Guest Post By: Jim Kelly
Coronado Roundtable Members and guests were treated to an informative and entertaining presentation on generational differences in values and communication methods by business consultant Sherri Petro at the Roundtable’s monthly meeting in the Winn Room of the Coronado Library April 24. Ms. Petro discussed differences in work styles and learning strategies between today’s Millennials or Generation Y’s, born after 1981, and those of previous generations including Gen X, born between 1965 and 1980, Baby Boomers, born between 1946-1964, and Traditionalists, born between 1925 and 1945.
In general, Millennials are digital pioneers, menu-driven, global in outlook, interconnected and like to work on their own terms. Gen Xers tend to be informal, results- and money-oriented, direct in communications, independent and recognition-conscious. Baby Boomers crave respect, value self-improvement, desire flexibility and have a strong work ethic. Traditionalists are loyal, respect authority, value formal organizational control and believe strongly in the dignity of work rather than the need to find personal meaning in it.
These differences can greatly affect the way the different age groups learn and communicate. Traditionalists like face-to-face discussions and can learn from lectures. Boomers prefer interactive and group learning. For them, reading material and handouts are generally preferable to lectures. Telephone conferences also work well for them. Gen Xers tend to focus on outcomes rather than techniques. They are results-oriented and want to get to the key points without getting bogged down in details. They like e-mails. Millennials or Gen Yers are technology-driven. Learning needs to be entertaining and mistakes are learning opportunities. They like discovery and new experiences and want to make a difference. They prefer texting and social media and have a need to stay connected.
Sherri Petro is president of VPI Strategies, a San Diego-based consulting firm. She is a recognized expert in generational communications and learning strategies and has published nearly 100 articles on these subjects. She has facilitated hundreds of seminars on these topics and her clients include Fortune 500 companies as well as state and local government entities. A magna cum laude graduate of Youngstown State University with a BA in Psychology, she also earned an MBA from Pepperdine University.
The speaker was introduced by Roundtable Director Emeritus Jim Kelly. Roundtable President Wayne Hoffman presided. Coronado Roundtable presents prominent speakers and subject matter experts at its monthly meetings on the fourth Friday of every month except December in the Winn Room of the Coronado Library. Meetings start at 10 a.m. and coffee is served at 9:45 a.m. The public is cordially invited to attend these highly-informative events.