“Stop Acting Your Age!”

When was the last time someone told you that? Mothers all over the world have been telling their children the exact opposite. At our recent Talent Summit, keynote speaker Matt Havens encouraged attendees to do just that by taking themselves out of their own generational biases to learn from co-workers of all ages in the workplace.

Matt contends that we’ve made business more complicated than it needs to be, and the identification of four different generations in the workplace (Gen-Z, Millennials, Gen-X and Boomers) is too complicated. He maintains that it’s simpler and better to look at the workforce as just two generations: people who are younger (and less experienced) than you, and people who are older (and more experienced than you) and regardless of where you would place yourself (less experienced vs. more experienced), you do not know everything there is to know about your profession, your company, or your industry. A business needs institutional knowledge so that you aren’t constantly re-inventing the wheel, but it also needs a fresh perspective and new ideas to grow.

Conflict and tension can arise between the two groups based on biases. The older generation may perceive new ideas as an attack on current authority and the younger generation may think all new ideas are good ones and not leverage the experience of those who have been through similar situations.

Matt encourages teams to be comprised of varied ages when possible. Studies show that groups that are diverse and communicate well with each other are consistently more productive.

HBM’s portfolio of companies has a mix of employees of all ages and our leaders appreciated Matt’s practical tips for learning from and working with one another.  We can’t wait to see how these leaders apply what they learned in this session to create an even more inclusive environment in their day-to-day world.