Our week with Herman the Wonder PM is over

two-people-at-work.JPGIf you are just tuning in, this week of blogs was about creating harmonious multi-generational communication, and better training. Rather then stereotyping people, it has been my experience that understanding needs and expectations of different age groups only enhances team efforts, especially in difficult times. This series was based on a true story of successful generational integration.

With budget cuts and past hiring freezes, they can be big gaps in knowledge transfer and learning. Left undone are activities of acquisition of good project knowledge (from OWLs, the pioneers), retention methods/process (boomers), and retrieval secrets and systems (from younger technology savvy team members). All generations can play a valued role! This week, we distinguished two real divides that could cross all generations: Work centric, and Life centric. In the future, the Life centric model will prevail, and we simply need to encourage better work centric thinking to make Life centric values possible and to keep both in balance for all generations of the workforce.Each generation brings great things to a project once each generation is appreciated. Yes, the youngest, Gen Y and the new Millenniums want to “get things done”, but they need the experience of the “get it right” Gen X/Y who know what possibilities there are.

The boomers, now over 40 dominate the workplace; they need to be acknowledged for all the work they do, but advised to let go so younger workers can rise and shine. They need to transfer the desired “work ethics” in a positive way. Many of the Gen X/Y do not understand the WHY of old rules, like being on time to work, or meetings, and not using sick leave right away, not bringing pets to work, etc. Boomers need to demonstrate “value” of such rules.

In working with all generations, a little more patience and understanding of the unique and individual pressures (personal, financial) of all age groups goes a long way. All you have to do is “ask em” what these are.

All generations have one issue in common. The need to FOCUS. Otis the Owl needs to stay healthy and accept his emerging limitations in vision, hearing, sitting for long periods of time. There are many assistive devices out there for him. If he is on medication, he needs to share what his needs are so he has a flexible working schedule. Owls over 50 make great mentors, problem solvers, and decision makers. The Gray matter in the brain stays the same as the white matter (physical things) deteriorates a bit. Fitness programs are the key here for sustained performance.needs to and accept his emerging limitations in vision, hearing, sitting for long periods of time. There are many assistive devices out there for him. If he is on medication, he needs to share what his needs are so he has a flexible working schedule. Owls over 50 make great mentors, problem solvers, and decision makers. The Gray matter in the brain stays the same as the white matter (physical things) deteriorates a bit. Fitness programs are the key here for sustained performance.At the other extreme, the younger workers, driven to make change, impatient with protocols need to have opportunities to be creative, to lead, and to change things. Tex the X and George Y and the new people streaming in need to focus on learning from others rather than just doing. They need to learn how to acknowledge others, and focus on other points of view, and reasons why things are done the way that still make sense. On the other hand they only stay with organizations in motion. They hate talk without WALK.needs to and accept his emerging limitations in vision, hearing, sitting for long periods of time. There are many assistive devices out there for him. If he is on medication, he needs to share what his needs are so he has a flexible working schedule. Owls over 50 make great mentors, problem solvers, and decision makers. The Gray matter in the brain stays the same as the white matter (physical things) deteriorates a bit. Fitness programs are the key here for sustained performance.At the other extreme, the younger workers, driven to make change, impatient with protocols need to have opportunities to be creative, to lead, and to change things. and the new people streaming in need to from others rather than just doing. They need to learn how to acknowledge others, and focus on other points of view, and reasons why things are done the way that still make sense. On the other hand they only stay with organizations . They hate talk without WALK.The real news: In non-governmental arenas, the Boomers will not retire as soon as they need to or want to, realizing they have a lot more to do, offer, achieve. Boomers need to focus on being more patient with diversity. While they may shift careers, or learn new tricks, Boomers are doomed to be work centric given their health challenges and needs. needs to and accept his emerging limitations in vision, hearing, sitting for long periods of time. There are many assistive devices out there for him. If he is on medication, he needs to share what his needs are so he has a flexible working schedule. Owls over 50 make great mentors, problem solvers, and decision makers. The Gray matter in the brain stays the same as the white matter (physical things) deteriorates a bit. Fitness programs are the key here for sustained performance.At the other extreme, the younger workers, driven to make change, impatient with protocols need to have opportunities to be creative, to lead, and to change things. and the new people streaming in need to from others rather than just doing. They need to learn how to acknowledge others, and focus on other points of view, and reasons why things are done the way that still make sense. On the other hand they only stay with organizations . They hate talk without WALK.The real news: In non-governmental arenas, the Boomers will not retire as soon as they need to or want to, realizing they have a lot more to do, offer, achieve. . While they may shift careers, or learn new tricks, Boomers are doomed to be work centric given their health challenges and needs.Speaking in my HR voice, all organizations will have to rethink the black and white rules of the traditional organization, with all its work rules and labor laws which make generational issues get worse, not better.

Flexible schedules, different menus of benefits, different training methods for different groups, teleworking, mentoring and reverse mentoring, and global virtual teams require less of the same old ways.

In the project world, the goal is to get it done right, get along, make it fun and stay focused on purpose, pride in work, and patience.

Michele Jackman and Herman

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