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Presented by: James L. This, Ph.D. The Paragon Consulting Group, LLC Communicating Across the Generations

Communicating Across the Generations

Jan 02, 2016



Communicating Across the Generations. Objectives. Learn more about yourself Learn more about others Be able to adapt for greater appreciation, communication and understanding. Appreciating Diversity of Contributions. Deck of Cards Metaphor. Think of all the ways we can sort a deck of cards - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
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Page 1: Communicating Across the Generations

Presented by: James L. This, Ph.D.The Paragon Consulting Group, LLC

Communicating Across the Generations

Page 2: Communicating Across the Generations


Objectives Learn more about

yourself Learn more about

others Be able to adapt for

greater appreciation, communication and understanding

Page 3: Communicating Across the Generations


Appreciating Diversity of Contributions

Page 4: Communicating Across the Generations


Deck of Cards Metaphor Think of all the

ways we can sort a deck of cards

Understanding people better is like that

Page 5: Communicating Across the Generations


Frequently Asked Questions

Is this stereotyping? Not the intent Helps to give

some better insights

A starting place Still need to view

people as individuals

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Frequently Asked Questions

Aren’t there a lot of people who don’t fit the profile? Of course Middle of the bell


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Frequently Asked Questions Do generations

overlap? Yes– by as much as

5 – 7 years Many people

identify with two generations

People born in the late 50’s and early 60’s may relate better to Gen Xers

Page 8: Communicating Across the Generations


Frequently Asked Questions Don’t the

generations have a lot in common? Yes, but subtle

differences often lead to conflict at work

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Definition of a Generation A group of people

who: Share a common

range of birthdates

Normally about 18 years

Share a common set of experiences

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Identifying the Generations

Generation Birth Years Other Names

Builders 1928 - 1945 VeteransSilent Generation

Baby Boomers 1946 – 1963

Generation X 1964 - 1981 Baby Busters

Millenials 1982 - 1999 Generation YNextersEcho BoomBaby Boomlet

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25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61 63 65 67 69 71 73 75 77 79 81 83 85 87 89 91 93 95 97

Births in the USA



Gen Xers


In M



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Value DevelopmentMorris Massey, The People Puzzle

Imprint and Observation or Patterning

1 7 14 21

Modeling by Heroes or


Socialization by Peers and Significant


Significant Emotional Event(s)

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Determining Influences What games did you play when you were

8 - 12? Who was a hero/heroine of yours? What is your most vivid memory of a

national or international event? What did your folks tell you about

dating? What sort of equipment was standard

when you got your first job?

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Determining Influences Area Builders Boomers Gen


Games Active, outdoor

Board games Rubik’s cube Playstation

Heroes and Heroines


Kennedy Family Super heroes

National Event


Kennedy assassination

ChallengerDeath of Diana

September 11

Dating Wait for sex Boys call girls

Go in groups Be safe

Office Typewriters Electric typewriters

PC’s Wireless

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The Builders Timeframe

1926 – 1945 Historical Events

Depression World War II

“The difficult we do at once…the impossible takes a bit longer.”


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The Builders Male Names:

James Robert John

Female Names: Mary Barbara Patricia

Popular Movies Singin' in the Rain From Here to Eternity Rebel Without a Cause Shane

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The Builders Major Influences

Shortages and rationing

Economic hard times Global conflict and

sacrifice High expectations for


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The Builders Core Values

Dedication and sacrifice

Hard work Conformity Law and order Respect for authority Patience Delayed reward Duty before pleasure Adherence to rules Honor

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Baby Boomers Timeframe

1946-1964 Historical Events

Cold War Kennedy assassination Vietnam

“I don’t want to speak disparagingly of my generation. Actually I do; we had a chance to change the world and opted for the Home Shopping Network instead.”

Stephen King

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Baby Boomers Male Names:

John David Michael

Female Names: Linda Mary Susan

Popular Movies Psycho The Sound of Music The Graduate Doctor Zhivago One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Rocky

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Baby Boomers Major Influences

Television Free ….. Affluence Civil rights

movement Vietnam

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Baby Boomers Core Values

Optimism Team orientation Personal

gratification Health and wellness Personal growth Youth Work Involvement

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Generation X Timeframe

1965 - 1981 Historical Events

Challenger “It’s no wonder the Xers are

angst ridden and rudderless. They feel America’s greatness has passed. They got to the cocktail party 20 minutes too late and all that’s left are those little wieners and a half-empty bottle of Zima.”

Dennis Miller

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Generation X Male Names:

David Michael Jason

Female Names: Mary Jennifer Lisa

Popular Movies ET Raiders of the Lost Ark The Silence of the Lambs Close Encounters of the Third Kind

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Generation X Major Influences

Both parents working away from the home

Divorce A lot of television Computers Gender neutral Negativism

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Generation X Core Values

Diversity Thinking globally Balance Techno literacy Fun Informality Self-reliance Pragmatism

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Millenials Timeframe

1982 - 2000 Historical Events

Death of Princess Diana “What you see is what

you get. This is me. Hey you, if you want me, don't forget--you should take me as I am. Cause I can promise you, Baby, what you see is what you get”

Britney Spears

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Millenials Male Names:

Michael Jason Christopher

Female Names: Jennifer Jessica Ashley

Popular Movies Braveheart Titanic Shrek

Page 29: Communicating Across the Generations


Millenials Major Influences

Re-focus on family and children

Scheduled lives Multiculturalism Terrorism Patriotism Globalism

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Millenials Core Values

Optimism Civic duty Confidence Achievement Sociability Morality Street smarts Diversity

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Key to Working TogetherWork on Dialogue

Silence Violence








g Attacking



Mutual Respect

Mutual Purpose

Mutual Meaning

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Enter Dialogue Through Mutual Purpose Commit to seek

Mutual Purpose Foundation of

trust I care about what

you care about—and vice versa

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Enter Dialogue Through Mutual Purpose

Separate strategies from purpose Purpose is the

criteria for a common decision

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Enter Dialogue Through Mutual Purpose Brainstorm

alternative strategies Share suggested

solutions Strategies must

address the mutual purpose

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Build Mutual Respect Respect begins with

Inquiry The skill of

respectfully asking for information in ways that make it safe to share.

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Build Mutual Respect Advocacy

The skill of respectfully sharing our honest feelings and information without causing others to become defensive or to be annoyed.

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Build Mutual Respect Responding to

others First words out of

your mouth Non-verbals Negative positives

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Focus Area One Reduce the attribution

error Telling a story that makes

the other person bad or wrong.

Solution: Attribute a good motive, then check it out.

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Exercise in AttributionWhat Other Generations Say About Each Other

Builders Boomers Gen Xers Millenials

• Need discipline• Everything’s


• Dictatorial• Set in their


• Self-righteous• Self-absorbed

• Whiners• Don’t work


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Focus Area Two Dealing with the

balance of work life and home life

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Situation 2.1 Traditionalist Mortgage Bank Manager Generation X Loan Officers

Coldwell Banker is having an open house from Noon – 4:00 PM on Sunday at the new development.

“I would like Bob and Sue to go out there and staff an information table for us.”

Bob and Sue response: “Can’t do it. I’m not going to give up my


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Career GoalsWhen Generations Collide, Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman

Builders Boomers

Gen Xers


Career Goals

Build a legacy

Build a stellar career

Build a portable career

Build parallel careers

Page 43: Communicating Across the Generations


Values Generalizations

Area Builders Boomers Gen Xers


Top priority in job

Loyalty to company

Loyalty to my own needs

Loyalty to my family’s needs and my personal beliefs

Loyalty to my need to do something I enjoy

Boomers, Xers and Other StrangersDr. Rick and Kathy Hicks

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Focus Area Three Sharing


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Situation 3.1 Builder Manager Baby Boomer Supervisor

Supervisor—”I would like to take a look at the calendar of projects for the next 12 months”

Manager—”Why would you want to see that?” Supervisor-”I just want to get a better picture

of what’s coming up and how I might fit in.” Manager—”You don’t understand—those

plans are confidential. I’ll let you know when a project is coming up that affects you.”

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Situation 3.2 Generation X Supervisor Millennial Staff

Supervisor e-mailed instructions to the staff and asked them to check-in with her at the end of each week on their progress.

Staff starts bombarding her with suggestions on how the job could be improved.

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Focus Area Four Approaches to


Page 48: Communicating Across the Generations


Situation 4.1 Gen X Staffer--Alex Traditionalist Supervisor--Fran

Alex has been working very long weeks. He decides he needs a day off. Goes to the Supervisor and says, “Hey Fran, I won’t be here on Friday—I need a mental health day.”

Fran’s response—”Will that be a sick day or vacation?”

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Focus Area Five Dealing with

Deference or Entitlement

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Situation 5.1 Traditionalist Bank Customer Millennial Teller

Teller—”I need to see some ID before I can cash this check.”

Customer—”I’ve been a customer here for thirty years. I have never been asked for ID.”

Teller—”Our policy says that if I don’t personally know the customer I have to get ID. It’s really for your own good, you don’t want me to give the money to a thief do you?”

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Situation 5.1 Gen X Supervisor--Ashley Baby Boomer Employee--Sally

Often when the Supervisor, Ashley, institutes new procedures they are resisted by Sally who reminds her that they have always done it the traditional way.

Sally also often remarks that Ashley is young enough to be her daughter.

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Focus Area Six Dealing with

Differences in What is Rewarding

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Situation 6.1 Boomer CEO--Barbara Gen X professional--Susan

Susan has been doing a great job. Barbara decides to reward her.

Barbara says, “Susan I want you to go with me on Thursday and Friday to Los Angeles for meetings with our counterparts in California.”

Susan says, “If I’m not absolutely needed I would rather stay home.”

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Situation 6.2 Boomer CEO—John Staff with 50% Gen X and Millenials

Company starts “Casual Fridays.” On the first Friday some of the younger staff women wear hip hugger pants and short shirts, showing their stomachs. John is aghast.

John institutes “Corporate Casual Friday.” The company buys polo shirts for everyone that they will wear with Dockers-like pants.

The younger staff members bristle at this uniformity. John says fine—either wear the polo shirts or show up

in normal business attire.

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RewardsWhen Generations Collide, Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman

Builders Boomers Gen X Millenials


Satisfaction of a job well done

Money, title, recognition

Freedom is the ultimate reward

Work that has meaning for me

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Values Generalizations

Area Builders Boomers Gen Xers


In addition to making a living, factors you find motivating in work

Financial gain and security

Self-fulfillment and meaning

Balancing work and personal time

Having fun while doing meaningful work

Boomers, Xers and Other StrangersDr. Rick and Kathy Hicks

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Generations in the WorkplaceMessages That Motivate

Builders Boomers Gen Xers Millenials

• Your experience is respected

• It’s valuable to us to hear what you have to say

• Your hard work will be remembered and rewarded

• You’re important to our success

• You are valued here

• Your contribution is unique and important

• We need you• I approve of


• Do it your way• We’ve got the

newest hardware and software

• There aren’t a lot of rules here

• We’re not very corporate

• You’ll be working with other bright, creative people

• Your boss is in her sixties

• You and your co-workers can help turn this company around

• You can be a hero here

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Focus Area Seven Balancing

Direction and Creativity

Page 59: Communicating Across the Generations


Situation 7.1 Millennial Intern--Jason Boomer Supervisor—Sarah

Sarah—”Jason this is all wrong. I told you to total up the columns and type them on a separate sheet so I could insert them into my budget.”

Jason—”All you told me was to add the columns up. So I put hem into a spreadsheet so you could sort them all sorts of ways. You have to agree it’s better than the way you’ve been doing it.”

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Generations in the WorkplaceWork Environment Preferences

Builders Boomers Gen Xers Millenials

• More structured

• Work before pleasure

• Distinct line between management and staff

• More formal work spaces and clothing

• Tendency to command and control

• Work teams• Consensus• Quality circles• Participative

management• Work well for

managers who know them personally

• Delegation of authority

• Like change• Challenge the

why’s of actions

• Information equals power

• Management and success are not synonymous

• Dislike political side of organizations

• Leaders who are role models

• Challenge me• Let me work

with friends• Have fun at the

workplace• Respect me• Be flexible

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Focus Area Eight Finding a Mutual

Purpose for “Why?”

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Situation 8.1 Boomer Supervisor—Marie Gen X Professional—Justin

Marie—”Danny, I want you to stop what you’re working on and go help Alice put together the mailing for the Open House.”

Justin—”Why?!” Marie—”Because I’m your boss and I

said so!”

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Values Generalizations

Area Builders Boomers Gen Xers


Rules and regulations

Sound and should be followed

Challenge—disregard irrelevant ones

Tell me the rationale and I will determine if they are valid

I choose the rules that make sense to me and you choose yours

Boomers, Xers and Other StrangersDr. Rick and Kathy Hicks

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Focus Area Nine Finding Mutual

Purpose in Work

Page 65: Communicating Across the Generations


Situation 9.1 Builder Supervisor—George Millennial Employee—Gloria

Gloria calls in on Monday morning—”Hello, George, I’m not feeling very good today.”

George—”Again?! Is this some rare form of disease that only strikes on Mondays? I want to see a doctor’s note when you come in again.”

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Values Generalizations

Area Builders Boomers Gen Xers


Preferred work environment

Teamwork and self-sacrifice

Do it my way—individualism

Fulfill the basic requirements of the job

Networking—working in cooperation with others

Boomers, Xers and Other StrangersDr. Rick and Kathy Hicks

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Focus Area Ten Adapting to

Communication Styles

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A Quote I Like “A 60-something graduate recently

reflected: ‘We wanted what they want. We just felt we couldn’t ask.’ Herein lies the truth: what young workers want isn’t so different from what everyone else wants. However, young workers are asking for it.” Karen Cates and Kimia Rahimi “Mastering People Management,” Financial

Times, November 19, 2001

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Generations in the WorkplaceCommunication Preferences

Builders Boomers Gen Xers Millenials

• Use more formal language

• Often prefer face-to-face or written communication

• Are reluctant to share inner most thoughts

• Prefer an open, direct style

• Tend to use more body language

• Answer questions thoroughly—often ask for details

• Prefer face-to-face and electronic communications

• Prefer information in shorter, sound bytes

• Don’t like to be sold or manipulated

• Want information shared immediately and often

• Use a more informal communication style

• Like visual imagery and graphics

• Don’t talk down to them

• Use voice mail and e-mail

• Use humor

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Generations in the WorkplaceTraining Preferences

Builders Boomers Gen Xers Millenials

• More structured

• Traditional classroom

• Reading assignments

• Interaction with others

• Study groups• Role playing• Movies and


• More interactive with computer

• Low tolerance for traditional classroom

• Entertainment and excitement

• Experiential activities

• Interactive technology

• Do well in solo situations

• Entertainment and excitement

• Experiential activities

• Internet research

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Generations in the WorkplaceSales Preferences

Builders Boomers Gen Xers Millenials

• The customer is always right

• Dignified and formal

• Sales and advertising

• Special—value added—service

• Special offers and pricing

• Friendly and collegial

• No hype—straight talk

• Internet based

• Personal• No hype—

straight talk• Automatic free

refills• Internet based

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Communication TipsBuilders Build trust through inclusive language

(we, us) A leader's word is his/her bond, so focus

more on words, not body language Face-to-face or written communication is

received best Use more formal language Don't waste their time; they have a job

to do Don't expect them to share their

innermost thoughts immediately Psychologist Dr. Paula Butterfield

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Communication TipsBaby Boomers Boomers are the "show me" generation,

so use body language to communicate Speak in an open, direct style Answer questions thoroughly, and expect

to be pressed for details Avoid controlling, manipulative language Present options to show flexibility in your

thinking Use face to face or electronic

communication to reach out to them

Psychologist Dr. Paula Butterfield

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Communication TipsGeneration X

Learn their language and speak it Use e-mail as your primary communication tool Talk in short sound bytes to keep their

attention Present the facts, use straight talk Ask them for their feedback Share information with them immediately and

often Use an informal communication style Listen! You just might learn something

Psychologist Dr. Paula Butterfield

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Managing Generation Y EmployeesCarolyn Martin, Rainmaker Thinking Inc.

“The key is for managers to come to employees with a very clear idea of what they need done and ready to negotiate in an imaginative way to provide the right incentive.”

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Workplace Environment That WorksManaging Generation Y, Carolyn Martin and Bruce Tulgan

1. Challenging work that really matters2. Balance between clear expectations and

freedom for how it gets done3. Ongoing training and learning

opportunities4. Low stress environment5. Flexibility in scheduling6. Balance work and fun7. Treat people as colleagues, not kids

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Seven Traits of Bad Management of Millenials1. Close mindedness2. Ineffective delegation3. Lack of knowledge and

organizational skills4. Inability to train5. Disrespect to young

people6. Intimidating attitude7. Overemphasis on

outward appearanceManaging Generation YCarolyn Martin & Bruce