Ties To Tattoos

In Ties to Tattoos, Turning General Differences Into a Competitive Advantage, author Sherri Elliot-Yeary turns a spotlight on generational differences to offer strategies for success when confronting what she calls the “multigenerational workplace crisis.”

Elliot-Yeary explains that this modern-day dilemma exists because of today’s historically unique, generationally diverse workplace, which includes four different generations:

  • Traditionalists (those born between 1922 and 1944),
  • Boomers (those born between 1945 and 1964),
  • Xers (those born between 1965 and 1980) and
  • Millennials (those born between 1981 and 2000).

The book explains the crisis as being a variety of challenges related to this generational mix, including generational language barriers, capturing and communicating knowledge and a looming labor shortage (predicted to occur by 2015, when older workers will retire and not enough younger workers will be ready to take their place).

The book offers hints on how to study, examine and recognize a company’s generational mix, and gives advice on how to recruit and retain workers from each of these generations. It also shares wisdom on how to manage and motivate staff and the diverse generations at work.

The good news is that the book warns against organizing people solely on their ages.  Despite being able to categorize someone as a Traditionalist, Boomer, Xer and Millennial — not everyone of the same generation shares consistent traits and such categorization can be misleading and inaccurate.

The admonishment brings to mind a note from author Sean Covey, in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, who makes the point that “All the events of your past have formed a lens, or paradigm, through which you see the world. And since no one’s past is exactly like anyone else’s, no two people see alike.”

When aiming to break down barriers in the workplace, there is merit in the reminder that we are all unique, with distinct habits and interests, despite the generation into which we have been born.

Credit can be given to Ties to Tattoos as a book that attempts to factor this wider notion of diversity along with the ideas of generational influence and diversity.  One can take away from the book the thought that key to a company’s success is  embracing generational differences and taking the actions necessary to identify and develop the next generation of leaders.

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