One of my juniors shared about feeling sandwiched, particularly, between the traditional leaders & the younger millennials and Generation Z. A “sandwiched” class not in the economic sense, but career-wise.

They see the need for personal transformation and to upgrade their skillsets. While on the end, they have to navigate legacy thinking in organizations that need business and digital transformations.

Interestingly, she is not the one who have reflected the similar concerns. Most mid-careerists I spoke with identify themselves as the “sandwiched” class. Generation In-between, perhaps?

However, I think this is more of a constrained state of mind, rather than a segment of people.

The source of tensions

The tensions and anxieties towards change are real. And, it happens to everyone, not just a segment of people.

I can understand these anxieties, they are essentially

  • Perceived risk of being replaced by the new and loss of control
  • Stress of disconnect from the legacy management in organization

From my experience in driving initiatives for digital and business transformations, I have had to deal with some strongholds from the legacy management, such as

  • Reluctance to change
  • Defensiveness towards perceived territorial loss
  • Failure to understand and embrace new perspectives

I remember having to fight for support and endorsements on new initiatives. Even when all the facts point to the need for change.

In situations like this, we can choose to feel stuck, or be positive.

Stay stuck or choose to be the bridge

It’s all a matter of perspectives.

“Feeling stuck” is seeing the glass half empty.

Even if we are the minority voice on the path to change, it’s possible to adopt a more proactive stance instead of viewing the situation as working against us.

With the legacy management, we can start by finding common grounds for conversations and collaboration.  Demonstrating efforts to understand their needs will help to soften hard grounds.

It helps to invest in face time and build rapport, which had worked for me.

Catch up and ACT

Staying relevant is no longer an option for us.

The world will change, so move with it or be left behind.

We have to be shapeshifter and we have to A.C.T.

A – Align to new perspectives; adopt new knowledge and skillsets

C – Change the way we work, make decisions and lead teams

T – Transform and reinvent ourselves

Be above and not in-between

Let’s ditch the mindset of being in-between and strive to stay above the waves of change.

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