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Leading 5 Generations in the Workplace

  1. Leading 5 Generations in the Workplace The generational secret nobody’s talking about Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
  2. “Children love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants … They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company … and tyrannize their teachers.” Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute Who said it
  3. Socrates … as quoted by Plato
  4. “Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Marie Curie
  5. Photo from Traditionalists  Born between 1925-45  Dedicated  Pay your dues  Work hard  Respect authority  Age = seniority  Company first  Loyal
  6. Photo from HistoryGroup Boomers  Born between 1946-64  Anti-government  Challenges authority  “Don’t trust anyone over 30”  Driven  Workaholics  Long hours = self worth  Team-oriented  Focused on quality
  7.  Born between 1965-80  Balance, diversity  Work smarter, not longer  Independent  Informal  Want structure and direction  Skeptical / suspicious Gen Xers
  8.  Born between 1981-2000  Ambitious  What’s next?  Multitasking  Tenacious  Entrepreneurial  Digital  Sheltered Millennials
  9.  Born between 1995-2012  Cynical  Private  Entrepreneurial  Multi-taskers  Hyper-aware / savvy  Technology-reliant  Live in the now Gen Z
  10. “The way we lead and manage organizations is going to take on a radical new look over the next several years.” Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
  11. Revolutionary War 1775-1783
  12. Civil War 1861-1865
  13. Great Depression / World War II 1929-1945
  14. ???????????? 2020-2030
  15. 1. Understand individual differences 2. Don’t stereotype 3. Cross-mentor 4. Collaborate 5. Engage Keys to managing five generations in the workplace
  16.  Autonomy  Mastery  Purpose What do people really want?
  17.  Collaboration  Cloud  Infrastructure  Mobile  Technology
  18. Questions? Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute
  19. Download these slides: Follow me:  MACPA’s blog:       Leading 5 Generations in the Workplace Bill Sheridan, CAE The Business Learning Institute

Notes de l'éditeur

  1. So what’s my point? Simply this: All of this talk about millennials and generational differences? It’s nothing new. Every new generation pisses off the one that came before them. We’re all suspicious of what we don’t understand. And if you don’t believe me, think about what happened in the 1960s … or the 1990s ... or what’s happening now. It happens over and over and over again. Do you remember what the Baby Boomers’ mantra was in the 1960s? “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” As the Washington Post put it, “They put it on buttons as they rallied against the Man. Now they ARE the Man.”
  2. So let’s start by understanding a little more. Who, exactly, ARE these five generations? Let’s start with the stereotypes:
  3. Now that we’ve got all of that important information, here’s what I want you to do with it. Why? Because it’s useless. It’s garbage. It’s a waste of time worrying about these stereotypes and how they divide the generations. They’re not the cause of our problems these days.
  4. The real culprit isn’t these people and how they act … it’s the time we’re living in. These differences are blamed on the generations rather than on the actual culprit – an era of unprecedented change and complexity. Let me tell you what I mean. This is Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant. They’ve written an important new book called “When Millennials Take Over.” And in it, they argue that the generational debate should focus much less on generational stereotypes and more on two key factors: The first is that we’re on the cusp of a new, transformational era for mankind. Notter and Grant cite the research of William Strauss and Neil Howe, and what these researchers have found is VERY interesting. They’ve tracked generations through the ages, and they’ve determined that once every four generations in this country, there is a MAJOR transition which has a deep impact on our national culture, politics, and economy. So let’s see:
  5. Strauss and Howe’s point is this: Major, transformative transitions have occurred in this country roughly every 80 to 100 years.
  6. And 80 years or so from the end of World War II is … right around the corner. So what does that mean for us? I’m not sure, but I know this: Millennials are entering young adulthood and Generation Z is getting ready to enter the workforce en masse at a time that history predicts will be yet another significant transition, from one era to the next.” My gut tells me this transition has something to do with Moore’s Law and the advancement of technology. Have you all heard of Moore’s Law? These exponential advances in technology are changing everything – from business models, to the economy, to national and global politics, to society, to security, to individual morality and ethics. And our youngest colleagues were born and raised in this chaos. They embrace it. For them, it simply IS reality. They’re comfortable here, and they’re about ready to take over our workplaces. In short, it’s a new world, and it belongs to them.
  7. So that’s the first factor that Notter and Grant talk about in their book: The second factor is the social Internet and its impact on business. The social movement, they argue, has shifted power from institutions to individuals, and that spells trouble for traditional business models that rely on the centralization of power and control. “The more that individuals experience the new power that the social Internet is delivering, the more confused and frustrated they become trying to operate in traditional bureaucracies and hierarchies,” Notter and Grant write
  8. And you can count millennials among the most frustrated. They were born into a social world. It’s all they know. And now they’re working for hopelessly outdated organizations that either don’t get or refuse to acknowledge the social movement. No wonder they’re frustrated. But they won’t be frustrated for long. By 2020, millennials will be the largest segment of the U.S. workforce, “just as they are ascending into management positions,” the authors write. When that day comes, millennials will change business to work the way they do — and the coming shift in management and leadership will be nothing short of transformational.
  9. So if the issue isn’t clashing personalities, if it’s not “Us vs. Them” – if this entire generational conversation has been going in the wrong direction this whole time – then how do we proceed? It starts by restating the question: It’s not “How do we manage 5 generations in the workplace?” Rather, it’s, “How do we reconfigure our businesses when the very nature of doing business is changing before our eyes?” Because let’s face it – what got us here will NOT get us there.” We can’t keep managing the way we always have and hope to succeed when millennials and Gen Z start to take over. In fact, we won’t be able to – our new millennial leaders won’t allow it.
  10. So it’s really a two-pronged attach in this generational battle. The first is on the individual level, and yes, there ARE some things we can do on an individual level to help smooth things over between the generations. Here are some of them: 1. Understand individual differences: Figure out: What matters to different sets of employees? If your company conducts annual surveys of any kind, add new questions to the mix, such as questions about your employees’ preferred communication style and planned professional paths. 2. Don’t dwell on stereotypes, because they’re subjective, and they’re usually wrong. Help your team move beyond the labels. Get to know your folks individually. 3. Cross-mentor: Studies show that colleagues learn more from each other than they do from formal training, which is why it is so important to establish a culture of coaching across age groups. 4 and 5: These last two are big: Engage your people. According to Gallup, almost 70 percent of your workforce is disengaged. 30 percent of those are ACTIVELY disengaged. That means they hate you and they’re plotting a coup from within. We keep wondering why they don’t leave? And they don’t – they just keep recruiting more people. “I hate this place. Come join me.” I call it the zombie apocalypse – 70 percent of your people are coming to work with just their heads. They’re not giving you their heart. There’s a huge opportunity here to engage your people. It’s about co-creation and collaboration. Get them involved in the future of your firm. Get them involved in fixing the workflow. Get them involved in figuring out how you can save time. Get them involved in how you can create a flexible workplace – god forbid. And then try things. And adjust. And try some more things. And adjust again. That will engage them and you will get their heads AND their hearts, and suddenly, they will work a lot harder for you. Everyone keeps saying, the millennials don’t want to work hard. That’s not true. They just don’t want to work hard for YOU – that’s the problem. If you create the right environment for them, they’ll work their tales off. By the way, there’s a myth about millennials and job-hopping. All the research we’ve seen and done shows that their top priority is job security. No. 2 is flexibility, No. 3 is career development. If you do those things, they’ll stick with you.
  11. Put another way, let’s turn to Dan Pink. Dan is a best-selling author and a really deep thinker about what motivates people, and according to him, it all boils down to these three things. Autonomy: Give people REAL control over various aspects of their work. Self-direction is a key to meaningful engagement. Mastery: Give your folks room to grow. Give them stretch assignments that will push them a bit out of their comfort zone and let them master those, then push them some more. The idea is to foster improvement, continual mastery, and growth. (Most important skill is the ability to learn new skills.) Purpose: We already talked this one. Connecting to a cause that’s larger than yourself drives the deepest motivation and engagement. Does YOUR organization’s purpose motivate people in that way?
  12. OK? So the bottom line is, this isn’t a generational thing. This is a PEOPLE thing. We all want the SAME things. It’s up to business to give us those things. The generations don’t have to change to do what WE want. WE have to change to do what the generations want. This is a business problem, not a generational problem.
  13. Now let’s talk about the REAL issue, which is our outdated business models. Incoming generations are entering the workplace with brand new tools. This presents unique challenges for leaders. 1. Your physical workspace. Is it collaborative? Is it time to consider an open workspace that encourages interaction and collaboration? 2. The cloud. 3. Your infrastructure. Are you still relying on old, stodgy, outdated software and databases that will cost you huge amounts of time and money to update? Or, are you considering a more fluid, flexible, and security app-based approach for things like finance, accounting, payroll, expenses. This type of approach will give you much more flexibility during these changing and complex times. 4. Mobile. Have you adopted a mobile-first mindset? Because that’s the direction we’re headed. We’re already there, in fact. These types of things will be huge differentiators when it comes to recruiting and retaining top young talent and keeping them engaged going forward. Marriott has turned its hotel in downtown Charlotte into an “Innovation Lab,,” where it’s trying out new ideas that it hopes will appeal millennials and Generation Z. What’s your version of an Innovation Lab? The key to all of this: Escaping the pull of the past. Overcoming the gravity of success. Jim Collins: Sometimes you have to change what you do to preserve you you are. The point here is this: This entire generational debate isn’t so much about differences between the generations. It’s about our businesses’ inability to keep pace with the rate of change. It’s well past time to change that.
  14. The bottom line: People want to do self-directed, self-improvement work that ties directly to their organization’s purpose – regardless of which generation they belong to. Period. Forget about the generations. It’s all about career development, really – making sure our business models encourage that, and that we’re helping people find their own paths. And if we offer that to ALL members of our team, regardless of which generation they belong to, we’ll kill the competition.
  15. A great way of building up your list of followers quickly is by “power following.” Find an influencer in your area of expertise, and look at who he or she is following. Let’s take Tom Hood as an example: