Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sticking Points by Haydn Shaw

As a Boomer, I respect Traditionalists. And I understand Boomers. But what's with the Gen Xers and Millennials? They are so different!

For the first time in history there are four generations in the workplace. The differences in them often produce conditions where people are stuck. Shaw believes these issues can be turned into sticking points, where people of different generations will stick together.

I really appreciated his overview of each of the generations. He tells the ghost stories that have helped define them. Rather than having to read an entire book on each to figure out the Gen Xers and Mellinnials, Shaw has given me enough information that I can at least understand how they are different from me and why. Those four overviews make the book worthwhile alone.

Shaw goes on to identify twelve issues he thinks will most likely drive teams apart. Communication is one. Traditionalists might write a memo and circulate it while the Boomers expect an email. Millennials will prefer a text message – maybe several a day to keep up to speed. How about dress in the workplace? Are flip-flops appropriate? What about tank tops? What about fun at work? Can Millennials surf the web or check Facebook while at work? The company picnic no longer works, so what do you do? Traditionalists and Boomers are resolved to having the boss make decisions but Gen Xers and Millennials are used to back and forth communication and want to have their input make a difference.

Shaw gives a five step plan and applies it to each of the issues. He gives specific examples of companies with one of the issues and what he suggested to change the issue from being stuck to one where generations were sticking.

While the book is designed for helping in the work place, it has much information that is valuable whenever the generations are together. School boards, religious organizations and similar groups will find help in this book.

Here is one of the many insights I gained from this book: “Millennials were taught that everyone deserves respect and that all people are entitled to express their opinions because they are human beings, not because of their abilities or accomplishments.” (184) That is so much the opposite of how I was trained as a child – be quiet and respect the older, more experienced speakers. No wonder the Millennials interrupt, adding their ideas to our Boomer discussions!


Haydn Shaw is a leading expert on the multiple generations, leadership, change, and turning around negative work environments. He has worked with FranklinCovey for over twenty years as a senior consultant and a keynote speaker.

Tyndale House, 217 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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