Have you ever had the experience of talking with someone or hearing a presentation that makes so much sense it touches something deep within you and places a new filter on your brain when analyzing things moving forward? That is the experience I had while attending the recent Reinvention Convention: ‘Intergenerational Harmony’ on Friday, November 9th.
The morning began with the keynote speaker, Chuck Underwood, who has a phenomenal way of explaining the teachings and world events that have molded the core values of each of our generations. Mr. Underwood was able to give audience members a very truthful and touching insight into the five generations shaped by our one America. He defines a ‘generation’ as an age group that shares similar basic core values because they absorbed similar “times” and “teachings” during their formative years, which are the first 18-23 years of life. A ‘core value’ is created by what is happening in the world during your generation’s formative years.
Chuck Underwood is one of the original pioneers who developed and popularized the field of generational studies. He is the founder and principal of the generational consulting firm, The Generational Imperative, Inc. with a client list that includes Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Macy’s, Veterans Healthcare Administration, United States Military, American Council on Education, and hundreds more across virtually all industries. He is also the author of America’s Generations in the Workplace, Marketplace, and the Living Room.
As Mr. Underwood discussed each generation, there was an air of compassion and understanding sailing through the room as we came to understand each other a bit more and how we are all shaped by different generational core values. The Baby Boomer audience members were touched by remembering their generation was responsible for propelling forward civil rights, female rights, and environmental rights. As a Gen X’er, I was reminded that a large part of the core values of my generation was formed by absorbing the full force of the feminist message. Congress passed Title IX, which demanded all federally funded schools must equalize sports offerings between boys and girls. The message to all girls was “There Are No Limits.” Mental ‘light bulbs’ were flickering on very quickly for me as I understood how these world events helped shape the core values that guide me and how they guide the other generations.
We segued into panel discussions with local community leaders. The audience discussed topics of workforce, economy, innovation, philanthropy, and family as related to different generations. The conversation continued to be filled with the possibility of Intergenerational Harmony.
As the convention was coming to an end, Mr. Underwood had one more treat for us. We were asked to share the generation we were born in and one thing we would like other generations to know. This was a fascinating process. There were people from the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, and Millennials. Everyone shared from their hearts; there were even a few tears of honesty. As I left the room, I made a promise to myself to find creative ways to bring together generations to learn from and applaud each other’s contributions to our society.
Can you think of ways you can interact with different generations?