"She's been here forever. I thought she was going to retire soon. We can't count on her to come up with any innovative ideas...we'll need to look outside the company for help on this project."
"We better make sure we don't hire too many millennials onto this team. Everybody knows they never put in extra time...it's all about them."
"I wish the baby boomers would just get over themselves. They act as if they are the only ones who know anything around here. They don't even realize how ridiculous they sound talking about bootstraps and not putting out effort. They don't even try to stay current with today's world of work. It's embarrassing for them, and they don't even know it."
I work with an amazing group of people. The team I work with has employees whose ages span sixty years. Yes, that is 60 years, from their 20s to their 80s. They're productive, pleasant to work with, and support each other because we've made a commitment on our team to embrace generational diversity.
It wasn't a document anyone had to sign, it wasn't a proclamation I made in a meeting, and it certainly wasn't the result of a corporate training initiative.
Our team behaves this way because we are adults living in 2013.
I wonder how much more productive our respective workplaces would be if we never complained about any generation? Think about that for a minute....no noise about others, but simply a realization that not everyone is exactly like you and me, and we move forward.
Is that so hard? Am I oversimplifying this issue? Do I need a lesson on why people in their 50s think a certain way, and why other people in their 20s think a different way? I don't remember needing a training session on how to interact with other people when I go to church. It seems we all just naturally respect each other and treat each other well.
Imagine that...deciding to treat other people well regardless of how old they are? That would never work in the corporate world, right?!
GIVE ME A BREAK!
How About You
Maybe it's time we stopped obsessing about difference? Perhaps there is a new opportunity, to focus instead on respect, civility, and a willingness to listen first and open our mouths second?
Do I need to roll out a massive training program to make sure everyone in every job understands everything about everyone?
Um, no I don't. I need to hire people that respect others.
I'd love to hear from you.