Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough.” – Don Marquis
As I blog on the eve of my birthday, my thoughts turn to age and how organizations (if they were conscious beings) seem fascinated with age. You have the young-up-and-comers and you have the aged sages. How dull!
I loathe the fact that how old you are seems to matter more than whether or not you have a good idea, a workable idea, one that will make the organization more effective toward its goal. We give away more awards in categories with Under 40 or Career Achievement (read: Retirement Award), but fewer for best idea or most transformative solution. Perhaps because age is easier to certify than best or most, but who said it had to be easy?
Now, I could only be saying that because I’m aging myself into the hole where I’m not the young bright eyed one nor am I old enough to be considered the sage, but I don’t think that’s it. I think we focus, unconsciously, on the age of the person giving us the idea instead of purely on the idea. We test first for credibility based on age, before credibility based on physics, or accounting or name-your-field’s-important-aspect.
Next time you catch yourself judging an idea in part by how old the person is offering it, pause. Stop yourself. Then start thinking about the idea again.
We can only retrain our minds one at a time.
Let’s drive some change. Shall we?