Kids These Days
PMI Global Conference 2018
Categories: PMI Global Conference 2018
by Cyndee Miller
Every generation is doomed to a stereotype.
Millennials will not survive without a non-stop stream of validation. They’re special—why can’t you see that?
Generation Xers are loners who would rather take a sick day than participate in some team-building exercise.
Baby boomers can’t text so they insist on scheduling epic face-to-face meetings.
Author Cam Marston offered a different take. Stop thinking of them as stereotypes. They’re preferences. And in a workforce that spans five generations, project and program managers better get a handle on the roots and repercussions of those preferences, said Mr. Marston in his Day 2 keynote at conference. It’s the only way they’re going to make the most of their teams.
“You will become infinitely more powerful if you can understand your preferences and set them aside and let your colleagues’ preferences shine through,” he said.
As pretty much anyone who has a job will tell you, that’s not quite the reality. Gen Xers and baby boomers expect millennials to come into the workplace and behave just like them. But it turns out younger project team members have their own ideas, Mr. Marston said.
Project leaders could stand to be a little more self-aware. Be conscious of what they ask people to do and how they ask them to do it, he said.
As if all that wasn’t complicated enough, I hit another session on the multigenerational workplace from Sarah Leslie, PMP. A senior project manager at Teague, she’s also a self-proclaimed Xennial. Yup, it’s a thing: Born between 1977 and 1983, they have the cynicism of a Gen Xer and the optimism and drive of #millennials. Think Beyoncé. Since few of us have had the pleasure of working with Queen Bey, you may want to simply seek out one of these creatures on your team.
Like Mr. Marston, Ms. Leslie advocated for project managers learning to make the most of the each group’s strengths. Baby boomers, for example, are a generation of storytellers, making them a natural for project retrospectives.
Now, as an Xer, I’m tempted to tell you to figure it out yourself. But in the spirit of embracing preferences, I’ll pose the big question: How are you faring in the new multigenerational workplace? Any tips you want to share? And does anyone else think these complement sandwiches are ridiculous?
by Cyndee Miller
Throughout its history, Los Angeles has picked up many a well-known nickname—La La Land, City of Angels, The Big Orange come to mind. But it might be time to add a new one to the list: Champion of Change.
Over the years, this city has proven it’s ready, willing and able to not just embrace change, but lead it. Just this year, the L.A. metro became the first mass transit system to adopt body-scan technology to screen passengers for explosive devices. The city has also stepped up as a leader in water diversification, laying out an ambitious goal to slash reliance on imported water in half by 2025. And my favorite example: P-22, the cougar who calls the Hollywood Hills home. A veritable celeb, he’s changing attitudes about how wildlife can cohabit with the local denizens.
This change-happy city makes the perfect backdrop for PMI Global Conference, where talk of change dominated. It all started with keynoter Jon Dorenbos, whose entire life has been a study in adapting to change.
The retired pro football player turned magician has faced unspeakable family tragedy, life-altering health conditions and an often-unpredictable career path. It’s a slate of challenges that, understandably, left him with a negative view of the world. “I blamed a lot of people when I wasn’t having success,” he said. “The more I blamed people around me, the more I lost myself, bit by bit, piece by piece.”
Eventually, he let the negativity go and revaluated who he was bringing into his inner circle. “You are who you surround yourself with,” Mr. Dorenbos says. “Surround yourself with people who you want to win more than you want to win.”
That new outlook brought him success beyond imagination, including a Super Bowl ring and a final-round finish on “America’s Got Talent.”
The secret, he says, is a willingness to embrace—and not become a victim of—change.
“The sooner we can come to grips with our reality, the sooner we can accept that change is not a bad thing,” he said. “It keeps us on our toes.”
No doubt words that resonate with the hardcore change makers, but how do you convince skeptical stakeholders of that?