Generation Why Not: A New Way to Lead and Get the Most Out of Our Inter-Generational Workforce

Guest
post from Ruth Klein:
Much
has been written about generational tension in the workplace. As is often the
case, the tension stems from a fundamental misunderstanding.  And, like most misunderstandings, perception
issues and a lack of communication are at the very heart of it. As leaders, we
have to understand what’s true about those we lead. Believing a misconception
will keep us from doing our best and that’s not acceptable.  
So,
let’s take a look at just one misconception. Baby Boomers complain that Millennials
are too high maintenance, they need a lot of attention, and they only want to
do work that is part of their overall life mission and purpose. Perhaps all of
that is true, but, as it turns out it’s not just true of Millennials, or
Boomers or Gen X’ers. It’s true for every demographic. Who among us does this
not describe?   
Actually,
The Boomers, Gen X’ers and The Millennials have more in common than they think.
For
example, The Baby Boomers today are changing careers, doing the things they’ve
always wanted to do and starting second and third acts, and they have the
health and the time to do them, unlike the generation of Traditionalists before
them. Generation X’ers are also changing careers as often as necessary to find
fulfillment and grow. Boomers see this as a lack of stability and commitment in
Millennials. But, the fact is, Boomers are the ones that started this trend,
way back in the Sixties. Maybe they’ve forgotten and that’s understandable.
It’s been a while.   
There
are other similarities and commonalities among all three—Baby Boomers, Gen X,
and Millennials:
·         – They
all are suspicious of authority.
·         – They
are highly educated.
·         – They
have high job expectations.
·         – The
environment is very important to them…the Baby Boomers started the hippie
movement with their green thumbprint and environmental advocacy.
·         – Baby
Boomers started sharing a lot of enlightenment and spirituality in their
youth…similar to what Millennials are doing now.
·         – Both
want to have a big impact to make this a better community and world.
·         – They
are extremely loyal to their children.
·        –  Personal
gratification is important
   
It
becomes apparent then that age and gender, the old demographic lenses we used
to look through, are no longer clear or helpful measurements to be used by
businesses and consumers, managers and staff, founders, innovators, and
creatives. It is clear that something else is going on in business and personal
development. If we “see” the workforce and ourselves through the lens of being
a Millennials or a Boomer then that is likely what we’ll receive while they’re
working with us.
It’s
often said by Baby Boomers that Millennials need a lot of attention and the
fact is, most people that want to do a good job (particularly perfectionists) do
need a lot of attention. That’s not a demographic issue, that’s a human issue.
High performers have lots of questions about everything and they want to know
more. They want all the information on anything they undertake so as to give
them the best chance to succeed.   
This
New Demographic Shift helps businesses expand their creativity and fosters
innovation and problem-solving on a large scale without consideration of age,
gender, but rather, driven by a mindset and heart-centered model of seeing the
person as they are…not as a Baby Boomer, Millennial, etc.
So,
who is prospering in the middle of all of this inter-generational chaos and
conflict? A new generation that I call Generation Why Not?® is figuring out
that the roadblocks in their way are movable if only they will change their
context and discard the conventional wisdom about what is possible and by whom
it can be done. This new socio-statistical population entity believes that
great things can be done by anyone, no matter their gender, age or
socioeconomic background.
The
Generation Why Not?® framework of people’s buying habits and interpersonal communications
is based more on their internal traits or their Intentions, Thoughts, Beliefs,
and Actions regarding what they want and what they’re doing. They are aware of
making their words intentional as they know words matter—both to themselves
and with others. Their old beliefs that no longer serve them have been tested, discarded
and new, updated beliefs have been adopted; they commit and make decisions;
they take inspired action; they take the momentum they create and sustain it;
they have an awareness of their environments—from their emotional to their
physical environment.
Generation
Why Not?® embraces and engages with leaders and high performers by looking at
how each older demographic model shares similarities. It is the similarities of
these demographic generations that will create company harmony and, as a
result, far less employee tension and management turnover, and higher
productivity and profits. And, as an extension, the acknowledged similarities
will create internal harmony within businesses, families, and communities. We
have the opportunity to forge a new way to understand and communicate between
these different age groups, focusing on similarities, as well as positive
reinforcement and transparency, which are all key leadership core values and
qualities.
As
leaders, we need to help our inter-generational employees and teams figure out
how to get past their biases and pre-conceived notions and begin to work
together and understand each other. It’s doable, and it’s time.
 Ruth Klein, brand strategist and productivity
coach for CEO’s, entrepreneurs and sales teams and the author of the upcoming
book, Generation
Why Not? 7 Principles to a Purposeful Business & Life, Driven by Attitude,
Not Age
.”