As Baby Boomers gradually retire, you’re beginning to see CEOs from Generation X — and thanks to tech startups around the world, you’re even seeing some Generation Y/millennial CEOs as well. This is going to be a pretty big shift in terms of top leadership at companies: Baby Boomer CEOs developed their career arcs in a world before digital, social, and mobile transformations. That’s probably why only 61 percent of the Fortune 500 CEOs are on social media right now.  But that’s now going to evolve. What’s it all going to look like?

The first high-tech bosses with Generation X

Since 1980, according to statistics compiled by DOMO / CEO, the average age of the leaders of the Fortune 100 was lowered from 60 years to 56 years, finally putting the Generation X in decision-making positions.

Today, they are the first leaders of high-tech enterprises — which should foster social change organizations. They are in a position to more easily integrate new paradigms of digital shift organizations.

Generation X has the second highest rate of adoption of social media, just after Generation Y; they still watch television, but more than 90% regularly use social networks, where they spend an average of over 23 hours per week. Over 40% also consume regularly on the web, and spend an average of nearly $400 per month.

The rise of independent entrepreneurship among Generation Y

Via the same DOMO study, over 20% of major business leaders in ICT were also under 40. With the meteoric rise of independent entrepreneurship as observed in recent years, this figure will continue to rise, and we will see more and more young Generation Y leaders take control of their own business.

This makes sense globally: the unemployment rate for young people is above financial crisis levels. As more and more companies try to automate some of their processes (which requires less humans to do jobs), you also have Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, Millennials, and soon Generation Z all in the workplace — and all wanting jobs. But in the most traditional avenues (corporations), there are less jobs — because corporations are attempting to cut costs with automated processes. As a result, people turn to entrepreneurship as a need, but also as a want. Some people from younger generations just don’t want the traditional career arc of a big company.

Four challenges for new bosses in 2016

This might be one of the hardest times ever to be a new CEO. In addition to the normal challenge of meeting financial metrics, you need to be concerned with employee engagement, employee advocacy, crisis management, social media influencers, and more. With the exception of crisis management, none of those aspects were CEO concerns even 15-20 years ago.

In this sense, four new challenges await the new CEOs:

  • Have a customized corporate presence and be proactive and targeted on social media
  • Get involved personally in marketing strategies, including relationships with influencers
  • Demonstrate a genuine social commitment to the organization including establishing outreach programs to support various causes
  • Promote the emergence of spontaneous ambassadors on social media, including both satisfied customers and employees

Social transformation of organizations: A team effort

More and more new owners realize the importance of rallying the team and the involvement of marketing campaigns and public relations on social media. Indeed, the social and digital transformation of organizations involves several aspects and must necessarily implement several stakeholders in the relationship with users – consumers on social networks.

The new leaders must therefore develop a new organizational culture focused more on new social values, and ensure to convey this new corporate vision in line with the brand image. To achieve this, the thought leaders and ambassadors in companies must be involved and work with Web and social media teams — not run from them screaming about unclear ROI.

Additionally, since 98% of the time complaints on social networks come from customer service, the new CEOs must also encourage the rapid and effective intervention support staff.

For organizations to succeed in the modern business environment, it’s much less about top-down hierarchy (the old model), and much more about fostering quick and effective teams to do a job. If you rely too much on top-down decision-making, your actions and results will be slower — and someone will get to market share before you. But if you can foster a culture of quick, effective teams who own certain decisions, you can win big money. And isn’t that still the goal for most CEOs?

About Raymond Morin

Raymond Morin is a francophone author and speaker, that acts also as senior strategic consultant and coach for organizations, SMBs and independent professionals, since over 20 years.

Early adopters to the Web and social media, he shared his own learning and knowledge, during all those years, for the benefits of several funding and governmental organizations, before choosing to be a freelancer. Since, he’s focusing on establishing bridges between the different enterprises and consumers, to fill the gap between cultures and generations, for the benefits of each professional users.

Author of the books «Culture Web à la portée des PME» (2001), «Comment entreprendre le virage 2.0» (2010), and «Génération C(onnectée) - Le marketing d'influence à l'ère numérique» (2014), he has also contributed to several magazines and bloggers platforms over the years, notably with Maximize Social Business and Curatti.

Since 2010, he regularly give lectures and workshops. He's now affiliated with the OPEN for Business Keynote Speaker Bureau.

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