I’m a trainer and I love my job. I also have a bit of experience… though I’m not sure if I want to disclose you how far my memories go back in time. Let’s just say that I am familiar with training programs of 2-4 days length, 9 hours/day, in classroom training. This is not such a particular perspective, right? But I also still have memories of such trainings where was no need to ask participants to silence their mobiles because too few of them had such devices. Can you imagine that? People not having a mobile, or even worse: not having mobile connection…. I know it’s difficult to accept this idea today, and it’s even redundant to say mobile internet connection, right? The problem is that having such perspectives and talking and working with them in mind, might be a potential source of conflict in the workplace and in training too. I can hear some of your thoughts „Look at this dynosaurus…” And you’re right: I’m a proud member of the X Generation and I’m also a bit of a dinosaurus. (see the article here)
In 2007 I saw for the first time the famous video „Did you know – Shift happens”. Remember it? One prediction was following me through over the years: „Did you know? – we are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exists, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”
Today we have no less than 4 generations working under the same professional roof (even if it’s a virtual one) Is this a problem? Yes, it definetly is. By having different experience with information, technology and mobility, people have different perspectives on how things should be done and they will act accordingly. So instead of having people working together, uniting their forces as a team, you will get a bunch of individuals, working individualy. And who’s to blame? The answer is simple: everything depends on their birth year. Here are the key characteristics of these 4 generations working together, according to a Delloit study since 2019.
• Baby Boomers 1946-1964 Work & duty comes first, then leisure. Loyalty for life for the company that hired you.
• X Generation 1965-1980 It’s important to build a career. Authority means expertise. Loyalty for a manager with a clear vision, who provides knowledge.
• Y Generation 1981-1996 Seeking challenge, growth and development. Work must be fun / interesting leaving room enough for personal life. Loyalty for self.
• Z Generation 1997-2012 Financial security comes first, then the social impact of the employer. Loyalty for a company that provides a stable job & entrepreneurial opportunities.
In 2015 about 58 percentage of the workforce was represented by X,Y and Z, while in 2025, the percentage will be around 84%. So what? Please consider these facts and think about the implications. The key principles of management that were taught in economic schools 20 years ago are in still in practice in various companies worldwide today. Here are few of them, but remember: they were developed by Henry Fayol around 1900’s.
- centralization – managers should retain the final decision & responsibility
- division of labor – specialization leads to greater efficiency
- authority – managers have the authority to get things done
- discipline – members of the organization need to respect the rules and regulations that govern it.
The implications? This is the model of management that shaped people’s minds when they were in school. In 2018, Global Leadership Forecast, performed a study over more than 25,000 leaders spanning 54 countries and 26 major industry sectors – this is one of the conclusions: “We found that Gen X now accounts for 51 percent of management or leadership roles globally. With an average of 20 years of workplace experience, they are primed to quickly assume nearly all top decisions & executive roles.”
So, what? In their roles of leaders, the X Gen will work with members of the Z Gen, who’s vision of life has been shaped by different events, such as the 2008 financial crisis or the environmental changes. Here are some of the main characteristics of Gen Z
- This is the first generation that has never known a world, without the worldwide web.
- Today’s technology and automation have eliminated many of the manual and repetitive tasks, so the work should be entrepreneurial and fun.
- In social media every opinion matters so everybody’s opinion should be considered when making decisions.
- They are less optimistic about the future, but increasingly believe they can shape it, solving major problems like climate change, poverty, racism
Years ago, when a telecom company launched the 3G technology – they advertised this event with commercials about people working from distant and exotic holyday destination. Today, this is not a dream anymore but a common reality. The way we work today, some of us in the office, some of us from the comfort of our homes is a game changer and it does change the face of training, too.
So what is the solution for an effective training program, that is effective for X,Y and Z generations and considers the limitation and challenges of today’s working environment? We call it High Performance Learning Journey.
Both me and my colleagues wrote about this methodology, but today I want to detail a single part of it: the PPP, or the Personal Performance Path. It is one of the key elements that provides motivation for all participants, regardless of their age and experience. It has been developed by Robert Brinkerhoff and it creates a single, particular connection between the training agenda, the trainee’s motivation and the company’s goals.
Let’s use a practical example – a negotiation program. The key concepts of such program refers to the structure of the negotiation process, the differences between negotiation and sales, the balance of power and some golden rules. Maybe some tactics, right? So this is the agenda and as a trainee, this is the learning outcome what you’re going to learn.
The next step is to individually identify the key moments, when these knowledge and abilities have the biggest impact over participant’s performance. It may be when negotiating with a key customer, in a high value transaction or in a negotiation with an important customer, that has an acquisition center, involving several people, with different levels of influence or decision. It may be the moment when he is negotiating his yearly target / objectives. We call this step – moments of truth or moments that matter. Let’s assume the most difficult situations: the participants have different responsibilities, they work in different departments and they represent different generations. If done properly, this is the point where people, even if they attend the same training, they will define individual objectives, that are relevant and motivational. These objectives will be motivational just for them – not everybody – and this is something we aim for, because motivation is more connected with an individual rather than a group.
The third phase of the Personal Performance Path goes with the same logic: improved performance. If a participant is defining the key and relevant moments of its training, what is the impact of his performances? What are the KPI’s measuring the impact over his performance and maybe his paycheck? With increased effectiveness in the key moments of his activity, now there is a direct connection with the acquisition of new customers, or increased profitability or reducing costs – that are very common KPI for salesforce. Or for acquisition. Or marketing.
The last step of the process of defining the Personal Performance Path: company’s goals. Would you accept these goals: business turnover, profitability and market share. They represent a very common business perspective of measuring success, but the question is: can you see now the silver line connecting all these elements? The key concepts of the training, applied in the moments that matter, leading to improved performance, having direct effect on company’s goals. If you see it, here is an even more important question: do participants see it too?
Based on our experience, they do see it. Based on our experience it brings a great deal of responsibility and motivation when participant’s direct manager is involved in this process of defining the Personal Performance Path. Based on our experience, using this tool and the High Performance Learning Journey approach, there is an up to 60% increase of abilities for participants during our programs, regardless their generation fit.
I know. It sounds too good to be true, or you may think that we’re simply bragging. However, we accept the challenge to prove it. Do you?
(checkout his Linkedin Profile)