Reflections on workplace perspective…..
The baby boomers, the single largest generational cohort ever, are still dominant in the workplace, even though the oldest among them have now reached retirement age. And, like the Titanic, this massive age cohort is difficult to budge, let alone turn. In the eyes of many, the baby boomers are painfully slow in reacting to “hit you over the head” trends and “if you can’t see it, you aren’t looking” trends. In the eyes of many observers , these trends demand serious attention, however, most decision-makers continue to deliver incremental change, on issues that are defining the lives of “next up” generations.
And these emerging generations are beginning to assert themselves in the work-a-day world by demanding that they be heard and that the promising attributes of their generation be drivers of a new workplace; in the absence of considerable action, it is the view of many that the “new gens” will reinvent the world, and with it the workplace.
Gary Allen’s excellent post on these “next up” generations amounts to a manifesto of sorts that explicitly advises prospective employers what they must address so that, in particular, the F generation can be adequately accommodated, if not welcomed into the workplace. In the absence of a reasonable response, the next up generations could very well launch a technology-induced revolution.
Although demographers take full responsibility for naming the new generations, the incumbents so-named proudly claim full membership and have begun to lobby against the establishment generation with an “us versus you” mentality.
We are unique, we have great ideas and we are impatient for change; we demand change now, or else.
Some might compare the simmering relationship between baby boomers and gens X,Y and F to the way the adolescent perceives the parent. Mark Twain summed it up perfectly:
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
I personally appreciate what these new generations have to offer and there is doubt in my mind that with a little guidance the new gens will change the world favorably; I also see movement from the stodgy baby boomers as the momentum created by the internet and Facebook have contributed to an recognition that the world is changing exponentially — change with it or be left behind.
Still I feel that there is a missing ingredient in the Facebook manifesto. Simply stated, I don’t believe that positive, sustainable change can be achieved through confrontation, intimidation and manipulation. Perhaps it will take one more generation to complement the promising package — one that will recognize the critical importance of collaboration, cooperation and partnership. In my dreams I envision Generation S that will offer the overlay of an ethical and moral framework that will guide all action — will reinforce the importance of “unity-based leadership”.
As Baha’u’llah, prophet-founder of the Baha’i faith says,
The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.
This is a simple message with a profound complexity. Clearly, divisions of any kind that create distance between us, whether they be generations, genders, races or nations with all diminish our capacity for unity. Without unity, we all achive less.
Have you achieved unity in your workplace? Do you see the importance of aspiring for unity?