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)
Career first then work-life balance and money
Sales presentation: one speech with no feedback
Generation Y (born 1982-2000)
Enjoy working on projects that involve multi-tasking and technology (engagement)
Education vs. experience
Money and work-life balance then career
Sales presentation: work the room (many small conversations telling a story)
Intrinsic: interesting work, learning opportunities, being challenged
Extrinsic: pay, promotions, status
Altruistic: helping others, contributing to society
Leisure: vacation time, work life balance
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.
The stereotype of my generation (Gen X) was we were underachievers known for cutting corners. Slackers.
In 2000, I was a recent college graduate interning at the San Francisco 49ers. One day I left early to attend a graduate sport management class at the University of San Francisco, about 90 minutes away. One of our seasoned executives said, “Typical youngster these days…sneaking out early. Has anyone in your generation ever worked a full day?”
Instead of letting him know I worked full-time for the 49ers with 12 hours of graduate courses and a part-time job on the weekends, I decided to leave without defending the truth or acknowledging his ignorance.
That day left a mark on me, making me dig deeper into why he would make a generalization without knowing me personally. That would be like me saying, “I’m surprised you’re still awake this late in the day old man. Isn’t it time for a nap?”
From that day forward, I realized like most stereotypes, creating generalizations about generations isn’t productive.
[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”550px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]”I employ the belief that every individual should be communicated to in a way that will yield results,” said Kristen Gambetta Director of Client Services for the Houston Dynamo. “While there are generational qualities that come into play, it is important to get to know the individual to learn how to effectively motivate him or her to action. If you put your co-workers in a box based on their generation you may not be getting the most out of them.”[/dropshadowbox]
Forgetting to remember
At one point in my career I forgot the lesson I learned.
When I first became a manager, I would complain about the generation below me: “They expect to be president of a team by the time they are 25 without doing any work to get there. They show up to work whenever they want rather than at 8 am when everyone else gets here.” Sound familiar?
I was guilty of doing exactly what I complained about when I was younger. I stepped back and understood I painted everyone with the same broad brush. It wasn’t fair.
In a survey conducted by Lee Hecht Harrison, more than 60% of employers experience tension between employees from different generations.
A good manager or leader manages each person differently. Why? Because they’re different. Each employee is motivated by different factors. You have to know when to pull the right levers.
What do you do with the 22 year old who thinks he can be team president at 25? Tap into ambition to get the most out of them. What about the one who gets to the office later than others? Look at productivity. As long as they stay late and get the work done, does it really matter when they arrive?
Even though this generation has a unique set of values, expectations, and approaches to work, so do people of ALL ages. The reason why people have a tough time understanding other generations is the same reason why managers have a challenging time managing employees: No two people are the same and they shouldn’t be treated as such.
John Wooden said, “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” The only way to correct without causing resentment is to figure out what motivates and treat them accordingly.
[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”550px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]“I find it unique to work with such a wide range in ages, said Houston Texans Senior Director of Communications, Kevin Cooper. “I find lots of knowledge can be exchanged between the generations. The ability to communicate and find common ground is where we need to be. There are modern problems that can use experienced solutions and older issues that require modern ingenuity. There in the middle–where respectful dialogue lies–is where business can move forward.”[/dropshadowbox]
A message to millennials
My guess is the young men and women entering the workforce deal with these generalizations throughout their young careers. My advice is to not make the same mistake I once did. Don’t pass judgment on other generations. First, consider what motivates and drives those older than your generation. Second, as you progress in your career and start managing people, don’t be quick to judge the next generation behind you. And, third, always remember what Mark Twain said, “All generalizations are false, including this one.”
As a Baby Boomer I’ve taught and coached Gen X and Gen Y. Here’s my take on Millennials:
Don’t underestimate their work ethic and desire to succeed.
When it comes to entitlement and career goals, I don’t think that they are any different from Gen X’ers in that they want to be recognized and rewarded for effort and achievement.
They seem to have an inherent sense of fairness. They don’t trust the mainstream media to give an unbiased view.
Media consumption patterns are much different than earlier generations–in that their interests are much more narrow and social media involves an exchange of ideas as opposed to an authoritative voice on the 6:00 news.
Most respect authority, but are more willing to question authority when they feel strongly about an issue.
Trust must be earned on an individual basis. It doesn’t exist simply because of your title.
They may not expect to remain with a single employer for an extended period of time. They learned from their parents that circumstances can change quickly. They want to be in a position that allows the freedom to make choices that are in their own best interests. [/dropshadowbox]