Oct 30, 2008

Generations Gaps :o)

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend M.E.E.T. training. The purpose of this training is to provide insights on how to deal with generational differences in the workplace (and frankly, can extend to situations outside of work as well). The acronym stands for:

M - Make time to discuss; There's something I'd like to discuss.
E - Explore the difference; This is important because...
E - Encourage respect; I really appreciate the way you....
T - Take responsibility; How about we agree to...

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate your need to meet!

What is in it for companies to take the time for this type of training? Provide a common language for employees and management. Provide skills to use leverage multi-generational differences. Improved morale. Enhanced teamwork. These attributes should then lead to improved performance, better recruitment and retention, and problem prevention (keep situations from escalating).

There are now four generations in the workplace:

Traditionalists, born 1925-1942, 75 million large, 10% of workforce
Baby Boomers, born 1943-1960, 80 million large, 46% of workforce
Generation X, born 1961-1981, 46 million small, 29% of workforce
Generation Y, born 1982-2002, 76 million large, 15% of workforce

Disclaimer: these are approximate numbers, the company we purchased the training material from uses these ranges. Cuspers are those born in the 3-5 years before or after a generational frame, and Cuspers tend to show characteristics of both generations.

OK, lets meet the Generations (via a few key terms, feedback preferences, and work motivators :o)

Traditionalist: Loyalty, Sacrifice, Patriotism. No news is good news. The satisfaction of a job well done.

Baby Boomers: Optimistic, Competitive, Workaholic. Feedback once a year with lots of documentation. Money, title, recognition, corner office.

Generation X: Skepticism, Informal, Self-reliant, Life-balance, Technology. Sorry to interrupt, but how am I doing? Freedom is the ultimate reward.

Generation Y: Realistic, Direct, Entrepreneurial, Value fun, Communicative, Internet. Feedback at the push of a button. Work that has meaning for me.

Bottom Line: State what you need and our willingness to help others with what they need. Communicate with respect. Acknowledge the similarities and differences that exist. Reach agreement. End on a positive note. Follow-up.

As we went through this training, and I balanced the terms and phrases, and looked at the demographics regarding our looming election, I can see why there is a divide between the older generations and the younger generations. The message is different, the target audience is different, and the response is different.


  1. Fun discussion tonight about our "cusp" tendencies. Also interesting that I would guess that 3 of the 4 groups would be more likely to vote for Obama rather than McCain. Exceptions, obviously, but still...interesting.


  2. Hmmm. Ken, many generalizations here, LOL. I see some of myself in each of these groups, but then perhaps I am not the average person, b/c I am always willing to learn and grow. Yet in some ways I definitely consider myself a traditionalist, and I don't think that is a bad word!

    Now I am trying to figure out Beth's comment. Why would she think that 3 of the 4 groups would be more likely to vote for Obama than McCain. I don't see them at all. That's not my friends or my age group. Or me. Sorry to disagree with you all, and I do love you dearly, but I just don't want Obama...

  3. Oh, I forgot to say, one more thing, I love your sidebar! Especially the Happy Dance, LOL!

    And one more thing again, LOL. could you please add your blogs to the blog directory "from jland to blogger"? Here is the addy:



  4. Ken,

    I agree with yout hat this should be used in society. I also think that Blogger is a good way to do this, I have talked to people younger, and older than myself. I thought is was a good entry, but have never liked the term Generation X. I thik that whoever labeled my gerneration, was just being lazy when they coined the phrase! I hope you and Beth have a splendid day, and a good evening!

    Happy Halloween!

  5. The gap is great for sure. I guess I'm in the 1st and 2nd batch being born right after the Boomers came into being. I am thankful I've had my children to keep me in tune to life. Communication is the trick of keeping us on the same page. Lots and lots of conflicts happen because of not understanding. 'On Ya'-ma

  6. We had a whole section on this in my management class that I took a few months ago. I found it very interesting. Linda

  7. Sometimes, you post such interesting stuff! This is another one of them ... but I have to ask what determines the cut off for those on the cusp? I have thought that some of my issues were due to being one the cusp of one social order ending and another beginning.

    Personally, I wonder what would I have become being a teen in the post WWII years. Growing up in the '50's with what went on then, I think I could have been a contender!

    It has always been more than an escapism for me. From books that I would read, wondering what made the author's have the vision, to the sense of purpose that Gen X seemed to lack for a long time, I can't help but wonder what I would have come up with, being a teenage along with Buddy Holly and trying to get on Gillette Friday Night Fights ...

  8. Interesting stuff, Ken. With my family, I have four generations to communicate with and it is a challenge at times, but so rewarding in the long run.

  9. Definitely find myself on the cusp. I have to say if you see parts of yourself in the first and last group, you must be forever in contriversary on what issues you stand on exactly. Me? I find myself in the Cusp of the Baby Boomers and Gen. X. I agree with Wes the whole X thing is a boring name *winks*. I also see what Beth was referring to, if your from the first group you would be hesitant to embrace change which Obama represents. The following 3 generations would be more likely to welcome that change. One of the reasons I said if you consider yourself belonging on the cusp to the first and last group would be in direct conflict. How could one say they are a traditionalist who doesn't like change, yet claim to geralize themselves as a Y which embraces change. I think that covers the whole arena. Have an awesome grand Halloween with Beth dear friend. (Hugs)Indigo

  10. I've read that the Y generation moves through jobs often. If their needs aren't met, they have neither the patience nor the loyalty to wait things out. They move on to another job. I don't know if it's really true, but it certainly reflects my nephew's experience so far. :)


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