Chip Conley is the founder of Joie De Vivre Hospitality. He recently wrote a book called Wisdom at Work. In this book, he talks about his experience with working with people at Air BNB. Chip is fifty-nine years old and realized that for him to successfully mentor people at Air BNB he had to show vulnerability with the younger people he was working with.
This is something that many of us who are charged with teaching or working with people twenty years younger than us or more have a hard time doing. It just might be one of the reasons that Boomers and Millenials have such a hard time working together.
Today’s video is about one thing you can do to help you work more effectively with those who are significantly younger than you. It’s all about getting a reverse mentor.
Chip Conley is the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, and he recently wrote a really good book called “Wisdom at Work.” In this book, he talks about his experience with working with people at Airbnb. Chip is 59 years old and realized that for him to successfully mentor people at Airbnb, he had to show vulnerability with the younger people he was working with.
This is something that many of us who are charged with teaching or working with people 20 years younger or more than us have a hard time doing. It just might be one of the reasons that boomers and millennials have such a hard time working together. So today’s video is about one thing you can do to help you work more effectively with those who are significantly younger than you. It’s all about getting a reverse mentor.
So let’s jump right in.
1. So first, let’s start talking about knowing what a reverse mentor is.
- Now, we all know what a mentor is. It’s typically someone who is older and they’re helping someone younger figure out their way through the world. Well, reverse mentor is exactly the same thing except we reverse it. Somebody younger is mentoring you.
- And you say, “Well, gee, what can someone younger “teach me that I don’t know?” Well, if you happen to be working in a tech company, a lot. If you’re not even working at a tech company, it’s still a lot because the world is changing and you need to learn about what the world is happening right now. And what’s going on and how you can stay useful and relevant within the world. When you’re gonna get a reverse mentor, you’re gonna be learning things that you don’t know right now.
- It is often someone who just doesn’t understand why you have a hard time with the things that they do naturally. This is especially around tech and how to use computers and computer systems. There’s a term called digital natives which means that somebody grew up with technology. If you’re 60 or 65 or even 55 years old, you didn’t grow up with technology. But somebody who is 25 did. And there’s a lot for them to teach us about how we can become more effective and efficient and useful at work.
2. So now let’s look at why you need a reverse mentor.
- Your knowledge of technology is probably at least 20 years out of date. And if you don’t get up to date, you’re being left behind and you’re putting your company at risk. The truth is the way we market today and the way we find customers today and the way customers leave comments about what we’re doing in rating us is way different than it was 30 or 40 years ago. 30 or 40 years ago, nobody rated the work that we do. Today everybody rates the work you do. And the truth is new customers go and look at those ratings before they ever give you a call or look at your website or find out if they want to know more about your business. Now, how do you get those good ratings? Well, that’s where a reverse mentor can come in.
- You’re gonna be a more authentic leader, you’re gonna show vulnerability with what you don’t know. This is something that’s really important. Too often we feel that we have to know everything and we can’t show vulnerability within our work. My belief is, and my experience is by the way, that the more vulnerability that I show, the more authentic I am, the easier I am to work with, and the more relatable I am along the way. When you can do something naturally you’ve been doing for 30 or 40 years without even thinking about it, those who are watching you say, “Well, I can never do that.” Well, why don’t you tell them the struggles that you had along the way to get to where you are. And when you’re going and you’re working with a reverse mentor, in other words, you’re the mentoree and not the mentor, you have to say, “Look, I’m really dumb about this. “I know nothing about it. “I’m hoping that you can help me.” What you’re doing is you’re asking for help, and people love to be asked for help.
3. So here’s some things I’ve learned.
- The younger generation really wants us to be with it. And what that means, they want us to understand what’s important for them. They want us to understand how they think about things and they want us to be curious about them. We should not just expect that we want them to be curious about us. We should be curious about each other.
- The world isn’t that different from the one we grew up in. We still respect is still a big deal. And the fact is a lot of older folks just don’t show very much respect towards younger folks. Now, if you’re doing a reverse mentorship, in other words, a younger person is teaching you, well, what are you doing? You’re definitely showing them respect.
- So when you reach out, you’re gonna be rewarded because you’re gonna be seen as being authentic. You’re gonna be someone who is curious. You’re gonna be somebody who wants to learn. And you’re gonna be valuing something the younger folks can bring to you within your company.
- It’s up to us to ask for help. If you expect a younger person to come to you and say, “Well, you need to learn this stuff “and I’m gonna teach you.” That’s just not gonna happen. What you need to be doing is you need to be going to that younger person and say, “I need your help. “I would really appreciate it if you would help me. “And if you do, I think it’s gonna benefit both of us.” They think we just don’t care about them. And the truth is we probably do care but we’re afraid to show our vulnerability and actually show that to the folks who are younger than that.
So what do you think? Are you willing to be vulnerable? Are you willing to let down your guard and learn from those who are a bit younger than you or even a lot younger than you?
Okay, why don’t you scroll down and leave a comment where you can let me know what you think about having a reverse mentor or mentors are in your life. And while you’re at it, why don’t you download our free ebook on relationships and roles in your business. You might find what you’re doing is not serving you in the best way possible in how you spend your time at work.
Hey, this is Josh Patrick, you’re at The Sustainable Business. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.