June 2007 Vol. 6 No. 6

It Really Works by Barbara Metzger

One of my clients got a very nice honor. Vintage IT Services was picked as the #1 Best Places to Work in Austin in the small business category. Congratulations to Steve Hanes and his team.

This past Friday the Austin Business Journal had a pull out section of all the best places to work in Austin with categories in the small, medium and large businesses. It not only had articles on the first and second place winners in each category, but short descriptions of the top 10 – 20 (depending on the category).

I have to admit, I was feeling really good when Steve included information about MaxImize in his article. He was giving us credit for helping to build a good team that has the ability to interact well with his clients and each other. VERY NICE.

Reading this section brought about a couple of different thoughts.

5 out of 6 articles mentioned the process of hiring the right people as a key to success and team.

It was not surprising to me how many of the companies mentioned how important hiring the right team members was a strong element. One mentioned an eight interview process, others just mentioned making sure the team fit together. But it was evident there is a conscious effort and process for getting good team members.

However, there was an article within the same section that was how to play the political corporate games. It was recommending to not letting any of your co-workers know anything personal about you as well as some other strategic elements of never becoming friends with co-workers, etc. Now, the article did have some good points on surviving and thriving in the corporate environment.

What struck me was this was very different from the atmosphere described by the top places to work. Many of them talked of outside activities involving the whole team, or dog friendly work environments, or time spent finding out what was happening in each others’ personal lives. This is a very different picture than the political game strategy piece.

Where do you want to work? It would seem to me that since a major portion of our awake time is spent at work, it would even more important to have a good fit for the team member and for the co-workers and company.

Or the flip side of that would be – to attract and keep good team members, the work environment is becoming more and more important. Do you have a system to help build a strong team??? We can help. Just ask Steve Hanes.

To Learn More About Maximize contact Barbara@maxproductivity.com

Generational Workplace Woes: Geezers vs. Geeks by Dr. Ira Wolfe

As a result of efforts to retain aging workers longer and to fill the new jobs being created as well as replace retiring workers, the workforce is becoming much more multigenerational. Today, we have four distinct generations sharing the workplace: the "Traditional" older workers, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y (also called the "Millennials" or the "Net" generation.) This means that the workplace will be increasingly characterized not just by an aging workforce, but also by increased age diversity.

According to a survey by Lee Heckt Harrison, more than 60% of employers say they are experiencing tension between employees from different generations. The older generation has always complained about the younger one, but, in the modern workplace, the misunderstanding works both ways. Today, you might have a fresh college graduate managing a person thirty, or even forty years older! It can be difficult, on both sides, to handle the disparities of this reality.

I recently overheard the following discussion that summed up the problem. Common conversation between "seasoned" workers is that "I can't find young people to put in a good week's work anymore" (aka - 60-hour work week). To that young Millenials reply: "I will work 60 hours if I have too!" What Gen Ys are really saying is "I'm sorry it takes you 60 hours to complete in what takes me only 40 hours." Gen Ys will work long and hard - they just don't want it to be a way of life.

This generational "crowding" is making for some major conflict and miscommunication in the workplace. That's because each generation has its own distinct set of values, shaped by their unique social conditions, political events, economic conditions, major crises and childhood experiences. Each generation also reacts to the generation before them, and this reaction becomes part of its own identity and defining characteristics. These differences can lead to major misunderstandings between coworkers raised in different eras.

Authors Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas have their own unique view of this situation. They see the generation gap as being between what they call the "geeks" (the younger, "digital" generations) and the "geezers" (the older, "analog" generations.) The analog world in which today's older generations grew up was primarily linear. It rewarded specialization and experience, followed a mechanical understanding of the world, and favored organizational hierarchy. The digital world of the younger generations is nonlinear; it favors a flat organizational structure and rewards the generalist with the beginner's mind. Rather than a mechanical view of the world, it favors a more fluid and changing "living systems" model. This is a major paradigm shift that increasingly divides different generations in the workplace.

Managing this conflict, and finding ways to value the unique contributions made by these four unique generations in the workforce, will be a challenge for all businesses in the future.

Behavioral competency-based interviewing makes good business sense and is a best practice. To learn how to identify competencies and conduct effective behavioral interviews, email Barbara@maxproductivity.com and please include your name, company, and best time to contact you.

Perfect Labor Storm Facts and Trends

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the following events will occur during the month of JUNE 2007:

  • One birth every................................... 7 seconds
  • One death every.................................. 13 seconds
  • One international migrant (net) every....... 27 seconds
  • Net gain of one person every.................. 10 seconds

Birth rates show the waves of demographic changes since 1920. The following "waves" contributed in large part to the impending Perfect Labor Storm.

  • Birth death: reduction of birthrates in the late 1920s and early 1930s
  • Baby boom: 1946-1964
  • Baby bust: 1965-1975
  • Baby boom echo: late 1980s and 1990s

The year 2007 will see an increase in skilled worker shortages and more competition. The result will be higher salaries, more training and career advancement opportunities, and more flexible work cultures. How prepared is your company to find skilled and dependable workers?

  • The National Association of Colleges and Employers recently reported that communication skills top the list of what employers look for the most in employees and job candidates. Ironically, communication skills also top the list of skills most

Perfect Labor Storm 2.0 is now available. Perfect Labor Storm 2.0 is the newly updated and revised 2007 edition of best-selling book first published in 2005. Contact us to get this fact filled book. Barbara@maxproductivity.com
The featured article and labor storm facts are written by Ira S. Wolfe, founder of Success Performance Solutions, and is distributed here by MaxImize with permission. To read more about any of SPS pre-employment assessment systems, go to or call 717.291.4640 or 800.803.4303