You’ve probably come across one of those articles on your social media feed promising you an interesting read on why the different generations, such as baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, and Generation Z, can never coexist with one another in the workforce. Characterising different groups of people in one broad stroke is not only highly questionable in my opinion, but can also be a hindrance for leaders who want to get a diverse, multigenerational workforce to work well together. A competent workforce is multigenerational. Just as you need dynamism, recklessness and fun, you also need tradition, experience and wisdom.
Companies like Uber and Airbnb tend to do away with tradition. They’re bold, disruptive, and fun. In the first couple of years of their existence, the overwhelming opinion was that this was the way to go. It seemed like these “younger” companies knew something that larger, more traditional companies didn’t.
Yet when you move fast and break things, you also can land up in a lot of trouble. There must have been something missing that landed Uber in trouble. Perhaps they went too far in being disruptive that they lost sight of the big picture, or they lost the diversity that would’ve provided a system of checks-and-balances.
In my opinion, the missing piece could be a multigenerational workforce, where each generation brings something to the table. Older people might say that this new technology is too fast for me. Younger people might find that compliance gets on their nerves. Boom! You have stumbled onto a distribution of labour: who does what, who challenges whom.
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Associate Partner & APAC Business Development Director
The Munich Leadership Group