Global Leadership Speaker and Premier Work-Life Balance Speaker
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Generations change, and they change US

There still are a few work environments where the old boss is still in charge doing the same old things the old way. But, those situations are definitely the exception. Today’s workplace has changed. And changed.

Last night, I had dinner with a Wal-Mart executive who explained the whole rap on Gen X and Y workers who care more about free time and self satisfaction than playing by the old rules that all of us Boomers conformed to.

“I had one come to me and talk to me about flex time,” she said. “I said, you want to come in at 8:30 and leave at 6:30? And he said, I want to find a way to take off every other Friday.” I started to “Tsk” out loud, but she stopped me. “I’ll give it to these Gen X & Yers every time. The boomers are there at their desks working all day and all night every day and the young ones text this and do that with the computer and they come in and at 4:30 it is all done and it’s perfect. So, WE have to find a way to work with THEM.”

That’s change. It’s generational, it’s cultural and it really takes an advanced soul to open up to it so easily because it is so absolutely radical. I never would have envisioned telling my boss I expected to get every other Friday off – and getting it. As a leader, my natural reaction would be to say to myself, “What a snot-nosed brat.” But, we are operating in an ever-changing world where our ability to change and adapt will shape our ability to be effective and succeed. I thought that executive was describing presumptuous work ethics of these young people. But her thinking had evolved far beyond mine. She saw their approach as different, and found a way to leave her realm and go into that younger realm to be effective. That is the mark of a good leader.

So many variables affect our work. Everything from office politics to the price of gas can force us to change the way we do business. We can stubbornly hold onto our old comfort zones, or we can make a mind shift. Change is so ever-present in this world. Accept it. Grow up about it. Stop whining. We may have enjoyed a very nice comfort zone back when things moved slower , but that zone is gone. Things do not move slowly any longer.

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