A senior, a boomer, a Gen Xer and a millennial walk into a bar. The senior orders a glass of fine wine, the boomer a whiskey on the rocks, the Gen Xer a dirty martini and the millennial a pumpkin spice and graham porter. What do they all have in common?
According to many generational behavior surveys, I (a senior millennial) behave differently than the “juniors” of my generation. And at work much is made of the difference between me and the older workers.
– We have seminars on how to collaborate with one another.
– We take diversity training.
– We practice mentor and reverse-mentoring techniques.
While I appreciate the effort my company and its management team puts into personal and professional development, here’s what I’ve learned…none of us is that different. All ages, all backgrounds, all cultures, all of us have the same goals. We just have different priorities in achieving our goals.
When it comes to the workplace, why does management continue to focus on our differences? I think success is strengthening our similarities and designing multiple paths to achieving our shared goals.
My point is: we are not really that different, no matter our age. Hey, we all seem to enjoy going to a bar and having a drink.
So what do they all have in common? They are all at the same bar.
Cheers To Strengthening Similarities
Dear Cheers To Strengthening Similarities:
It’s interesting that so much attention has been given to the differences among the generations within the workplace. Yet after a bit of research, it appears that studies are beginning to show that you are correct.
A Nielsen survey of 12,000 consumers in various industries showed that the top 5 consumer wants were exactly the same between Boomers and Millennials; the wants were just ranked differently.
For example when buying a car, buyers of all ages wanted safety, comfort, convenience, connectivity and fuel efficiency. However older drivers desired safety as a primary benefit while younger drivers ranked safety #3 and emphasized connectivity as their most important characteristic.
Perhaps the shift from a “how we are different” psyche to a “what we share” mindset is a cultural evolution. We’ve moved from the infancy of a multi-generational workforce to a more mature acceptance of the relationships among generations.
By finding commonality, we actually create connections and increase the ability to innovate and collaborate. When we focus on shared goals, respect replaces stereotypes. The possibilities for teamwork and workplace satisfaction seem endless as our differences become irrelevant.
I’m with you. Let’s face the new year with a new attitude.
I’m raising a glass to a commitment to look past obvious differences and focus instead of the things we share. Happy 2017.