“Baby Boomers refuse to change. Millennials only want it their way and expect things handed to them.” Common statements, are they true? Is it about workplace effort or is it more about workplace change?
It is a popular stereotype that traditionals and baby boomers don’t like change. At the same time, similar yet opposite stereotypes are often given to millennials and Gen Z. (Generations Chart.)
The truth is, adversity to change is a commonality across the generations, not a difference. Tell anyone that they need to change or that their job role is about to change you’ll likely face some immediate concern.
Change breaks that comfort zone for everyone. It makes people of all ages uneasy, nervous, and afraid. It may be very short lived, or it may continue for some time.
However, the argument that change is more difficult for those who are more seasoned may have some truth.
In many cases, but not all, the longer we do something that appears to work, the more convinced we become in the method. It may also be that we don’t like the feeling of the unknown, the feeling of effort required, and the admittance of, “I don’t know how.”
Change requires new learning, new patterns of behavior, and it requires giving up something to make room for something different. It takes effort.
As a little kid we may resist learning to tie our shoes, ride a bike, or even perform chores. Of course, at some point, for most, we desire to be more grown up and we commit to learning. Effort is part of the process.
Does an 85-year old feel any need to learn to use the latest smartphone? Do they want to learn how to play the latest video game? Perhaps they don’t see a strong connection with how this impacts their future.
The change required in our workplace isn’t really about age. It is about perceived effort compared with impact. We ask ourselves, “Is this worth it?”
Change feels worth the effort when the reason is compelling.
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.