Misunderstanding leads to Missed Opportunity: Valued Exchange

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – African Proverb

The workforce is comprised of different generations – all of whom bring their own unique, distinct assets to the table. All are equally important, all are diverse, and all of which are comprised of a different composition.

Naturally, everyone views the world in a different light and largely age is a contributing factor. Can you imagine if we all saw the world the same? There is extreme value and overwhelming opportunity in our differences. Fundamentally generations are different. We have different experiences, knowledge base, social learning, work style and the list continues. As history has taught us, differences, or lack of understanding and education, can lead to miscommunication and isolation. The workplace is no exception.

Miscommunication and isolation leads to missed opportunity for exploration, growth and greatness.

Do you understand the contribution and value that each generation brings? Despite which generational category you fall in, I challenge you to stop and reflect. Assumptions and stereotypes lead us to conclusions that limit our ability to remain objective; therefore, limiting our ability to discover the value of our differences. In every organization there is a hierarchical structure set in place and it shapes how and who associates operate and collaborate with on a daily basis. Challenge yourself to step outside structure and explore possibility by understanding how different relationships can mutually benefit. Find value by embracing our differences and humbling ourselves in the process. Once we understand and remove limits, a beautiful exchange can occur. Within that exchange is something powerful and prominent – it is potential.

Former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch, was a prime example of seeking potential in difference. Someone brought to him this concept of Reverse Mentoring, where the older generation adopts a mentor from the younger generation. Through this lens, Jack became a modest pupil – the effect was mutual. Older generation re-inspired while the younger generation became further engaged as they gained visibility and exposure. This atypical process has enabled all within the organization to view all associates as an untapped resource and potential teacher, regardless of age.

Embrace differences. Inspire each other and commit to the growth that will organically begin in yourself and each other when you seek potential, defend less and listen more.

Find the value in the other, not in the birth date.


Emily Randle is an Area HR Manager at Exel Logistics. Emily also serves on the Relā(NxGen) Steering Committee.

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2 Responses to “Misunderstanding leads to Missed Opportunity: Valued Exchange

  • Napoleon Bell
    6 years ago

    I thing this is an excellent perspective and very insightful. Thanks for sharing

  • Darnita Bradley
    6 years ago

    I like the idea of reverse mentoring! Great article.

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