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Why write another book?

Generational issues, some might say, is a topic that’s been beaten to death. There are numerous books on the subject, and mine is one of many blogs out in cyberspace. Additionally, people can sign up for training sessions, bring in experts for team building, and in some cases, have a company strategy realigned to deal with the "issues."

Yet Work With Me does something a bit different. It acknowledges the similarities across the generations. Yes, in fact we have more than being the same species in common across all the generations in today’s workforce.

Debra Magnuson and Lora Alexander, with Personnel Decisions International (PDI), have co-authored Work With Me: A New Lens on Leading the Multigenerational Workforce. A Baby-Boomer and Gen-Xer, respectively, they gathered information from numerous groups and research to pull together a book that is just as much a tool as it is a set of bound pages.  

So what inspired the book?

"We were in a really long meeting," said Alexander. "I grabbed a napkin and sent it across the table to Debra saying ‘We should write a book about this.’"

So, similar to all those other great ideas that began as a napkin sketch, Alexander and Magnuson began crafting a book about the Generations. But they couldn’t be like every other book out there. They knew that if they were going to write about four generations colliding in the workplace, they would have to get it right.

So who is in the workforce? Traditionalists (1922-1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Gen-Xers (1965-1980), and Gen-Yers (1981-2000).

If you don’t believe me, look at the world today: Warren Buffet is aiding in the economic bailout, Barak Obama is the U.S. President-Elect, Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane is a modern-day renaissance man, and America Ferrera’s Ugly Betty teaches us that you have to take responsibility for your career. 

"We had a chance to bring the misconceptions to light," said Magnuson, "and explore what were the underlying flash points that created all those famous incidents we hear about."

Alexander said, "Everyone has a story. There was a woman at a company who just had a baby, was on leave but still came into the office to a strategy meeting. Her overalls and ball cap (she did have an infant at home) insulted a Traditionalist in the room. Instead of working out the next year’s strategic direction, the group had to work through why her appearance was a big deal."

In Work With Me, Alexander and Magnuson provide a number of similar stories for readers. They then go beyond the stories and explain what companies can do about the conflicts. And they have the background to do so.

PDI is a global leadership consulting firm with distinctive expertise in building leadership talent that provides real competitive advantage. With the aim at developing better leaders in the workforce, Alexander and Magnuson targeted this book to be an instrument for those who really can make a difference in their organizations.

"Mid-Level and Business-Unit leaders are strategic in setting Talent Management policy," said Magnuson. "They set the tone for the future and can make it happen. This book can help them along the way."

In the next entry, we will be looking at where leaders can find common ground among the generations.


Win a copy of Work with Me! Post a comment to this blog and you will be entered in a drawing to win a signed copy of the book. Additional information can be found at Also available for Amazon Kindle.



The views expressed in my blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.