I’m OK, You’re OK ..... OK*?

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
Mark May, Program Manager IBM Global technology Services


Depending on when people were coming of age, they were shaped by key events. What is right for one generation is often different from what is right for another generation.
The mixing of generations is producing unique work situations.

Quick summary of Eric Berne's work on Transactional Analysis, notably summarized by Thomas Harris in the book by the title of this presentation.

We have a problem when we get to I'm OK, you're not OK.
  • Innovation is the creative side of collaboration
  • Collaboration is built on trust
  • Trust is built on relationships
  • Relationships a built by getting to know others
  • Relationships cross generations
Quick review of generations and the significant common events that shaped their generation.

Generational diversity affects collaboration in the workplace.

Work Styles

(Insert map from n-gen People Performance Inc.)

Challenge for multi-generational knowledge sharing:

Each generation in the workplace comes with its own sets of experiences and expectations that can occasionally come in conflict with one another.
(Diagram: "When Generations Collide" by Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman)

When generations collide

Illustration: Using the example of typical dress across generations.

A few case studies to illustrate generational differences in the workplace.

Investment in technology showed up in productivity. The most remarkable boost in productivity occurred after the introduction of the Internet (not totally as the cause but as a key factor).
(review chart of productivity growth from US Bureau of labor)

The new generations is the first generation entering the workplace that grew up on video games. They have different goals in life, different in how they approach teamwork,k collaboration, and knowledge sharing. This impacts the workplace.

Boomers have "deep smarts" and as they retire, knoweldge transfer is becoming more important than ever.

(Look into Dorothy Leonard's work)

We are experiencing a shift from a conventional business model to a next generation business model.

The goal is to move from the "I'm OK, you're not OK" to the "I'm OK, you're OK" of Harris' quadrant...

Presentation of the issues that Boomers have when relating to their Gen Xer co-workers...
See http://www.committment.com/getalong.html

The boomer is conflict averse, while the Gen Xer is unskilled in conflict management - how does this affect management, knoweldge sharing, and collaboration? We have a classic generational clash.

By the time the Gen Yers reach the workplace the standard work week will likely be replaced with new standards of rules based on productivity not hours at work. How will managers adapt?

We all want the same things
  • Respect
  • Opportunity
  • Fulfillment

NOTE: Mark's presentation was based on Lynn Busby's work; Lynn is Program Manager IBM Systems and Technology Group

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