Much of our work at the Academy is focused on designing extraordinary learning experiences that maximize performance for individuals and groups of all sizes. We are fortunate to work with a wide range of audiences and find that many, if not most, of the groups we engage are comprised of participants from across several generations from Silent to Boomer to X to Millennial. (see side-bar image)
Our experience and research suggests that each of these generations, as a group, has different, and sometimes competing, needs for a successful experience. For instance, research from IBM Global business services suggests that Silents generally value authority and classroom-style learning, while Boomers prioritize personal growth and appreciate facilitated learning. Xers are self-reliant and want independent opportunities and Millennials prize sociability and seek options that emphasize collaboration. But even as we seek to customize the experience for groups, we also keep in mind that based on our research and experience, the generations are united in some very important ways. Mayerson Academy is the exclusive U.S partner to the VIA Institute on Character, the world’s leading authority on Character Strengths and home to the VIA Survey which has been taken by millions of people around the world. Recently, we examined several hundred thousand American survey responses from each of these four generations.
Interestingly, the data revealed that all groups have three of five signature strengths in common! This is out of a total of 24 strengths. The common strengths are honesty, fairness and kindness. What this tell us is that, no matter the content, tools or process utilized with any group, team or organization, it is essential to:
- Show up authentically and act and speak in ways that genuinely reflect what you think and feel and make time and space for participants to do the same. (Honesty)
- Speak and act very transparently about the desire to consider and include others’ needs and perspectives. Be open to adapting. (Fairness)
- Seek opportunities to support success in whatever way that might be required – from the simplest to the complex. Give participants the experience of being completely supported and find ways in which they might also extend this same generosity. (Kindness)
Designing experiences (meetings, retreats, planning sessions, etc.) for effective engagement is complex work but, beginning with these foundational elements, can go a long way toward supporting success.
If you would like to explore more of the strengths of the generations please join me for an interactive workshop (hosted by Design Impact, Graydon Head, United Way of Greater Cincinnati and Studio C) on October 1st at Boost. For more information and to r.s.v.p contact KUrban@Graydon.com.