How old are you? The impact of age on Project Management

A recent article on, "The generation gap at work," brings up some interesting points about the ways generations work together. (I’ve been posting about the buzz on this topic lately.) The article describes some of the differences very well, but finds enough common ground between us to help us work together.

For project workforce managers, who must assemble teams quickly from multiple comapnies and departments, understanding the different work styles between the generations can make the difference between a slow, painful project and a successful one in which inter-generational relationships work.

Here’s an excerpt:

Nearly 60 percent of HR managers at large companies say they’ve observed office conflicts that flow from generational differences, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Tensions typically stem from perceptions of loyalty and respect – as in, we think the kids don’t have any. Yet the latest research shows that we may be compatible after all.

The author, Dan Kadlec, is co-author of The Power Years, a guide for boomers. Kadlec describes four debunkable myths about the differences between baby boomers and younger generations: that younger workers love change, lack a strong work ethic, disrespect elders, and are loners.

Common sense tells us that these myths can’t be true–younger people want to succeed at their jobs as much as anyone. However, it only makes sense that in their technology-enabled worlds, they would find new ways to communicate and collaborate that would challenge tradition. For example, Kadlec explains that young workers do not generally lack drive or commitment simply because they don’t want to sit in meetings, take every directive purely on faith, or sacrifice their personal time.

As I have said many times, I don’t want to sit in meetings, either. Bravo to the younger generations for forcing the baby boomers to leverage the technology we have, collaborate more efficiently, question the status quo, and balance our personal lives.

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