Sam Fisher: Offside

Sam Fisher is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Sam Fisher: Career enhancement a triumphant motivator

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Sam Fisher. Photo / Supplied
Sam Fisher. Photo / Supplied

I feel another career-change coming on. Since there is little of any practical value I can actually do, branching into motivational career seminars seems a great way to make money. Sorry, that came out wrong; I mean, it would be a unique challenge to empower and assist colleagues in management to have their organisations punch above their weight, create powerful learning workplaces and delight their customers.

There has been a bit on the news wires lately about the way different generations behave in the workplace. The general thrust seems to be that Generation Ys are the most amazing, collaborative and talented generation in the history of the modern workforce - provided you promote them to chief executive in the first six weeks.

They can leap tall bureaucracies, are faster than a screaming Baby Boomer and can stop a committee with their sheer strength, but they aren't interested in the mundane tasks and rigid hierarchies that Generation X or Boomers crave.

Having employed and supervised people, I should be able to provide my own insight into the differences between the generations. That should lead to a popular blog and the ability to charge hapless managers for my motivational Powerstaff management TM ©programme.

I have no experience in industrial or any other form of psychology, but I have watched two episodes of The Mentalist and all of The Office.

So it is not hard to deduce that the current theory is that regardless of the ages of the team you work with, you assume anyone who works for you is likely to be an idiot.

This is the Groucho Marx theory: "I wouldn't join any club that would have me as a member". It can easily be translated to "anyone who's already here must have nowhere else to go". So the general approach is to treat them like rubbish.

Not with Powerstaff.

In the case of Gen Y, they haven't been around long and promoting and giving them all the best work will be seen as being a good corporate mentor.

Forget Gen X - they're never going to amount to anything as their age cohort is too small and most of them didn't use computers until they were 15. They don't count.

Boomers are important as they all have good lawyers, so you need to be nice to them and restructure them out.

But like all good programmes, Powerstaff is more helpful than that. Here are further things to watch for.

Gen Ys want to make all the decisions, which challenges the Boomers as they are used to doing that. So you package the decisions that don't matter and let the under-30s set up collaborative working groups to solve them. They'll do this cheerfully and although they'll all sweat, the loudest, best looking, and most confident will propose the solutions.

Gen Ys are also interested in what trips, conferences and cool assignments they can score. I had one some years ago who borrowed a work car all day to go flat-hunting. Just keep the trinkets clearly obvious and you'll be fine.

Gen Xers like conferences so they can travel a bit by adding on their leave and maybe get lucky while they're there. They have no future and no power so just let them have leftovers.

Boomers like power and training to add to their CVs - I can recommend a great course on the inter-generational office where they can learn to empower and assist colleagues in management to have their organisations punch above their weight, create powerful learning workplaces and delight their customers ...

- Herald on Sunday

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