Mentorship: From baby boomers to millennials

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A different breed of mentees All mentors have come face to face with the changing of the guard, that is, the new generation of entrepreneurs. With two types of managers and entrepreneurs, intergenerational adjustment has become a priority; and the organizations that have slowly adopted the ways of Generation X and Generation Y have certainly popped up on Jean Beaudin’s radar. “On the one hand, you have the conventional enterprise, which has been in business for more than 10 years and whose employees are on average 38 years or older. They have a traditional business model, apply best practices, and work 9 to 5. Then, on the other hand, you have the new entrepreneurs who boast a flexible schedule and a pared-down corporate vision and philosophy, but whose model essentially remains results driven. In these companies, you’ll often find day cares, workplace accommodations… and I’m only scratching the surface here,” explains Mr. Beaudin. Work-life balance The ways of the new wave of entrepreneurs is slowly but surely replacing those of the baby boomers. “This is a real turning point,” says Luc Harbec. In his opinion, the most significant change stemming from this generational shift is that entrepreneurs are less willing to die chained to their desk; rather, there are more and more business leaders who make work-life balance a priority. Alain Delorme agrees: “Before, entrepreneurs poured everything they had and everything they were into their business. They left their own needs at the door. But now, young entrepreneurs are more conscious about the importance of delegation, and I find that incredible.” Mr. Delorme adds that the new business leaders now have three #1 priorities: “me, my family, and my business.” It is no longer sufficient to simply succeed in business; entrepreneurs want to succeed in life as well. The tricky business of adapting Mentors, who for the most part hail from the baby boomer generation, are faced with a major change; they must adapt to the new breed of entrepreneurs. “Millennials are bringing work-life balance back into the equation,” says Luc Harbec. Baby boomer mentors must now step in the shoes of young entrepreneurs, achieve a better understanding of their priorities as individuals, assimilate these changes and together negotiate their way through this environment, which is often completely different from what they themselves knew when they were leading enterprises. “Entrepreneurs from my generation have to undergo a great deal of adaptation and keep an open mind; for baby boomers, work was the priority, as opposed to family, as is the case for the younger generation,” says Raymond Marcil. Another trademark characteristic of Generation Y entrepreneurs is their very large capacity for staying informed and connected and their desire to share information with bigger and better networks, said Rodrigue Julien. As such, seasoned mentors are a great asset, as mentees can often tap into their mentor’s vast network of contacts. © Réseau M – Le réseau de mentorat pour entrepreneurs de la Fondation de l’entrepreneurship