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Generation X Moving Into Management Transcript

How can companies harness the independence of this diverse generation to fill increasing leadership gaps within their organizations?

Experts discuss the impact of professional coaching on developing the management, planning, and business skills of these future leaders.


* Amy Hirsh Robinson, Founder and Principal, The Interchange Group

* Cheryl Palmer, M.Ed, Founder, Call to Career

* Misti Burmeister, Founder/CEO, Inspirion Inc.


This show examines a dynamic and increasingly influential generation in today’s workforce: Generation X.

Typically characterized by their independence, resilience, and direct communication style, many Gen Xers bring a collaborative, open approach to the workplace that weighs the need to “get the job done” with overall work life balance.

But how do these characteristics play out in the workplace?

And why do many Gen Xers feel trapped beneath a “Gray Ceiling” that prevents them from moving up?

Our guests answer these questions as well as provide expert commentary on the role coaching can play in developing Gen Xers as managers while bridging intergenerational gaps between members of this independent generation and their Baby Boomer and Millenial colleagues.

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Generation X Moving Into Management Transcript

  1. 1. Insight on Coaching Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript Prepared for: Prepared by: IEC: Insight Ubiqus Reporting Educational Consulting
  2. 2. Time Speaker Transcript 0:29 Tom Floyd Hello, everyone, and welcome to Insight on Coaching. Insight on Coaching explores the many facets, flavors and sides of the emerging Professional Coaching field. I'm Tom Floyd, the CEO of Insight Educational Consulting and your host for today's show. Well today's show continues the discussion on the different generations in the workplace. For those of you who joined us last week, last week we spent some time with our guests talking about the Baby Boomer Generation; some of their characteristics; some of the myths about the Baby Boomer Generation; some of the strengths they bring to the workforce and some of the ways that coaching can be useful for Baby Boomers in the workforce. Well today's show continues that discussion building upon, for those of you who have been with us for a while now, the generational coaching show that we did back in Season 1 last year, except the focus is on Generation X, a generation that's definitely of particular interest to me since I am indeed a Generation Xer. But some of the things that we'll talk about today will focus on the impact of Professional Coaching on developing the management, planning and business skills of Generation X as they begin to step into more management positions. And we'll also provide some background and insight into who Generation X is. What are some of their values? What are some of the challenges? What they have in the workforce; all of those types of things. Well I won't repeat everything that we discussed last week. I had done some stage setting with some information that Lynne Lancaster had shared on our original Generational Coaching show. Just some quick bullets to keep in mind about Generation X. There's a couple different date ranges out there for the generation. Some quote it as folks born between 1965 and 1981; others quote it as between 1963 and 1981. There's only about 46 million Generation Xers compared to 80 million Baby Boomers and getting close to 80 million Generation Y or Millennials as well. I think Generation X is referred to as the Sandwich Generation sometimes. It's sandwiched between two much larger populations. Some of the reasons for that that we had talked about briefly last week, that Lynne had mentioned, we saw the population growth really taper off after the Boomers and that was from a variety of reasons. The birth control pill, for example, was something that was introduced around that time. 2 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 2 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  3. 3. Time Speaker Transcript 3:21 Tom Floyd There were more options that women really had in terms of choosing when and if they even really wanted to have kids based on all the other things going on. Some refer to it as the zero population growth movement, for example. We also talked about ways to think of Generation X, as well. A funny analogy that I like that was brought up was you think you of the TV show that really kind of symbolizes who Generation X is. Some people refer to Generation X as the Friends' Generation. Everyone knows about Friends. Last thing that I'll say before I introduce each of our guests on today's show is I just wanted to remind our listeners of how folks like our guests could work with you as an individual or as a professional within your organization. From an Insight on Coaching perspective, the way that we defined what a Generational Coach does: Can identify and communicate work and personal issues facing clients at different points in their work or personal lives. Has knowledge or experience with generational differences and the ability to discuss the characteristics of various generations, Assists clients in understanding how social, economic, and cultural factors of a certain period/location impact generational diversity. Describes and helps clients manage age-related diversity. Assists clients in maintaining work/life balance. We’re delighted to welcome 3 guests on today’s show: Amy Hirsh Robinson, Cheryl Palmer, and Misti Burmeister. Amy is the Founder and Principal of the Interchange Group, an organizational and professional development firm providing recruitment, retention and succession planning strategies and programs for intergenerational workforces. Amy’s expertise is in delivering management training and mentoring programs to corporations and professional services firms to leverage generational differences and create competitive advantage. She is an accomplished speaker, writer and coach on the subject. Amy received her MBA in Strategy and Organizational Behavior from the Anderson School at UCLA and her BA in International Relations from Vassar College. Prior to founding the Interchange Group, Amy held a variety of consulting and managerial positions in Organizational Development and Human Resources. Welcome to the show Amy. 3 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 3 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  4. 4. Time Speaker Transcript Tom Floyd Our next guest is Cheryl Palmer. Cheryl Palmer, M.Ed., CPRW is a career coach and a certified professional resume writer. Cheryl is the founder of Call to Career, a career coaching firm that assists people in finding their niche or calling in life. Prior to embarking on this business venture, she served as the director the Career Resource Center at the U.S. Department of Transportation as a contractor. Combining her professional status as a career coach with her love of writing, Cheryl has written articles such as “Thank God It’s Monday! which was published in Message magazine and “Finding a Job That Fits You Like a Glove” which was published in Community Jobs. She was also quoted in The Washington Post in December of 2006 where she gave advice to family members of job seekers as to the best way to give support to those who have lost their jobs. Cheryl is from Generation X, and she very much identifies with the issues common to that generation. She believes that the workplace must make changes to accommodate the differences that both Generation X and Y bring since the Baby Boomers are retiring, and the new generations are taking their places. Welcome to the show Cheryl. 6:39 Tom Floyd And our last guest, Misti Burmeister. As the Founder/CEO of Inspirion Inc., Misti Burmeister is committed to helping organizations and individuals reach their potential across the generations. With over a decade of experience, Misti is a recognized expert on coaching and empowering generations X and Y in their professional careers through individual and corporate coaching, speaking and emerging leadership seminars. Today, Misti not only mentors young people, but mentors the mentors. Her executive coaching has proven to be effective in reducing turnover among younger workers, and her facilitating communication between younger staff and more seasoned management results in more productive and effective work environments. Recognized as an expert on generational leadership who stimulates collaborative teamwork and a passionate commitment to mentorship, Misti delivers on two fronts – content and inspiration. She offers a practical blueprint for developing young leaders and for building strong, diverse teams. Welcome to the show Misti. 4 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 4 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  5. 5. Time Speaker Transcript 7:36 Misti Thank you. Burmeister 7:37 Tom Floyd Now today's show is going to be a group discussion as we've done with most of our shows during our current season. I'm going to pose questions to our guests as a panel to get the group's thoughts and we'll go from there. The first question, and a lot of these questions are going to be very similar to some of the questions that I asked last week and will also ask next week, as well, when we speak to folks about the Millennial generation. But the first question that I really want to pose to the three of you is what are some of the defining characteristics of Generation X that we should all be aware of? Amy, let's start with you. 8:15 Amy Hirsh Generation X is, as you say, a sandwich generation. Robinson So they're born right after the Baby Boomers and, as we know, each generation is a reaction of the generation that came before them. So if the Boomers are very optimistic, they really identify their life through their professional endeavors. In reaction to that, Generation Xers are very skeptical. They value much more of a work-life balance so they don't place as high a priority on work as other aspects of their life. Primarily because they grew up during a time of things falling apart. So if you look at the time when Generation Xers reached adulthood, they're looking at things like the tripling of the divorce rate. They're looking at things like corporate downsizing that they saw their parents go through. So they have a much more independent and skeptical paradigm of the world in which they're operating. 5 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 5 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  6. 6. Time Speaker Transcript 9:13 Tom Floyd Interesting. Now some of the other things, I've looked at some of the information that your firm had put together as well. And I had never really stopped to think about some of the things, particularly being a Gen-Xer myself, some of the things that were going on as I was growing up and some of the things that were shaping me; but the Persian Gulf War and the Challenger explosion and AIDS, as well. Those are three pretty big things. When you mention that things were falling apart, or a lot of new things were happening, I had never thought of it that way but that really is powerful. 9:42 Amy Hirsh Right, so they look at every single institution in their lives, be it the government; be it Robinson religion; be it their family institution. All of those things were falling apart, so the result of that is that they just don't have a lot of trust in any kind of institution and they became a generation that really relied on themselves and relied on their peer network to survive. That really became their family. These were the latch-key kids who had to come home everyday to an empty house. They had to make their own lunches and make their own dinners. So they're very resilient and they're used to doing things on their own and being autonomous. 10:15 Tom Floyd Got it. Cheryl, what would you add? 10:18 Cheryl Palmer There are a couple other characteristics I would add to this. In general, they tend to be less hierarchical, probably as a result of that skepticism that was just mentioned. So they're not as interested in things the way that they typically run; to say that everything flows from the top. They prefer to be more collaborative. Also they tend to be more technically savvy – 10:46 Tom Floyd Okay. 6 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 6 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  7. 7. Time Speaker Transcript 10:46 Cheryl Palmer -- than the previous generation. That tends to be one of their characteristics. And also tend to be more candid in their communications. So those are some things that I would add to what has already previously been said. 10:58 Tom Floyd Got it. Misti, anything that you would add? 11:01 Misti I would like to land for a moment on what Amy said a minute ago and that has to do Burmeister with the word survival. This is a generation where when they come into the work force, they're asking the question what's this have to do with me? And I'd like to turn that around and say what does this have to do with my survival? When they're always asking what is it that I can do to better my own career instead of what the Baby Boomers who came before them said. Baby Boomers were much more of a generation on what can I do for my organization and what can I do to build this company. This generation saw what happened to the Baby Boomers as a result of all that hard work they put in. Did they truly get those pensions? No. Many of them lost their jobs right in the height of all of that and they lost their pensions. And so, as a result, you see why they have such a cynical attitude toward work. And I'd step back and not even call it cynical. I would call it an honest look at what's truly available for them. 12:00 Tom Floyd Hmmm. 12:00 Misti And so I really want to land on that whole survival technique that they have going on. Burmeister They're looking for not only what kind of train they can get to better themselves, but also they're looking at where are the connections they can make so that they can survive. Is it going to be with their peers, where they can connect there and make sure they've always got an environment in which they can survive? 7 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 7 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  8. 8. Time Speaker Transcript 12:22 Tom Floyd So I'm hearing that survival is definitely key and a key trait. Independence is important. A layer of skepticism is certainly there. And there's also a lot of autonomy, but also some resilience as well. We talk about mission statements in life; mission statements how they play out in a corporate environment; how each individual has their own mission statement, on a personal level as well. If you had to define what the mission statement really is of Generation X, just a quick sentence that kind of captures what the mission is, what would that be? 13:02 Misti Tom, this is Misti. Burmeister I would absolutely say that it's creating balance back in the workforce. Whereas the Baby Boomer generation, I would say their mission would be to build an economy. Generation Xers, again just like Amy said a minute ago, is the opposite of that. Instead of working 80 hours a week, let's create some balance within our lives. So I would say as a generation, the mission there, I would say, definitely would be to create some balance back in the workforce. 13:31 Amy Hirsh And I would add to that, especially now, because they're in a stage where over 50% Robinson of them have children. And so they're looking at how they were raised and how they want to do things differently. And they're saying I want to be more of a participative parent, how do I still have an income and be the parent I want to be to my children? So I would definitely agree with Misti on balance being the mission statement. 13:58 Tom Floyd Wow, more than 50% have children now. That's amazing to me. I'm one of the Generation Xers who doesn't have children right now. I'm nervously looking around my desk for pictures. Well I'm in the minority now. Cheryl, anything that you would add to that? 8 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 8 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  9. 9. Time Speaker Transcript 14:14 Cheryl Palmer I would really echo what has already been said. Certainly, the work-life balance, I think is a major, major driving issue for Gen-Xers. And I guess I would just also say that because Gen-Xers are really interested in career advancement that's based on merit, they really want to see the results of their own efforts – 14:40 Tom Floyd Got it. 14:40 Cheryl Palmer -as opposed to just I've been here X number of years, so I should get something. No, I've been here a year, but look at what I've produced. 14:49 Tom Floyd Got it. I'm going to ask you to go a head and pause for a second. I'm hearing the music for our first commercial break. We'll go a head and go on pause. 17:33 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching. For those of you just joining us today, today's show focuses on Generation X; who Generation X is; how they work in today's workforce and, most importantly, how Professional Coaching may be useful as an intervention for members of Generation X, as well. Where we left off, we set the stage a little. We talked about some of the key characteristics of Generation X. We also talked about if Generation X really had a mission statement, what would that be? And really creating balance into the workforce was a big, big part of that. Next question I'm going to pose to the three of you as our guests' fun question. I asked this one last week, as well, and I already have my answer in my head burning for this particular question. If you had to think of a movie that really captures what Generation X is about or you had to think yeah, this is a movie that kind of symbolizes Generation X. What would that movie be? The one that comes to mind immediately for me is Reality Bites. 9 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 9 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  10. 10. Time Speaker Transcript 18:39 Amy Hirsh I was going to say that, too. Robinson 18:42 Tom Floyd What are some of the other movies that come to mind? 18:51 Amy Hirsh Generation X has always been dwarfed in media coverage by the Baby Boomers and Robinson by the generation after them, the Millennials, so they don't get as much for themselves. I would say maybe Fast Times at Ridgemont High – 19:05 Tom Floyd Good one, yeah. 19:06 Amy Hirsh -- would be a Generation X movie. Robinson 19:09 Misti I'm struggling with this one. Burmeister I'm not real sure. I'm not really into the movie scene so I don't have a good answer for this one. I know that Friends, in terms of the TV show, as you mentioned earlier, is a definitely big part of the Generation Xers but I'm drawing a blank here with the – 19:23 Tom Floyd How about Heathers, that's another one that comes to mind for me that I personally love. 19:27 Amy Hirsh Yes, I'd say Heathers. Robinson Very cultish, very, again – 19:31 Tom Floyd Dark 19:31 Amy Hirsh -tapping into the cynical nature of Generation Xers that high school is terrible and the Robinson world is terrible and we can only rely on our friends because our family is off doing their own thing. 10 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 10 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  11. 11. Time Speaker Transcript 19:43 Tom Floyd Yep, yep. Well, great. Kind of moving on to the next question then. What are some of the myths about Generation X or another way of putting it, what are some of the common misconceptions that exist about Gen-X? Amy, let's start with you. 20:00 Amy Hirsh Well the biggest myth, I would say, is that Generation X is a generation of slackers. Robinson They're usually portrayed as over-educated, under-employed, under-motivated workers. While they are one of the most highly educated Generations in the workforce, they're definitely motivated. It's just that they're not, as we said earlier, willing to pay their dues and stick around for the length of time that they feel is necessary just to get a head. Because what they're facing right now is, I've heard termed the Gray Ceiling where there are so many Baby Boomers a head of them who have no intention of retiring any time soon and so they're stymied right now in their careers and they don't know how to get promoted or how to move a head. As a result, they're starting their own businesses. I think four out of five entrepreneurs or business-starters are actually from the Generation X. 20:56 Tom Floyd Oh, really? That's interesting. 20:58 Amy Hirsh So the myth is that they're slackers and they don't work hard. Robinson They have no work ethic. And I think the opposite is true. It's just that they're getting their professional and personal needs met pretty efficiently by doing outside of that structured corporate traditional work model. 11 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 11 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  12. 12. Time Speaker Transcript 21:17 Tom Floyd Got it. Cheryl, what are some of the myths that you hear? Do you tend to hear kind of the same myth, that Generation X tends to be over- educated, a lot of slackers, etcetera? 21:26 Cheryl Palmer Exactly. But I would also add to that anti-authority, short attention span. And the interesting thing is most myths have some basic root in reality. 21:40 Tom Floyd Right. 21:40 Cheryl Palmer There's some reason why the myths exist. It just tends to be maybe an over-exaggeration of something that actually is true or it's just colored by the people who are looking at that particular generation, who are coming from a different vantage point. So the short attention span actually has some real roots in reality. 22:02 Tom Floyd Yeah. I actually heard a statistic at the Conference Board, if anybody was there in Chicago a couple weeks ago, that made me think of my own attention span sometimes. But the average person, I forget which organization did this statistic; the average person gets interrupted every 11 minutes at work and it takes 25 minutes to back to the task at hand. 22:24 Cheryl Palmer Interesting. 22:25 Tom Floyd So, yeah. So it's what you're kind of saying that yeah, that could be a characteristic, but it's also the lack of attention in general. It's like we live in an ADD society in general any more. 12 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 12 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  13. 13. Time Speaker Transcript 22:37 Cheryl Palmer Exactly. And so what you're seeing is behavior that is adaptive to the particular environment, but it actually can be a strength because if you are used to that type of pace and that's what you're living with in today's world, then when things are coming at you 100 miles an hour, you can cope with it. 23:01 Tom Floyd Interesting. Misti, any thoughts? 23:04 Misti Yeah, I do, actually. Burmeister I love what they said about the whole myth being slackers and they're the hyper- educated, not team players. All these I definitely agree with them on. I wanted to land on the idea of paying your dues that Amy brought up and I think that Cheryl brought up the Gray Ceiling. I can't remember who did. But the paying your dues thing, I actually just finished writing an article on paying your dues. And the reason why I wrote this article is because I was at a networking event and I had this older Baby Boomer gentleman say, these younger people just don't want to pay their dues. And so I got really curious and I said well, what do you mean by pay your dues? And this whole conversation went on about how he put in the time that was necessary to build the relationships that were necessary to be successful in his life. 23:46 Tom Floyd Yeah. 13 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 13 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  14. 14. Time Speaker Transcript 23:47 Misti And I said okay, so what you're really trying to say is that you have to build credibility Burmeister for yourself? And he said yeah, that's what I'm trying to say. I said so what do you think that the young people or the Generation Xers or even Yers, what do you think they hear when they say that? And he didn't have an answer for me. So I blasted out an e-mail to my list serve Generation X and Yers and said hey, what does this phrase mean to you? And I tell you some of the comments they came up with, I actually have a couple here if you want me to share them with you? 24:14 Tom Floyd Yeah. Sure, that would be great. 24:16 Misti Alright, here you go. Burmeister The term pay your dues is used by people who feel like they are owed something because of the work they've done and want to lord their experience over those who haven't had a chance to get it yet. Its most often used to discourage people and to make those who feel like they have paid their dues feel superior. It is an outdated phrase with entirely too much negative connotation to be worth using for any reason other than to boast your own ego. So I think the point that's made there – 24:44 Tom Floyd Interesting, wow. 24:46 Misti Yeah, pretty interesting comments back. And they use -- Burmeister 24:49 Cheryl Palmer Pretty negative. 14 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 14 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  15. 15. Time Speaker Transcript 24:49 Misti -- A couple others like that. Burmeister I think the point that I was trying to make there is the idea of putting in the time and building credibility for you is essential for these Generation Xers to learn. They grew up in a world of instant gratification where you saw the beginning and the end but you saw no middle on how to get there. So not only do you assume that you can, you think that if you don't, then you're a failure. And that's where I looked when I first started doing the work that I do, I looked into where the anxiety and depression medications were the highest in use. Generation Xers and Yers are the highest users of anxiety and depression medication; at least they were about 2.5 years ago when I first started the research. And so why is that? 25:33 Tom Floyd That's astounding to me. It's just, wow. 25:35 Misti Yeah. I can get passionate about this, Tom. Burmeister When you look at that – 15 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 15 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  16. 16. Time Speaker Transcript 25:39 Tom Floyd Well the thing that kills me as I'm hearing some of this, too, is I feel torn. On the one hand I smiled earlier when we were talking about how a lot of members of Generation X are starting their own businesses because I've fallen in that category. And my parents, for example, who are traditionalists. It's just mind-boggling to them. It's just astounding. They say this is just, wow, this is too scary. I can't believe you even did that. It's been seven years for me now on that front. On the other hand, from a business owner perspective, I so get it when the Baby Boomers talk about paying your dues. When I interview folks, for example, for our company, my jaw is on the floor when I have somebody in and I'm sure I'm going to spark off some conversations for next week's show by saying this and I'll bring it up then as well. But when I have somebody come in their early 20s, fresh out of college and explain to me why they deserve a six-figure salary and they want to talk to me about work-life balance. And I'm looking at them like ah, you need some experience first. And you need to prove yourself. So, in my mind, when I think prove yourself, it's kind of like paying your dues. I don't mean it negatively as much as I think well you don't just fall into that. You've got to work your way towards it. Cheryl and Amy, any thoughts? 27:06 Amy Hirsh If paying your dues is how the Baby Boomers say it to us, then Gen-Xs are going to Robinson say it to the Millennials that you need to prove yourself. But what it's really coming back to is what I think Misti said the relationship building and the credibility building. 27:21 Tom Floyd Yes. 27:22 Amy Hirsh And if this show is about coaching and how to coach Generation Xers and how to Robinson coach others to manage Generation Xers, then that's a key component is that this generation needs to learn those skills because they are still operating in a world that is primarily dominated by Baby Boomers. Boomers are very politically adept in the work force and relationships are key and so that- 16 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 16 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  17. 17. Time Speaker Transcript 27:53 Tom Floyd Are going to have to get stronger in dealing with. Well I'm hearing music for our next break. Go a head and go on pause. Stay tuned everyone. More on Generation X when we return. 30:25 Tom Floyd Welcome back, everyone. Those of you just joining us today, today's show focuses on Generation X. How they're contributing to the workforce, their values, their characteristics and most importantly, we'll start to discuss how coaching may be useful as an intervention for members of Generation X. Just to close the loop on one more thing that was generating some good conversation among all of us was the whole concept of paying your dues and how that's something that Baby Boomers tend to express that perhaps members of Generation X and Y can't relate to as much or may have a negative perception of that as well. And, Misti, during the break, you had brought up that you had a technique that is sometimes helpful when dealing with folks who may have a bit of a challenge in understanding that or technique if you're feeling frustrated in talking to somebody who's coming from that perspective. What's that technique? Any insight you can share? 31:28 Misti Well you had mentioned, Tom, during the break that sometimes you have a Burmeister challenge with a Generation Yers, maybe you said it during the regular session, in terms of their wanting a six-figure salary. I've heard a lot of CEOs come to me and say their young employees come in and say they want the corner office in the next six months. Same concept, right? So what I found that works really great is to get them to sit down and write out their five-year plan. You want to be in this corner office. You want to have the six-figure salary – 31:57 Tom Floyd Yep. 17 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 17 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  18. 18. Time Speaker Transcript 31:57 Misti -let's talk about how you can get there. Burmeister Use that energy and let it be a charge for your organization. Instead of doing what a lot of Baby Boomers do, which is to take it personally. I've heard this one. I worked so hard to get into this position and now you're going to tell me that I can't blah, blah, blah. Right? And now you're trying to tell me that you're going to take over my position. Instead of saying that, you can say alright, here's the company mission. Here's our vision. Let's talk about how you relate to that and how we can take your talents and skills and help you get into the position you want based on credibility and so forth. Find the common ground there. What is that? 18 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 18 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  19. 19. Time Speaker Transcript 32:35 Tom Floyd Well, personally, this is getting me very excited to hear this because the nature of what my company does is around performance management and career development. And that is a perfect way of describing that. Not just to a member of Gen-X, but to anyone as the answer isn't no. It's positioning that as the answer is yes, but here's the path for getting there. Here's where you are now. Here are the competencies and the skills that you're going to need to get from point A to point B and it's not going to happen in three months. It could happen in three years, five years, and ten years. I don't know. It depends on how the organization defines that. But I think you're absolutely right, personally. And, granted, I'm a little biased, but having a clear plan of how to really move along that. Another question that I want to ask everyone before we jump back into career development and getting into the conversation around coaching, let's talk about management. Generation X moving into management. On the one hand, I hear that more management positions are opening up and Gen- Xers don’t want them. On the other hand, I'm hearing that management positions aren't opening up and that Baby Boomers are there to stay and Gen-Xers aren't able to move into those positions as quickly as they would like. Amy, what's your perspective on that? 19 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 19 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  20. 20. Time Speaker Transcript 33:56 Amy Hirsh I think that the dichotomy might depend on the industry and the type of profession Robinson that you're talking about. So, for example, with law firms. There's a real sense that it's taking them longer and longer to get to that partner level and that the promotional tract is being extended because Baby Boomers are, in fact, working longer. And so there is a sense there of being stymied. Whereas other generations, let's say health care, there is a real need for more workers and Generation Xers are being asked to take a lead now and take management positions. And they don't want them because they see the amount of work that is involved and the burden that is now placed on the average manager, middle-manager, in a traditional work setting where they're having to take on the institutional knowledge of the Baby Boomers and, at the same time, manage a generation below them that is very needy and has less skills coming into the workforce and needs more constant feedback and hand-holding. So there's a lot of burden on that middle manager now. 35:06 Tom Floyd And is that coming back to the value we mentioned earlier around balance? Is that kind of setting off a trigger there? 35:11 Amy Hirsh Right. Robinson 35:12 Tom Floyd Oh, that doesn't feel balanced, I can't do that? 35:12 Amy Hirsh Why should I take this position? Robinson What's in it for me if I could likely get downsized? That's their perspective. And it seems like I'll be working 80-hour weeks and getting paid maybe marginally more and having a lot more to do. 35:28 Tom Floyd Interesting. Cheryl, any thoughts? 20 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 20 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  21. 21. Time Speaker Transcript 35:31 Cheryl Palmer Well I certainly am in agreement with what was just said because it is a real value that Gen-Xers hold that they want to be balanced. And so if you think that just offering a Gen-Xer more money and a bigger job title is going to be enough enticement for them to take the job, in a lot of cases, you're going to find out that you're wrong. So the real issue wants Gen-Xers to move up but making it attractive to them so that they would actually want to do that as opposed to saying no, thank you, I’d rather not. 36:08 Tom Floyd Interesting. This question is for you, as well, Cheryl. We'll just go a head and continue. Do you feel from your perspective, is there a business case for organizations to make accommodations for Generation X? So is there a business case to take their need for balance into consideration, for example? 36:28 Cheryl Palmer I certainly believe that there is. It really comes down to dollars and cents even though a lot of times employers don't see it that way initially because there tend to be a lot of hidden costs. But, for one thing, employee churn is very costly. Churn, turn-over, whichever term you like to use. 36:49 Tom Floyd Yep. 36:50 Cheryl Palmer The bottom line is that it is extremely costly. Depending on how important that particular worker is to the whole organization, you could be talking about two times that person's salary just to replace one worker. 37:05 Tom Floyd Yep. 37:06 Cheryl Palmer So when you multiply that times, say, 15% if 15% is your turnover rate, you're talking about potentially a lot of money if people in Gen-X, since that's the generation we're talking about right now, decide not to stay with the organization because it's not meeting their needs for work-life balance. 21 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 21 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  22. 22. Time Speaker Transcript 37:27 Tom Floyd And what are some specific things that can be provided or offered? If it's not more money or a different title, is it things like letting a Gen-Xer work from home, for example, one or two days a week or something like that? 37:44 Cheryl Palmer That would be an excellent example; flex-time, flex place. These are the types of things that would help a Gen-Xer balance work and life more efficiently and the things that would actually speak to their motivation as opposed to maybe the motivation of somebody from a previous generation. 38:06 Tom Palmer Got it. Misti and Amy, anything that you would add? 38:11 Misti I would like to add a great deal about the business case for it, 'cause I think there's a Burmeister whole lot of business case for adjusting to people of different generations. I think that it doesn't matter what generation you are, I think everybody wants to feel like they're valued, like they're a part of a team; like they're part of something that's much greater than themselves; like what they do really matters in the workforce. I think it doesn't matter what generation you're talking about, that is the case. And so I think if you're talking about a Generation Xer coming in and saying I want balance in my life and you're talking about an organization that can't really give that Generation Xer the time away from the office just to come in whenever they want to, but that there's a specific time that they need to be there, then there's not an alignment between where the business is going and where the individual is going. So I think that it's important to bring together every single person that's part of that team and talk about where are going as a team and how we can best get there. And oh, by the way, are there opportunities for them to grow within the organization? Are there rewards being given out for the time that they're putting in and for the great job that they're doing? Are they being recognized? These are easy ways that don’t cost anything to put energy into a Generation Xer. Oftentimes, when you talk about Generation Xers within an organization, they talk about these people just want balance but they don't want to work hard. What's really underneath that is so much more than I don't want to work hard. It's that there's a misalignment between what's really going on inside the organization and what's going on inside of the person's life. They don't really understand how what they're doing contributes to the success – 22 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 22 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  23. 23. Time Speaker Transcript 39:43 Tom Floyd Right. 39:43 Misti -- Of that organization. Burmeister 39:45 Tom Floyd And using working from home as an example, it blows my mind a little in hearing that that still isn't necessarily common for a lot of folks. Or common depending on the industry or where you are in the country. But then I also realize that here in Silicon Valley, the environment here is just very different. You can walk, and if I think of some of the clients that we have, which are all Fortune 500 companies, very large, you can walk in, especially on a Friday, and I'll use a Marshall Goldsmith quote that he used, you could shoot a cannon ball down the hall at 11:00 in the morning and you would not hit anybody. It is everyone is working from home. When I go back East and I go to the Midwest, where I think of friends and family that I have in the same boat, I don't get it. And they're like you own your company, that's why you can do that. And I think no, my employees have the ability and actually we adjusted to make sure that we were in alignment with how our clients work, too. It's very common here. But I want to go a head and continue. We're getting close to our next break, but I want to bring the conversation back to career development. And then we'll start talking about coaching and career development for Generation X. But when we think of career development just in general for Generation X, is career development a priority for them given some of the other needs that they have as well? Amy? 41:14 Amy Hirsh I think it is a priority for them. Robinson I think that they're struggling financially. First off – 41:18 Tom Floyd Really? 23 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 23 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  24. 24. Time Speaker Transcript 41:19 Amy Hirsh -as much as 40% of a Generation Xers income just to pay the mortgage if they even Robinson have been lucky enough to get into the housing market. So that they are struggling and they do see that Gray Ceiling and so they're wondering about what to do. So any kind of career development, if it is positioned as a tool for them to put into their toolbox so that they can take it with them. Remember we're talking about transferable skills. Then they would absolutely pick up on that and embrace career development. If you have somebody actually paying attention to them and working with them on their career and their roadmap in terms of a five-year plan, I think that they'd gravitate to that. As long as you really got to the point and you did it quickly and there was some efficiency behind it. 42:10 Tom Floyd Interesting. Cheryl and Misti, anything that you would add? 42:14 Cheryl Palmer I would definitely add to what has already been said. I can tell you from my perspective, having been in career development for over 15 years now. Gen-Xers are extremely interested in career development if for no other reason that they know full well that their careers are dependent on them. They have no misconceptions whatsoever that a company is going to take care of them. So anything you can tell them about career development, they will be very interested in as long as they don't sense a hidden agenda. 42:46 Tom Floyd So they take accountability for it. 42:48 Cheryl Palmer Exactly. 42:49 Tom Floyd Got it. Well I'm hearing the music for our last break. We'll go a head and go on pause. When we come back, we'll start talking about coaching and how it could be a helpful intervention for members of Generation X. Stay tuned. 24 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 24 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  25. 25. Time Speaker Transcript 45:23 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching. The last part of today's show, we're going continue our discussion about Generation X and talk specifically about Professional Coaching and how it can be a useful intervention for members of Gen-X as well. First question that I would ask the three of you. In general, when the average Gen-Xer hears the term coaching, do you find that's something that they are receptive to? Are they receptive to coaching as an intervention or a tool that can be of use to them? Amy? 45:58 Amy Hirsh Position the coaching or what type of coaching it would be. Robinson So if it were, let's say, life coaching that has a more of a negative association with Generation Xers that associate it with Boomers and their quest for self-realization and their long term process of looking at your belly button. Generation X is really looking at getting to the point and finding ways to be more efficient in work so that they can have a more balanced life. So if you're positioning coaching to be around career development; around leadership and giving them the leadership skills; or around some other skill development, like business development. If they are in a firm, let's say a law firm again, where they need to generate business and that's a skill in itself, they're very receptive to coaching. So it'd have to have a point. 46:54 Tom Floyd So as long as they understand what's in it for them and they see some light at the end of the tunnel? 46:58 Amy Hirsh Right. Robinson 46:59 Tom Floyd Then they're going to be more open to it? 47:01 Amy Hirsh That's right. Robinson 47:01 Tom Floyd Misti, anything you would add? 25 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 25 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  26. 26. Time Speaker Transcript 47:03 Misti I agree with that 100%; just landing again on if they see what's in it for them. Burmeister 47:07 Tom Floyd Got it. Cheryl, next question for you. This had come up a little bit. What are some of the specific challenges that you see Generation X experience that a coach could help them with? Or another way to ask that question is what are some skills or competencies that a coach could help a member of Generation X grow against? I heard relationship-building, relationship management is one piece that came up earlier as an example. But what are some of your thoughts? 47:39 Cheryl Palmer I would certainly agree with definitely the issue of relationship management. I think a coach could also really do some good intervention with helping Generation Xers at least understand where Baby Boomers are coming from since they're such a huge part of the workforce so that there is some line of communication there. Because a lot of times it just gets shut down. You have two different groups coming from two very different perspectives and somebody has to bridge that gap. And I think that could be a real entry way for a coaching intervention. 48:18 Tom Floyd In terms of who takes the initiative to bridge that gap, are you finding that Baby Boomers tend to take the initiative more than the Gen-Xers are? 48:27 Cheryl Palmer I'm not sure I would say that necessarily. 48:29 Tom Floyd Okay. 48:31 Cheryl Palmer I think, again this is a generalization, but a lot of Baby Boomers tend to be judgmental of Gen-Xers and so they are not always the ones to necessarily try to bridge that gap. 26 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 26 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  27. 27. Time Speaker Transcript 48:47 Tom Floyd Okay. 48:47 Cheryl Palmer I would say for career advancement purposes, giving a Gen-Xer communication training and skills, which is what relationship management is about, is really vital in teaching them the methods that will work best for each generation; for the Baby Boomers; for the Millennials. 49:05 Tom Floyd So teaching the methods are going help them grow relationships and nurture them and maintain them over time, for example. 49:12 Cheryl Palmer Correct. 49:13 Tom Floyd Okay. Misti, what are your thoughts? 27 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 27 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  28. 28. Time Speaker Transcript 49:16 Misti I think that it's more than just teaching them the skills. Burmeister I'm doing some work right now with AT&T and one of their challenges is that their young professionals won't go actually out onto a sales call. They'll only do the phone conversations or the text messages or e-mails. They don't want to actually be in person with them because they don't feel as comfortable being in person. And the original thing was well let's just give them some skills training on how to be with people. And I looked at them and said you've got people right here, ready to train them. Take them with you on the sales call. That's excellent training and action. Let them learn from the Baby Boomers. And you just finished talking about the initiative to bridge the gap. This is why I get a real big concern because it has to come from both sides. The young people have to say I'm willing to learn from the knowledge and expertise of the older people, the more seasoned people and likewise, the more seasoned people have to give up their judgments a little bit to be able to actually help the younger people to do better in the workforce. For example, you said a minute ago, about hiring somebody inside of your organization, Tom, who wanted to have a much higher salary than maybe what you were prepared to pay them. Just having them saying let's just get through this interview and on to the next one – 50:26 Tom Floyd Right. 50:27 Misti -doesn't really give them the critical feedback that could benefit them greatly in their Burmeister next interview. So asking the questions well how do you think that you're going to be able to get there? How do you think this organization pays their employees? Sort of getting an idea as to how much people in that field are paid. Starting with that kind of a frame instead of going you're wrong for asking me for that. Instead you go how I can help this person to understand the things that they're going to need to understand to be successful inside of the organization. 28 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 28 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  29. 29. Time Speaker Transcript 51:01 Tom Floyd Something I'd add around that. If I put myself in the average HR type of position or shoes where I’m hiring somebody and I can actually think of other examples along the same line. One, I totally agree when you have someone like that or from that perspective within your organization. But when you're recruiting and when you're hiring, when you have, let's say, it's down to five people and one individual's coming across that way but you have others who aren't and who have the experience and the skills. And when you're going through the ratings process or behavioral interviewing process or whatever's being used to fulfill the needs for that role and that's something that the other four aren't seeing, wouldn't you say that by natural selection then, which is how the hiring process needs to be, is you're saying okay, based on skills and experience and other things and just the click that I'm feeling, is this person going to be a fit for our organization? I've got four others here that are probably going to move on past that person. 52:04 Misti Right. Burmeister And see, you already know, Tom; I'm not going to hire this guy. That's fine. So why waste the rest of your time finishing the interview? Why not give them some feedback in that interview process that's actually going to help them in their next interview? 'Cause you already know they're not the perfect alignment with you and you already know why. They're not coming across in the way that's really going to benefit your organization. You already get it. So giving them the critical feedback that will actually help them in their next job interview will do two things. It will help them. It will also create a bridge between you and them. Oh, this guy actually cared enough about me to share ideas that will help me with my future. I'm going to help him in any way that I could in the future. Said right and done right will help both sides. 29 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 29 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  30. 30. Time Speaker Transcript 52:46 Tom Floyd True and I would agree with that. Well we've got about three minutes left before the end of the show. Last question that I want to ask. I'll go around and ask the three of you kind of your elevator pitch or in 30 seconds or less, what one piece of advice would you give to someone who is not a Gen-Xer to more effectively deal with the Gen-Xers that they work with? Amy? 53:11 Amy Hirsh Get to the point in your communication. Robinson Be very efficient in terms of how you communicate them and what the end result will be. And give them, like Misti said feedback. They are yearning for a lot of feedback. So they want more frequent feedback than, let's say, a Baby Boomer does. So give them that feedback to increase their performance. 53:33 Tom Floyd Got it. Cheryl? 53:35 Cheryl Palmer Well given the fact that there is a very strong business case for adapting; for Baby Boomers specifically since they're the largest part of the workforce right now to adapt to Gen-Xers. I would really say keep in mind that Gen-Xers really value independence; like to be rewarded for merit, not their years on the job and to just give them enough leeway to be able to do the jobs that they can do, given the right motivation without unnecessarily restricting them. Because then you'll really keep them and that ties back into the business case. 54:13 Tom Floyd Got it. And, Misti? 30 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 30 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript
  31. 31. Time Speaker Transcript 54:15 Misti Well I just want to say that I agree with both what Amy and Cheryl said. Burmeister So I want to add to what both of them have already said. And that is coming back to the realization that we can look at our differences and use those differences to keep each other segregated from one another or else we can use those differences to really embrace each other and to learn from each other. And what I would say is to treat people as if they are valued and as if they are a valuable piece of the organization. I think – 54:43 Tom Floyd Everyone can make a difference. 54:43 Misti -- If you do that, it doesn't matter what generation you're talking to, you're going to Burmeister speak into their mind frame. You're going to be talking to them in the way that you would want to hear somebody talking to you. 54:54 Tom Floyd Got it. And that is a fantastic ending point. Well, a huge thank you to the three of you for joining us for today's show. And as always, thank you for our listeners as well for spending time with us today. For more about our show, you can look us up on the Voice America Business Channel. You can check out our website at You can feel free to e-mail me as well, And don't forget, you can also listen to the podcast version of our show in Apple iTunes; just enter Insight on Coaching in the search field in the Music Store. Thanks, everyone. We'll see you next week. 55:22 Misti Thank you. Burmeister 31 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 31 Generation X: Moving into Management Transcript