Authors Note: This is the second of a two-part blog article. The first part was published last week and can be found HERE
Last week in our blog I identified a situation that is becoming more prevalent in the workplace … one of a generational divide impacting the success and the speed of it in companies. You can read Part I here (input the link to the first half of this blog). The problem is rather than each group looking to bridge the generational divide and take advantage of the learning and added power that results, the differences become the focus. What suffers? The company and the progress that could be made if everyone were focused on what was really important.
What is needed is to break this unproductive cycle and help people return to an environment of 1 + 1 = 3. Here are some rather basic steps we see as key to change the path:
- Help everyone understand the various strengths that each person brings to the table in terms of experience, knowledge and skills. After all, it’s fair to presume that each person is there and being paid a salary because of the contribution they to make.
- Have each person identify those to whom they can turn as a valuable resource as they do their respective jobs. Explore the benefits of drawing on such a resource.
- Provide training for each generational group to help them advance. In the case of more senior people, introduce them to resources that help them learn to use basic technological tools. Demonstrate the benefits to them of incorporating the new skills into their work. Be clear that the refusal to learn such things will actually handicap the company.
- Be clear that embracing current technology is as important as staying current in the core business competencies. To not do so will likely impact the overall company achievement and an individual’s performance review.
- In the case of the younger generation, help them to appreciate the benefits of personal contact rather than automation. Provide them with real examples of how the building of relationships facilitates the growth and capture a larger market share. There is no technology that will eradicate the value of interpersonal exchange when it comes to developing trust and confidence in another.
Not surprisingly, the recognition of the need to alter the focus in an organization often comes from those leading the charge. That some are beginning to do this is a real benefit to the company. However, it doesn’t have to come from those at the top. Do YOU sense that the focus within your organization has become one of besting or looking down upon the other group … older, younger or in the middle? And do you realize that you might be paying a price for that in terms of progress and success the company is having? Then you, too, have the ability to raise this as an issue to be resolved. It needs to happen.
Go on. If you are seeing this in your organization, raise the issue. You’ll have a lot of support to say nothing of the credit you stand to receive for being the visionary. It’s certainly not a negative kind of attention.