October 11, 1999
Walk through the tightly packed, hierarchically flattened corridors of America’s businesses, and what you hear? Not the sounds of harmony. Instead, you’ll probably hear the grumbles of irritation as people with wholly different ways of working, talking, and thinking have been tossed together side-by-side, cubicle by cubicle. It’s the teeth-gritting sound of generations in collision.
Charlie, for example, is 61 and desperate for some clear, straightforward guidance from his 43-year-old boss, Mary, who, in turn, is using her trademark heartfelt, buzzword-laden management style in an attempt to radically alter Charlie’s work processes. Jane, meanwhile, the 29-year-old technical wizard of the team, sits sullenly in her cubicle, unimpressed with either of them, nor they with her.
None of them understands the other. None of them knows how to communicate with the other. And it’s causing headaches and havoc for managers trying to mold this hodgepodge of ages, faces, values, and views into a productive, collaborative group.
Now, with Generations at Work, there’s clear, concrete help. Written by a team of distinguished cross-generational authors, this groundbreaking book supplies fresh, provocative insights and practical solutions for understanding differences, resolving conflicts, and managing effectively in today’s age-diverse workplace. Both sweeping in scope and highly specific, the book gives you:
- Astute profiles of four distinct generations. Learn about the Veterans (b. 1922-1943), Baby Boomers (b. 1943-1960), Gen Xers (b. 1960-1980), and Nexters (b. 1980- ), including the demographics, the events that shaped their lives and times, predominant traits, work styles, and key messages to keep in mind when recruiting, developing, and motivating these members of your workforce.
- Illuminating case studies in generational peace. Go behind the scenes of five major companies that treat generational mixing as an asset.
- A powerful practice exercise. Solve the plight of Charlie Roth, a fictionalized manager facing a cross-generational crisis – then read how 7 outside experts tackle the problem.
- Hard-hitting answers to the 21 most frequently asked questions about managing in a multigenerational workplace – plus much more!
For anyone struggling to manage people who just don’t see work (or life) the same way, Generations at Work helps you understand the gulf that separates the generations – and offers practical guidelines for building a harmonious workforce where people rally together for the organization, not against each other.
Ron Zemke is senior editor of Training magazine and author or co-author of 23 books, including the bestselling Knock Your Socks Off Service series, Knock Your Socks off Selling, and Service America! whose work with organizations such as Ford Motor Company, Microsoft, and Wendy’s International bring him face-to-face with the pressures of the cross-generational workforce. He lives in Minneapolis.
Claire Raines, one of the nation’s leading experts on generations, is the author of Twentysomething and Beyond Generation X. In addition, she is a dynamic speaker and organizational consultant whose clients include McDonald’s, Sprint, MasterCard, and Toyota. She lives in Denver.
Bob Filipczak was staff editor for Training magazine and the author of the landmark article, “It’s Just a Job: Generation X in the Workplace.” He now works in the communications department of U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. He lives in Minneapolis.