The How-To Guide for Generations at Work
by Robby Slaughter
ISBN: n/a ASIN: B00JERVG2G
Published: AccelaWork USA, 2013
Reviewed by: Julie Garland McLellan*
"Each generation sees work differently. Your job is to help them see it from a new perspective - even if only for a moment."
This book is aimed at the hands-on manager. It hits the target right in the centre.
There is nothing new in the book. Yet it avoids repeating others; rather it takes the theory and gives practical insights, such as the one above, which will help managers to manage effectively. It will also be useful for board members and consultants who may find themselves reaching out to inspire and motivate a new, younger generation.
At first the book introduces the idea of different generations and their different values and preferences before heading into an analysis of the likely ideas each generation will hold about work. The book deftly avoids stereotyping (which is a major problem with many similar texts) and encourages the reader to understand value as perceived and as measured when applied to the overall aims of the business.
The bold statements "We need to change the conversation, but not without a plan for doing so. We need a new agenda for work." Are followed by the meatiest part of the book - the principles and tools. The underlying principle of respect for each generation is supported by three great tools (the Technology Rubric, the Workflow Distributor and the Conversation Map). These are simple to apply and really take the guesswork out of deciding how to respond to situations. They would help either new managers who are encountering older subordinates for the first time in their careers or established managers who are suddenly finding themselves confronted by younger subordinates.
The tools are probably better for planning an interaction than for helping to respond to circumstances as they arise. As planning and implementation develop awareness and expertise, continued use of these tools will, without doubt, improve flexibility and agility in interacting across generational (and likely also cultural and/or national) divides.
The final stage of the book takes the form of scenarios to illustrate the application of the tools in quasi real environments. This adds value to the excellent practical tools and should assist in gaining familiarity before attempting their use in one's own workplace.
Overall this is a quick read and highly useful book; short on rhetoric and theory with plenty of good practical examples and many nice clear declarative statements. It can't possibly make matters worse and, for most readers, will definitely make them better.
Available in Kindle edition at Amazon.com
* Julie Garland McLellan is a professional non-executive director, board and governance consultant and mentor. She is the author of "Dilemmas, Dilemmas: Practical Case Studies for Company Directors", Dilemmas, Dilemmas II: More Practical Case Studies for Company Directors (Volume 2), "The Director's Dilemma", "Presenting to Boards", "All Above Board: Great Governance for the Government Sector" and numerous articles on corporate strategy and governance.