Monday, April 27, 2009

Why Can't We All Just Get Along? Four Generations Working Side by Side in Harmony

Two years ago, I delivered a presentation at the Training Officer's Consortium (TOC) Institute that eventually became the title of this blog: Generation Shift. Afterward, a highly respected trainer (Jean Palmer) who had taught the same subject for years approached me and provided some sincere compliments. In response, I asked her if she would be my mentor.

Fast forward to January 2009 and I invited Jean to co-present on the subject with the goal of representing two different generations in order to bring greater value to the audience. I shared my vision for reviewing four common conflicts using several unique teaching modalities. She agreed and we shaped a workshop that included the following conflicts and delivery modes:

1. Finding Information - presented via role play by Jean and I, reprising our first planning session which found Jean focusing on books and papers and me looking for content on the Internet via my laptop.

2. Getting Together: Then we asked the audience to assemble in teams of four to engage in a role play. Each quad received four different descriptions of an employee's response to meetings based on common generational differences.

3. Communicating Effectively: We played a clip from "The Office" that highlights several gaffes caused by generational dynamics at work. Check out the video and draw your own conclusions about potential pitfalls.

4. Deciding Where and When to Work: I brought my boss into the mix by connecting with him via Web-based platform called GS Connect. He appeared by video on the screen as we staged a "typical" conversation in which I asked for permission to work from the beach while on vacation.

All in all, the audience loved it and left wanting more time to discuss the scenarios. Jean and I had a ton of fun in the process of designing and delivering the training.

Here are the slides in case you are interested:

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