Considerations of a digital immigrant about generation management
Today we have many different generations working in companies, conservatories, universities and orchestras than before. In fact, by the year 2020, we’ll have 5 different generations all working together. The differences between generations are very much determined by the last 20 years of developments in technology and digitalisation. The Internet, especially, has changed our society drastically. So how can generation management serve us?
Different ages and communication tools
Generation Management is a framework to explain the different type of generations we have in our society and how they act and communicate. The schema is based on age awareness and serves to understand each different generational group. Let me give you an example:
When I was working for a summer music festival in Switzerland, we had two young women in their twenties at the office, a board with people from 55 to 75 years old, and some volunteers on the management team who were all retired. You can imagine the differences we had when making discussing and making decisions, for example, what kind of poster we should make or how the website should look. When we had our weekly meeting it would take hours, repeating things all over again, and making my young colleagues fall asleep. When we finally discussed at some point how we could improve this to make it workable for the whole group, it was not easy to make the older generation understand that a quicker and different approach would be more effective. They tended to react like “but we are older, we have more experience and we have done meetings in this way for many years and it always worked.”
Understand with whom you’re dealing
Understanding with what age and personality types you’re dealing with will help you more quickly find out how to communicate. For example, I, myself, belong to the Generation X. We are also considered to be digital immigrants. I am used to receiving official messages by email from people that want to introduce themselves. In general, I keep Whatsapp, FB messenger and phone messenger for more personal contacts, or at least for people that I know a little better. I really don’t like when people find me on LinkedIn and then approach me right away on FB and send me a personal message. For me, this is just too soon. For a person of the Generation Y, or better known as the Millennials, it would be probably very normal. But for me, there is still needs to be a sort of “get to know each other a little better” before we can move on and I accept messages like that.
How does it work for you?
How does generation management work for you? I would lovet to have reactions of different generations!