The Encounter of Generations

Dear reader,

the "baby boomer" generation with its slogan "living for working" has reached the peak of its working life. There, it has met already "generation X" with its slogan "working for a living" and now, it meets "generation Y" which has been subject to many articles and reports in most recent times. Its slogan is "combining work and life". It appears here that conflicts are pre-programmed as this generation already knows that it is the bounty in the "war of talents" and has best initial chances. The elder people will need to get accustomed that the younger ones will question existing perceptions of performance and meaning. The worst reaction to this issue is insisting on the status quo. The better option is not only getting engaged with this generation, but also the dialogue with it and in the ideal case, they all learn from each other.

A value change, thus, is about to take place at both the employees' and the employers' side. Hence, diversity, units for gender balance and envoys for co-operation of generations will emerge by means of a cross-generational staff. The different generations must learn to accept their differing work perceptions. The baby boomer has experienced a working sphere which was defined by fixed hierarchies and likewise organisational structures. A colleague from generation Y affords one hour at lunch time for a run and continues working at home after business hours and is in favour of agile organisations. Of course, working performance and work result must comply at the end of the day.

The person, who understands this value change as chance and approaches the coming generation of young leaders will certainly stay ahead. This is true not only at the recruiting of new employees but also when creating a corporate communication system which helps to develop framing conditions enabling an efficient togetherness which advances the company. The younger generation is well advised to "seize" experience and know-how from the elders as long as it is possible. In this regard, a good starting point are networks and mentoring programmes as offered by DIE FÜHRUNGSKRÄFTE - DFK. There, the two generations can meet on equal footing and can learn from each other. As generation Y often is engaged in own projects beyond its primary job, working and private life is not longer separated strictly but are complementary and finally merge. The concept of "work-life-balance" develops further toward a "work-life-blend". Private matters should also be allowed to be dealt with during working hours, at the same time one is prepared to work in spare times upon demand. Exactly this compromise is already practiced by many managers in the current summer holiday season by taking their corporate cellphone with them abroad and are available in special cases. But please have always in mind that there is enough time for relaxation and recharging your mental batteries!

In this context, I wish you an enjoyable summer and lot of fun while reading.


Michael Krekels