Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Different Generational Cultures

Just a quick break in the "What To Do Now" series of posts with a headsup about the February, 2009 Mission-Based Management Newsletter". The topic this month is about Different Generational Cultures. Here's some of the Management Tip:

"If your organization is like most nonprofits, you've been working on diversity for a long time. You've tried to make sure that your staff, your board and your non-governing volunteers look like your community. For some nonprofits this has been a pretty easy accommodation to better practice, while some are still struggling. But diversity is good: It gives us a better range of perspectives, a richer set of ideas, and a closer connection to the community we are in business to serve.

So, here's the question: what about diversity by age? Fact: Most board members in the U.S., Canada and the UK are Boomers, but our generations served range from Greatest Generation to post Gen@. Are your board, your management team, your non-governing volunteers representative of your community in terms of age? If not, why not? And, to be fair, you may be asking, who cares? It's just age, not ethnicity. What's the big deal?

The big deal is this: our different generations are really different cultures, so different that we see life at its most basic levels differently, we attack problems differently, we seek solutions differently, we manage differently, we look at work and the rest of our lives differently. And, as much as those of us who are Boomers hate to admit it, every day we're a smaller and smaller percentage of the workforce as more and more younger employees come on board. If we want to lead well, we have to understand what it takes to lead younger employees. If we want to attract donations, volunteers, board member from younger generations, we have to understand what motivates them and to do that we need their perspective; we have to embrace age diversify....."

To see the entire issue, including Marketing and Tech Tips on the subject as well as recommended reading, go to

And, if you like the newsletter, you can scroll down and see four years of past topic-specific issues and/or subscribe for free.

I'll get back to the "What to Do Now" series next posting.


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