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Millennials: Senior Does Not Mean Stupid

I serve primarily senior aged clients. One can’t ignore that computer aptitude is desirable, but it is not a requirement for successful entrepreneurial ability.

I enjoyed Tech columnist #DavidPogue TED talk video* on Technology tips discussing how there’s “no standard syllabus, no basic course” for the use of a computer. It’s a great example of how many users have missed the “class” that enables the road to millennial level computer use.

So, yes, there are many successful 50+ small business owners who don’t know a URL from an RT.

It doesn’t matter.

It turns out, those who endured the infancy of computers and social media generally decided not to waste valuable business time learning the latest tech and social media developments until the roller coaster ride of trial and error was over. In the meantime (with the exception of those, like me, who must stay tech and social media savvy), most elder business people still prefer to confine the tech learning process to daily requirements – a) using a SmartPhone and b) written communications, i.e., email.

I am a boomer. Most of my clients are boomers, some are seniors. This wasn’t by design, but once I had a few senior clients under my belt, word spread I was sympathetic to computer ineptitude and I didn’t make anyone feel bad about it. My boomer client list grew.

My most recent client has provided the most insight for me regarding this disparity of skills. For those who might disparage those lacking the desire to learn more on a computer than is necessary for daily function, please read on.

Success doesn’t require Seniors to have Your Computer Skills

There is nothing more intolerable to a successful senior business owner than condescension from a young tech savvy consultant. Inexplicably, there is a tendency for tech consultants to condescend and dismiss elders who are content to let computer nerds deal with the minutiae and, therefore, reserve their own time and energy for running their business. This is not stupidity. This is the wisdom of knowing you must put your energy toward success, i.e., work on your business, not in it. But, Youth has great difficulty comprehending a senior’s diminished desire for computer skills.

Leadership is defined by the ability to delegate

My ex was a senior IBM executive. No one could dispute his expertise in hiring and grooming those with superior skills, many of which he did not own. He understood that his lack of expertise in task specific areas did not equate to a lack of excellence in leadership. Nor should he spend the time learning said as long as he had trusted counsel to ensure current goals and new benchmarks were met.

My point is to advise those youths who would assist elders lacking computer skills (no matter how elementary). You will not succeed by diminishing others. Trust me, they sense your attitudes. Your superiority is no greater than theirs except in different fields of expertise. To listen and ask questions – and be kind – is your primary avenue to success. While you may excel in using a computer, your client has mastered other tools beyond your current reach. Respect others’ paths and you will succeed.

*David Pogue: 10 top time-saving tech tips