Who’d have thought! We’re in the second decade of the 21st century where five generational cohorts populate the American workplace. The ever-present glitch is that unconscious biases and conscious stereotypes around generational differences more often than not prey on, and dilute, effective teamwork and collaboration. The challenge to “blend”(in Marisa Tomei’s wording from “My Cousin Vinny”) is definitely a burning platform in many industries, particularly in creative service settings like advertising, PR and marketing where crowdsourcing strategic solutions is so important.
Often the tendency instinctively and behaviorally is to reject at hand someone’s input or opinion who isn’t like you, particularly age-wise. The irony is that studies and data show disparate, not similar people, whether by background, gender, education or age, arrive at the most innovative and “complete” solutions to problems.
The secret sauce for all participants on a team or in a group setting is to raise their capacity to be inclusive — to maintain focus on the common mission and martial the energy and presence to accept and value diverse input. In today’s multigenerational workspace, this means “old fogies”(“In my day, we did it this way”) or “green beans” (“I got this, and can do it alone”) all can make the stew taste better and sustain clients coming to the dinner table.
To help everyone’s tolerance machinery and for the greater business good, remember the words of John Dunne “No Man (or Woman) Is An Island” and his remaining words: “Every man (woman) is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
Mike Greece is Managing Director of The Pollack PR Marketing Group’s NY Office.