Communicating across the generations
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Communicating Across the Generations. Objectives. Learn more about yourself Learn more about others Be able to adapt for greater appreciation, communication and understanding. Appreciating Diversity of Contributions. Deck of Cards Metaphor. Think of all the ways we can sort a deck of cards

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  • Learn more about yourself

  • Learn more about others

  • Be able to adapt for greater appreciation, communication and understanding

Deck of cards metaphor
Deck of Cards Metaphor

  • Think of all the ways we can sort a deck of cards

  • Understanding people better is like that

Frequently asked questions
Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is this stereotyping?

    • Not the intent

    • Helps to give some better insights

    • A starting place

    • Still need to view people as individuals

Frequently asked questions1
Frequently Asked Questions

  • Aren’t there a lot of people who don’t fit the profile?

    • Of course

    • Middle of the bell curve

Frequently asked questions2
Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do generations overlap?

    • Yes– by as much as 5 – 7 years

    • Many people identify with two generations

    • People born in the late 50’s and early 60’s may relate better to Gen Xers

Frequently asked questions3
Frequently Asked Questions

  • Don’t the generations have a lot in common?

    • Yes, but subtle differences often lead to conflict at work

Definition of a generation
Definition of a Generation

  • A group of people who:

    • Share a common range of birthdates

      • Normally about 18 years

    • Share a common set of experiences

Births in the usa
Births in the USA



Gen Xers


In Millions

Value development morris massey the people puzzle
Value DevelopmentMorris Massey, The People Puzzle

Imprint and Observation or Patterning

Modeling by Heroes or Identification

Socialization by Peers and Significant Others

Significant Emotional Event(s)





Determining influences
Determining Influences

  • What games did you play when you were 8 - 12?

  • Who was a hero/heroine of yours?

  • What is your most vivid memory of a national or international event?

  • What did your folks tell you about dating?

  • What sort of equipment was standard when you got your first job?

The builders
The Builders

  • Timeframe

    • 1926 – 1945

  • Historical Events

    • Depression

    • World War II

  • “The difficult we do at once…the impossible takes a bit longer.”

    • Seabees

The builders1
The Builders

  • Male Names:

    • James

    • Robert

    • John

  • Female Names:

    • Mary

    • Barbara

    • Patricia

  • Popular Movies

    • Singin' in the Rain

    • From Here to Eternity

    • Rebel Without a Cause

    • Shane

The builders2
The Builders

  • Major Influences

    • Shortages and rationing

    • Economic hard times

    • Global conflict and sacrifice

    • High expectations for children

The builders3
The Builders

  • Core Values

    • Dedication and sacrifice

    • Hard work

    • Conformity

    • Law and order

    • Respect for authority

    • Patience

    • Delayed reward

    • Duty before pleasure

    • Adherence to rules

    • Honor

Baby boomers
Baby Boomers

  • Timeframe

    • 1946-1964

  • Historical Events

    • Cold War

    • Kennedy assassination

    • Vietnam

  • “I don’t want to speak disparagingly of my generation. Actually I do; we had a chance to change the world and opted for the Home Shopping Network instead.”

    • Stephen King

Baby boomers1
Baby Boomers

  • Male Names:

    • John

    • David

    • Michael

  • Female Names:

    • Linda

    • Mary

    • Susan

  • Popular Movies

    • Psycho

    • The Sound of Music

    • The Graduate

    • Doctor Zhivago

    • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    • Rocky

Baby boomers2
Baby Boomers

  • Major Influences

    • Television

    • Free …..

    • Affluence

    • Civil rights movement

    • Vietnam

Baby boomers3
Baby Boomers

  • Core Values

    • Optimism

    • Team orientation

    • Personal gratification

    • Health and wellness

    • Personal growth

    • Youth

    • Work

    • Involvement

Generation x
Generation X

  • Timeframe

    • 1965 - 1981

  • Historical Events

    • Challenger

  • “It’s no wonder the Xers are angst ridden and rudderless. They feel America’s greatness has passed. They got to the cocktail party 20 minutes too late and all that’s left are those little wieners and a half-empty bottle of Zima.”

    • Dennis Miller

Generation x1
Generation X

  • Male Names:

    • David

    • Michael

    • Jason

  • Female Names:

    • Mary

    • Jennifer

    • Lisa

  • Popular Movies

    • ET

    • Raiders of the Lost Ark

    • The Silence of the Lambs

    • Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Generation x2
Generation X

  • Major Influences

    • Both parents working away from the home

    • Divorce

    • A lot of television

    • Computers

    • Gender neutral

    • Negativism

Generation x3
Generation X

  • Core Values

    • Diversity

    • Thinking globally

    • Balance

    • Techno literacy

    • Fun

    • Informality

    • Self-reliance

    • Pragmatism


  • Timeframe

    • 1982 - 2000

  • Historical Events

    • Death of Princess Diana

  • “What you see is what you get. This is me. Hey you, if you want me, don't forget--you should take me as I am. Cause I can promise you, Baby, what you see is what you get”

    • Britney Spears


  • Male Names:

    • Michael

    • Jason

    • Christopher

  • Female Names:

    • Jennifer

    • Jessica

    • Ashley

  • Popular Movies

    • Braveheart

    • Titanic

    • Shrek


  • Major Influences

    • Re-focus on family and children

    • Scheduled lives

    • Multiculturalism

    • Terrorism

    • Patriotism

    • Globalism


  • Core Values

    • Optimism

    • Civic duty

    • Confidence

    • Achievement

    • Sociability

    • Morality

    • Street smarts

    • Diversity

Key to working together work on dialogue
Key to Working TogetherWork on Dialogue


Mutual Meaning

Mutual Respect



Mutual Purpose







Enter dialogue through mutual purpose
Enter Dialogue Through Mutual Purpose

  • Commit to seek Mutual Purpose

    • Foundation of trust

    • I care about what you care about—and vice versa

Enter dialogue through mutual purpose1
Enter Dialogue Through Mutual Purpose

  • Separate strategies from purpose

    • Purpose is the criteria for a common decision

Enter dialogue through mutual purpose2
Enter Dialogue Through Mutual Purpose

  • Brainstorm alternative strategies

    • Share suggested solutions

    • Strategies must address the mutual purpose

Build mutual respect
Build Mutual Respect

  • Respect begins with Inquiry

    • The skill of respectfully asking for information in ways that make it safe to share.

Build mutual respect1
Build Mutual Respect

  • Advocacy

    • The skill of respectfully sharing our honest feelings and information without causing others to become defensive or to be annoyed.

Build mutual respect2
Build Mutual Respect

  • Responding to others

    • First words out of your mouth

    • Non-verbals

    • Negative positives

Focus area one
Focus Area One

  • Reduce the attribution error

    • Telling a story that makes the other person bad or wrong.

    • Solution: Attribute a good motive, then check it out.

Exercise in attribution what other generations say about each other
Exercise in AttributionWhat Other Generations Say About Each Other



Gen Xers


  • Dictatorial

  • Set in their ways

  • Self-righteous

  • Self-absorbed

  • Whiners

  • Don’t work hard

  • Need discipline

  • Everything’s electronic

Focus area two
Focus Area Two

  • Dealing with the balance of work life and home life

Situation 2 1
Situation 2.1

  • Traditionalist Mortgage Bank Manager

  • Generation X Loan Officers

    • Coldwell Banker is having an open house from Noon – 4:00 PM on Sunday at the new development.

      • “I would like Bob and Sue to go out there and staff an information table for us.”

    • Bob and Sue response:

      • “Can’t do it. I’m not going to give up my weekend.”

Career goals when generations collide lynne lancaster and david stillman
Career GoalsWhen Generations Collide, Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman

Values generalizations
Values Generalizations

Boomers, Xers and Other Strangers

Dr. Rick and Kathy Hicks

Focus area three
Focus Area Three

  • Sharing information

Situation 3 1
Situation 3.1

  • Builder Manager

  • Baby Boomer Supervisor

    • Supervisor—”I would like to take a look at the calendar of projects for the next 12 months”

    • Manager—”Why would you want to see that?”

    • Supervisor-”I just want to get a better picture of what’s coming up and how I might fit in.”

    • Manager—”You don’t understand—those plans are confidential. I’ll let you know when a project is coming up that affects you.”

Situation 3 2
Situation 3.2

  • Generation X Supervisor

  • Millennial Staff

    • Supervisor e-mailed instructions to the staff and asked them to check-in with her at the end of each week on their progress.

    • Staff starts bombarding her with suggestions on how the job could be improved.

Focus area four
Focus Area Four

  • Approaches to Time

Situation 4 1
Situation 4.1

  • Gen X Staffer--Alex

  • Traditionalist Supervisor--Fran

    • Alex has been working very long weeks. He decides he needs a day off. Goes to the Supervisor and says, “Hey Fran, I won’t be here on Friday—I need a mental health day.”

    • Fran’s response—”Will that be a sick day or vacation?”

Focus area five
Focus Area Five

  • Dealing with Deference or Entitlement

Situation 5 1
Situation 5.1

  • Traditionalist Bank Customer

  • Millennial Teller

    • Teller—”I need to see some ID before I can cash this check.”

    • Customer—”I’ve been a customer here for thirty years. I have never been asked for ID.”

    • Teller—”Our policy says that if I don’t personally know the customer I have to get ID. It’s really for your own good, you don’t want me to give the money to a thief do you?”

Situation 5 11
Situation 5.1

  • Gen X Supervisor--Ashley

  • Baby Boomer Employee--Sally

    • Often when the Supervisor, Ashley, institutes new procedures they are resisted by Sally who reminds her that they have always done it the traditional way.

    • Sally also often remarks that Ashley is young enough to be her daughter.

Focus area six
Focus Area Six

  • Dealing with Differences in What is Rewarding

Situation 6 1
Situation 6.1

  • Boomer CEO--Barbara

  • Gen X professional--Susan

    • Susan has been doing a great job. Barbara decides to reward her.

    • Barbara says, “Susan I want you to go with me on Thursday and Friday to Los Angeles for meetings with our counterparts in California.”

    • Susan says, “If I’m not absolutely needed I would rather stay home.”

Situation 6 2
Situation 6.2

  • Boomer CEO—John

  • Staff with 50% Gen X and Millenials

    • Company starts “Casual Fridays.” On the first Friday some of the younger staff women wear hip hugger pants and short shirts, showing their stomachs. John is aghast.

    • John institutes “Corporate Casual Friday.” The company buys polo shirts for everyone that they will wear with Dockers-like pants.

    • The younger staff members bristle at this uniformity.

    • John says fine—either wear the polo shirts or show up in normal business attire.

Rewards when generations collide lynne lancaster and david stillman
RewardsWhen Generations Collide, Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman

Values generalizations1
Values Generalizations

Boomers, Xers and Other Strangers

Dr. Rick and Kathy Hicks

Generations in the workplace messages that motivate
Generations in the WorkplaceMessages That Motivate



Gen Xers


  • Your experience is respected

  • It’s valuable to us to hear what you have to say

  • Your hard work will be remembered and rewarded

  • You’re important to our success

  • You are valued here

  • Your contribution is unique and important

  • We need you

  • I approve of you

  • Do it your way

  • We’ve got the newest hardware and software

  • There aren’t a lot of rules here

  • We’re not very corporate

  • You’ll be working with other bright, creative people

  • Your boss is in her sixties

  • You and your co-workers can help turn this company around

  • You can be a hero here

Focus area seven
Focus Area Seven

  • Balancing Direction and Creativity

Situation 7 1
Situation 7.1

  • Millennial Intern--Jason

  • Boomer Supervisor—Sarah

    • Sarah—”Jason this is all wrong. I told you to total up the columns and type them on a separate sheet so I could insert them into my budget.”

    • Jason—”All you told me was to add the columns up. So I put hem into a spreadsheet so you could sort them all sorts of ways. You have to agree it’s better than the way you’ve been doing it.”

Generations in the workplace work environment preferences
Generations in the WorkplaceWork Environment Preferences



Gen Xers


  • More structured

  • Work before pleasure

  • Distinct line between management and staff

  • More formal work spaces and clothing

  • Tendency to command and control

  • Work teams

  • Consensus

  • Quality circles

  • Participative management

  • Work well for managers who know them personally

  • Delegation of authority

  • Like change

  • Challenge the why’s of actions

  • Information equals power

  • Management and success are not synonymous

  • Dislike political side of organizations

  • Leaders who are role models

  • Challenge me

  • Let me work with friends

  • Have fun at the workplace

  • Respect me

  • Be flexible

Focus area eight
Focus Area Eight

  • Finding a Mutual Purpose for “Why?”

Situation 8 1
Situation 8.1

  • Boomer Supervisor—Marie

  • Gen X Professional—Justin

    • Marie—”Danny, I want you to stop what you’re working on and go help Alice put together the mailing for the Open House.”

    • Justin—”Why?!”

    • Marie—”Because I’m your boss and I said so!”

Values generalizations2
Values Generalizations

Boomers, Xers and Other Strangers

Dr. Rick and Kathy Hicks

Focus area nine
Focus Area Nine

  • Finding Mutual Purpose in Work

Situation 9 1
Situation 9.1

  • Builder Supervisor—George

  • Millennial Employee—Gloria

    • Gloria calls in on Monday morning—”Hello, George, I’m not feeling very good today.”

    • George—”Again?! Is this some rare form of disease that only strikes on Mondays? I want to see a doctor’s note when you come in again.”

Values generalizations3
Values Generalizations

Boomers, Xers and Other Strangers

Dr. Rick and Kathy Hicks

Focus area ten
Focus Area Ten

  • Adapting to Communication Styles

A quote i like
A Quote I Like

  • “A 60-something graduate recently reflected: ‘We wanted what they want. We just felt we couldn’t ask.’ Herein lies the truth: what young workers want isn’t so different from what everyone else wants. However, young workers are asking for it.”

    • Karen Cates and Kimia Rahimi

    • “Mastering People Management,” Financial Times, November 19, 2001

Generations in the workplace communication preferences
Generations in the WorkplaceCommunication Preferences



Gen Xers


  • Use more formal language

  • Often prefer face-to-face or written communication

  • Are reluctant to share inner most thoughts

  • Prefer an open, direct style

  • Tend to use more body language

  • Answer questions thoroughly—often ask for details

  • Prefer face-to-face and electronic communications

  • Prefer information in shorter, sound bytes

  • Don’t like to be sold or manipulated

  • Want information shared immediately and often

  • Use a more informal communication style

  • Like visual imagery and graphics

  • Don’t talk down to them

  • Use voice mail and e-mail

  • Use humor

Generations in the workplace training preferences
Generations in the WorkplaceTraining Preferences



Gen Xers


  • More structured

  • Traditional classroom

  • Reading assignments

  • Interaction with others

  • Study groups

  • Role playing

  • Movies and videos

  • More interactive with computer

  • Low tolerance for traditional classroom

  • Entertainment and excitement

  • Experiential activities

  • Interactive technology

  • Do well in solo situations

  • Entertainment and excitement

  • Experiential activities

  • Internet research

Generations in the workplace sales preferences
Generations in the WorkplaceSales Preferences



Gen Xers


  • The customer is always right

  • Dignified and formal

  • Sales and advertising

  • Special—value added—service

  • Special offers and pricing

  • Friendly and collegial

  • No hype—straight talk

  • Internet based

  • Personal

  • No hype—straight talk

  • Automatic free refills

  • Internet based

Communication tips builders
Communication TipsBuilders

  • Build trust through inclusive language (we, us)

  • A leader's word is his/her bond, so focus more on words, not body language

  • Face-to-face or written communication is received best

  • Use more formal language

  • Don't waste their time; they have a job to do

  • Don't expect them to share their innermost thoughts immediately

Psychologist Dr. Paula Butterfield

Communication tips baby boomers
Communication TipsBaby Boomers

  • Boomers are the "show me" generation, so use body language to communicate

  • Speak in an open, direct style

  • Answer questions thoroughly, and expect to be pressed for details

  • Avoid controlling, manipulative language

  • Present options to show flexibility in your thinking

  • Use face to face or electronic communication to reach out to them

Psychologist Dr. Paula Butterfield

Communication tips generation x
Communication TipsGeneration X

  • Learn their language and speak it

  • Use e-mail as your primary communication tool

  • Talk in short sound bytes to keep their attention

  • Present the facts, use straight talk

  • Ask them for their feedback

  • Share information with them immediately and often

  • Use an informal communication style

  • Listen! You just might learn something

Psychologist Dr. Paula Butterfield

Managing generation y employees carolyn martin rainmaker thinking inc
Managing Generation Y EmployeesCarolyn Martin, Rainmaker Thinking Inc.

  • “The key is for managers to come to employees with a very clear idea of what they need done and ready to negotiate in an imaginative way to provide the right incentive.”

Workplace environment that works managing generation y carolyn martin and bruce tulgan
Workplace Environment That WorksManaging Generation Y, Carolyn Martin and Bruce Tulgan

  • Challenging work that really matters

  • Balance between clear expectations and freedom for how it gets done

  • Ongoing training and learning opportunities

  • Low stress environment

  • Flexibility in scheduling

  • Balance work and fun

  • Treat people as colleagues, not kids

Seven traits of bad management of millenials
Seven Traits of Bad Management of Millenials

  • Close mindedness

  • Ineffective delegation

  • Lack of knowledge and organizational skills

  • Inability to train

  • Disrespect to young people

  • Intimidating attitude

  • Overemphasis on outward appearance

Managing Generation Y

Carolyn Martin & Bruce Tulgan