“Shadow Boards” – An Innovative Approach to Merge Generational Insights
Generational differences within an organization can be either leveraged or tolerated; each approach creates different results. In today’s fast-paced and competitive marketplace, I believe the benefits of leveraging our differences far outweighs just tolerating them.
Jennifer Jordan and Michael Sorell address this topic through an article they wrote on Harvard Business Review about how companies can tackle the challenges of keeping younger employees engaged to capitalize on changing market conditions. It starts by showcasing Gucci, an Italian luxury fashion company. They explain that during Mario Bizzarri’s tenure as CEO in 2015, he revamped the company and created a “shadow board” of Millennials who have met regularly with the senior team to gain their insights on best practices and marketplace knowledge. That innovative approach grew sales 136%. Since then other companies have implemented a “Shadow Board” approach with fantastic results, including French AccorHotels who developed a new business model to compete with Airbnb, Stora Enso whose Shadow Board redesigned a supply-chain process after senior team experts were unable to do so, and GroupM who transformed their organization in several areas due to creative thinking from the younger generation.
Establishing a Shadow Board is not simply picking younger employees and having them sit at the table. The three best practices Jorand and Sorell mention are to: 1) Look beyond high-potential employees, 2) Make it a CEO sponsored program, and 3) Keep evaluating and iterating.
Take a few minutes and read through the entire article here to determine if a Shadow Board could be the next step towards achieving your company’s long-term goals.
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Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Kris has over 25 years of coaching, training and mentoring leaders to greater success; and she periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.
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