Monday, November 17, 2014

Shedding Light on Inherent Generational Attitudes and Beliefs

An insightful essay that sheds necessary light on generational attitudes and differences, the article Unleashing the Potential of the MillennialGeneration in the Family Enterprise  by organizational consultant and clinical psychologist Dennis T. Jaffe is absolutely worth a read for family enterprise advisors and members of all generations of a family enterprise. The main thrust of the article is that education, awareness and communication would go a long way to dispelling the stereotypes, resentments and conflict that often occurs between members of different generations; that corralling members of the family enterprise from multiple generations needn’t be unnecessarily difficult and that it is in family members’ best interest to do so. Jaffe outlines inherent generation-specific beliefs with an omniscient point of view, thereby removing bias or judgment and providing the reader with a fresh lens with which to understand the beliefs of any generation, resulting in an important and descriptive article which business family members could learn from. With the potential to help educate members of any generation to learn about each other, this article could serve as a tool or catalyst in times of stress and division between generations of a family enterprise. While Jaffe does suggest a few concrete ways of organizing family discussions and meetings at the end, the value in this article lies in the description of generational behaviors, beliefs, assumptions and stereotypes that are difficult to acknowledge – let alone discuss – when a family is bristling with generational differences. A rare glimpse into the age-specific ideas and principles of different generations in a family firm, this essay explains and illuminates rather than makes excuses for any one generation. Don’t let the few typos distract you from taking the information and observations in this essay. Use them in your practice and with your clients, or simply share this article with members of a family enterprise who could benefit from a growing awareness of inherent generational beliefs. After all – education must start with awareness, and awareness can’t grow in a family when its members are actively stereotyping and judging one another.   


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