Yesterday I was invited to give a 30 minute speech during an executive dinerconference in the Rosarium restaurant in Amsterdam. I was second in line between a well known CEO and a global executive searcher. Theme of the event was the profile of the next generation executive to come. I was called a few weeks ago if I was available to say some words. After spontaneously having said “Off Course, I would be honoured” I hung up the phone and thought “ %^&* , what have I done?” As most of the executives are at least 20 years older, it became clear that I was expected to share the ideas of the “youth”. This week I thought about the content of the speech and learned that I am actually rather old fashioned in thoughts and don't quite represent a next generation. The first speaker had a staggering slide-show and brought the audience a little gift. I couldn’t find the time nor inspiration to make a nice Powerpoint presentation and ended up standing in the spotlights empty handed and feeling like a butt naked dumb-ass.
I started waffling à l’improviste on babyboomers, generation x, generation y and the different management style that is needed to approach each group .Very soon the audience started starting raising questions that I returned to other executives in the audience if I didn’t had a clue. Then all of a sudden, the whole audience started arguing and discussing all together and split up in opponents and supporters. The moderator had to do his utmost best to keep the audience under control. After the diner, several executives padded me on the back “Thanks DA, we haven’t had such a great verbal fight in a long time. ” I couldn’t wipe the schlemiel lucky b$%tard grin of my face for hours.