GenX and GenY: Tips for working with each other on the same team

by Brian Erenrich – September 2013

Co-authored with David Quill.


At times it feels as if Generation X and Y have declared “war” on one another. Yet, instead of looking at the negatives (highlighted below), we need to focus on the positives and how we can collaborate.

So let’s look at the good, the bad, the ugly. But let’s also examine the opportunity for great teams to achieve great results with in the sport business industry.

Gen x vs. Gen Y

Generation X (born 1965-1981)

  • Enjoy projects with deadlines and little supervision (freedom)
  • Resilient
  • Critical thinking
  • Career first then work-life balance and money
  • Sales presentation: one speech with no feedback

Generation Y (born 1982-2000)

  • Narcissistic, entitled
  • Enjoy working on projects that involve multi-tasking and technology (engagement)
  • Education vs. experience
  • Impact now
  • Money and work-life balance then career
  • Sales presentation: work the room (many small conversations telling a story)

Similar values

  1. Intrinsic: interesting work, learning opportunities, being challenged
  2. Extrinsic: pay, promotions, status
  3. Altruistic: helping others, contributing to society
  4. Leisure: vacation time, work life balance
  5. Social: interacting with others, making friends

Advice for Gen X dealing with Gen Y (Gen Y Perspective):

  • Be patient! We want all the answers now but we don’t need them. Challenge us by asking questions to our questions.
  • Mentor us! We need to be guided. We think we have the answers but we really do not. Learning from you, will helps us in the long run.
  • Teach us how to perform tasks independently.

Advice for Gen Y (Gen Y Perspective):

  • Slow down, take notice of your surroundings instead of your 3 screens (cell phone, computer, TV)
  • Spend more time getting to know others face to face opposed to text and email
  • Concentrate on the journey not the end result or money
  • Be patient with others and yourself, in business there is little instant gratification, not everybody moves at your speed

When it comes to the values of both generations there are many similarities.  To succeed in sport business we need to work together and adapt.

With both generations bringing so much value from the old business world and new business world it only makes sense that collaboration is a must.

Learning from each other will not only enhance the work place but the sport business as a whole.

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