Friday, July 23, 2010

Boomers v. GenX v. Millennials - Comparing Work Styles

Rawn Shah writes in that we'd all do well to network more with our younger colleagues, particularly the ones in the "Milennial" cohort.  Hmm.

While I agree we should embrace technology, social media, data sharing and hierarchy-flattening a bit more than we do because it would make us more productive, I also think Millennials aren't the role models I'm going to follow . . . just yet!  Yes, they are our employees, customers, and future leaders.  We should definitely strive to understand them in order to work with them.  But as Mr. Shah points out, "They see everyone in their organization as equal partners to collaborate with." and with this trait, I do take issue -- we're not all equal.  And not in a bad way.  The people who create valuable content or get things done are the role models I want to emulate.  When 20-somethings become those people, then if they want to see the rest of the organization as equal, fine.

Contribute first.

I should say, though, that I like Mr. Shah's table comparing the 3 styles.  Very catchy!

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Personal Space

Yesterday was "wing night" at Glory Days Grill.  We love wing night!  Half price Old Bay wings and a pitcher of Yuengling beer.  Delicious!  We raced home from work, picked up our two daughters at the house, and called our friends to meet us there.

It was a little crowded, but convivial, and we talked about college classes, job hunting, and our recent vacation.  All while noshing on wings, fries, salad, and crisp, cold beer.  (Except for the teenage daughters - they had sodas!)

The table next to us got up to leave and one lanky, young fellow, while walking past, reached over our table and took a french fry -- off our plate -- popped it in his mouth and grinned!  I made eye contact and he grinned at me. 

I was floored.  I didn't know how to respond.  My husband, however, stood up and roared at him: "What the h*ll do you think you're doing?"  The kid kept walking, right on out the door. Which is good, because I think my husband would have laid hands on him if he stayed for the confrontation. He was incensed.

Sadly, the Glory Days manager initially thought my husband was the problem because of the loud voice and the hard words.  It took a few minutes to get her to understand that we were only reacting.

Sadly, too, one of our daughters really took exception to her father's reaction and felt that we should have ignored the incident because, "he's just a stupid boy and that's what stupid boys DO."  Maybe his stealing a fry was his way of flirting with her.  Regardless, making a fuss embarassed her.

Well, making a fuss usually embarasses me, too, but I was appalled at this behavior.  Had I been on my own, I might have been too shocked to respond.  But I'm glad we did!  He reached over my shoulder and took food off our plate! 

On a most basic, animal level, that's a challenge - it says, "I'm the alpha - I can take your stuff."  Not responding would be the equivalent of an omega dog rolling over.  I am too much an independent woman and a feminist to sit still for that.  I am nobody's omega dog.  And nobody disses my family that way!  (And I am astounded that any daughter of mine would think that "boys being boys" is something we should overlook.  We redouble the feminist empowerment teachings tonight.)

So why post this event here?  Because SPACE MATTERS.  Personal space is either sacrosanct or society is dysfunctional.  It's that basic.  And personal space, as a concept, needs to be addressed at work, in society, and in social media just as much as we need to resolve issues of privacy.  If we do not carve some personal space into our networking areas, we risk misinterpreting too much of our communication.  At best.  At worst, we risk people.

I understand that "on the internet, no one knows you're a dog" (thank you, New Yorker!) and no one really cares whether you're male or female and that the "global village" means we're all coming from different threshholds regarding personal space.  However, this isn't a gender or ethnicity issue -- it's a power issue.  Invading someone's space takes their power.

I see this especially being played out in internet "bullying" cases.  Defaced pages, personal insults, taunts, outright lies, profanities - these intimidations, in our space, are designed to reduce - to marginalize.

I refuse to go quietly.

This is my space and I'm using it. For good, not evil.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Policies? We don't need no stinking policies!

Well, as a general principle, "we" the unwashed masses don't like policies - or anything that proscribes how we interact with the internet.  And what we do with our own lives is our own business. 

But your average employs-more-than-20 people organization should care.  Seriously, one of your people mouths off about something she thinks is personal and suddenly you've got a libel lawsuit on your hands.  And your basic umbrella insurance policy might not cover it all.

So what's a good social media policy for your company?  I liked this article from Lydia Dishman of FastCompany because it cited several different real-life organizations' policies, from detailed to dirt-simple, and critiqued them.  Now this is a case study one can USE!