Life in the Tri-Gen Workplace is a little like this classic scene from "Bye, Bye Birdie." Three generations under one roof, each wondering, "why can't they be like we are, perfect in every way?"
Overcoming that attitude is step one in preparing to succeed in today's complex corporate social environment.
It's natural for each of us to see the world as simply there. We assume that the way we experience things and other people is "reality," that our values, beliefs and circumstances have no affect on our perceptions.
Of course things are the way we see them. How else could they be?
And then we go to work and are stunned that the other people there are so screwed up!
Where do these entitled Millennials come off thinking they can just stroll in here and have things their own way? Who do they think they are, with their piercings and tattoos? This isn't their everybody-gets-a-trophy Little League team! This is business.
And these whiny GenXers, always complaining about the rules. When are they going to suck it up and make a commitment to the organization? How can we trust them to lead when all want to do is talk about this mythical "work-life balance?"
And, please, don't even get me started on those Boomers! Nothing matters if it happened before or since those Age of Aquarius 60s. Everybody else needs to sit around and wait their turn as the inhabitants of the big offices take their sweet time fighting their petty political turf battles.
Sound at all familiar?
In some form or another, these self-centric judgments of our younger and older colleagues are taking place minute-by-minute in your workplace.
And it's costing everyone time and money.
The fact is, figuring out how to get the workforce working together productively, collaboratively, is the largest single challenge facing most organizations.
And while there are plenty of complex details to consider, the headline is simple: it all starts with understanding.
If we don't take the time and effort to recognize both the differences and the benefits of diverse generational perspectives for our organizations we will certainly squander the contributions that the people we're paying can make.
Given the current power structures, it's clear that this challenge falls most squarely on Boomers and GenXers; specifically, in both groups coming to terms with their beliefs, attitudes and behavior towards Millennials.
How can Baby Boomer and GenX leaders use their experience to unleash the intelligence and talent that Millennials bring to the workplace?
That's a question we'll be taking up next.
How are things going in your Tri-Gen Workplace?