The Law Enforcement Leadership Vacuum

Where Have All of the Leaders Gone?


June 30, 2020

There is a quote from Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire that articulates what I believe we are seeing occur in America right now. The quote is listed in the column next to this post. Paraphrased it observes that any society that turns its back on those elements that created its greatness to embrace its destructors is doomed to an uncertain fate at best, and destruction at worst. I believe that law enforcement is a force for good in society.

Last Week I Held the 3rd of 3 Free Webinars on the current events happening in law enforcement with the sheriff of Burke County, GA, Alfonzo Williams. Sheriff Williams is African- American. He is very outspoken on what he thinks are the right things to do in the face of the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis almost one month ago and also his defense of the two white police officers involved in the shooting in Atlanta.

Following the George Floyd incident, Williams’ response was a call for the establishment of several national standards for police. I’ve called for similar measures . These standards are somewhat in line with Senator Scott’s senate bill. I posted them last week in my Blog. My question is where are the National Police Organizations. They have suddenly disappeared and have remained largely silent during this unprecedented times facing their members. I am speaking of International Association of Chief’s of Police (IACP) National Sheriff’s Associations, National Organization of Black Late Enforcement (NOBLE), Police Executive Research Organization, PERF and Fraternal Order of Police, (FOP).

During the Straight Talk on Leadership with Dean Crisp webinar last week (which you can listen to on Spotify or iTunes), I raised this issue: Officers all across this great country give millions of dollars collectively to organizations such as IACP, PERF, FOP, NOBLE, and the National Sheriffs’ Association. Are we getting our a return on our investment? Collectively, they represent a major portion of the law enforcement community and now they are silent. I expected more. I am calling for them to get busy and start leading. Someone has to lead the charge to recapture the narrative of law enforcement and to defend the profession they represent. We need a national task force of police leaders to help lead the charge of cultural evolution and reform. We must seize this opportunity to rebuild the public trust that has been lost due to the actions of a few rogue cops.

The Washington Post on June 28, 2020 published an article entitled “Police chiefs and mayors push for reform”. In this article the Post describes how chiefs and mayors are constantly battling veteran officers and unions when they introduce police reforms. The article made excellent points. This was also discussed in the podcast with Sheriff Williams and other dedicated, true professionals such as the retired chief of police for St. Paul, Minnesota, my good friend, Thomas Smith, the former chief of police for Oakland, California, Ann Kirkpatrick, and Greenville County, South Carolina, Hobart Lewis.

There is a loud cry to defund police and to eliminate qualified immunity for cops. Senator Tim Scott’s bill fell flat in the House of Representatives because it did not allow for qualified immunity. I have a suggestion for Senator Scott. Reopen the debate, call Speaker Pelosi’s bluff on qualified immunity with one twist: include all branches of government to include all appointed and elected officials: judges, prosecutors and legislators. If qualified immunity is bad for cops, then it should be bad for all. I am confident that this will not happen and will highlight the hypocrisy of the eliminate-qualified-immunity movement.

One of the major benefits of membership to the big five police organizations is that they promote advocacy. Advocacy typically means using the power of your membership to drive public policy in a direction that is positive for said membership. It also means that the executive directors and elected presidents of said bodies willingly speak out through the media on the issues of import to their membership. Despite statements condemning the actions of Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, there’s been nothing. Nothing on the accusations against police; nothing on the legislation proposed by Congress; nothing on the multitude of defund-the-police actions in some of the largest departments across this great nation. The lack of leadership from these organizations has created an advocacy vacuum at the most critical time in our history.

 Right now, we are on the verger of crime chaos across this country. You have LAPD officers saying that morale is at an all-time low and that “it’s just not worth it anymore.” The NYPD – has had its budget slashed by over a billion dollars and its entire anti-crime division disbanded.  The violence in cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle and Minneapolis are driving businesses and residents that can afford to move, to do so. The consequences of a national discussion on this topic is not just a law and order discussion, it’s an economic and community development one as well.

Many, but not all mayors, council-members, civic leaders and the like are all making law enforcement the scapegoat without providing any concrete solutions other than “defund the police and replace with social workers” along with “ issuing stand down orders” rather than allow the police to do their job and control the violence we’ve seen across this nation.

Our President Trump did issue an Executive Order three weeks ago outlining many police reforms with which i agree, but it can only go so far as an executive branch action. We need a national dialogue to help us wade through this difficult time and speak with one unified voice. With over 18,000 law enforcement agencies in this nation alone, I realize that unification is a difficult task. That is why we have the Big 5. Their voice to bring us together is needed now more than ever. If our organizations that we pay to represent us, abandon us in a time such as this, then why do we continue to support them at all? We must demonstrate to local, state, and federal officials that communities without cops are not communities at all. That law enforcement is the guardian of those communities and not just the warrior. This should be a no-holds-barred discussion that addresses all issues from race, to culture, to unions.

I think these are really important issues that deserve an ope dialogue among law enforcement professional. I’d really like to hear from all of you. Take the time to add your voice and to give your ideas and suggestions for a united law enforcement that truly serves our communities. Together we can united we fall. Recapture the Narrative that police are the people and the people are the police.

And together let’s start a dialogue at Leaders Helping Leaders Network and begin to change the narrative. We are setting up a discussion forum on this post later this week on our free band cell phone app at this link here where you can share your thoughts and ideas. Or email me as well at dcrisp@lhln.org. I want to hear your thoughts however you are comfortable engaging.

Remember, even in difficult times, Leadership Rocks.

Dean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “…as long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters.”  Edward Gibbon, Gibbon’s Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating Character-Driven Cops

By Dean Crisp


I’m a cop. I was raised in a cop family. I became a cop as soon as I could at the age of 21 having been through the police cadet program prior to that and even serving as a dispatcher until I was old enough to carry the badge. I chose the profession because I truly enjoy helping and serving others from the youngest to the oldest among us. I also chose it because we live in a world that has bad people in it that are intent on hurting the well-meaning, average citizens who simply want to live their lives in peace.

The profession has been good to me. I rose through the ranks and became a chief at the very young age of 33 years and served as a chief executive for nearly 2 decades with 2 different agencies. I’ve watched the profession go through a variety of changes and evolutions – most for the better. The current situation is disconcerting to all of us who have and do wear the badge and it requires swift yet thoughtful action to reclaim what is an honorable profession.

First and foremost, I consider myself a leader both personally as a father, son, husband, and friend and professionally, where I’ve been a student of leadership, a practitioner of leadership and now an instructor and mentor to future leaders of our great profession.

I love my chosen profession and almost all those who serve, but as a leader and as someone with credibility with law enforcement, I feel compelled to share what I believe to be the most important changes every law enforcement leader can start making today to make the profession better and to make the lives of their officers better.

Not even the most ardent supporters of the police can defend the actions of the officers in the George Floyd case. This single act has pulled the pin on the hand grenade of racial injustice in America, along with a call for police to change how they use force and to be held more accountable.  Police should constantly review their policies and adjust to new standards of community expectations, but real change cannot be as instantaneous as the public expects. It will take courageous leadership, a new mindset, and meaningful training to truly meet the necessary change.

We cannot expect officers who have received years and years of use of force training to instantly change their reactions to a threat because public opinion has suddenly changed.  Especially when Use of Force guidelines for police have been established by law and the highest court has upheld these laws.  All use of force training is based on that standard. It takes time to adjust our minds to the new rules of engagement especially to a deadly threat. By law, use of force by police is allowed and designed to protect the public and the police from the dangerous actions of unlawful persons who threatens the lives of theirs and others.  We cannot do the job of policing without it.  We must remember that police are given the thankless job to protect their communities at all cost. Our way of life depends on it. 

Expecting police to suddenly re-adjust their use of deadly force because public opinion has suddenly changed is as foolish as expecting a instant cure for Covid 19 because you are infected with the virus.  We are all in the midst of a universal shift of police behaviors. This will take time. The best Public policy always needs a softening period to determine what’s best for all not one.   In the case of use of force this is never more true.

In 2016, I had the opportunity to give a TED Talk entitled The Warrior vs Guardian Police Officer. It articulated the difference in the warrior vs guardian mindset.  A warrior sees the world from a threat based perspective and is constantly ready to react to any threat rather perceived or real.  While a guardian sees the world from a servant mindset and is ready to partner with the community and the citizens to whom they serve.  You can be both.  Problems erupt when a officer overly skews one over the other.  You can watch that TED Talk here.

Unfortunately, the image that has been shown by many of law enforcement is a one-sided  and has jaded public perspective to believe all cops are bad. Are their bad cops? Absolutely! But bad cops must not sway public opinion to believe this is not a noble profession.  In fact, I am more convinced than ever that we as a profession have an obligation to not only share our narrative of what we really do, but to proactively rid our profession of individuals not  willing or capable of meeting the new standards.  I’m proposing an eight-point plan to help create character-community driven cops that understand it is time to change.

  • A review of the Use of Force Policies. Use of force policies by police should  be constantly evaluated and reviewed. Due to the increase in public scrutiny and call for transparency the time is now for a complete review those policies  Currently, police agencies base their use of force policies on current law and training.  The standard they are built on is one of what is a reasonable use of force. This is backed by current law and reinforced with training.  I am proposing that we take a hard look at those policies and discuss should we change that to what is necessary? In August of 2019, California, changed their use of force standard to one that is necessary.  This new standard promotes a review of all actions leading to the use of force while promoting de-escalation and crisis intervention methods to induce greater restraint from officers. Using force is  sometimes necessary to arrest and detain certain violators while protecting the lives of the police and the community.  But the time has come to discuss how to ensure that it is only used while meeting the new standards of conduct This will require significant work to change current laws, police  mindset and  culture within our organizations.   But Police Leaders must recognize the time is upon us to openly discuss this standard.
  • Ban All Chokeholds Immediately: I support President Trump’s executive order banning chokeholds unless deadly force is justified. They are simply too dangerous and usually not necessary to use must especially when a subject is already handcuffed.
  • We Must Clearly Define the Role of Police Within Our Communities. Every municipal, county, state and even federal law enforcement agency must do this. Each must ask what do we want Police to do and expect them to do? Sometimes there is a major disconnect between the two. Over the period of many years we have kept adding more and more responsibilities to Police thus fundamentally changing expectations of what our cops really do. This has over burdened Police with being everything to everybody.  We can not expect the Police to be the answer for all of societal ills.  Our communities must remember that Police are trained to take action and not all of the calls they respond to require immediate action.  Some require time and patience and other community services.  Police can rarely walk away from a situation once called due in part to the oath their swear to uphold, the trust they are given by the community and the potential for harm if they just leave. This often puts the Police in a no win situation. Jurisdictional boundaries, laws and service agreements often determine what specific police agency serves what area. The result is over 18,000 police agencies in the U.S. alone.  This creates a major problem with continuity of service and policing standards.  But the general public usually only sees the police as one unit working together to provide law enforcement services.  This is true in m most cases but also creates 18,000 different standards of what policing really is.  This becomes more evident  when we have a bad cop who does bad things.  We are all judged by their actions.  A more unified understanding of the role of police is needed.  It is impossible to be everything to everybody. Standardizing the role of police should be discussed.
  • Need for a Cultural Evolution. Next, I believe there is a need for a cultural evolution within all police organizations. We must find a way to train our police officers to be both the Guardian and Warrior. To much emphasis is placed on hard skills that overly skew the warrior mindset.   We should determine a tenement of policing characteristics that we want our officers to uphold.  Such as Character-Duty-Service-Compassion-Emotionally Intelligent to name a few. Most agencies mention these characteristics in their recruitment folders or mission statements but few actually train for them.
  • New Metrics for Evaluating Officers. Emotionally Intelligent Officers. Selecting and retaining guardian, character-driven cops will require a complete refocus on training of not only new hires but all officers.  The training must be in the soft skills of human behavior.  Emotional Intelligence would be th efoundation I would recommend we build the guardian mindset upon.  Emotional intelligence defined by Daniel Coleman in his Book of the same title: is the ability to manage yourself and your relationship with others.  This is key to helping police officers perform their job functions and responsibilities.  Policing is about People and understanding how to connect with them.  A basic understanding of Emotional Intelligence would be key to moving our organizations forward. 
  • Fundamental Shift in Police Mindset. Paradigms are our lens in which we view the world, where our Mindset is the set of assumptions and attitude held by us at the present time. Our actions are more often the result of our mindset.  Mindset is a powerful tool that directly influences our actions.  Police must find ways to adjust their mindsets to include that of a guardian. The role of police has shifted as with the dangers of policing.  This shift will not be easy.  over 95% percent of Police officers training is based on the warrior mindset.  We will need to adjust our training and expectations to include the service orientation of the warrior.  This shift should not eliminate the warrior mindset but includes a mixture of both.
  • Create a National Database of Unfit Cops. Since no chief, deputy chief, captain, sergeant, hiring director actively seeks to hire a bad cop, we must pro-actively address the institutional dysfunctions that prevent the elimination of individuals simply not well-suited for policing. Establishing a national database that would identify problem cops and those with a troubled past would help us stop passing a problem employee agency to agency.
  • Ability to Rid Departments of Bad Cops and those Not Able to Transition to Expectations. Department leaders MUST have the ability to rid the profession of individuals not deemed to meet the acceptable standards of performance. I don’t care if you are a 20-year veteran or a 2-week rookie, if you are not measuring up to standards, even after the opportunity to grow and learn, you must be removed.  Police Unions have done many positive things for the men and women in blue, but their biggest detriment, is protecting the bad actors that continue to do harm to policing as a profession. Finding common ground with leadership and unions to agree to rid our profession of bad cops will be essential in moving forward.

       In closing, these are some of the key components that need to be considered to accelerate our ability to address the challenges we are facing as law enforcement officers.  We know that 99% of our profession are good people that show up on the job to do their very best every evening. We also know that cultures develop within departments that lead to bad practices and not-so-great routines that ultimately lead to bad department policies being created that result in deaths like George Floyd’s in Minneapolis. Rather than completely destroying and dismantling the profession that has created the safe conditions America has come to enjoy. We must adopt  proactive policy changes that define who we truly are and need to be. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Managing Change Starts With You

June 9, 2020

Some time ago, I wrote about the importance of creating room for improvement in your life.

As an intentional leader, you spend a great deal of time working on improving yourself with the hope that it translates into improved leadership actions. As I reflected on my own self-improvement  a while back during a podcast by Marshall Goldsmith (he is the author of  What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There.)   As a personal life coach, Goldsmith was discussing how leaders need to continually work on themselves.

The question that came to my mind was, “Do you know what room in your leadership house should be the largest?” 

The answer should be your self-IMPROVEMENT room!

Now think about that for a second and ask yourself, “How big is my ROOM for IMPROVEMENT?” if it is like mine, your need is huge, but maybe your room is about the size of a small closet. Why?

Because each of us gets so caught up in the day-to-day activities that we often forget to work on our own self-improvement. This has made me rethink my commitment to self-improvement and to consciously expand the size of this room in my own Leadership House.

It has helped me reconnect with what I call the Four Pillars of Leadership: Mindset, Self-Reflection, Self-Healing, and Emotional Intelligence.  It’s made me realize that in order to expand my Room for Improvement, that I need a set of goals and a plan to get there. Do you have a plan? As the quote says, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Wishes cost nothing, but goals actually stare back at you and remind you of what you have accomplished. Don’t let that happen to you. Know why you are doing what you are doing. Set achievable, yet stretching goals that help you expand your personal improvement and grow yourself as a person and a leader.

How about you?…. I would love to hear how you work on self-improvement as a leader every day.

Please, join in the conversation…

Dean

“Do you know what room in your leadership house should be the largest?  The ROOM for Improvement!”

“We get so caught up in the day-to-day activities that we often forget to work on our own self-improvement.”

“This has made me rethink my commitment to self-improvement and to consciously expand the size of this room in my own Leadership House.”

“It has helped me reconnect with what I call the four pillars of leadership: mindset, self-reflection, self-healing and emotional intelligence.”

A Message from

the front lines

A guest post by Sergeant Adam Shaw

Wells, ME Police Department

June 3, 2020

I just signed up for a detail. I signed up for a detail for a protest on Saturday for George Floyd.

If I’m being honest, I’m scared. Not scared of doing the job I’ve been doing for years. I’m scared of what can be.

I took this detail to uphold the oath I gave to protect and serve, and am bringing awareness to the wrongful death of a man.

Instead I’ll be seen as an enemy.

I’ve always taken pride in making sure the public trusts me as I have been trusted with a huge responsibility to all. But because of a bad cop, that trust is gone right now.

I get it and am not mad at people who lost trust, I just hope they can see it’s not the majority that are bad. I hope to have no one like that officer in this profession, but that’s like hoping for no crime in this world.

It makes me sad that the planning of this detail must take place; that a man’s death is being used as an excuse to do more wrong to the world.

Again, I’ll admit that there’s an extremely small percentage in my profession who are like the officer in Minneapolis. I’ll further admit that I am so proud and happy that I haven’t had to work with any officers like him because our agency won’t tolerate it and does an excellent job of vetting them out.

I absolutely love my job and will put myself in harms way for any person. It has never mattered who was in trouble, or who was causing the trouble because all I see in both situations is a broken human being. A human being who is struggling and calls out for, and wants our help. Or a human being who is in a situation where professionally they need to be held accountable for what has happened.

That being said they still need my help. I help by holding them accountable and hoping that in doing so it makes a positive change for them in their life to be able to bounce back from a mistake that causes us to cross paths. But I also hope that because we had to cross paths, they felt like they got the help they needed in a tough time.

I don’t hate anyone in this world. It is too exhausting and tiresome to do that. Hatred has no place in this world from anyone at anytime. Many of times in my career, people have said to me “I’m sorry” for what they’ve done to make us cross paths. I explain I’m not there to judge them or make them feel worse about what has happened. I’m here to make what is most likely their worst time in life a slightly better one, and hope that change can happen from it, because it can if people put in the effort to make that change.

The answer to George Floyd’s death isn’t rioting and hurting more people. The answer is to love and respect everyone as if they’re the most important person to you. Don’t judge them for the wrongs they have done, but instead care for them because for some reason they are hurting.

The other answer is to have someone that you can rely on in your life. A great person and leader I’ve had the pleasure to learn from in my life calls them your “check sixer.” This person is someone you can rely on to keep you in line.  A check sixer isn’t someone who may be your closest friend, but it is someone who can say the tough thing to you when you need it.

I hope this writing finds you well. I hope we all learn to love and respect each other more. There are no sides, there is only life. No matter who they are or what they may have going on, just show them respect. Figure out a way you can help them as they clearly need the help because they are hurting in some way probably. I will never stop showing up to work to serve everyone, and if need be lay my life down for you. I am honored to call myself a Police Officer. I am honored to be your fellow citizen, neighbor, friend or loved one. I am honored to be surrounded by so many brothers and sisters in blue.

Stay safe and God bless.

Share your thoughts with us and feel free to reach out to Sgt. Shaw at ashaw@wellstown.org 

 

“I’ve always taken pride in making sure the public trusts me as I have been trusted with a huge responsibility to all.

But because of a bad cop, that trust is gone right now. “

K-9 Patrol Sergeant Adam Shaw at K-9 Paint Night in Wells, Maine

 

“The answer to George Floyd’s death isn’t rioting and hurting more people. The answer is to love and respect everyone as if they’re the most important person to you. Don’t judge them for the wrongs they have done, but instead care for them because for some reason they are hurting.”

“A great person and leader I’ve had the pleasure to learn from in my life calls them your “check sixer.” This person is someone you can rely on to keep you in line.  

A check sixer isn’t someone who may be your closest friend, but it is someone who can say the tough thing to you when you need it.”

 

 

  • Police leaders must ensure that their use of force policies are being followed and that officers are well-trained
  • Police leaders must insist on personal accountability of all officers in their ranks
  • Police leaders must look for officers and instill in them a sense of collegial accountability

Street Justice from the thin blue line: A view from the top

What Lessons Must Be Learned From The Unnecessary Death of George Floyd

By Dean Crisp

This picture is not police service; nor protection of the innocent; nor is it serving our communities; and it is NOT anything close to what all officers swear to uphold as they raise their hand in servitude.

 

 

This is pure and simply, misguided & illegal street justice handed out by a weak, fearful, and angry cop that resulted in the death of George Floyd.  Every eye that can see and ear that can hear clearly is witness to the horrific act on George Floyd in the name of police work. 

This is not the Police Work that 99.9 percent of our Great Officers do everyday. This is pure and simple three things:

  1. Abuse of force
  2. A complete lack of personal accountability and
  3. A complete lack of collegial accountability in that 3 other officers turned a blind eye to a rogue cop.

I realize that most police agencies have aggressively reformed their use of force policies to adjust to modern standards. And, make no mistake this has helped, but this is not enough.  I have found that even a great policy in the hands of ill-intended individuals does not usually produce the desired results.

We as Police Leaders Should Do More. Not only should we periodically review policies related to incidents such as this, but we MUST put as much effort into what I believe are the keys to Becoming a great Police Officer.

1. Personal Accountability

2. Holding Others Accountable.

Finding those characteristics begins early at the selection process for officer, but often times are forgotten or weakened by our cultural norms and job protections. (a.k.a strong police unions and the blue wall of silence) One can be personally accountable, but feel pressure to stay silent while another officer is doing wrong for fear of retribution.

Imagine if just one officer on the scene had the courage to go to the officer and say “Hey take it easy., get your knee off his neck, Let’s put him in the car,”?  This would have resulted in a life being saved; a beautiful American city being saved from the riots and potential destruction we have seen; and the police-community relations in tact.

I do not have all the facts in the case nor do I need them. I witnessed with my own eyes three other cops allowing one of their own to continue to apply improper use of force leading to the death of a person. A person who had clearly been subdued and taken into custody.  This did not need to happen. It should not have happened.

Entrusting your care to the police is one of the fundamental foundational values that policing was created upon. Especially after being arrested and cuffed. Once the fight is over it’s over. A handcuffed suspect is just that “handcuffed.”

This senseless use of excessive force has set police community relations on its heels and will cause countless good officers to be injured or killed.

How can we as police officers encourage people to follow our commands and instructions and willingly give up their freedoms after witnessing such a blatant use of force and denial of basic civil rights most especially after the subject had been arrested and cuffed? 

Absolutely, I know and support the policies that everyone should follow police commands and do as an officer instructs, but we have to wake up to the reality that acts such as this create fear in people.

I truly am hoping this will not result in more and more unnecessary uses of force and a cycle of conduct that is detrimental to society as a whole.  Trust in the police is a fundamental principle that keeps our society in balance.  Without it no one is safe. 

Rest in Peace George Floyd.

I trust your death will awaken all of us to the fundamental principles of personal accountability and holding others accountable. And that those two principles will become a major priority for US as the Police in the future. 

Dean Crisp

Weigh in with your thoughts on this important topic

 

 

Dean Crisp, Author of Leadership Lessons From The Thin Blue Line

Growing Leaders During Uncertain Times

Leadership Development During Times of Crisis

So, we are starting our 8th week of shutdown and for those of us that are full-time leadership development trainers, it means no live classes. Many cities, counties and states are prohibiting out of state travel or forcing citizens who do so to observe a 14-day self-quarantine before re-entering society. While all of these circumstances have prohibited or severely-restricted in-person leadership development activities for the foreseeable future, I am writing this blog to you as a leader of both yourself and others to look at alternative ways to grow your leadership in this uncertain time. I have always said that my biggest leaps in growth as a leader were when I fully committed to growing myself. I encourage you to use this time to do the same and to encourage your team to do the same. So what are some tips for growing when you can’t go to live training.

First, remember Leaders are Readers. I tell every student I teach, and talk about the important role reading has played in my own personal growth and development. It is the single best way that you can control your mindset by controlling what messages you are inviting into your thought process. We have a list of suggested reading on our LHLN section of the website www.lhln.org You can access that for free by signing up for free there. If sitting and reading isn’t your thing, you can still benefit by subscribing to Audible or Blinkest where you can get the main points of the book without sitting and reading for long periods of time Or by listening to the book while you perform daily activities. Reading is key to long-term personal growth and leadership development. Set up a department or division “book club” for those that do enjoy reading and want to discuss what they’ve read.

Second, as a leader of your people during this time, encourage conversation about topics of interest. As I mentioned above, consider hosting a weekly discussion group on a book, or pick a discussion topic, or watch a webinar together (while practicing social distancing of course). I’ve been hosting a free webinar on a different leadership topic each month since the quarantine started. Many departments are setting up the link so that many team members can watch at the same time from the same link. Keep an eye out for our May webinar in a couple of weeks. Having such monthly or weekly meetings with your group keeps you connected to your community AND grows you and your people as leaders.

Thirdly, look for opportunities for specialists within your departments to share their knowledge within your department. It will help them become better at presenting to groups and will share information that could be important to them at a later date. One thing that I find can really be beneficial to helping all of your people be better speakers/presenters is to do a 1-minute group. We’ve been hosting one at LHLN and it’s been very helpful. Once a month, whomever is available from the free, signed-up group, joins on a Zoom call and each person gets one word that they have to talk about by telling a teachable story – no  prep time and goal is to get as close to 1 minute as possible with a message that will teach your listeners. It sounds difficult at first, but with practice, it’s actually fun and encouraging to watch each person grow in their comfort and ability.

 

Fourthly, look for online learning opportunities that meet your leadership development needs. When evaluating a course, look at what each person needs and what the course offers. Does the course have an engaging, dynamic instructor? Is it someone who is credible with your students? Do you have the ‘infrastructure’ to provide your students a successful class experience? Do you have a dedicated location in your department free of distractions? What are the personal learning styles of each of your people? Some adapt to a self-paced, online learning experience better than others. It’s not for everyone, but can offer quality training; provide the POST credit needed; or serve targeted training for specific milestones that leaders reach in their career.

 

All of these are key to the continued growth of yourself and your people while live training remains unavailable or restricted. Perhaps the main message whether during quarantine or NOT, is to develop a plan that grows you and grows your people. Ask them to do the same. Engage them in small groups or voluntary groups. Suggest books to read. All will help to reinforce the importance of self-growth and development and will grow them as leaders.

 

I want to hear your ideas. What are you doing to continue the growth during the shutdown? Email me at dcrisp@lhln.org or sign in and participate in the discussion!

 

Until next week,

 

Dean

Tips for Success

  • Determine the timeline in which you want to complete the class
  • Set a schedule and make an appointment on your calendar
  • Make sure the environment and location in which you take the class is conducive to your learning style
  • Understand what your motivation for taking this class is and how that will impact your ability to complete the class
  • Above all, make sure that you take advantage of the many excellent classes that are online. You will be able to take them at your own pace and many of them take a deeper dive into topics of import than many live classes can

The Perils & Opportunities of Online Learning


Tips for making the most of E-Learning

During the quarantine this spring due to Covid-19, many of us have pursued eLearning as an option to learn a new skill, hobby or enhance our careers with continuing education credits. In fact, it was reported that about 69% of adults recently polled as to what they planned to do while quarantined at home responded that they intended to pursue some form of eLearning. Many of us have watched our children, also home due to the quarantine, plunge into eLearning to maintain their scholastic achievements. 

In fact, eLearning is a great way to learn new skills and will likely become a new normal for many of us who must maintain professional continuing education credits even after the quarantine requirements have been lifted. Since eLearning is here to stay, I wanted to share what I see as some of the pitfalls of eLearning and some tips on how to make sure you get the most out of the eCourses you take.

Yes, there are perils in this type of learning, but by finding the best strategies for yourself from the tips I offer you, I hope you can maximize the benefits that eLearning offers all of us.

Peril #1: E-learning is self-directed learning. It requires that the student have some degree of self-starting capability. Even the most focused of us will find this difficult to do at times. Enhancing your success will require that you schedule time for your eLearning and stick to it. Block the 1 hour or 2-hour block on your calendar and treat like an appointment. That way you are telling your mind that it is learning time.

Peril #2: E-learning requires self-discipline. Similar to being self-directed, successful eLearning requires being disciplined. Just as you schedule time for your expense exports or to workout, self-development through eLearning requires that you schedule time and focus on the task at hand. One tip that really helps me is to make sure that I’m scheduling my elearning at a time when I won’t be distracted by other people or other activities.

Peril #3: Motivation. Just as I talk about the desire to be a leader, there are what I always say are 3 levels of motivation. The first is extrinsically motivated in that you “want to” do it because everyone else is doing it or there is an external push factor such as completing the course will position you for a promotion or give you continuing education credit. The second type of motivation is part extrinsically-driven and part intrinsically-driven because there is a short-term goal involved such as I will lose weight for an upcoming wedding. I call this Determined Motivation; and then there is the highest level of motivation, because it’s about 80% intrinsically-driven and 20% extrinsically-driven. This is where you are so DRIVEN to do something that nothing will get in your way. Often I will use a David Goggins as an example of DRIVEN motivation. So understand what is motivating you to take the eCourse in the first place and it will help you set realistic goals for completing the class. One tip or caution is that you have to understand whether you are more extrinsically motivated as you are likely experience in a live class where the eCourse will require more internal or intrinsic motivation.

Peril #4: Finding Uninterrupted time to Focus. Taking an eCourse is much like working at home. As many of us have experienced during the Covid19 Quarantine, we have both our spouse and children home all day, every day! It can be a ripe environment for a multitude of distractions. Unlike an eClass where you are committing dedicated time to the class and are often attending away from your work or your family, you have a better opportunity to stay focused on the content of the course. With an eCourse, you will have to determine what works best for you. Is it a dedicated location in your home? After quarantine ends will it be going to a local library or coffee shop where you can stay focused on the task at hand.

Peril #5: Most eCourses are open-ended. Often many eCourses do not have an beginning and end date for the course unless they are a live webinar format. This can really cause havoc if you do not set yourself goals for completing the various modules within an eCourse. My suggestion or tip would be to look at the course objectives, determine how many modules there are and then break it down into manageable study and focus periods. For example, if a module is estimated to take 1 hour to complete then dedicate 1-1:30 hours to complete each module and schedule it on the calendar each day or each week depending on your personal goal for completing the course. For those taking a class for continuing education credit, often there are deadlines that may dictate when you need to complete it.

Be sure to consider these and other perils listed above that you personally may face in taking an eCourse and determine how you will best address them. A summary of my tips for maximizing success are as follows:

  • Determine the timeline in which you want to complete the class
  • Set a schedule and make an appointment on your calendar
  • Make sure the environment and location in which you take the class is conducive to your learning style
  • Understand what your motivation for taking this class is and how that will impact your ability to complete the class
  • Above all, make sure that you take advantage of the many excellent classes that are online. You will be able to take them at your own pace and many of them take a deeper dive into topics of import than many live classes can.

So as more of us jump into eLearning, remember, it is really all about what works best for you. I find that many eCourses are often more informative than live classes depending on the instructor and content of the class. With concerns about social distancing, we may all be taking a lot more online courses for both work and hobbies.

Tell me what you think of eLearning! I want to hear what works and doesn’t work.

Email me at dcrisp@lhln.org

Dean

 

Leading Generation in the 21st Century – a look at millennials & iGens

Part 3 of 3

April 28, 2020


Over the past two weeks, we have been examining the current generations in the workforce and what it means for leadership in the 21st century. In the first week, I explained why it’s important to understand generational connections and how they can and do impact the workplace by seeing where the values and attitudes toward family, work, and life of each generation is affected by their shared experiences.  Last week, we discussed the two “older” generations in the workforce today: Boomers and Xers. This week, we are finishing up the series with a look at the Millennials (born 1976-1990) and iGens born 1991-2010.

Before I dive into these two younger generations, I do want to qualify that as we learn more about the shared experiences of each generation and the impact that makes on them, researches in this area have learned that there are many micro-generations as well. For example, many older Xers (born in the mid1960s) find themselves sharing some values with Boomers and others with Xers. Although technically Xers because they were way too young or perhaps not even born when JFK was assassinated, they have shared experiences of remembering the Moonshot in 1969 because of how big a deal it was AND often identify with the music and cultural attitudes of the Boomers. Some researches have called this group the Jones’ Generation as in wannabe Boomers. Similarly, there is a group of Millennials born in the late 1970s and early 1980s that have similar feelings toward the Xers, they remember a time when phone calls were made from a “land line” only – no cell phones. They are called the Xennial generation by some researchers. The point being that it’s up to each individual to understand what shared experiences make them identify more with one over another generation.

So, this week we begin with Millennials. This generation of adults have been perhaps the most maligned and misunderstood generation currently in the workforce today. To those of us that have criticized them, remember, many of us created them! The Millennials formative years would have been the mid to late 1980s through 1990s depending on their birth year. The 1980s were marked by considerable economic growth and prosperity in America. Yes, there were hiccups along the way, but for the most part, the overall mood of the Reagan years was optimism. That carried into the tech boom of the 1990s with the growth and expansion of Silicon Valley and the West Coast as the beacon of a new age. Microsoft in Seattle, Apple, the start of the internet with AOL and Yahoo and, perhaps most important, the development and widespread use of personal cell phones. In the 2008 Ryan Reynolds (Xer) movie Definitely, Maybe, Reynolds plays a father who is telling his daughter about her mother. There is a scene where Reynolds says to her, “Overnight everyone was walking around with their own connection to the outside world.” He was speaking of cell phones and it certainly did seem that the advent of their presence became ubiquitous overnight.

While Millennials and iGens do share much in common when it comes to their thinking style and worldview, their dividing mark is the release of the first personal cell phone by Motorola in 1995. As I’ve mentioned before, many older Millennials remember life without them, not one iGen remembers a time when they didn’t exist. Think about that for a minute. Perhaps the only other time in history where that happened was with the automobile in the early 1900s. Anyone born from 1908 doesn’t remember a time that cars weren’t around while those born before then, would have had a idea of what life was like before them.

Millennials are an incredibly optimistic generation. Perhaps no modern-era generation has had this trait since the Greatest Generation. They are a group of adults convinced that anything is possible and they can accomplish what they want in life. This was started early in life by their parents who wanted them to have everything. They were the first generation to receive participation trophies just for showing up. Millennials were told time and again by their parents that they should pursue a career that made them happy and they’d never work a day in their life. School, parents, sports, everything they experienced as children and teens led them to view the world as their oyster – they could have what they wanted. So, is it any wonder that they come to the workplace with what many Boomers and Xers see as an entitled view of the world? That they hop from job to job desperately seeking personal satisfaction in their job? Perhaps the most over-used phrase of this generation is “I just want to make a difference.” What their parents forgot to tell them is that there is a lot of monotony and repetition of skills on the way to making a difference. Millennials are mostly in their late 20s and 30s now. Some are even pushing 40. Many were college graduates during the Great Recession of 2008 which prevented them from starting careers after college. They got by with “gig” jobs and working retail, restaurant or temp jobs. Some were luckier than others and just continued their education during that time racking up more college debt and degrees. They are the most educated and credentialed generation in American history with perhaps the least amount of real-life experience to go with it. The potential in this generation is tremendous. The optimism and forward-looking characteristics make them great potential leaders if their supervisors and current leaders know how to channel that energy. They, like their younger counterparts are holistic thinkers. They naturally see every individual as part of a whole. Cell phones and the internet have change all of us of every generation in that information and stories of people are easily accessible literally in our hands daily, hourly, at a moment’s notice.

iGens are the youngest generation currently entering the workforce. We don’t know a lot yet about their work habits yet, but some of their shared experiences may give us some clues. Their formative years were the 2000s and some into the 2010s. They were at that critical values’ lock age of about 10 years when the Great Recession occurred. Those who had older Millennial siblings saw what having lots of college debt did to stifle your ability to get off to a good start. The events of the early 2000s with 9/11 and the many school and mass shootings made their parents (mostly Xers and younger Boomers) frankly helicopter parents. I was one of them. The physical safety of your children was all-consuming. Changes in school curriculum with No Child Left Behind meant higher and higher standards that children were expected to reach academically leaving little room for free time. Parents scheduled their children with tutors, dance, sports, church, you name it they had little, if any, free time. Teachers gave more and more homework to meet state and federal “standards” that were aimed at raising standardized test scores. Their parents were central to their lives and remain so to this day. This generation has dated less, has the lowest teen pregnancy rate of any living generation, and started working later than any previous generation. In otherwords, the milestones many of us look to as independent decision making opportunities that shape our ability to become adult such as who to date, which part-time job to take, heck even driving a car are not things this generation has experienced until as late as their early 20s. In fact, many iGens entering the workforce after college at 21 are the equivalent of a 16-year old in maturity and independent decision-making experience. This can a positive or a negative as a leader depending on how you choose to view it. The shared childhood experiences make this generation characteristically compliant and security oriented. They seek positions that offer a secure paycheck and are not as interested as their older Millennial counterparts to changing the world. Many researchers compare them to the Silent Generation that was wedged between the Greatest and the Boomer generation. They are definitely wanting to have an impact, but are happy to do it quietly and internally over a long period of time. They are not rebel rousers, but are very independent minded. They run circles around every other generation with their comfort and knowledge of today’s and tomorrow’s technology. They view the world holistically and are very concerned with their fellow citizens but are very skeptical of government and large institutions and their ability to effect meaningful change. The iGens are the perfect generation to recruit for those industries and job sectors looking for long-term employees as they will want job security and the ability to separate yet integrate their work and home life through technology. Working remotely is a breeze for them – they’ve done it since they were kids through Google Classroom.

So, what can today’s leaders use from this knowledge of generations going forward? Well, right now you have four distinct generations with their own unique personality. Understanding their shared experiences as young people will help you understand their general personality. Boomers are a dominant generation with all that goes with that personality – decisiveness, directness, competitiveness. Xers are your Compliant experts who want to have work-life balance and not be the workaholics that their Boomer coworkers are. The Millennials are the Optimists and Influencers. Channeling their optimism into specific organizational goals and helping them understand that staying on task consistently can give them great influence will go a long way to satisfying their desire to make a difference. With the youngest iGens, they will be the steady as you go worker bees of the 21st century workforce. Just as the Xers expertise and willingness to learn new technology counterbalanced the driving and work ethic of the Boomers, so too will iGens become the organizational experts that leaders can rely on to know who to go to and how to work the internal channels to accomplish goals. Something the Millennials, now entering management and leadership roles will need to balance their sometimes overly ambitious and optimistic goals. Organizations can take the knowledge of these four generations and put it to good use if they understand how each generation thinks and sees the world. Each individual employee is made up of many layers that include their values, their personality, their motivations AND their shared generational experiences. By knowing how to play to these aspects, today’s leaders can become 21st century leaders of a diverse, technologically advanced, and highly educated and motivated workforce that will propel their organizations to greater heights.

I hope this series has offered you some insights into the four generations that are currently in the workforce. As with any written piece such as a blog, it is often difficult to cover all of the details you want to convey. My hope is that this has sparked your interest in this topic and will encourage you to seek out more detailed information through the many books, websites, and research institutes that work on this topic daily. Let me know your thoughts. Please email me at kcorvin@lhln.org or sign up, log in and comment on our blog.

Remember, Leadership Rocks!

 

 

 

Leading the 21st Century Workforce:

Part II: Understanding Boomers & Xers

Guest Blog Post by Kelle Corvin


In last week’s blog, I began a 3-part discussion on the generations in the workplace and the impact they are having on leadership. In this week’s blog, I want to discuss the two older generations currently in our 21st century workforce, the Boomers and Xers. As the two older generations, they share a few “overlaps” in common as to how they think, what has influenced their view of work, and what they bring to the workplace. In next week’s edition, we will cover our two younger generations: Millennials and iGens and examine them through the same three core areas. So, let’s begin!

BOOMERS:

Boomers are so named for the Baby Boom that occurred after World War II. In general terms, this was the generation born from 1945 to 1960. Many generational experts will define the parameters differently, but for our purposes, we are interested in those who would have turned 10 years of age in either the 1950s or 1960s. Most will define this generation by the transformative events that occurred that they remember such as Sputnik, the Kennedy Assassination, the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of television over radio, rock and roll music, the Korean War, etc. This generation was raised during a time of rapid expansion of the middle class and a generally prosperous childhood. Many describe this generation as “indulged” “entitled” “hardworking” “rebellious.” What is general about this group is that they challenged the norms of their day. They asked the unwanted questions about social, civic, and technological issues and created a new way, a different way of doing things.

Despite the “rebelliousness” of the generation, they settled down in their 20s and conformed to their father’s (and mother’s) world of sorts. They thought as their parents did – linearly. Compartmentalizing home from work; work task from work task; finishing one thing before the next. While they could see connections and patterns, their early development focused them on seeing the parts, but not always the whole. Tremendously hard-working, this generation coined the phrase “workaholic.” It was the first generation to see working moms as a norm as many young women had college degrees and wanted to “have it all.” The linear thinking of this generation created and integrated modern workflows in manufacturing and service industries.

The sheer size and tenure of Boomers in the workplace and in leadership roles, means they have a great deal of organizational and institutional knowledge. They have been part of the establishment of the modern workplace from Boomer Steve Jobs and the creation of the iPhone and personal computer technology to the generation having two U.S. Presidents ( Bill Clinton and George W. Bush), no generation since the Greatest Generation has had such a significant impact on society, business and culture.

XERS:

The Xers, the younger cohort of the Boomers, were those born between 1961 and 1975. This is the smallest generation in size of the four in the workforce mainly because many of their parents (Silent born 1930-1944 or the Boomers) were more interested in cultivating careers than children. The birth rate in the U.S. alone dropped dramatically in the early 1960s as more an more women turned to birth control to manage family size and to allow them to pursue other occupations than motherhood. This generation turned 10 in the late 1960s through the mid-1970s. Depending on their age, they remember the Moon Shot in 1969, being told not to watch the photos from Vietnam on the evening news, remember seeing a President resign from office, & the Bicentennial of the United States just to name a few.

This generation was self-sufficient from a very young age and are the reason the term “latch-key” children was coined in the 1970s. As a generation, they developed a very cynical view of government and of authority in the workplace. They entered work during a unsettled economy of the late 1970s to early 1980s where Boomers were already established in leadership roles. Despite their acceptance and embrace of new technology, they shared a more linear view of the workplace with their Boomer bosses. Where the Boomers made work THE priority, Xers became labeled by Boomers as “slackers” because they wanted to balance time with family with work. They saw the new technological developments of their adulthood as the best way to achieve work-family balance. Having lived as latch-key children, they didn’t want to do the same to their kids. Signs like “Baby on Board” telegraphed to the world that kids were important again.

Xers have achieved great technical and institutional knowledge throughout their career. They bring a more open mind to technology than Boomers and were often the young Turks that first pitched personal computers to their bosses in the late 1980s and 1990s. While they view the world more linearly than our newest generations, Xers have become the bridge generation between the true linear thinkers of old and the new holistic thinkers coming into the workplace. Xers have been the frustrated leaders. While they did successfully elect their first (and possibly their only) president in Barack Obama (born August 1961), they have seen their leadership opportunities limited by a Boomer generation that hangs on far beyond 65 years of age to leadership positions or forgo leadership opportunities because of their desire to balance family responsibilities with work.

These two generations possess tremendous knowledge in organizations both private and public. They understand the inner workings of departments and have the historical context of how various policies, decisions, systems evolved or were developed. Both generations will soon be gone from the workplace. Boomers are expected to be all but gone by 2025, while many older and middle-aged Xers have planned to exit upon retirement age to pursue other interests outside of their career. Organizations must develop knowledge transfer plans now to ensure that they are properly capturing that knowledge and transferring it to the people that will be leading their organizations in the future. Mentoring programs, knowledge transfer programs, and even exit interviews with individual employees upon retirement, are just a few ways that organizations can preserve the knowledge, history, and understanding of operations that have been developed by Boomers and Xers.

Next week, we will conclude this 3-part look at managing the 21st Century Workforce by looking at the future. Millennials (born 1976-1990) and iGens born 1991-2010. We will touch on how technology has significantly altered the thinking styles of these generations and tremendously influenced the two older generations in the workplace, and we will talk about how best to recruit, train and retain these generations based on how they view the world.

For more detailed information on this topic and generations in particular, please check out my detailed book list here.

 

 

 

 

Our Suggested Books on Generations

For further reading on each of these and other generations in America, below is a list of some of my favorites:

Generations: The History of America’s Future by William Strauss and Neil Howe

The Fourth Turning by Williams Strauss and Neil Howe

Generations at Work by Ron Zemke, Claire Raines, & Bob Filipczak

Millennials Rising by Neil Howe

When Generations Collide by Lynne C. Lancaster       

Gen Z Unfiltered by Tim Elmore

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood by Jean M. Twenge, PhD

On Thinking:

A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Share your books with us! Have you read a book on generations, thinking, leadership that we should know about? Please let Kelle know at kcorvin@lhln.org.  We will add it to our Leader’s Library!

 

Kelle Corvin is the Director of Business Development for Crisp Consulting Group. She has a background in public administration with more than 20 years of experience in the public and private sector. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from Kansas University and is certified in DISC, Motivators and Emotional Intelligence inventories. Kelle is passionate about understanding generations and how they contribute to the workplace.  She would love to hear from you about this topic at kcorvin@lhln.org 

LEADING THE 21ST CENTURY WORKFORCE

3-PART SERIES ON THE PEOPLE, CactiveHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES FACING LEADERS

BY GUEST BLOGGER, KELLE CORVIN

Over the last few weeks, Dean has dived into the Leadership Tipping Point that the Covid-19 pandemic situation has created for leaders. No longer can a leader simply make decisions based on what is best for the “whole” but rather, they must factor in the impact their decision has on individual employees – never before have we been in an environment of this sort as leaders. While the tipping point may have been created by Covid-19, the elements and “push” factors have been in place for about a decade, or ever since Millennials were firmly established in the workforce. More on that later.

In this week’s blog, we will begin a 3-week look at what 21st Century leadership looks like and how it has been created. This is not just a straight discussion on generations, but rather a look at how those generations came to be and how they are impacting the 21st Century workplace and how leaders guide them.  All of this has contributed to the tipping point we have seen with the Covid-19 virus.

Looking at this topic does involve a close look at each of the 4 main generations currently in the workforce and how their values, thinking style, and worldview are impacting today’s work environment. We will take a close look at how each generation was formed by these aspects and what how each generation brings unique qualities that both enhance and challenge the workplace as well as how leaders impact their people. This first blog post will be a general overview of the topic and generations in today’s workplace. Then, over the next 2 weeks, we will dive deep into each generation’s characteristics, what they bring to the workforce, and how best to recruit, train, and retain them. So, let’s get started!

Values:

Let’s begin by establishing in this week’s post what we mean when we say values. We know from the work of many generational theorists that each generation develops a common “Values Imprint”. This was brought to the foreground in the late 1970s and 1980s by Dr. Morris Massey of the University of Colorado. While he was not the first to notice, he was the first to turn it mainstream and help corporate America understand what they were seeing in terms of differences between their mature workers and the newbies coming into the workforce (mostly Boomers at that time).

Massey explained that human development goes through a series of values development phases: 0-7 years of age is dedicated to understanding what your family sees as right v wrong. You are typically focused on learning self-care and self-management and experiences it’s first “values” lock – what my family says is right/wrong.

In the next phase 8-15 years of age, a typical human child will begin to look outward for validation and the beginnings of making social connections with their peers (same age range) and other adults. They will also begin to notice and process family, community and world events that will have an impact on the second values lock period. It is during this timeframe that the “values” of a generation are formed.

Values (cont’d):

Examples of each generation will be given in subsequent blog posts, but a specific one might be that Boomers (those who turned 10 years old during either the 1950s or the 1960s, would have had their values impacted by Rock and Roll, the rise of the middle class, the Vietnam War, the Summer of Love, and the Moonshot. The impact would have been I can do anything I want to do that I put my mind and effort behind and the government is often wrong and gets in the way of me pursuing what I want to do by making bad policy decisions that kill people. Now that’s a bit simplistic, but I think we can safely say that most Boomers (born between 1945 and 1960) are one of the more determined and ambitious generations in our current workforce. We will explore this more in next week’s blog post on Boomers.

Thinking Style:

Just as each generation has a “values” similarity, they also tend to view the world in one of two ways – either linearly or holistically. So, what does that mean exactly? Well let’s begin with what it is to be a linear thinker. Linear thinkers are those that prefer to compartmentalize their world. They view the world in separate parts or pieces. Home life is separate from work life. At work each aspect of their job may have connection points, but the linear thinker tends to work on one thing to completion before going to the next task. In other words, it’s a step-by-step progression that follows known cycles and rules where one step is completed before moving on to the next.  

Contrast this with a holistic or non-linear thinker. A holistic thinker looks at all of the individual parts and sees the connections. Remember the old Sesame Street Song “One of these things is doing it’s own thing?” Well that certainly played well to the linear thinker, who would see the immediate “unfit” object, but to the non-linear thinker, they wouldn’t see 3 knives and 1 fork but rather 4 pieces of silverware. Holistic or non-linear thinkers don’t work in straight lines or even a sequential manner. Rather, they will draw conclusions or make connections on what seems like totally unrelated topics! As leaders, it’s critical to understand your preferred thinking style, but also that of each of your people AND that there is a general characteristic of thinking that develops among generations! We will see that as this series unfolds.

Worldview:

So, we come to the third area of impact on generations that is really a culmination of the previous two. One’s values and thinking style (as well as personality, motivators, etc.) will combine to create one’s worldview. You will also see general worldview characteristics among the different generations. So, what is a worldview? Well it is defined as one’s philosophy or conception of the world. Some social scientists would call this a paradigm that has been established based on your life experiences, values, and thinking style. Often, one’s paradigm can be upended or dramatically changed by what Dr. Massey called a SEE (Significant Emotional Event).  This paradigm is usually established by the time most humans have reached upper adolescence or early adulthood (ages 16-23). Again, the influences of your family, your community, the world events that have occurred during the formative years of your life will all combine to create your worldview.

Generational theory is a constantly evolving body of social science. It is fascinating and goes back many decades and even centuries. Perhaps the defining book in the modern era that began to look at these generational patterns was the Strauss & Howe book called Generations that looked at the cycles of American history and the influence that generational characteristics had on it. They called them “turnings”.  Their work sparked a new field of study in many universities that continues to look at each new generation coming into American society. Over the next two weeks, I will explore the current generations that are in, exiting, or entering the workplace in the 21st century and how each contributes to the success of organizations while offering challenges to current leaders. The four I will focus on will be Boomers (born 1945-1960); Xers (born 1961-1979); Millennials (born 1980-1994) and iGens (born 1995-2010) but I will group them into the more linear thinkers (Boomer and Xers) and the more holistic thinkers (Millennials and iGens). I will touch on each by exploring the events that likely shaped their worldviews as well as what they bring to the modern workplace and how each plays a critical role going forward in the 21st century especially following a major event such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

I hope you enjoy this series! Let me know your thoughts and experiences on this topic.

 

Kelle Corvin

kcorvin@lhln.org