• André

The Generation Gap: A convenient excuse for sub cultures?

We are living in a time where today’s organisations contain the greatest mix of inter-generational populations in history.

The custodians of our organisations today have a monumental responsibility to delicately balance the complementary strengths and perspectives of each generation within their care.

Although it would be foolish to cast blanket statements and make generalisations about each grouping of individuals, to understand what defines these groups is essential.

Age is just a number. If you apply one concept in the approach to this complex and dynamic issue, we encourage you to use that statement as your mantra.

Let us explain. A common assumption, and one that we held until taking the time to explore, is that each generation is strictly measured by miles on the clock.

On closer inspection, a position that makes remarkable sense and serves as a much more powerful way to address the generation dilemma, is the view that each has been shaped by significant events. The impact of these serves as the determinant for generational inclusion—not birth year.

The logic is compelling. Historic events are the birthplace of generational milestones. A prime example, the election of the first African American President of the United States in Barrack Obama. There will be those among us that will never remember a time before this.

There will be some among us that will never remember a time before video calling was available between mobile devices. This is their reality. Any technology prior to this is relegated to the annals of history for future generations.

The above examples capture two of the biggest trends identified by the Center for Generational Kinetics to impact generational behaviours — diversity and technology.

We would argue that technology and true diversity are two of the biggest players in the game of organisational success. The scene has been set. So how is this made relevant to your organisation and how you combat potential generational divide amongst your people?

It’s time to change the conversation and understand that every generation brings both strengths and a unique set of life experiences that are both relevant and essential.

Meshing the symbolic competencies and values that characterise how people of all generations function in the workforce is critical to generating productive relationships.

The University of North Carolina (UNC) prepared a White Paper to specifically address the complexities of the multigenerational workforce.

The report provides some practical tips to address the key challenges of inter-generational conflict and foster collaboration. All of them support the intention of our namesake here at Kin Space.

To find yourself in a related space with another individual, selfless communication is paramount. Unsurprisingly, success in blending generational wisdoms boils down to communication and empathy.

Communicating appropriately to cater for generational preferences is the resounding message from the research findings. This starts with building individual awareness and appreciation of what has shaped each generation’s core values. This will provide a pathway for mutual empathy.

Creating a safe space to invite open dialogue is the cornerstone of filling generational gaps in your organisation.

A dialogue leads to connection, which leads to trust which leads to engagement ~ Seth Godin

*How will you fill the gap?

Blog Tags: Communication, Generations, Diversity, Inclusion