Mutual learning about transformations between youth and leaders

“Youth is the smile of the future before the unknown who is himself.”

Victor Hugo Les Miserables

It will be moved by young people

Otto Shermer U theory seeks a systematic and complex approach to the world. One dimension of her theory of change lies in her recommendation to introduce three key variables into all projects:

  • “The next generations” ,
  • “Excluded from the system” and
  • “Planet”.

Whatever the nature and deviation of the project, the financing plan criteria, the definition of specifications, the diagnosis to be carried out, and the accompanying educational approach, Otto Scharmer invites us to incorporate these three elements into our ideas.

Their introduction dramatically changes the ways we think and make the world happen. In terms of pedagogy, this meeting with young people results in an understanding of the future. Everything happens as if the “young people” instinctively felt the winds of the world and gave direction to follow.

Perhaps this moment in life when they grow up and discover what surrounds them and shapes them becomes a special moment when they capture the most what is happening. Genetic, hormonal, and social chemistry may lead them to feel differently than adults already full of experience and certainty.

If the transition comes from “young people”, then the question is what do they believe? What are their views on the world?

For ease of language I will refer to “youth”, realizing that this blanket term is clearly false and misleading, as it covers different realities for under 30s, and that there is little in common that depends on differences in wealth, living environment (city/country) Mastery of the language and the prevailing social laws of the country.

The topic is less social experience and more searching for an opening between those “young people” and business leaders they strive to understand. It is worth noting that both young people and leaders have experienced the Covid crisis rather comfortably. Everyone, regardless of their age, was challenged on what makes sense in their life, how they live in the world and what company is for.

The study conducted in Canada, which is potentially transferable to many Western countries, revealed the fragility of young people in terms of habitat and resources. If they were not the only ones affected, their living conditions, resources, health and way of life were affected to the point that commentators spoke of a “sacrificed generation”. Even more than their individual situations, it is the question of environmental transformation that comes to the fore.

A particularly informative survey conducted in 2021 by MEDEF, an association representing French leaders, indicates greater sensitivity than the rest of the sample population interviewed to issues of environmental shifts. The two young men and business leaders almost methodically agree on an understanding of the issues. But younger people (under 35 years old) are deeply attracted to the economic slowdown. They claim to be particularly well informed and responsible.

The 2021 CSA (Consumer Science and Analytics) survey in France confirms this tropic of environmental transformation. For an equivalent offer, 78% of employees would prefer to join a company committed to environmental transformation. Once again, young people are standing on the front lines on this topic.

Moreover, starting in 2019, opinion polls, for example the opinion polls conducted by Diplomat, highlighted during the Great Climate Strike, trying to give a “youth” viewpoint, which highlighted distrust in the direction of public speaking on the issue of ecological transition.

The 2021 Ipsos survey shows a strong sensitivity of young people to the issue of global warming and at the same time a poor mastery of vocabulary and scientific knowledge on the subject. According to this survey, young people trust scientists the most.

PAM initiatives to bridge (part of) the generational gap

There are reverse mentoring, mutual learning, and my life practices that allow young people and adults to develop a better mutual understanding of the profession, and professional initiative. This is the example of students from a vocational high school training leaders in the welding gestures they have just learned (Tous à l’atelier pour une Meeted Stéphanie Coupade). This type of practice increases empathy and tends to reduce understanding of the other’s world. Taking “youth” into account is a useful exercise when we see how future leaders participate in the economic world and break the paths that have all been laid out, as “Rupture,” this French feature film that shows how alternatives in a position of rejection can, side by side or in Facing the dominant paradigm. But there are also practices being invented which consist in creating spaces for mutual listening, dialogue and imagining what the future might hold.

For a long time leaders APM (Association for Progress Management), An association of French-speaking business leaders seeks to reach young people and bridge the generational gap that continues to grow in terms of values ​​and experience in the world. They seek to understand their code, represent them to the world in order to better recruit and meet their needs, and perhaps even to better manage them in companies.

The APME3 Group (Companies Committed Together) decided to invest in the process of jointly building solutions for the future that are more respectful of people and the climate by organizing a seminar of half youth and half managers.

This initiative comes from a solid core of leaders who eagerly seek to renew dialogue with young people who seem to distrust grand speeches, promises, and public discourses. These managers are inspired by the new practice of connecting young people to strategic committees, as the restaurant chain Signorizza does. The channel’s co-director has a simple word: “Let’s listen to the youth.” Perhaps a secret to share to learn the skills we need for tomorrow?


ApmE3 Companies Committed Together

L’express How young people see the world

Alsace. Young people have a major role in changing society

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Trailer for movie rip

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Transformation of Young Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurs: When the Tide Flows!

employee. APM Conference Clubs Young Participants Meet Business Leaders Commercial Business/

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Everyone in the workshop for a close encounter

MEDEF Survey on Environmental Transformation

Environmental Transformation in Business: Employee Expectations

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Ipsos. 79% of young people say they are interested in global warming

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