Reverse Mentoring?

Right off the bat many of you will stop reading when I tell you to follow MTV’s lead… but here we go. MTV, recognizing that the Millennial generation is in fact their future, has done a bit of research on the generation as a whole and implemented changes to empower the generation a lot more. One way they are doing that is “reverse mentoring.” Each Gen X executive has a Millennial mentor. The younger is challenging and advising the older. It is fascinating.

From a Media Daily News story on MTV: “On the outside, MTV has just completed one of the most in-depth studies of the work habits of Millennials, the findings of which may surprise some. On the inside, it is using that research — and some seemingly counterintuitive organizational strategies — to transform its own workplace, in an effort to remain relevant with a generation MTV believes will reshape everything about, well, everything.”

“…He says MTV believes that so much that the first product it is using the research to transform is its own work culture. In an array of initiatives spawned by President of MTV Stephen Friedman, top MTV executives are now being told what to do by the youngest members of their teams. Friedman coins the concept “reverse mentoring,” and the idea was that the only way MTV’s largely GenX management team would be able to get inside the mindsets of Millennials would be to put them more in charge.

“Shore says it starts at the top, and that Friedman’s Millennial mentor has already has a profound influence on MTV and even its product: Friedman’s mentor came up with a new category in MTV’s vaunted Video Music Awards recognizing the “best video with a message.”

“Shore says his own Millennial mentor “is not shy,” and recently asked him “why we don’t get to review you.”

“In fact, he says an important distinction about Millennials in the workplace is that they actually want a “perpetual feedback loop.” Whereas Xers may have eschewed any feedback — even an annual review — Shore says, “Millennials are like, ‘Can you give me daily reviews?’ Their drive to self-improve is extremely high, and it reflects the world they grew up in, because they’re in a constant feedback loop.”’

Now, knowing many of the pastors that lead our churches I doubt there will be a lot of intentional reverse mentoring but I think it should happen and to that end I am looking for one in ministry as we speak. I don’t want to be a slacker Gen X’er that misses the boat…

You can read more about the research here

HT: Tyler Braun.

3 Comments

  1. this is counter-intuitive to me. everything that MTV stands for seems to be the antithesis of what the bible teaches, and i would hesitate to apply their ‘research’ to any leadership situation in the church.

    Acts 2:17 would seem to biblically support their concept with ‘young men seeing visions’, which would imply that the younger gen would be full of new ideas and concepts. However, 1 Peter 5 shoots this down with “you who are younger, be subject to the elders.” (i reject the counter argument that this is just referring to the ‘pastors’, since ‘elders’ were people with families… ie they were older).

    our humanistic, prideful, shortsighted and selfish desires say, “we know what’s best! ask me! let me show you all the way! you older gen’s don’t know how to minister to me!!!” but this is the problem. the CHURCH (not just a young adults ministry) as a whole functions properly when all the parts do what they are created to do in relationship. if this weren’t the case, wouldn’t Jesus have used another analogy? the body, while having numerous parts, cannot function unless they are connected.

    i may be railing here, but i spent 7 years fighting the 18-30 year olds because they kept saying I know what i want to do, we know how to best minister to ourselves, forget the old people…. but then they make the same mistakes that the older generations did, and it all could’ve been avoided if we just took the time to ask them about it. getting an 20 yr old to sit down with a 50 yr old (that’s not their parent) to talk about life is one of the hardest things to do. that’s why we dont do it, all the while forgetting the benefits it has to both parties.

    so, MTV, with it’s shows like Jersey Shore and my Teen Mom, have all taken a role in driving our society down the drains. thus, i could care less what their research says because their formost desire is to provide entertainment that further destroys our moral compass. there is merit to give younger people their chance to rise up, but it’s done in the context of a strong, functioning community. Elisha only took over after years of serving Elijah. Joseph led after years of following Moses. David was young, but he had Nathaniel with him. Even the disciples were young, but Jesus was there.

    anyways, this was so much more fun than writing my doctrine of sin….

    Reply

    1. I don’t disagree with you Derek – and I don’t think we should give the “reigns” over just yet – but give the whole church a place at the table to interact and communicate. The “elder” is still making the decision just seeing mentoring as two directional and not one-sided.

      And I fully agree that the whole body must function in community – that is why I want young adults to play a role, since we each have one in the church…

      But yes, my assumption that their would be people angry that MTV is the example has been proven correct! Now get back to homework.

      Reply

      1. look at me… it’s like i’m turing into some Reformed ‘Church Against Culture’ Baptist preacher.

        Lord help me.

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