The brains of those who are digitally connected are different from those who are not. Here’s how Marilee Sprenger, author of “The Leadership Brain for Dummies,” sees this divide:
Some Traditionalists (born before WW II), many Baby Boomers (born 1945-1964), and the early Gen Xers (born 1965-through the 70s) fall into the category of digital immigrants. They didn’t grow up learning the second language of the digital world and speak it with varying degrees of fluency.
Many digital immigrants:
- Insist on paper bills even though receiving copies via email
- Print out emails and attachments
- Rely on printed newspapers, books, and so on
- Are somewhat leery of paying bills online
- Believe that methods taught years ago should work for everyone
- Don’t understand the informal language used in emails and texts
- Believe a social network consists of people he meets with for parties
Digital immigrants have much to offer to your organization. Wisdom derived from years of storing patterns in the brain gives them the ability to see the big picture, predict accurately, foresee future consequences, and draw on mental templates to help store new information.
Challenging tasks activate more areas in the frontal lobes of the brains of digital immigrants than in the brain of digital natives. The immigrants have little choice because their brains change as they increase their skills with technology. The natives may need to practice more skills that their brains haven’t used very much, like building rapport face to face.
How do you lead digital natives and immigrants to work together?
Next: Bridging the Digital Divide, Part 3
inspired by The Leadership Brain for Dummies, by Marilee Sprenger