Generational Differences: First Reactions

First time to have talked about generational differences in a formal presentation, and the first reactions were very strong. To give you a flavor of it, an audience member approached me afterward to say that he had endured over 20 of these generational presentations at conferences. This one, he said, was by far the best, the only one that gave him something worthwhile to use. Music to my ears.

One thing that hadn’t occurred to me was that there were Millenials sitting in the audience. I know that sounds idiotic for me to admit it was a shock. I had focused so intently on sharing information about Millenials that I hadn’t spent any time thinking about how a Millenial generation member would actually respond to it. Have you ever done that?–focus so much on one aspect of something that another obvious piece of the same thing escapes your notice or attention?

I’m happy, relieved, to report that the Millenials in the group were fine with my content. I sensed that they agreed with much of what I had to say. Whew!

I’ve already thought of a new exercise based on my presentation today. As I’ve noted to my f/b Alumni of Historical Solutions group, an alumni of mine was in the crowd today; he said a leader’s effectiveness is related to his or her ability to communicate across the 5 kinds of generations I describe in my presentation. So, here’s the exercise–look at each of the 5 kinds of generations and then rank in order (from most effective to least effective) your ability to communicate to each one. Then, after you’ve ranked the 5, estimate how much of your time is spent on communicating with any one of the list. I think that’s a worthwhile thing for you to do for your leadership.