Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Understanding Generation Y

Did you watch the Kony2012 video that went viral on YouTube last month?  The video has amassed over 89 million hits and speaks to the success of social media in galvanizing global action, resulting in the assignment of 100 US military consultants to central Africa to assist in the capture and bringing to justice of war criminal Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA and kidnapper of tens of thousands of children.

Millions of young people clicked online to pledge their support for Kony2012 and the video shows crowds in peaceful demonstrations on the issue, with a call to action to Cover the Night on April 20 by plastering major cities aroud the world with signs to publicize Kony and the campaign.

Do you remember seeing posters everywhere on April 21?  I was curious, living in San Diego, in which the headquarters of "Invisible Children" is located, since I didn't recall waking up to see Kony's image everywhere.  It turns out that for the millions of Gen Y's out there who clicked "Like", or Tweeted the link to the video in the virtual world, a tiny minority actually responded by taking action in the real world.

What does this tell us about Generation Y?  So easily moved by words and images but insufficiently moved to deeds and actions?  The world's problems cannot be fixed merely with a click.

On Leadership

Here are some valuable tips on leadership from Dieter Weinand, President of Pfizer's Asia Pacific Region Primary Care Business Unit:

On leadership:
  • Leadership is not self-serving, it is about serving others and involves many sacrifices
  • Leaders have compassion - ambition can give you sharp elbows
On cultural adaption:
  • Be yourself; be aware of cultural stereotypes and play to your strengths but downplay your weaknesses and prove those stereotypes wrong
  • Learn about the system and how things work in another country so that you can be effective
  • Build your network - don't be shy but talk to people everywhere who are different from you, and you will learn something from everyone