Stereotyping is never the right thing to do

GenerationsThis laser lecture has spurred the most debate so far.  The conversation took me by surprise.  In the end I decided to keep the lecture on the list because of the passion around the dialogue.  I figure if it gets people talking, it is a good thing.  Let me explain.

I meet new people everyday and I use generalizations to assess them.  Most recently my research has been on the workforce differences between generations: the Baby Boomer, Gen X and Gen Y. In a few weeks I will explain to project managers at a PMI conference that boomers grew up in the age of mass production where leaders managed with authority, Gen X saw the creation of the matrix organization and Gen Y skipped over corporate and went right to entrepreneurism.  I’ll talk about how boomers expect formality, Gen X wants work/life balance and Gen Y is addicted to immediacy. These are all typical viewpoints of each segment of the workforce.

Have I stereotyped?  Not yet.  My assumptions are my starting place to help me understand people.  Where are they coming from?  What is their perspective on life?  What do we have in common and how can we connect with one another (Act 3: Connect)

I will continue to collect clues, assessing the validity of my original thesis that Gen Y is so addicted to immediacy that he/she will be distracted by their device and interrupt our conversation.  As a Boomer, I will likely be annoyed by this behavior (another generalization).

Stereotyping is when my experience contradicts my original assumption but I continue to hold on to my original belief.  That is why it is never the right thing to do.



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