business because of digital, we see how empowered they are, seeing no boundaries to innovation and surviving as the fittest people in the digital world.

Many of us have adapted to digital accounting systems like XERO, utilise Canva for our graphics, use CRM systems like HubSpot, communicate fast though WhatsApp, leverage the tools of LinkedIn and the powerful API systems that help engagement. We all embraced Zoom in COVID and have stuck with it. We all use digital in various ways, but do we think digitally? Are we creating the business models and delivery mechanisms to be a digital business?

I have seen our BIP100 community grow in success because our members have these 10 things in common.

1. The desire to learn and meet new people, find new ways to improve their business through deep sharing.

2. The willingness to find better ways to work, having a growth mindset, they are empowered people who seek ways to solve their business challenges, rather than being victims of the digital world.

3. They know how important it is to have fun, and they come to offline events for social gatherings and opportunities to mentor one another and build deep friendships.

4. I also know that they don’t tend to like learning through YouTube or online training courses.

5. Peer2Peer sharing and learning is ideal, being inspired by one another’s innovations and discoveries. ChatGPT is a great example of this.

6. They want to escape the social media hustle to find business opportunities.

7. Building trust in themselves and in others is a fundamental need. Social media has impacted our ability to trust people and information.

8. They want to talk openly about their challenges, and this enables others to help them.

9. They have been through pain and built resilience and believe nothing is in their way, so long as they are connected to great people that inspire them.

10. They look after their mental health and emotions and through a culture of love and kindness they grow in self-worth.

As I close this Ponderings, I want to ask you to Ponder this…

How do you learn to enable your continued relevance in an advancing digital world?

Business is Personal is about discovering our own ways of doing business and our own definition of success. I love that we are all self-aware enough to make choices from a place of strength and not a place of fear. I hope this Pondering makes you feel empowered and proud of your continued success and inspires you to make close connections with people like you.

If you are seeking a community to thrive within, and this sounds like you, please do consider applying here as we are looking for 3 new members.

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