It has become a business imperative: turning multigenerational problems into intergenerational success for your workforce and teams.
As an employee, you can also leverage what you have to offer as well as tap and leverage what other generations have to offer you as well for job and career success.
It starts with clarity and perspective. It’s getting beyond the assumptions, presumptions and stereotypes associated with young and old, GenZ, Millenials, GenX’ers and Boomers. It’s realizing the reality is often the opposite of the lazy presumption.
It’s realizing the truth, leveraging and benefiting from it.
As a part of my cardio workout, I played racquetball by myself at the gym. It’s great for conditioning and practice. A high school junior who was lifting weights nearby asked if he could join me.
I’m well over 50 and an OK racquetball player. He’s 16, a lacrosse and varsity hockey player in great shape with phenomenal quickness and coordination.
I kicked his butt despite backing off my game.
He had the quickness and agility to get to almost every shot. He just lacked the knowledge and acquired skill to make it count. I knew how to play the angles, position myself, how to hit killer shots and I’m quick for my age.
On the ride home I realized this is a perfect example of the differences between age and experience and youthful vigor and optimism.
I also thought about how powerful we would be as a team in doubles. The mix of his youth and my experience.
We would kick ass.
The same can be true for start-ups, established businesses, and corporations.
Any company can have a multigenerational workforce. Only the enlightened can have an intergenerational powerhouse.
Intergenerational Business Imperative
The leveraging of youth and experience as a business success factor is a growing trend as reported in the New York Times article, Partnerships that Blend the Skills of Two Generations. It’s just common sense that a blending of youthful optimism and energy along with older experience and wisdom will generate better, faster, and more assured results for virtually any start-up or business.
As long as both generations are open to it and embrace Viva la difference!
It makes sense for corporations, businesses, and investors to embrace this intergenerational “Dream Team”. The desire to hire youth is understandable for a multitude of reasons. Yet, every successful enterprise requires a broad-based dynamic. It needs people who have multiple skillsets, varied life experiences, and different dispositions and personalities (think of all the sports and orchestra analogies!).
Intergenerational belongs in DEI
In the corporate world Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) has become a critical initiative. I have created several internal videos to promote this for a major global company.
In this initiative “Diversity” is not just about race, creed, or color, it is about the diverse backgrounds each and everyone one of us has and what those diverse backgrounds can offer to a company or effort if we are included. Meaning we get the opportunity to bring everything we have to the effort. As Scott Hoesman, Founder of inQUEST Consulting told me, “I don’t need more of me. I’ve got me covered.”
However, only six percent of companies with DEI programs mention or account for age. Despite the fact:
- Ageism is a wrongful “ism” and like all others is stupid and based on incorrect assumptions and stereotypes
- Ageism is something we all have in common (age)
- Ageism cuts both ways (young to old and old to young)
- Multigenerational conflict, prejudices, and stereotypes underminds (at best) success and (at worst) creates conflict and leads to problems many business leaders are aware of but not sure what the cause is (it’s ageism)
- Successful intergenerationalism can be a major business success fact.
Turning Multigenerational Problems into Intergenerational Success
In her book Gentelligence: The Revolutionary Approach to Leading an Intergenerational Workforce, Dr. Meghan Gerhardt puts forth a business strategy and practical method for leaders to win the talent war and create strong, diverse, and high-performing teams that flourish in an era of rapid change.
The method provides the knowledge, tools, and practical strategies to fully leverage employees and teams for high levels of collaboration, communication, and high-performance results.
I am a part of the Gerhardt Group’s effort Power of the Ages to spread the word, the Gentelligence mindset, and method because it makes so much sense and it all works. It supports business success, societal change and lays the groundwork for us to get past the B.S. of ageist assumptions and focus instead on success for everyone.
Ageism in both directions is counterproductive and hurts everyone where a Gentelligence mindset benefits businesses, the individual, the economy, and society as well. It’s a win, win, win, win.
The Gentelligence attitude is the great enabler speeding us to an inevitable future in which age will be treated in a constructive and appropriate context to reap the benefits of overcoming multigenerational problems with intergenerational success
Let’s all kickass…together.