What Happens When Echo Boomers Take Over The Workforce?

A funny story came up the other day while I was talking with one of my daughters. We were reminiscing about the first time our home got the internet. When the internet first went mainstream my husband brought home a box and put it in front of my 2 daughters and said,
“Girls, I bought you the internet. It’s in this box. Have fun!”

It just makes us all laugh to think of the internet all contained within a little box. In fact, the product my husband bought was actually called, “Internet In A Box.”

How far we’ve come! Now our kids grow up with access to the internet and other technology at an early age. One colleague actually told me that his kids don’t have crayons, they color on the computer!

What’s An Echo Boomer?

The Echo Boomer generation that started with their internet in a box has bought into the technological revolution hook, line and sinker. They are the largest generation of young people since the ’60s. And they are beginning to come of age. They’re called “echo boomers” because they’re the children and demographic echo of their parents, the baby boomers.

Born between 1982 and 1995, there are nearly 80 million of them, and they’re already having a huge impact on entire segments of the economy. And as the population ages, they will be become the next dominant generation.

Keeping Up With The Dominant Force

That means the shift we are seeing in the adoption of more and more computerized processes within the workplace is going to continue. The up and coming generation practically has keyboards permanently fused to their fingers. Everything is done on some form of a computer. It’s the way they thrive so that is the direction that companies must go in to succeed with the new labor force of echo boomers.

What Does That Mean For The Rest of Us?

So if the world is focusing more and more on computer technology within the workplace we all need to step up and get with the program.

We’ve done it before!

The boomers have whole heartedly adopted the notion that computers can and do make our lives and the tasks we perform more efficient. Heck, the forefather of the technical revolution, Bill Gates, is a boomer. But it needs to go a step further now.

While we’ve accepted that computers are a necessary part of our lives there are still many businesses living in a paper filled world. These paper based practices need to be replaced by technology. As more and more of the labor force is taken over by the echo boomers computerization will not just be a suggestion, it will be a requirement to maintain an efficient business as this generation functions best in a digital world.

Life Is an Echo: The Extraordinary Zig Ziglar

He lived well…

I came across a quote by Zig Ziglar today which led me to Life is an Echo. It’s an excerpt from See You at the Top. It was rejected by 30 different publishers before it was ever printed. The publishers weren’t impressed with this humble salesman. Before today, I knew so little of the history of this self-made man. I’m so blessed by taking some time to learn more. I hope you will feel the same.

Zig Ziglar was born…

in the tiny Alabama town of Enterprise in 1926. It’s one so small that you really have to be looking to find. Blink and you’ve missed it. It’s the land of cotton, soy beans and corn. It’s most known for a Boll Weevil Monument and peanuts. Moreover, Dale County is the Peanut Capitol of the World. It’s as Americana as it gets. I’ve passed through Enterprise a hundred times over the years, always on my way to somewhere else. You’d think I would have seen the sign saying “birthplace of our most famous son.” But this is where Zig lived his first five years. I can’t help but think of the influence this land had on him.

When I read Life is an Echo today, Enterprise ran through my mind. See You at the Top is about kindness and striving to do the right thing. It’s about treating people the way you’d like to be treated. It’s about HOPE. It’s about anticipating good things from people. If you know of Zig, then you know this is his theme song. Zig had a strong belief-system that started back in the red, Alabama clay.

Reap what you sow

Zig’s dad was a farmer. It makes me think of my relative who farm’s a few miles from his birthplace. I have learned so much from him. He is very wise. He can repair and build anything. In fact, he could have been any number of things. He loved that red clay he was born on and chose to be farmer. I’ve seen him throw on a suit, meet with a banker in town, and finance next year’s crops despite a “very bad year.” He made me realize farming is hard work. I know that farming is a lot like life. “You reap what you sow” has true meaning to both farmers and life. Tending. Patching. Watching. Waiting. Praying. Repairing. Studying. Resting. Adjusting. Testing. Crying. Rejoicing. Working. Working. Working.

Less than 2 years after the start of the great depression, Zig’s father relocated the family to Mississippi. He moved them so he could manage another farm in very bad times. A year later, when he was just 6 years old, his father died of pneumonia. Two days later, his little sister died. He was one of 12 children then raised by a single mom in a slow-recovering country. Can you imagine the pain for that little guy? And yet, he accomplished so much. If anyone had a reason to live a negative life, it might as well be him.

Black Monday

I know this story well. My grandfather died exactly 2 months after “Black Monday.” At 27, he left a young widow with 3 small children at the worst possible time. The oldest was my 5-year-old mother. She and her siblings were all separated and forced to live with relatives. My grandma returned to her parents’ home for several years. She made and sold queen-sized, hand-pieced, heirloom quilts for $2 each to survive. (I’m blessed to have 3 of her quilts. They are each works of perfection.)

My mother told endless stories. People who didn’t farm were starving. Mom learned to cook complete meals and do difficult farm work while her mom worked the farm. At 5, she could kill, clean, cut up, and cook a chicken by herself! I know how this impacted my reality: I was raised by two depression babies. Knowing all this, Zig’s positive nature intrigues me even more.

I’m including Life is an Echo below. Read it. Reflect on the countless masses of men and women Zig Ziglar helped over the years. He was the college drop-out who became the world’s most famous salesman. Life is an Echo was more than his “swan song.” As you read it, think about his simple beginnings during the worst financial time America has ever seen. Here’s my takeaway: DO YOU have a good reason why you can’t succeed THIS year?

Zig Ziglar, Life is an Echo

Life is an echo. What you send out comes back. What you sow you reap. What you give you get. What you see in others exists in you. Regardless of who you are or what you do, if you are looking for the best way to reap the most reward in all areas of life, you should look for the good in every person and in every situation and adopt the golden rule as a way of life.

It’s a universal truth that you treat people exactly like you see them. It’s also true that all you have to do to find “good” or “ability” in a person is to look for it. Once you find that “good” or “ability” in the other person, you treat him better and he performs better. So it’s good “business” and good “humanness” to be a “good finder.”

Well said, Zig.

Are you struggling to succeed in a sluggish economy? If so, share some of your stories or tips that keep you motivated and positive like Zig. Just leave a comment below.

Intelligent Businesses Use Echolocation!

In an environment driven by speed and dominated by growing uncertainties, businesses are expressing more and more difficulties to sustain and improve their competitive position. Mighty companies such as IBM, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft or Nokia do know that business success is never an “acquis” and that any long-time leadership position can now get eroded within weeks and even days in some sectors.

Just some weeks ago, rumours were circulating about the collapse of the giant Eastman Kodak Company. The 131-year-old icon that brought photography to the mass and launched the first digital camera is forced to face tough realities of the new business world.

The K-brand company is another clear example that there are no definite winning rules in business; any competitive environment can be disrupted anytime. Rules of business games can now be reinvented and imposed by new entrants. It is no longer the privilege of the big or the mighty.

In this ever-changing playground, it is essential for companies willing to survive and thrive to understand their environment, track their competitors, critically review their position and never ever fall in the trap of complacency: this is the very concept of business intelligence.

A quick Google search pulls out millions of internet pages on business intelligence. Many of them associate this concept to information technology (IT). Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, defines business intelligence as “computer-based techniques used in identifying, extracting and analysing business data”. On the website searchdatamanagement.com, one can read “business intelligence is a broad category of applications and technologies for gathering, storing, analysing and providing access to data to help enterprise users make better business decisions.”

These definitions are wrong. Yes, IT is at the heart of business intelligence. No, business intelligence is not IT as some might claim. IT is just an enabler!

To define business intelligence and illustrate its importance for companies, a simple and natural technique used by bats (Yes Bats!) can be referred to. Bats emit, in the dark, high-frequency vocalisations through their mouths and noses as they fly. These vocalisations then bounce back to them as echoes, which enables them to form images of their surroundings in their brains. If their ears get injured or clogged, they are unable to receive any echoes and therefore lose their ability to locate themselves and move accordingly. This continuous process known as echo-location is a sine qua non for the survival of bats as it allows them to scan their environment, track their prey, devise their future movements and eventually feed themselves.

Business intelligence is echolocation for businesses. With the new dynamics of business games, it is vital for companies to echolocate themselves on a constant basis, to critically assess their position and adapt their strategic movements accordingly.

Entrepreneurs and business managers claiming that business intelligence is useless and that their flair and experience are enough to ensure their path to success are living out of this world. Sure, flair and experience help but without a proper understanding of their business environment and analysis of their competitive position, businesses are condemned to failure.

For those who want to succeed, keep this in mind: Intelligent Businesses use Echolocation!