In our communication workshops, we work with clients from many countries, across several continents, and of course, in varying age groups, from just-out-of-college Millennials to Gen X’ers to late Baby-Boomers.
In our work with these individuals, we often find a disconnect between how the generations speak to each other. These differences across the generations exist on almost every level. These generations think about money differently. They look at the role work plays in their lives very differently. Feedback and rewards are viewed differently. They are motivated differently.
This can make communication between the generations challenging. But the reality is that in many cases, the Baby Boomers are the ones who sit at a level in their organizations that puts them in control of the operation of the business and (more importantly) the budget. So good communication is a must, especially if you’re a Millennial whose work depends on management’s approval, be it budgetary or otherwise.
So we find it no small wonder that all the ears in the room perk up when we say to Millennials in our workshops, “Are you asking your Baby Boomer boss for approval on a plan/budget/project? Then here are the questions you MUST have answers for…”
- What business problem will your idea/plan solve?
- How much will it cost?
- What is the ROI?
- How long will your idea take to implement?
- What resources do you need to implement?
- How disruptive will it be during implementation?
- What is the exit/mitigation plan if you are wrong?
- Do we have to act now?
These are the questions most pressing to your bosses. It’s a simple case of knowing what’s important to the person(s) you need approval from, and providing it. To the Baby Boomer in charge of the checkbook, having as many answers to the above questions as possible will put you well on your way to approval of your raise, your upcoming project, or your Next Great Idea. Having these answers shows you did your homework, you prepared, and that you’re tuned in to what’s most important to those in charge.
Added bonus: You’ll also become a much more persuasive communicator across generations, and as we all remember from our reading, persuasive people tend to get noticed, heard, remembered, and, eventually, promoted.
Not a bad reputation to have in the workplace, is it?