Cats and dogs…oil and water…red states and blue…all are catchphrases that instantly convey opposition, difference, conflict.

Cats and dogs…oil and water…red states and blue…all are catchphrases that instantly convey opposition, difference, conflict. How about millennials and baby boomers? Was your immediate reaction, “Yup, them too”? In the workplace, where older and younger generations engage side by side on a daily basis, are we destined to hold opposing visions of what it means to be an effective, productive worker in today’s world? If you feel this way, you’re not alone. Survey any random sampling of different demographic groups—the silent generation (born between 1928–1945), baby boomers (1946–1964), generation X (1965–1980), millennials (1981–1996), generation Z (after 1996)—and you’ll likely hear the same refrains:Older workers think younger workers are lazy, entitled, narcissistic… Younger workers think their older colleagues are slow to adapt, inflexible, stubborn. This oppositional view does greater harm than we think, especially in the workplace. It is held by many organizational leaders, who have substantial influence every day in creating culture and designing strategy. These leaders often parrot the same stereotypes or claim that there are no significant differences – and, to no surprise, at the end of the day, their organizations struggle to attract, retain, and engage millennials. The key to moving beyond this seemingly intractable battle […]