Friday, October 4, 2013

Top 3 Ways to Lead a Multi Generational Organization

Chairman of Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. & 
Former CEO of Harrah's Hotels & Casinos

The rapid advancement of technology coupled with the major shift in demographics of the general work force will test business as never before. As Boomers retire and the Gen X, Y (20’ thru 40’s) becomes the dominant employee base, the skills to lead will require a leader who is able to adopt new ways of thinking and transform the way he or she sees the world.

There is already a significant change in the way in which major segments of the population relate and communicate.

This is also the case within most organizations – the way individuals
reach out/communicate and engage with associates and customers is becoming less and less personal. The focus is everything digital – from ‘E’ Mail to a multiplicity of Social Network sites.

This essentially means there will continue to be movement toward less 'face time, more ‘digital’ connectivity'; greater quantities of data/information on any and all subjects, issues, opportunities and, thus greater potential for misunderstanding and misread intentions.

Maintaining an environment where there is the sense of real care and personal engagement with associates, clients and customers will be a major challenge.

To be the best, does and will continue to require meaningful personal interaction and communication. Furthermore, because people are living longer, healthier lives, there is a greater potential to have several generations work together. The leader who can most effectively manage this challenge will reap the greatest benefits if he or she is willing to do the following:

  1. Leaders will need to step up, be visible, be personally involved, and establish open communication channels that are welcoming – not intimidating.
  1. Create learning organizations. The increased availability of information/data, accelerated decision making and increased opportunities for errors/mistakes requires the establishment of  ’learning organizations’- organizations where mistakes and errors are viewed, not as opportunities to denigrate and castigate but rather, opportunities to learn and grow. 
  1. Create collaboration across generations. While each generation believes their age group has a better way of doing things, there is tremendous value in diversity of thought. In addition, it is said that history repeats itself. One way to mitigate a repeat of mistakes from the past is employ people who have already lived through those disasters. The Boomers can mitigate a repeat of mistakes with their wisdom. On top of that, they have experience and deep knowledge of processes and client relations. The Millennials, on the other hand, bring a fresh perspective. Their propensity for leveraging technology can shorten processes and allow organizations to reach and engage wider audiences cost effectively. When you combine the 2 generations, they have the possibility to create something greater than each can manifest on their own.
As global competition increases, the US will face obstacles that may not have existed in the past. To overcome these challenges, we will need the support and cooperation of all citizens. The leader who is able to leverage the intellectual capital of the various generations in the workforce may find it is one of the greatest assets this nation has.

What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, connect through my blog

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