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“Generations” Understanding the Cross-Generational Workplace. Generation is …. Is the aggregate of all people born over roughly the span of a phase of life. Particularly telling are a generation’s defining moments:. Social. External Factors. Personal.

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“Generations” Understanding the Cross-Generational Workplace

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Generations understanding the cross generational workplace


Understanding the Cross-Generational Workplace

Generation is

Generation is …

Is the aggregate of all people born over roughly the span of a phase of life .

Particularly telling are a generation s defining moments

Particularly telling are a generation’s defining moments:

Formation of world view


External Factors


Birth 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

AGE (years)

Formation Of World View

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

USCG Demographics

E 1 445 / 44299.3%

E 23,104 / 3,10399.9%

E 33,516 / 3,50799.7%

E 45,941 / 5,90899.4%

E 55,824 / 4,94384.87%

E 65,288 / 2,60849.3%

E 72,666 / 52619.7%

E 8 539 / 22 4.0%

E 9 261 / 41.5%

TOTAL27,584 / 18,27366.2%

E 1 - E 624,118 / 20,51185.0%

Numbers of Coast Guard Enlisted Personnel under the age of 36 as of 01/01/00

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

USCG Demographics

W 2 696 / 7510.7%

W3 351 / 1 0.2%

W4 363 / 0 0%

O1 334 / 32998.5%

O21,038 / 1,00596.8%

O35,288 / 2,60863.9%

O41,045 / 26225.0%

O5 717 / 0 0%

O6 316 / 0 0%

O7-10 26/ 0 0%

TOTAL10,168 / 4,28042.0%

O 1 - O47,705 / 4,20454.5%

Numbers of Coast Guard Officer Personnel under the age of 36 as of 01/01/00



  • G.I. Generation

  • Silent

  • Boomer

  • Generation X

  • Millennial

Living generations

Living Generations

  • G.I. Generation (1901-1924)

  • Depression Years World War II Entitlements Rebuild the World Belief in Progress Presidency from JFK to Bush

JFK, Ronald Reagan, Walt Disney, Judy Garland, John Wayne, Walter Cronkite

Living generations1

Living Generations

  • Silents (1925-1942)

  • Korean War, Technocrats, Sandwiched, Mediators, No President, Permission Givers Retirement

Colin Powell, Walter Mondale, Woody Allen, Martin Luther, King Jr., Sandra Day O’Connor, Elvis Presley

Silent generational personality

Silent Generational Personality

  • Conformers

  • Interested in the system rather than individual enterprise

  • No individual culture - sandwiched group

  • Looked to refine and humanize the G.I built world

Silents on the job

Silents on the Job


  • Detail Oriented

  • Loyal

  • Thorough

  • Stable

Silents on the job1

Silents on the Job


  • Reluctant to buck the system

  • Uncomfortable with conflict

  • Reluctant to go against peers

  • Overly resistant to change

Living generations2

Living Generations

  • Boomers (1943-1963)

  • Vietnam, Inner Directed, Transform World, New Women’s Role, Left Mainline Church, Mid-Life Issues (reinventing them!)

Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates

Candice Bergmen,

Boomer generational personality

Boomer Generational Personality

  • Believe in growth and expansion

  • Think of themselves as stars of the show

  • Tend to be optimistic

  • Learned about teamwork

  • Have pursued their own personal gratification --repeatedly, obsessively, and recreationally

How boomers differ from their parents


Followed traditional roles (male/female, ethnic)

Loyal (to their marriages & companies)

Disciplined and patient, waiting for the rewards

Played by the rules


Redefined roles; promoted equality

Left unfulfilling relationships

Sought immediate gratification

Manipulated the rules

How Boomers Differ From Their Parents

Boomers on the job

Boomers on the Job


  • Service oriented

  • Driven

  • Willing to “go the extra mile”

  • Good at relationships

  • Want to please

  • Good team players

Boomers on the job1

Boomers on the Job


  • Not naturally “budget minded”

  • May put process ahead of result

  • Overly sensitive to feedback

  • Judgmental of others seeing things differently

  • Self-centered

Messages that motivate

Messages That Motivate

  • “You’re important to our success.”

  • “You’re valued here.”

  • “Your contribution is unique and important.”

  • “We need you.”

  • “I approve of you.”

  • “You’re worthy.”



What the Other Generations Say About Them

G. I.’s say . . .

  • They talk about things they ought to keep private…like the intimate details of their personal lives.”

  • “They’re too self-absorbed.”

Boomers cont

Boomers Cont.

What the Other Generations Say About Them

Gen Xers say . . .

  • “They’re self-righteous.”

  • “They’re workaholics.”

  • “They’re too political,

  • “They do a great job of talking the talk.

  • “Lighten up; it’s only a job.”

  • “What’s the management fad this week?”

Today s workplace boomers x ers and millennials

Today’s Workplace:Boomers, X’ers, and Millennials


76 Million

Generation X

51 Million


72 Million

Living generations3

Living Generations

  • Generation X (1964-1983)

  • Desert Storm, Down Sizing, Increased Violence, Broken Homes, Boomerang, Hi-Tech, Diverse, Hope (Is there any?) Friends

Tom Cruise, Jodie Foster, Michael Dell, Deion Sanders, Alanis Morissett

Winonna Ryder,

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

Movie Portrayals of “Evil Children

During X’ers Growth Years


1964 Children of the Damned

1968 Rosemary’s Baby

1973The Exorcist

1974It’s Alive!

1976The Omen

1977Exorcist II: The Heretic

1978Damien- Omen II


1980The Children

1981The Final Conflict

1984Children of the Corn

Gen xers on the job

Gen Xers on the Job


  • Adaptable

  • Negotiation skills

  • Independent

  • Not easily intimidated by authority

  • Creative

Gen xers on the job1

Gen Xers on the Job


  • Impatient

  • Poor people skills

  • Inexperienced

  • Cynical

How xer s differ from the previous generation


Fight against authority

Media darlings


Political at work

Nostalgia for the 1960’s


Go around authority

Avoid the media

Get a life

Politics is a waste of time

Oh, Lord, not again

How Xer’s Differ From The Previous Generation

Gen xers

Gen Xers

What the Other Generations Say About Them

G. I.’s say . . .

  • “They’re not educated.”

  • “They don’t respect experience.”

  • “They don’t follow procedures.”

  • “They don’t know what hard work is.”

Gen xers cont

Gen Xers Cont.

What the Other Generations Say About Them

Boomers say . . .

  • “They’re slackers.”

  • “They are rude and lack social skills.”

  • “They’re always doing things their own way, instead of the proscribed way (our way).”

  • “They spend too much time on the Internet.”

  • “They won’t wait their turn.”

Gen xers cont1

Gen Xers Cont

What the Other Generations Say About Them

Millennials say . . .

  • “Cheer up!”

Messages that motivate1

Messages That Motivate

  • “Do it your way.”

  • “We’ve got the newest technology.”

  • “There aren’t a lot of rules here.”

  • “We’re not very corporate.”

  • “We focus on results, not process.”

Living generations4

Living Generations

  • Millennials (1984-2005)

  • Net Generation, Lap Generation, Valuable Asset, Movie Heroes (kids fix it), Open (new info), Collaboration, Innovation, Early Responsibility

Jessica McClure, the Olsen twins, Prince William, Anna Kournikova

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

Movie Portrayals Children

During Millennials Growth Years


Raising Arizona

Baby Boom


Three Men and a Baby

Home Alone 1, 2,3

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves

Millennial persona traits

Millennial Persona Traits

  • Special

  • Sheltered

  • Confident

  • Team-oriented

  • Achieving

  • Pressured

  • Conventional

Messages that motivate2

Messages That Motivate

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

  • “Your boss is very experienced.”

  • “You and your coworkers can help turn this company around.”

  • “You will have chances to excel here.”

Gen yers

Gen Yers

What the Other Generations Say About Them

G. I.’s say . . .

  • “They have good manners.”

  • “They’re smart little critters.”

  • “They need to toughen up.”

  • “They watch too much TV…with crude language and violence.

Gen yers cont

Gen Yers Cont.

What the Other Generations Say About Them

Boomers say . . .

  • “They’re cute.”

  • “They need more discipline from their parents.”

  • “They can set the time on the VCR!”

  • “They need to learn to entertain themselves; they need too much attention.”

Gen yers cont1

Gen Yers Cont.

What the Other Generations Say About Them

Gen Xers say . . .

  • “Neo Boomers.”

  • “Here we go again…another self-absorbed generation of spoiled brats.”

  • “What do you mean, ‘What’s an album?”

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

Generational Comparisons

Core Values


OptimismPragmatismCivic Duty

Team OrientationSelf-relianceConfidence

Personal GrowthBalanceAchievement

InvolvementDiversityStreet Smarts

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

Generational Comparisons



GandhiNONEMichael Jordan

Martin Luther KingPrincess Diana

John & Jackie KennedyMother Teresa

John GlennMark McGwire

Mia Hamm

Historical view of time

Historical View of Time

Over the millennia, man has developed three ways of thinking about time:

Chaotic - Dominate view of primitive man

Cyclical - Popular among ancient and traditional civilizations

Linear- Prescribed by most Western historians

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

At the core of modern history lies a

remarkable pattern. Over the past few

centuries, American society has

entered a new era--a new turning--

every two decades or so.

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

Turnings come in cycles of four. Each cycle spans a long human lifetime, roughly 80-100 years. Together, the four turnings make up history’s seasonal rhythm of growth, maturation, disorder, and destruction.

Cycle of time

Cycle of Time

4th Turning


1st Turning


2nd Turning


3rd Turning


First turning is a high

First Turning: is a high

  • Upbeat era of strengthening institutions

  • Weakening individualism

  • New civic order

  • Culture feels conformist and wholesome

  • In current Millennial Cycle--American high of the Truman, Eisenhower & Kennedy pres

Second turning is an awakening

Second Turning: is an Awakening

  • A passionate era of spiritual upheaval.

  • Civic order comes under attack from a new set of values.

  • In current Millennial Cycle--Awakening was the Consciousness Revolution, from campus revolts of 1960’s to tax revolts of the 1980’s.

Third turning is an unraveling

Third Turning: Is an Unraveling

  • Downcast era - strengthening individualism

  • Civic order declines and the culture feels splintered and decadent

  • In current Millennial Cycle--unraveling began with the cultural wars in mid-80’s

  • Era due to expire during the Oh-Oh Decade

Fourth turning is a crisis

Fourth Turning: is a Crisis

  • Decisive era of upheaval replacing the old civic order with a new one.

  • A sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood.

  • In current Millennial Cycle--due to begin shortly after the start of the new millennium.

  • The cycle starts over.

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

“Mountain Top” View of American History

  • New World1594 - 1704

  • Revolutionary1704 - 1794

  • Civil War1794 - 1865

  • Great Power1865 - 1946

  • Millennial1946 - 2026?

Revolutionary cycle 1704 1794

Revolutionary Cycle1704 - 1794

Age of Empire

(1704-27) First confident flowering of provincial civilization: booming trade, recognizable cities, rising living standards.

1st Turning

Revolutionary cycle 1704 17941

Revolutionary Cycle 1704 - 1794

Great Awakening

(1727-46) Spiritual revival (Jonathan Edwards), pitting young believers against elders. Old World social barriers were burst.

2nd Turning

Revolutionary cycle 1704 17942

Revolutionary Cycle 1704 - 1794

French & Indian Wars

(1746-73) Economic and geographic mobility--growing debt, cynicism, wildness, weak leadership.

3rd Turning

Revolutionary cycle 1704 17943

Revolutionary Cycle 1704 - 1794

American Revolution

(1773-94) Boston Tea Party ignited a Colonial tinderbox; independence declared and Constitution ratified.

4th Turning

Great power cycle 1865 1946

Great Power Cycle1865 - 1946

Reconstruction & Gilded Age

(1865-86) New fortunes in railroads, mines, oil wells; middle class prospered; pragmatism.

1st Turning

Great power cycle 1865 19461

Great Power Cycle1865 - 1946

Third Great Awakening

(1886-1908) Labor riots, agrarian protests, muckrakers, settlement houses, evangelicals.

2nd Turning

Great power cycle 1865 19462

Great Power Cycle1865 - 1946

WWI & Prohibition

(1908-29) Widening class divisions; crumbling trusts, unions; fun-filled financial boom, Jazz Age, nihilism.

3rd Turning

Great power cycle 1865 19463

Great Power Cycle1865 - 1946

Great Depression & WWII

(1929-46) Stock crash and three-year economic free fall; New Deal, Pearl Harbor, D-day, A-bombs.

4th Turning

Millennial cycle 1946 2026

Millennial Cycle1946 - 2026 (?)

American High

(1946-64) America becomes global superpower; middle class grows; suburbs, interstate highways; bland, modernist, spirit-dead culture.

1st Turning

Millennial cycle 1946 20261

Millennial Cycle1946 - 2026 (?)

Consciousness Revolution

(1964-84) Riots, campus fury, war protests. Black power, environmental, feminist movements. Divorce epidemic, rise in violent crime.

2nd Turning

Millennial cycle 1946 20262

Millennial Cycle1946 - 2026 (?)

Cultural Wars

(1984-2005?) High-tech individualism, “family values” moralism; worries about crime, incivility, cultural decay.

3rd Turning

Millennial cycle 1946 20263

Millennial Cycle1946 - 2026 (?)

Fourth Turning

(2005?-26?) Crisis catalyzes in the Oh-Oh Decade, climaxes around 2020, resolves a few years later.

4th Turning

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

As the Generations Turn. . .

TheSilentGeneration (born 1925-42) fades from power, taking with them their reputation for tolerance, due process and compromise.

Strauss/Howe, The Fourth Turning

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

As the Generations Turn. . .

Boomers(born 1943-60) become elder “priest-warriors,” willing to risk young lives for a higher cause. Pompous and principled, they accept fewer public benefits in return for enhanced moral authority.

Strauss/Howe, The Fourth Turning

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

As the Generations Turn. . .

X’ers (the 13th generation to call itself American, born 1961-81) reach midlife struggling economically but doing well in family life. They apply their well-honed survival skills to do some tough but necessary jobs for the nation.

Strauss/Howe, The Fourth Turning

Generations understanding the cross generational workplace

As the Generations Turn. . .

Millennial(born 1982--) young adults bask in praise as they display optimism and teamwork, reduce crime and perform great civic deeds. The nation will not tolerate obstacles to their future.

Strauss/Howe, The Fourth Turning

Thank you

Thank You

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