It seems the world is fascinated by demographics. Certainly the Japanese have more reason than most: The Japanese Health Ministry estimates the nation’s total population will decrease by 25% from 127.8 million in 2005 to 95.2 million by 2050. Japan’s elderly population, aged 65 or older, comprised 20% of the nation’s population in June 2006, a percentage that is forecast to increase to 38% by 2055. (source Wikipedia)

However here is the reality of your employees. Older members of your team can have higher energy levels than younger members. Younger members of your team can have vastly deeper knowledge of a subject than older members.

I’ve seen 35 years olds totally washed out. I’ve seen 60 year olds relentlessly driving their companies. I’ve seen weak, bigoted judgement calls from older members of teams and I’ve seen calm, insightful decisions being executed by 25 year olds.

So be very careful as you drive your projects forward. Be careful that your worldview doesn’t spoil your potential. Mentoring is often assumed to go in one direction. I don’t think it has ever been true and it’s certainly not true in the new networked society we live in.