True, people do tend to get set in their ways as they get older. Nobody is very surprised when somebody retiring in two years says, "I’m too old. I can’t learn new things." Does that mean the person can’t do anything any more? I don’t think so. The person can transfer wisdom, based on personal experience, to younger people, cooperating with them to achieve a fusion.
Say two men, one 60 years old and the other 30 years old, are building a bridge. The older man might worry that he lacks the energy to build the bridge. But suppose the younger man says, "I’ll be the energy, I need your wisdom. You tell me how to build the bridge." That’s what communication really is.
Sony’s CEO, Howard Stringer is a man I deeply respect for having a lot of brains and also the same amount of guts to match his intellectual prowess. If you read this interview where he critiques the old Sony ways and maps out where his company needs to go, I’m sure you’ll develop the same sort of respect for him, whether you like Sony products or not.
What was interesting was that only today, did I find out that Mr Stringer used to be a journalist.
Back when we were young rookies in the newsroom, we often heard the adage: “No journalist ever died rich.” Obviously, that’s a myth perpetuated by editors or HR departments to continually depress the salaries of journalists.
But many journos tend to think that the newsroom is the only place which they belong and end up spending their entire lives in the press. That’s very tragic, because a good journo can also be a powerful force in the business world – he can absorb huge amounts of information, analyse them quickly from multiple viewpoints, and articulate his thoughts clearly to get his desired results. More than I can say for many people I’ve observed in seats of power!
Of course, the dilemma for journos is that passion fuels their work, and much of that passion resides in reporting the latest news, having the ability to set the agenda for the public, and the repeated satisfaction one derives from seeing his byline on the front page. When transplanted into a corporate environment, many reject it and return to the newsroom.
For myself, I don’t see that happening anytime soon because I quite like being in a corporate environment and I’m lapping up the new challenges to communication in the fast-changing landscape. I’m also encouraged by the fact I know at least three ex-journos in my company today who are doing great work today in their respective fields.
Do take some time to read the interview. Cheers.