The Road To Intergenerational Diversity In The Workplace
by Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA
The wisdom of my late parents barely grazed me in my teens, danced in my head in my twenties and thirties, and has now become locked in place in my fifties. What was dismissible years ago causes me moments of reflection (and terror) as the years go by and new generations unfold.
What is so stunning for me is realizing that the playmates of my adult children are now managing the workplace. The very youngsters who were in school plays or in my carpool are leading organizations, managing hundreds of employees and making strategic decisions that impact whole communities. It’s taken a gradual shift in my thinking to move me from seeing them in the sandbox to now negotiating with them in business conference rooms, and the process is far from over.
The game is new and exciting and the rules have changed. Technology, once vast machines in cold storage rooms at MIT has become a daily Tweet, a Linkedin connection or a text message meant for an entire office to read. Game On, and the question is, are you ready to embrace the generations who are already the emerging leaders of today?
During the upcoming workshop, “Intergenerational Diversity In The Workplace” we will blast off into the ageless world of generational similarities and differences that make our interactions so unpredictable. If you’re a Baby Boomer unfamiliar with the sounds of Lady Gaga or Beyonce, how can you possibly build sound relationships with those twenty years your junior? And if you’re a Millennial staffer scratching your head when the conversation shifts to Walter Cronkite’s reporting on the Kennedy assassination, think again. It’s time for an intergenerational tune up where cross talk and two way dialogue are the only way to move forward.
Using a multimedia approach, we will explore the five generational groups currently co-existing in workplaces across this region. Hard hitting and fast pace, the goal is to see yourself firmly grounded in the time zones of your past and present as you collaborate, manage, and teach those younger…and older than yourself.
No one said it would be easy. But the ultimate goal is knowledge transfer from the oldest to the youngest…and back up to the oldest again. It takes an open mind and a willingness to show some vulnerability. And in the end you’ll share your new wisdom with those who rely on you to lead the way.
Put your game face on and let’s ride the generational wave of connection, communication and collaboration.
**Homework Assignment: Listen to the following interview and prepare for a stimulating discussion. Here’s the link:
Carole Copeland Thomas is a global speaker, trainer, and thought leader specializing in diversity, multiculturalism, leadership and empowerment issues. She is the founder the Multicultural Symposium Series, and has worked with private and public sector organizations since 1987. A strong advocate of the Commonwealth Compact, she is a frequent blogger and regularly posts on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Visit her website at: http://www.tellcarole.com.