Bridging the Digital Divide

Using the Leadership Brain to Understand Generational Differences

Marilee Sprenger, author of “The Leadership Brain for Dummies,” does a good job of outlining the differences in organizations that have multiple generations involved – like the church.

This post isn’t about that – you’ll have to read her book on page 223 to understand those differences. Instead, let’s take a look at the digital divide.

courtesy resetsanfrancisco.org

courtesy resetsanfrancisco.org

The brains of those who are digitally connected are different from those who are not. Since your organization has different kinds of brains working together, maybe you should understand a little about it.

The Digital Native

Today’s world requires a new language and a new literacy – digital literacy. The late Generation X’ers (born in the late 70’s) and the generations that follow them are digital natives – they speak the language well. These people have grown up with video games, cell phones, computers, the Internet, and other techno toys. The ABCs of learning have been replaced with the XYZs of technology.

The digital natives grew up communicating in a very different and fast-paced way from their parents and older siblings. They’re proud of their ability to come up with hard data quickly and easily. It’s a wide learning gap between these generations and the prior ones.

The digital natives who believe that their world isn’t complete if they aren’t constantly connected are always trying to multitask (you can’t, but that’s another post). They’re always working hard, switching from one task to another and back again without skipping a beat.

Former Microsoft executive Linda Stone called this problem continuous partial attention.

Not truly giving anything complete attention has a number of negative effects, not the least of which is the inability to accomplish anything! Efforts to stay connected may prohibit you from bringing deep thought and closure to any one project, which may lead to stress. Elevated stress leads to distraction which starts the cycle over again.

Recognize yourself?

Next: Bridging the Digital Divide, Part 2

inspired by The Leadership Brain for Dummies, by Marilee Sprenger

Leadership Brain for Dummies

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