Next week, families across America will celebrate Thanksgiving with multiple generations at the table. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about how other generations think. Family dynamics often close us off to seeing or hearing from another generation’s perspective either because we’re rebelling at our parents or we’re frustrated that our children don’t want to do things our way. That frustration with other generations is true in families and it’s true in business. When we open our minds and open our hearts and open our perspective to truly understand the things that drive other generations we can be more successful both at home and at work.
The study of generations is an art as much as a science and it’s certainly true that every generation has some commonalities based on their age. No matter which generation you’re looking at, they probably experienced the terrible two’s, and rebellious youth. It’s also true, however, that the external environment, technology, socio-economic events and international affairs shape people, and we can find much that is common across any given generation. I’ve given a talk on understanding the generations for a number of years and I can’t tell you how many times people have approached me afterwards to say “You’ve really helped me to understand my teen/child/young adult/team” in a whole new way.
Whether we’re looking at relationships, communication syles, work ethic, value on education, planning strategies, or the way we employ technology, the difference between generations is significant. Because this week is about family, I don’t want to weigh you down with a ton of detail on different perspectives; I simply want to encourage you to think about how you can see a conversation from another person’s perspective. One of the great keys to understanding the other generation at the table is the ability to set aside our own ideas, to really listen, to value being in the relationship more than we value being right. This Thanksgiving, take the opportunity to learn about how other generations think, and how their perspectives can contribute to your life. I hope you and your family have a phenomenal Thanksgiving holiday with much laughter, great food and new levels of understanding.
© 2014 Eden Lovejoy