Bridging the old and new technology gap
Bridging the old and new technology gap
26 JUNE 2013 6:42 AM

Millennials rely on technology for everything, but understanding senior leaders’ reasons for using old-school methods will make for a richer work environment.

One of the most common frustrations I hear voiced from millennials is they feel senior leaders within their properties do not fully embrace the use of technology within the daily operation. The millennial generation has never known anything but the use of computerized technology to assist them in completing daily tasks and projects. This skill set, if used correctly, is one millenials can use to forge the bridge of this perceived technological gap and provide long-term value to their leaders and the brand.

Brandon M. Springer-McConnell

However, I like to point out to those millennials that while the senior leaders might appear to be lacking in this department, they have a keen understanding of technology—even if they don’t show all their cards. They just look at technology differently. For example, all successful hospitality leaders, especially on a property level, know where they are positioned on social media rating sites, and they are quick to pull open spreadsheets that provide supporting documentation to this point. Millennials may scoff at this seemingly rudimentary method, but it speaks to the larger method employed by senior level executives. Senior leaders are not just fawning over technology; they’re taking a thorough approach to understanding what it all means.
It is imperative the younger generation remember there was not always a spreadsheet readily available that auto populated every answer on a whim. Most senior leaders still prefer to use a pencil and paper to work equations long hand rather than simply punching information into an iPad.

Millennials will say any method that takes longer than a few seconds is a waste of time and energy, worrying about human error. Why waste time on such antiquated methods, they wonder?

The truth is there are gaps in the ways multiple generations view and approach challenges, but one way isn’t better than the other. However, even if older generations might not see the merit in embracing technology full throttle, they are marrying their old-school methods with new forms of technology and creating a richer work environment.

The speed of technology growth even during the past 10 years is mind blowing if you think about it. As a millennial, I, too, am always connected to one of my many devices that never seems to be out of reach. But I also appreciate the use of spreadsheets that allow me to enter a few important numbers and find answers. It’s good to know and do both, and I worked hard earlier in my career to be able to understand what the implications of those equations mean and what really goes into them. In a more precise way of saying it, take the time and learn the long hand way too. Every method is a valuable way to learn and get ahead.

While the use of the Microsoft Office suite has cemented itself as the business enterprise of choice, advances such as “operating in the cloud” are the new norms for large companies. As technology advances and more people—senior leaders included—begin to embrace it, millennials have a distinct edge in leading this change. As a young generation, they have an intrinsic value that can bring to a hotel operation. Technology is a great way for millennials to get a spot at the table when decisions are being made and when projects need a leader to complete them.

Brandon M. Springer-McConnell – CHA, CFBE, CHT, CGSP is currently the National Chairman-Elect for the American Hotel & Lodging Association Gateway in addition to being a senior leader within a large international hotel and resort company. He also is an active member on numerous national level boards and committees tackling challenges in all areas of operations and learning development. He was also a Disney Trainer and has worked with multiple national companies in leadership roles.

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