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Gen-X, read this
iggy Posted: Tue Feb 10 23:52:38 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Tapping in to Generation X
By Robert Weisman in Boston
February 4, 2004

After a full day of running a workshop for an Atlanta corporation, management consultant Michael Muetzel found in a restaurant nearby an ageing senior executive who wasn't mincing words. He was bad-mouthing Generation X employees and their failure to fit in with his company's workaholic culture.

Gen Xers - that growing portion of the workforce ranging in age from mid-20s to late-30s - were slackers and job-hoppers, short on loyalty and distrustful of authority, the executive groused.

Most avoided coming into the office on weekends or over Christmas break, unlike aspiring managers of earlier generations had done. And one had told supervisors he "had to get home by 8pm to babysit because his wife was going to a church meeting", Mr Muetzel recalled the executive saying.

Mr Muetzel, 47, had heard such criticisms before and he decided they bore further examination. The result is a new book, They're Not Aloof . . . Just Generation X, that advises companies how to harness the talent and energy of their younger employees, many of whom are just now working their way into and up the management ranks.

Tapping into their creative vein and their technology prowess can not only build a more dynamic corporate culture, it also can help rejuvenate hidebound businesses, Muetzel argues. He says older executives must continue to set direction but should give Gen Xers more responsibility to implement decisions, train their staff, and work out how best to accomplish key business tasks.

Significantly, Muetzel doesn't dispute many of the critiques of Gen Xers served up by their older Baby Boomer colleagues, with whom they sometimes clash. But he sees Gen X attitudes less as character defects and more as understandable reactions to the dominant business trends of their time: from chasing stock options and rampant restructuring, to dual-income families and offshore outsourcing.

"They have no trust in traditional institutions," Muetzel agreed, "but they do have passion. They just came up in a different culture, a culture where people questioned authority, a culture where Mum and Dad were told they weren't good enough to work in the organisation." When he surveyed Gen Xers on their views, "every one of them said they didn't want to put up with the corporate rhetoric", he said.

Among the influences that have left their mark on Gen Xers are the Internet, international travel, the 1990s technology boom that jolted the business world just as they entered the workforce, and the technology bust that followed, said Kati Riikonen, the 32-year-old director of marketing and business development at the Motorola MotoPro Group outside Chicago.

Whether all those add up to a distinct generational world view is uncertain. But some clues might be gleaned from Riikonen's own attitudes. "I believe there has to be trust both ways - not only down to up, but trusting your people," said the Finnish-born Riikonen.

As a Gen X manager, Riikonen said she stressed values such as "empowerment, ownership, and delegation", while acknowledging there are times when she has to push up decisions to senior managers. And she said she feels quite comfortable leading multicultural business teams, including one with 24 employees from a dozen nationalities.

"Maybe we are more welcoming to different cultures and diversities," she suggested. "It's all about honesty, integrity, and transparency. In business, there should be no room for big egos."

Getting Gen X employee buy-in - what Muetzel calls "employee equity" - is critical in light of demographic realities. With Baby Boomers nearing retirement, he cites projections of a US "middle manager shortfall" of as much as 10 million managers by 2010 or 2012.

Sometimes it's just a matter of getting Gen Xers involved in a process. Muetzel said some of his clients have had success turning over employee orientation or mentoring to Gen X managers or running team-building exercises built around a volunteer or charitable activity such as Habitat for Humanity. A key to winning the loyalty of younger employees is having people from their own generation lead such efforts.

"In the end, whatever you do, they don't trust you," Muetzel conceded. "But they do trust themselves."

The Boston Globe

antartica Posted: Wed Feb 11 03:10:31 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  so... what is this Michael Muetzel point?

it's just a frickin' confusing thing he's just going round in circles!!!

webmaster Posted: Wed Feb 11 10:18:30 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I couldn't make any sense of that article too...

iggy Posted: Wed Feb 11 19:59:41 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  that's what i thought and hoped someone made sense outta it hahaha.

i wonder who's part of that era in here

antartica Posted: Thu Feb 12 02:51:32 2004 Post | Quote in Reply  
  chanz said:
>Gen Xers - that growing portion of the workforce ranging in age from mid-20s to late-30s - were slackers and job-hoppers, short on loyalty and distrustful of authority, the executive groused.

>that's what i thought and hoped someone made sense outta it hahaha.

>i wonder who's part of that era in here

bro... mid-20s to late 30s...

heh heh heh that means us!


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