We are faced with two dramatic sides to the generational spectrum in the workplace at present:
* Generation Y - Younger, engaged, entitled, driven and in search of immediate recognition.
* The Baby Boomers - Older, conservative, strategic, decorated, entitled, driven and in search of validation.
The aforementioned diversity has created many amazing parallels:
* Innovation vs. Proven Results
* Ideas vs. Statistics
* Cyber Relationships vs. Long Term Partnerships
* Theory vs. Action
So let's survey our discontent and choose a corner:
Many of those in the 50+ age range have dedicated their lives to a single organization and have the lapel pins to prove it. The shorties have kicked the door down and are already looking for promotions. Blogging, Twittering, FaceBook, MySpace and Linked-in have opened up networks for young people that their Mom's would have had attended 1,000 chamber of commerce mixers to build. The old guard are of the opinion that 'coffee is for closers' and nothing speaks louder than a proven track record. The new generation are of the belief that the old way of doing business is the cause for our current depression and only flipping the industry on it's ear will clean up the carnage.
Let's find some common ground through pure business sense:
1. Persistence pays off
2. Relationships drive professional development
3. Ideas become business innovation when theory becomes law
4. Nice guys usually do finish first
Don't knock it till you try it:
I was of the belief that Twitter was a means to update friends on our tanning regiment; I was wrong. I have wasted long hours attending networking events at which I did not make one meaningful connection, there is seldom a measurable ROI to blogging, I have put countless hours into deals that I have lost, there are strategic partners that will take more than they give, you will misinterpret your intentions through technology, there are people who have left companies after 50 years of employment with nothing to show for it, and there are people who are millionaires without any business acumen.
There is one certainty we may choose to ignore but have to admit: Luck has it's place in business.
You can strategize your butt off, connect with 1,000,000 people, serve a company for 20 years, and build a better mouse trap. You can work harder, receive more certification and produce continual results. Sometimes you get flat out screwed by methods beyond your control and other times you just get lucky!
So when the Jr and Sr Managers square off in volleyball at this year's company picnic.....you might want to remember that Janie from accounting played Volleyball in grade school and Jr High and High School and College and went to Volleyball camp every summer! But, that still doesn't excuse her continually late TPS reports.
We all have our strengths and weakness. So before we get too hung up on pushing Grandpa out the door or discard little Emily's every contribution...we might want to remember that which is out of our control: Luck is part of business and it does not discriminate!