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FAQ #4: Do your generalizations apply to ALL Millennials?

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Today I’d like to address the final question I’m most frequently asked about the generations….

Do the generalizations in Sticking Points describe all Millennials or just the ones who are middle-class with professional jobs?

There are actually four different subgroups of Millennials worldwide, and even in the U.S. there are differences due to our increasing ethnic diversity. So while there are commonalities, cultural distinctives add nuances to generational generalizations, and unfortunately, in my book I was not able to cover them all.

Primarily, I focus on the workplace, and the research I utilize has come from the study of both white- and blue-collar workers and occasionally even the unemployed. Because of this focus on the workplace, my book, Sticking Points, leaves out those of each generation who live in poverty (but other resources on this segment’s important story can be found through a quick internet search).

No one book can tell the whole story for a generation of over 80 million. But this is also a reminder that we must lead rather than manage people.

We’ve all got stories that we want to tell, and we’ll never stick together unless we listen.

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Mentoring: It’s not just a one-way street

Mentor

When we think of mentoring, many of us have the “old school” idea in mind.

Traditional mentoring programs, in which younger employees are assigned to older mentors, never worked well for all participants. Many mentors didn’t commit the time necessary to the process, and for half of those involved, the chemistry between the mentor and protege just didn’t “click”.

Today, the big issue is knowledge. With information changing so quickly, the classic mentor/protégé relationship really can’t work because it’s impossible for one mentor to know enough to provide the protégé with everything he or she needs. That’s why effective mentoring should no longer be a mentor/protégé relationship (with all its complicated dynamics); it should be more of a mutual mentoring relationship.

Younger, less experienced employees can actually mentor their older colleagues in two ways: First, this digital generation is more familiar with technology than their elders, and they want to help their elders learn. Sixty-five percent of Millennials say, “I should be mentoring older coworkers when it comes to tech and getting things done.” Secondly, the younger generation can mentor older colleagues by helping them learn the language and perspective of a different generation.

The world is too complex for the mentor/protégé approach. Today each of us needs a network of mentors both inside and outside our organization, both superiors and peers. Peers are especially important because there aren’t enough managers for all the people who would like a mentor. Besides this, it has been shown that we want to learn from our peers. Randstad learned in 2009 that employees were more likely to turn to coworkers, teachers, or professors as role models rather than business leaders. Therefore, a network of mentors that includes peers would be more relevant to those who don’t aspire to management. Peer groups are being used effectively to mentor people in organizations.

I’ve asked thousands of managers what they find most rewarding in their jobs, and the most frequent answer is mentoring – helping younger and less experience people grow, develop, and achieve what they didn’t believe they were capable of. It would be tragic if some managers never got to experience this thrill because they thought they were too busy, or because they were stuck in the past.

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Register for my FREE Soundview Executive Book Summaries webinar!

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Be sure to register for my FREE 1 hour webinar with Soundview Executive Book Summaries, coming up this Thursday, June 19th at 12p EDT. Registration IS required, and all who register will also receive a FREE copy of my Sticking Points executive book summary. Too good of a deal to pass up!

Register today!

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FAQ #3 – Generational generalizations: Does location matter?

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Today I’ll address another question I’m most frequently asked about the generations…

To what extent do generational generalizations apply in different regions of the U.S. and in other countries?

People are shaped by so many things – culture, family values, age, religious affiliation, access to media, education, socioeconomic status – and generational differences are only one of those lenses by which we can view and understand them. In general, though, the closer people are to farming, the more conservative they are, and the more they are a blend of their own and the previous generation. Because of this, the coasts are more likely to match the generational generalizations, whereas people in the South and Midwest tend to have more characteristics of the preceding generation.

While the generational generalizations I present in Sticking Points are primarily drawn from research in the U.S. and Canada, there are some common factors that made a similar impact on many other parts of the world: the Industrial Revolution, World War II, and access to Western media.

  • Industrial Revolution – The move from rural to urban areas created greater discontinuity with the past and greater openness to new ideas. Many of the generational differences are more pronounced in cities.
  • World War II – Countries that participated in the war most likely had their own “baby booms”, though they may have had them later. Many European countries had booms six or seven years after the U.S. and Canada due to the time it took them to rebuild after the war.
  • Access to Western media – The more experiences people share, especially when young, the more common characteristics they have, even if they live in different parts of the world. Access to global media has made the world smaller.
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Haydn talks “Sticking Points” on Manager Mojo podcast

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I was recently interviewed on Steve Caldwell’s Manager Mojo podcast. The focus of Steve’s podcast is to provide common sense solutions to management and leadership issues. I had a great time sharing my experiences.

About my interview, Steve writes:

You have to learn how to identify the sticking points when you are dealing with today’s multi-generational workforce says this week’s guest, Haydn Shaw. Haydn is the author of “Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart.” Haydn is a long time consultant with FranklinCovey and has spoken to over 100,000 people in his storied career. He shares his wisdom and insight on the Manager Mojo Podcast and provides many thoughtful ideas on how to reach the various audiences you work with. I know you will love this episode.

You can download the podcast or listen here: Haydn Shaw on Manager Mojo.

Many thanks to Steve Caldwell. Hope you enjoy.

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Three mistakes to avoid when supervising people your parents’ age

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Here’s an excerpt from my latest column in the Huffington Post:

My father-in-law, Bob Irvine, never lectured me when I was a young manager supervising much older employees. Instead, he laughed at “those young college guys who come in thinking they know everything and trying to prove to their bosses how smart they are. They sweep into the department acting like most of what we’ve done for years needs to be fixed. It takes nine months to train them on what doesn’t work when they get out of the classroom and into the real world. Then we can get back to making steel . . . for six months until they get transferred and we have to start over again with another one.”

Even though Bob’s been gone more than a decade now, these conversations we had while working on a car or cooking at the grill came back to me last week during a management seminar I was teaching. A participant asked one of the most common questions about generations: how do you manage people in generations older than you? The Millennial and younger Generation Xer managers nodded when I answered: the research shows that when a person is old enough to say to their boss, “I have boots older than you,” their boss has to lead rather than try to tell them what to do. Managing rather than leading is the most common problem that gets young managers on the road to a “big fail” with older employees.

I’ve seen young managers make three mistakes most often that keep them from leading employees the age of their parents….

Read my entire column here.

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Read Haydn's columns at the Huffington Post

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What People Are Saying
About Haydn


Haydn's principles were the key to getting generations working together at our company.
- Matt Rubel, former chairman, CEO, and President of Payless Shoe Source


Haydn is smart, practical, and funny. He has the ability to see the big picture through vast amounts of information in multiple disciplines while simultaneously providing practical insights and tools that can be used immediately. Haydn has the rare gift of taking complex things and making them simple—without being simplistic.
- Stephen MR Covey


When Haydn spoke to our leaders, he got us thinking about generational differences in new ways that help us better attract and empower employees of all generations.
- Ralph C. Stayer, CEO and owner of Johnsonville Sausage


Haydn's presentation on generationscontains insights and processes that do indeed work. We've had Haydn back many times to teach our managers these tools. I found it so valuable and enjoyable that I invited my wife to come hear his presentation. It will improve your ability to speak the language of other generations at work and in your personal life.
- Jim Thyen, president and CEO of Kimball International, Inc.

What people are saying
about Sticking Points

Sticking points helps the readers sort out how to get all four generations working together rather than complaining about each other. Very insightful and well balanced.

sticking points testimonials
- Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager and Trust Works!


Haydn not only turns automatic contention between the generations in understanding, but reveals the opportunities. A must-read!
- Ron McMillan, co-author of four New York Times bestsellers, including Crucial Conversations


Sticking Points will be my reference guide for years to come as a go-to resource for both understanding and resolving generational differences. I predict it will become a reference guide for you, too, filled with ideas and insights you can apply from a person you can trust.
- Stephen MR Covey


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