What Generation Gap?

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generation gap

Music Bridges a 60-Year Gap – What Are You Doing With Your Workforce?

A recent CBS Sunday Morning segment on the amazing bond between Tony Bennett, 88, and Lady Ga Ga, 28, is a great example of how to bridge the aptly named generation gap in your workforce.

The connection between these two unlikely soulmates is a true inspiration for chief executives on how to reach out to the ever-growing Millennial Generation in the workforce. Here’s a link to the segment:

Three full generations separate these two musical giants. He’s a member of the Silent Generation. She’s on the cusp of GenX and the Millennials.

They’re six decades apart in age, but the gentlemanly jazz singer and flamboyant pop star make beautiful music together in their new duet album, “Cheek to Cheek.”

Here’s the Amazon link to the music: Tony Bennett Lady Ga Ga Cheek-to-Cheek.

Tony Bennett and Lady Ga Ga: you probably don’t associate these two names musically. The generation gap between them is similar to that of the CEO or EVP of your company and the newest Millennial employee you just hired.

Bridge Workforce Generation Gap

Maybe you don’t spend much time hanging out with Millennials or (gasp) Digital Natives, but the collaboration between Tony Bennett and Lady Ga Ga may inspire you to spend some time with Millennials in your future, looking ahead to the future of your workforce. You can think strategically about bridging the age gap to energize your youngest employees and ensure their commitment to your company’s vision and direction.

Wonderful Collaboration

“Cheek to Cheek” is a wonderful collaboration that bridges all kinds of gaps and egos this big and famous.

I admit: I really don’t know much about Lady Ga Ga. Tony Bennett’s time in the spotlight was before my days as a youthful blues guitar player, although I have seen him on stage a few times. If these two singers can bridge a three-generation gap, none of us has any excuse for allowing similar gaps to exist in our organizations.

Apple Store Lessons

Another great example of bridging the gap between generations is your local Apple Store, in particular with the release of the new iPhone 6. A visit to the Apple Store is a most interesting lesson in observing generational collaboration.

On any given Saturday afternoon you can find 16-year-olds standing next to 66- or 76-year-olds exploring the wonders of the iPhone 6, iPads, and iMacs. They’re playing games, editing movies, and learning how to use the technology “cheek to cheek.” It is a fascinating object lesson in technology making a ‘gap bridging’ contribution.

Millennials Reach Tipping Point

What’s the point of all this? In 2015, Millennials will reach the “tipping point” in the workforce: they will comprise 50 percent or more of U.S. workers. The same phenomenon will occur in places like China and India, countries who provide the majority of the global workforce today. A recent speaker at our Chief Executive Round Table Peer Advisory Group reminded CEOs that 95 percent of the world’s population lives OUTSIDE the U.S.

So, if you aren’t thinking globally about where and how the work of the future gets done. If you are missing the boat on how to bridge the gap with what is fast-becoming half your workforce, this is a powerful reminder to start thinking strategically and consider spending some time with this “workforce of the future”.

Reimagine Business Model

The Bennett-Ga Ga collaboration, the Apple Store, the rise of Millennials and, right behind them, Digital Natives, are stark reminders that your workforce is changing. It’s happening faster than any Baby Boomer or Silent Generation type can get their heads wrapped around.

It’s also creating opportunities to reimagine your business model, remake your business for the future, redirect your journey of arête, and re-energize yourself along the way.

Update Your Vision

What are you doing to connect with the Millennials you’ve already hired? What are you and your Leadership Team already doing to capture and direct their energy into your Mission and Vision? Are you updating your Vision for a changing tomorrow?

Here’s your opportunity for some serious Strategic Thinking. Go make it happen!

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