I had the pleasure yesterday to present an HSM Online Seminar with World Business Forum 2011 speaker Tamara Erickson titled “Managing Across Generations.”

If you are not familiar with Tamara Erickson, she is a McKinsey Award-winning author, publishes a blog named “Across the Ages” on the Harvard Press site and is well respected on her expertise on collaboration and innovation.

She is the author of multiple books including:

What’s Next, Gen X?: Keeping Up, Moving Ahead, and Getting the Career You Want

Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation

Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work

Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills And Talent

Third Generation R & D: Managing the Link to Corporate Strategy

I found this webinar particularly fascinating as it goes in-depth into the mindset and world views of each generation as shaped by the experiences which defined their upbringing.

Tamara does a great job in framing the world as seen through various generations and how those multiple views affect each generation’s opinions and behaviors.

For example, Baby Boomers (born 1946-1960) were influenced by Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and other leaders. There were also many, many teenagers (lots of babies born, hence the “Baby Boom” term.) Because of these factors, Baby Boomers learned to be highly competitive (lots of people, not enough opportunities) and hard working (have to outperform others to stay ahead.)

Move ahead to Generation X (born 1961-1979) [my generation] and our upbringing was shaped by a troubled economy with widespread layoffs and rising divorce rates. Gen X also saw many women entering the workforce leaving their children to take care of themselves at home (so-called “Latchkey Kids”)

Tamara goes on to explain that these and other events going on in the world steered Gen X to be more self reliant and untrusting of institutions.

She goes on to explain how Generation Y (born 1980-1995) shared experiences including global Terrorism with 911, Oklahoma City Bombing and school violence Columbine along with a high performing economy and bull market shaped their personalities and behaviors.

These are just some of the details explained in the online seminar as shaping each generation’s world views or “generational lenses” as Tamara calls them.
I found the online seminar invaluable and highly recommend it to anyone interested in understanding why different age groups think and react the way they do.

If you are not yet registered, you can sign up for free to view online by clicking here or visiting the following link:



Music video by Limp Bizkit performing My Generation. (C) 2000 Flip/Interscope Records

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