Monday, November 30, 2009

Managing Cross Generation Meetings...


I continue to go through the archives and find one gem after another. I don't stop long enough to real give any of these things I create enough time to get out there. I'm too busy being creating the next thing - a gift and a blessing indeed!

Last year I did a webinar with Robert Wendover from the Center for Generational Studies. We wrote back in 2005 a super cool book for AMACOM titled,
On Cloud Nine:Weathering Many Generations in the Workplace. I wrote a very amusing and all humility aside - sparkling little gems of fable.

In the webinar Bob and I give you a taste for the fable and dive into a discussion of how to manage inter-generational meetings. Here's the marketing blurb about the webinar...

Learn five powerful solutions for boosting meeting productivity in 40 minutes flat!

We’ve all been there – the weekly staff meeting – the Boomers are sharing what they did over the weekend – the Xers are anxious to get it over ASAP – the Millennials are texting their friends, updating Twitter, and shopping on-line. There’s got to be a better way – and there is!

Join Terrence Gargiulo and Robert Wendover, co-authors of On Cloud Nine: Weathering the Challenge of Many Generations in the Workplace, as they reveal the secrets for navigating the meeting needs and expectations of those ages 17 to 70. With the increasing pressures on time and money, you can’t afford this time-wise webinar. We all know the problems, this is about the solutions. Come away with the tricks you need to manage meeting times in a productive and efficient way.
Here's an archived video of the presentation...

Managing Cross Generational Meetings from Terrence Gargiulo on Vimeo.


Managing Cross-Generational Meetings
Robert W. Wendover
The Center for Generational Studies

It happens all the time. We sit in a meeting. The topic needs to be addressed but isn’t all that interesting. The person presenting or facilitating the discussion struggles to keep everyone engaged. We look around the room. A few people are offering ideas and discussing the issue. Others are doing non-related paperwork. Still others are surfing the Web on their handhelds or even texting each other under the table about how boring the meeting is.

With the pressure to do more with less these days, few people have the tolerance to sit through a meeting that they perceive as wasting their time. This is especially true of emerging professionals who are so conscious of their time to begin with. So how can we find a way to manage meetings effectively, particularly across the generations? Here are some ideas:

Commit “Meetingus vanishus.” Many people have concluded that as a society, we meet too much. Ask people about all the different meetings to which they are committed to each week and you’ll get a list of five or more. Ask those same people how many are really necessary and they will roll their eyes. Dare to ask those attending regular meetings if the meeting is really necessary. Press for the truth and you’ll probably get a good feel for which meetings can be eliminated.

But information does have to be disseminated. The obvious answer is technology. Decide what can be distributed electronically and then develop a means for do so. Several years ago, banking giant Capital One purchased 3000 iPods, for instance, and distributed them to managers and other professionals across the organization. “Feel free to use the iPod to your hearts content,” these people were told. All we ask is that when the company sends you podcasts on topics ranging from training issues to financial updates that you listen to the information.” This practice has consequently saved thousands hours of time and added millions of dollars to the bottom line.

Cross generate the meeting. The person in charge tends to be the person running the meeting. Who says that’s the best way to get things done? Try appointing individuals from different generations to the role of meeting leader. This can accomplish several goals: 1) It will re-engage those who have disengaged from the meeting’s purpose. 2) It will foster the creativity of those in the room. 3) It will demonstrate the different approaches to getting the meeting objective accomplished. 4) It will help those in charge to identify the leadership attributes within the team.

Establish upright meetings. Who says meetings have to take place in a reclining position? More than one manager has discovered that simply gathering people together on the factory floor or office break room is an effective way to get a quick decision. Why not take more advantage of this strategy? If some privacy is needed, remove the chairs from the room ahead of time. Sure there may be a few comments, but the result with be a quicker and more effective meeting. Don’t believe me? Just try it a couple of times.

Meet virtually. Even if everyone attending is in the same facility, it can be more efficient to meet via a telephone bridge or conferencing software. Since most people comfortable multi-taking their way through the day, this practice will enable them to improve their efficiency and still participate in a meaningful way.

Robert W. Wendover is director of The Center for Generational Studies and author The Sandwich Manager: Simple Solutions for Supervising Those Seventeen to Seventy. Contact him at

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more information on the book

So how are you managing these dynamics? Tell us your story.

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