Business Strategy | Leadership / Management | Organizational Development

How many generations does it take to solve our problems? All of them published an article recently titled "How To Tolerate a Multigenerational Workforce."

Apart from the questionable headline ("Tolerate?" Is that really our ultimate goal? To "tolerate" one another?), the article made a couple of really good points, courtesy of business advisor Tammy Erickson. Here's what she had to say:

“It’s not that one of us is good or bad, or right or wrong, or better or worse. It’s just that we’ve grown up with a set of experiences that have caused us to have very different knee-jerk reactions. And it’s those knee-jerk reactions that form our first impressions of what we like in the world around us.”

In other words, this whole us-vs.them generational debate boils down to little more than fear of the unknown. Face it, Millennials: You don't know anything about us Gen Xers … or the Baby Boomers, for that matter. And to be honest, we don't know anything about you, either. We're clinging to some pretty silly stereotypes about each other, and why? Because it's easier than actually getting to know one another. We'd rather be told what to think. And countless generational "experts" are lining up to do just that.

Here's the thing, though. Those generalizations do little more than widen the chasm between us.

We don't need a bunch of experts telling us what to think about the other side. We need to actually sit down with the other side and have some frank conversations about how we can better work together.

So that's what the MACPA has decided to do.

We're holding our first-ever Generational Symposium from 8:30 a.m. to noon on June 25 at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center in Ellicott City, Md. Tom Hood will be on hand to lead some candid discussions about how the four workplace generations can learn to play nice and work together toward a greater good.

Join us there, please, because I really believe this: We won't ever begin to solve this generational problem until the generations start having productive conversations together.

This event could be one small step in that direction.


Bill Sheridan