Let's Kill All of the Old White Guys
Shakespeare didn't have such a bad idea over 400 years ago when he said, "Lets kill all of the lawyers." That quote from King Henry VI probably did cost the Bard the American Bar Association's humanitarian of the year award.
I recently came across one of the greatest quotes ever by Joan Eisenstodt, the grande damme of the meetings profession. A quote so powerful that it should be chiseled in stone and place in the lobby of ASAE: "Part of the problem with associations is they're still run by old white guys. Who don't get it." She further elaborates, "They're afraid of the Internet. They're not using computers effectively. They don't understand it, and they're the ones holding associations back from change."
An old white guy (OWG) can be any age, color, or gender. It's an attitude: how you think and behave. An OWG couches his lack of action in the form of an excuse. A challenge or opportunity is perceived as more work to do. OWGs feel a sense of security working for the government rather than for a company that didn't exist five years ago. While we're ordering that monument, maybe we should order one for every government building as well.
Hey, on the surface, I'm an OWG. I'm middle age and my hair is gray, but the attitude is positive, optimistic, and upbeat. Some years ago I had a client whose medical specialty was cosmetic plastic surgery. One of the surgeons asked me if I wanted a facelift. I declined his offer but take another course of action to looking younger - no, not Grecian Formula. I conscientiously try to think and behave like a visionary: create training programs and keynotes based on cutting edge topics rather than getting in a rut or suffering from a bad case of the blahs.
So what's an OWG? You know you're an OWG when:
Before we kill all of the OWGs, let's look at what can be done to shift the paradigm and rescue the OWG.
Is there hope for the OWG? I don't know. It's an individual thing. Some OWGs can address the nine issues above and change while others still don't get it.