Category Archives: generational differences

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Generational dignity

Generational Dignity, Is That What’s Missing?

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The psychology of work has never been more important. Generational dignity suggests that workers on either end of the generational framework are feeling a lack of respect. Is this part of the missing link for generational harmony?

In a strong economy with low unemployment numbers are there still workers? Some suggest that there are plenty of workers in the traditional or baby boomer categories and some suggest that there are plenty of generation Z workers.

Is it true? Do workers exist on each end of the continuum that just aren’t working?

Generational Dignity

Recently, I was in a discussion with a good friend and colleague. We were discussing aspects the workforce and the availability of workers. He has some belief, which I share, that there are workers, often just not those that organizations find attractive.

One example is the people in the older generations. They often have tons of knowledge and expertise, and informal surveys suggest that they would work longer or reenter the workforce for the right opportunity.

Surprisingly, or not, that opportunity doesn’t always focus on pay. It often is the opportunity to be respected and to have dignity in their job. A department store greeter isn’t necessarily dignified, nor is the shopping cart collector. Should a person with more than 40 years of experience be doing those jobs?

Somewhat in contrast, there are often job opportunities that are more physical in nature. The manual labor jobs. The jobs that require lifting, moving, or greater physical effort. Should some of these jobs be more dignified to encourage the most recent workforce generations to perform?

Our generational challenges are often focused on differences. One of the most fundamental aspects of our workplace culture is that we all want respect (a commonality), yet we often define it differently.

Could workplace dignity make a difference?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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team growth

Team Growth May Start With Experiential Learning

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Working across the generations that are currently active in our workforce has its share of challenges. Team growth often develops through experiential learning. Are you encouraging new experiences?

What creates more knowledge? Perhaps, many would quickly suggest more experiences are helpful.

Those that have been in the workforce the longest, the traditionals and baby boomers, often consider that they have vast experience.

Of course, on one hand, that is hard to argue. On the other, we may question how deep their experiences are with the latest technologies.

When we jump to the other end of the spectrum, we may decide that the most recent generations, the millennials and Gen Z, lack general workforce experiences. The stereotype is that they are well educated, but come up short on navigating workplace politics, etiquette, and soft skills.

Team Growth

Perhaps the key for everyone in the workforce is to consider that the best way to gain more experience is to engage in different experiences.

In training and development circles there are many different tools or vehicles for creating a learning experience. While there is lecture, video, and even storytelling, one of the best tools is often labeled, experiential learning.

Is that hands-on learning?

It’s true that hands-on learning is certainly a form of experiential learning. However, we can’t forget that soft skills can also be taught through forms of reflection, often known as experiential learning.

Reflection and Learning

Learning and development professionals will use tools such as assessments and case studies to drive subgroup and whole group reflections. Properly executed they can simulate (a form of hands on) real-world scenarios to create a more immersive learning experience.

Are you interested to harmonize your workforce?

Regardless of the generation and regardless of the organizational hierarchy. When you want team growth you are going to have to introduce new experiences.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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Generation alpha photo

Who is Generation Alpha? Gen Z Gets Framed.

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Much of the talk is still about millennials. Millennials this, and millennials that, but much of the chatter is often misidentified. Unknowingly, they’re often talking about Gen Z. Now trends are emerging to define the next generation, generation Alpha.

It seems like just yesterday, but in 2008, I published some of my first work related to workforce generations. In 2015, I released, Forgotten Respect, a book committed to helping ease some of the pain.

What is new with workplace generational challenges? A new generation is emerging, that is what is new. However, they won’t be hitting the workforce until around 2028.

Step Aside Gen Z

In January 2016, just four months after the release of my generations bookI delivered a conference opening keynote in upstate New York. The keynote was about navigating workforce generations.

Following the keynote, the floor was open for a few questions. One of the questions asked was, “What is the next generation and when will it start?”

Keep in mind, that it is January 2016, and in this group, many are hearing for the first time that the millennials are not the youngest in our workforce. When I wrote my 2015 book, the framework and definition of what we now know as Gen Z was still in its infancy.

In fact, as I researched and applied my own experiences to the generations, this new generation barely had an identity. It has had struggles with the labels of Gen Z, iGen, and Generation 9/11.

Today, three plus years later it seems much of society has settled on Gen Z. Great!

Generation Alpha

Back to the question at hand, “What is the next generation?” I really wasn’t prepared to answer, but I applied the logic I’ve believed in for more than a decade. There are three factors that shape the generations, and on the spot, in front of 250 professionals, I gave my best guess.

My estimate was that the next generation, the one beyond Gen Z, would have birth dates starting somewhere between 2008 and 2010. The reason is simple, in the United States we had the great recession of 2009, and in 2010 we had the introduction of the iPad.

At the time, I had no idea what this next generation would be labeled. However, I felt confident about my opinion.

It seems now, other generational experts, such as Mark McCrindle, may have also taken a position as far back as 2015-16. Mark is receiving some credit for the new label, generation Alpha, or Gen Alpha. Hat tip to Mark!

Here is where we stand:

Millennials, Born 1977-1994

Gen Z, Born 1995 – 2009 (2009-ish)

Generation Alpha, Born starting around 2010

What is shaping this new generation?

Of course, technology, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will play a role. Keep in mind where these kids are starting. Toy blocks and Barbie dolls won’t be the same. They haven’t been for generations. What happens next will be stimulated by what’s happening online.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workforce trends

Workforce Trends Connected To Generational Differences?

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The recent newsflash is that GM is planning to layoff 14,000 US workers. Is this capitalism at its finest? Could it be a sign of uncertainty in the economy? Is this disruption in workforce trends somehow connected to generational differences?

The safest answer may be to consider that all the above apply.

There are plenty of news articles and video clips addressing the speculation about why. So far, I haven’t seen any material connected to workforce trends shifting because of the more recent generations.

What Is the Question?

My initial question is simple: Have US car sales been flattening or perhaps declining?

Ask a marketing or demographic expert involved in the automobile industry and they may confirm or deny.

I believe there may be a linkage to our generational differences. Many traditionals, the baby boomers, and even generation X, lived largely on the premise that coming of age meant getting a car.

Want to know the framework for the generations? See the chart.

Today, for the youngest millennials and the generation Z crowd, it may not be the same.

Rural vs Urban Desires

Rural USA has parents wondering why their children grow up and want to leave small town USA.

As a kid, I aspired to cut the lawn, trim trees and bushes, and one day buy a car and a house. That was the dream.

Today, as many millennials leave small town USA and head to major metropolitan areas, they don’t care about the pride of cutting the lawn or raking the leaves. They don’t want to know the basics in home repair or how to change the oil in their car.

Many of them do not want any of that stuff.

Partly perhaps, because it slows them down, puts them in higher debt, and makes their living arrangements less flexible.

Workforce Trends

Is the American Dream changing? Is it shifting workforce trends?

What are the forces applying pressure to see GM cut 14,000 jobs?

Is it just another day in corporate America capitalism? A decline in the interest for certain types of automobiles?

Is it a signpost of the differences in values and beliefs across the generations that will ultimately shift the job market?

I’m curious.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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multigenerational supervision

Is Multigenerational Supervision Required?

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It is often hard to unlearn what we’ve learned. Informal discussions with people across all generations confirm this in my mind. Does your team or organization require multigenerational supervision?

Multigenerational supervision implies that a supervisor must flex his or her style to appropriately navigate and lead across all workforce generations.

Multigenerational Challenges

Ask anyone to put some thought into the problem areas for reaching across all generations. They would probably suggest that communication is one problem. Close runner-ups would probably include change and technology approaches to work.

Why is it that these areas are so problematic? You could argue it is connected to values and beliefs. You could argue it is connected to how we’ve learned, parental styles, educational backgrounds, rural vs urban living, and many other factors.

The truth is that all these factors are in-part a catalyst for generational challenges. So how do we navigate?

Multigenerational Supervision

Supervisors are always challenged with situational leadership. Which to me implies, they must manage situations somewhat differently depending on the circumstances. It does not mean the rules or policies are different for different people. Just the style is different.

There are two main factors to consider here:

  1. Traditionals and baby boomers learned to accept commands from the boss. The youngest millennials and generation Z (Gen 9/11, iGen) learned from a more servant style of leadership. True with many parental philosophies. True in their perception of workplace roles.
  2. Communication across the generations has similar aspects. Traditionals and baby boomers are more accustomed to not offering opinions or suggestions. They knew workplace cultures of not playing a role in decision making and problem solving, that was the job of management. The youngest in the workforce expect (and depend on) a more collaborative style.

So, the best multigenerational supervisors (regardless of their own generation) are the ones that can unlearn, adapt, or flex their personal style.

The underlying philosophies of adaptation and respect are required across the entire generational framework.

Are you able to unlearn? Are you flexible?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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generational shift

What Causes a Generational Shift?

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Generational differences continue to be a hot topic. It seems that nearly anything that is changing or perceived as non-mainstream thinking casts blame on the millennial generation. However, millennials are not our youngest workforce generation. What causes a generational shift?

In a general sense, the definition of each workforce generation is a soft concept. By soft, I’m indicating that it is not an exact science and popular opinions led by experts in the field shape most of the published work which defines the generations.

Generational Framework

In my opinion, and consistent with many opinions discovered through my research on the subject this is our current (2017) framework (Chart):

Traditionals: Born 1930 – 1945

Baby Boomers: Born 1946 – 1964

Generation X: Born 1965 – 1976

Millennials (Gen Y): Born 1977 – 1994

Generation Z (Gen 9/11, iGen): Born after 1994

What shapes this framework or what causes one generation to end and another to begin?

generational framework

Factors Shape Generations

Three significant factors are likely responsible for an emerging new generation.

Socio-Economic Conditions: This represents a significant shift in values, culture, and issues that impact economic conditions. One example is the Great Depression (Circa 1929-1933).

Major Technology Shifts: Represented as anytime technology drives a significant shift in activities, behaviors, or the economy. Examples could include the space race (Circa mid-1960’s), and the emergence of personal computing devices (Circa late-1970’s, early 1980’s).

Times of War: Unfortunately, a time of war also seems to impact or contribute to shifting the generational framework. Examples could include World War II, Vietnam, and the Gulf War.

Generational Shift

Popular wisdom suggests that there may be a blending of these conditions, and if only one condition seems to exist it is unlikely that a generational shift will occur. When two or more of the conditions (factors) exist it is very likely the framework will shift.

For example, the shaping of the next generation, the one beyond Gen Z has likely started around 2007. This is true because of the period becoming known as the Great Recession (2007-2010) and the emergence of shifting technology with the introduction of the iPhone, which is often regarded as the first smartphone.

It is also worth noting that I while I consistently cite Gen Z as having a start year of around 1994; I believe it is closer to 1990. Consider the Gulf War, economic factors, and technology shifts such as those associated with NASA and the emergence of cellular telephone hardware and services.

generational differences

There are opinions that generational differences are not real, that it is only representative of changing needs based upon age. However, there is strong argument from social philosophers and experts who research this subject.

Differences exists because of age as well as what we label as the generations. Generational differences are not so much about age, but they are about the values and beliefs of people who are grouped together and categorized by their birth year.

– DEG

Developing a greater understanding of how to navigate workforce generations is why I wrote this book:

forgotten respect

Buy on Amazon

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

This article was originally posted on November 29, 2017, last updated on November 10, 2018.


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next big thing

Waiting For The Next Big Thing?

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When you are living in the present, it is hard to imagine the next big thing. Some people might think about holding on to the lifestyle, traditions, and comfort of the past. Others are invested in the present, a good thing, but do you ever find yourself thinking about what is next? Are you waiting for it?

Historic Perspective

In the mid to late 1800’s they probably didn’t imagine the impact of what we know as the automobile, the superhighways, and how it all impacts the economy. Not so long ago we probably couldn’t have imagined the impact of the personal computer and even more recently the Smart Phone.

It might have been hard to imagine the concept of a 1980’s era shopping mall in 1920. Yet today after enormous popularity, their future might be changing. At least, the future as we once thought it would be.

Workforce Generations

Today, I often talk with people about the workforce generations. I present about generational differences at conferences, and even help businesses and organizations develop a deeper understanding of how to have this work for you instead of against you.

As people we are often holding on to what works, what is comfortable, and what feels smart. We focus on efficiency, doing the right things, and at the deepest level, survival.

In this regard we’re not so much different from a century or two ago, yet much has changed.

Next Big Thing

Futurists want to predict, discover, and connect with the next big thing. The biggest problem is knowing what the next big thing will be.

It might be hard to believe that not so long ago there was a common belief that the internet might be a fad, that social media was only for geeks, and that shopping on-line was cumbersome, a waste of time, and shipping charges made it too expensive.

There will always be some next big thing. Until that time it might be best to focus what is working today, all the while understanding that it has changed from yesterday and that it might be different tomorrow.

One thing that history shows us is that there was not really much success in waiting.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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training recent generations

Onboarding and Training Recent Generations

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The workforce has quite a few frustrated supervisors. Often they are frustrated by onboarding and training recent generations. Do we sometimes have to give to get?

The frustration with those representing the youngest in our workforce is not uncommon. It’s why there is so much chatter about the generations. We hear many comments about the millennial and generation Z population and their presence in the workforce. Often they are comments connected with frustration.

Can we all get along? Is there a happy medium, a space where our values and believes can happily work side by side?

Training Recent Generations

Here are a few things to consider if you are frustrated by the most recent generations in your workforce:

  • Expect change. Everything changes and being too forceful about keeping your organizational culture exactly the same might leave you with an average employee age that continues to climb. Worse, it might not mean a future for the organization.
  • Culture is not process. You may have a way that you assemble the widget or pack it into the box. Certainly, that is always a consideration for efficiency. However, your cultural values, not the process might be the real problem. Understand what should be different.
  • Values and beliefs are drivers. The youngest generations might not want a big house payment or a high priced car. Their view of success might be maximizing their free time, traveling, and living small. That doesn’t make them wrong. It might mean you need to understand their personal purpose.

Hiring the right people from any generation can be challenging. Hiring people who don’t fit your culture might not end well. Expecting that you will hire and then change their values and beliefs is probably unrealistic.

The organizations that figure out how to shift will get the best results.

It means you’ll have to give in order to get.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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blame millennials appreciative strategies

When All Else Fails, Blame Millennials

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The trend might be, blame millennials. It seems that every workplace problem or business decline somehow is connected with millennial behavior. Is it true?

Who They Are

One of the most important factors to consider is that not every person 35 or younger is a millennial. In fact, the oldest millennials are about to turn 40. The youngest adult population really represents generation Z (Gen 9/11, iGen, Gen Z).

Therefore, it seems that the youngest millennials and Gen Z might really be the target. Should they be? Alternatively, you might ask, do the generations that come before them lack foresight and adaptability?

Generational groupings are determined by major shifts. Technology and socio-economic conditions are definitely part of the drivers for these shifts.

Millennial and Gen Z buying habits might be different but are their mindsets? Expanding the question we should probably ask, “Different from what?”

An important factor for assessing generational differences is to consider that there are differences in age but there are also differences in values and beliefs. It is not so much age that creates the generational divide. It is a difference in values and beliefs.

What does this mean when it comes to our workforce?

Blame Millennials

Organizations often find themselves scrambling to find ways to attract and retain the younger segment of our workforce population. They offer incentives, suggest they are the best place to work, relax some policies and procedures, change work hours, and even throw out longstanding dress codes.

If none of those seem to work, they blame millennials, or sometimes the parents of millennials. Often resolving our challenges is not about who is to blame, it is more about how to make it better. You might consider how you will clean things up, change, adapt, and be interestingly different.

There is a philosophy about building relationships and making new connections. It might apply to discovering more about how to work across multiple generations. It goes something like this, “You have to be interested before you are interesting.”

Work With You

Generational differences can be challenging to navigate. They are real. Yes, there are connections to participation trophies, cell phones, and the sense of entitlement. Values and beliefs might be different but not necessarily unrealistic.

From my experiences, the majority of our youngest representations in the workforce don’t believe that they don’t have to work.

They are often just trying to decide if they should work with you.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Millennials and Gen Z Believe in Making a Difference

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If you work in a multigenerational workplace you’ve probably stumbled upon some different perspectives on life. Do millennials and gen Z (Gen 9/11, iGen) believe in making a difference?

Gen Z Believe Appreciative Strategies

Nearly everyone has heard the idea (value) of treating others the way you would like to be treated. It is a decent value to carry. It shows that you care. You typically want the best for yourself and when you deliver that to others it would certainly seem to make the world a better place.

One stumbling block for many organizational cultures today is integrating the knowledge, experience, and talent across all generations. Things often seem to lean towards one end of the generational framework or the other.

When a business or organization really wants to have a supportive culture across all generations they might need to think differently.

Multigenerational Harmony

Trust me when I say, “What I’m about to say rubs some people the wrong way.”

Businesses that have been around for a while insist that those coming on-board must adapt to their culture. After all, their culture is the preferred culture and it is how the business was built. That might be okay, if you don’t plan to hire across all generations.

If you want, or more importantly need (which most businesses do) to start onboarding those representing the two most recent generations you might have to think differently.

You might have to change your philosophy from treating others the way you would like to be treated, to treating others the way they would like to be treated.

Millennials and Gen Z Believe

In the workplace many traditionals, baby boomers, and generation X, are focused on building their professional portfolio and establishing professional recognition.

In contrast, recent studies indicate that 84 percent of the millennials believe that, “making a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition.”

As with all of the research related to generational differences, it is not everyone, in every sector, or every business.

Consider asking someone if they believe in making a difference. Most will say, “Yes.”

Then you’ll just need to understand what that really means.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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