July/August  2002

     NSDJA Headlines

Generation Gap
  Get Educated on Different Learning Styles

How does your organization deal with the inherent differences of multiple generations of employees working together? How do you communicate effectively across generations? How do you create a work environment where all generations are happy? Motivated?

Management consultants Sandra Ford Walston and Marilyn Moats Kennedy give the following information on the differences among generations.

Born from 1934 to 1945 ………. Pre-Boomer 

Born from 1946 to 1959 ………. Boomer

Born from 1960 to 1968 ………. Cusper

Born from 1969 to 1978 ………. Generation Xer 

Consider these differences in lifestyle for example. 

Pre-Boomer: “Buy a big house in a good neighborhood.”

Boomer: “Buy the biggest house you can, and keep trading up.”

Cusper: “Do I need a house?”

Generation Xer: “We should reclaim the inner city.”

In social values?

Pre-Boomer and Boomer: “Rotary is good for business.”

Cusper: “Rotary is a bore.”

Generation Xer: “What is Rotary and who cares?”

How about civic responsibility?

Pre-Boomer: “Everyone must vote!”

Boomer: “Vote if it’s convenient.”

Cusper: “Vote when you feel like it.”

Generation Xer: “Vote, but don’t talk about it.”

Family and friends?

Pre-Boomer: “Family comes first, then friends.”

Boomer and Cusper: “Family and friends are equally important to me.”

Generation Xer: “I feel like my friends are my family.”

Here at the National Sash and Door Jobbers Association (NSDJA), we’ve been looking at cross-generational communication and learning styles as we begin considering new educational offerings for our membership. We’re considering a variety of blended learning techniques including traditional training with textbooks, video tapes, audio tapes, web casts, interactive bulletin boards, listservs, self-study CD-ROMs and various combinations of the above. What’s your preference?
We know the Pre-Boomer (also referred to as the silent, the veteran or the GI generation) prefers traditional training with clearly stated long-term objectives. They like material that has been summarized and is presented in a logical format.

The Boomer generation likes interactive learning with opportunities for team activities and problem solving. Boomers need to feel like they’ve acquired specific skills in order to feel gratified in the learning process.

Cuspers, as the name implies, share learning traits from the generations on either side of them. Some Cuspers, like Boomers, prefer interaction and team activities; and some Cuspers, like Xers, prefer self-study. 

Generation Xers (sometimes referred to as busters) prefer to learn by doing, want a hands-on approach and role playing. They prefer self-directed options and learning materials with fewer words and more visuals. And, Xers want to be entertained while they learn.

How about you? If you would like to share your learning preferences, or if you have ideas on topics for future NSDJA educational programs, I’d like to hear from you. Please give me a call at 800/786-7274. 


Linnea Johansson, MNM, CAE, is the executive director of the NSDJA, located in New Richey, Fla.





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