Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart by Haydn Shaw
Cell phones in the middle of a sales meeting, right? Have you ever wondered why people from different generations under the same roof have such a tough time working together? In steps Haydn Shaw, reasearcher, speaker and leader in the field of bringing together business people of different generations. His new book, Sticking Points, is a look into how people and businesses can bridge the generational gap. Engendering more productivity is not a one step process, for the younger generations technology is the standard whereas boomers are more inclined to different modes of communication. The book is broken up into two large sections; the first section is devoted towards an understanding of the generations and their default positions, and the second section looks at the twelve places they come apart (from dress code to meetings). The great strength of the book is that Haydn is committed to moving beyond old stereotypes about generations and asking the tough questions about these groups with a surprising amount of clarity on how to help people work together.
Haydn brings together a description of each generation from Traditionalists to Millennials. When speaking of the Millennials he writes, “The Millennials’ consumer approach in the workplace often gets interpreted as an entitlement mentality. When I was doing a presentation for McDonald’s, a woman said, “I’ve been here thirty-six years, and some of these new employees seem so entitled. They ask for things in the first six weeks that I never got until I’d proven myself after six or seven years” (98). These comments can come off brash, rude, or arrogant if there is not a generational understanding here. Part of the Millennials grew up with their parents giving them seemingly everything they wanted and more, while some Millennials closer to the Recession were in a different situation. Millennials are incurring more debt and the cost of college has skyrocketed which is leading them to enormous piles of money issues. Yet, as Haydn pointed out to the McDonald’s worker, the Happy Meal was and is a ticket to children that says you are entitled to a toy with every purchase. I have to admit that I laughed at this point because there have been many times when my daughter cares nothing for the food in the Happy Meal but only for the toy.
In understanding the issues of dress codes, Haydn has a keen sense of seeking to come alongside each generations view before making a decision. He writes at one point, “On the other hand, a call center I worked with a couple of years ago allows flip-flops because customers never see their workers’ feet. The president is not a big fan of flip-flops, but he is a fan of happy employees, so he didn’t let his generational preferences interfere with his business results” (135). The age and generation of your customers truly helps one gauge the dress code of your employees. The issue of Facebook at work is another issue that Haydn dealt with. At one point, he told a company a friend that if you ban Facebook from your work computers, your employees will just look at it on their phones. In turn, what he found out was that if clear work objectives and production was met, Facebook was not that big of a deal. All of these issues take a stepping back and looking at how the generations respond to work issues. It might seem that a Millennial cares nothing for your meeting if he’s texting on his phone, but asking him how works best might just be an opportunity for further dialogue.
I enjoyed this book and think it would be of great use also in the church. There are so many different voices trying to achieve different results, that a look at the generations and their ideas would be a great blessing.
Thanks to Tyndale Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review.