Growing Your Future
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Profile

Gary Weilbaker

Gary Weilbaker brings a background in professional Ag recruiting as well as seed, fertilizer and chemical sales. He grew up on a Northern Indiana crop and livestock operation and graduated from Purdue University in 1990 with a degree in animal science. Gary's professional career started with Northrup King Seed Company in seed production and sales followed by agronomy management with EMP Co-op. His Recruiting career started in 2000 where he specializes in the agronomy, grain and Ag finance areas which has yielded over 350 professional agricultural industry placements. Gary's current recruiting responsibilities for Career Solutions are Retail Agronomy, Seed, and Ag Banking for the Eastern Corn Belt.

Gary is married with 5 children and lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana where he enjoys crop and livestock farming and spending time with his family.

Posts by this Contributor

24 January 2011
Posted by Gary Weilbaker | Topic: Job Tips

Leading by generation

Not too long ago, I did a Powerpoint on cross-generational leadership synergy. I wanted to write about today because I think it's an important topic, especially in the recruiting industry when we want to recruit and retain the BEST from each generation. Let's have a look at the four generations I'm referring to:

Millennials - Born approx 1982-2000 (Today's kids)
Generation Xers - Born approx 1965-1981 (Today's thirty-something)
Baby Boomers - Born approx 1946-1964 (Today's thirty-something's parents)
Traditionalists - Born before 1946 (Grandparents of today's youth)

All of these generations have obviously experienced different 'defining' moments in life. Some major world moments for the millennials would be 911, the Gulf War, Princess Diana's death, Columbine, Internet, child-focused world, etc.

From the perspective of the Millennial, some expectations of the workplace characteristics could include:
• Re-emerging social consciousness
• Life-long learning/intellectual curiosity
• Smart work/problem solving
• Holistic Lifestyle
• Technology dependence
• Optimistic
• Confident
• Achievement oriented
• Respect for diversity

When looking at this list, here are some ways to acquire, retain, and communicate with the Millennial generation:
• Clear goals and expectations
Communicate Frequently on Performance
• No news is bad news (helicopter parents)
• Establish mentoring programs-real vs. false
• Establish friendly and nurturing atmosphere
• Maybe soft, avoid combative situations
• Promote team-building environment
• Validate recognition in groups
• Allow work/life balance

Lets look at Generation X in the same manner:

Key experiences would include the Energy Crisis, PCs, Regan era, Berlin Wall, the Challenger, Sesame Street, and MTV.

Some business perspectives and workplace characteristics of Generations Xers:
• Self-reliance
• Building skill portfolio
• Work relationship negotiation
• “Work to live, don’t live to work”
• Unimpressed with authority
• Skepticism
• Live for adventure

Best way to acquire, retain and lead Generation Xers:
• Establish clear goals and expectations
• Reinforce building capabilities/skills
• Frequent communication on how company is doing - Good, Bad, and ugly
• Direct, candid feedback on job performance
• Allow for work/life balance flexibility
• Foster less formal “boss”-employee relationship to coach

The Baby Boomers had some major key experiences: Vietnam War, Watergate, free- love, Peace Corp., Cold War, TV, Kennedy assassination

Some business perspectives and workplace characteristics of Baby Boomers:
• Live to work (pack & go)
• Personal gratification
• Goal attainment-including status/level
• Promotion of equality
• Redefining everything
• Desire to please
• Optimism
• Involvement, team orientation
• Social consciousness

How to acquire and retain and lead the best:
• Recognize client and company contribution
• Reinforce personal fulfillment and purpose
• Be title/status sensitive to Top performers
• Allow for flexibility of family and work responsibilities

Last but not least, let’s look at a generation recap for the Traditionalists: Some key experiences for this generation were The Great depression, FDR’s New Deal, World War II, D-Day, and the atomic age.

Business perspectives and workplace characteristics for Traditionalists:
• Boundaries
• Duty before pleasure
• Honor
• Security and life long careers
• Loyalty
• Hierarchy
• Respect for authority
• Conformity
• Discipline

How to acquire, retain and lead the best:
• Reinforce the value of their contribution
• Emphasize revenue and profitability contribution
• Enlist as mentors
• One-on-one reinforcement of where the company is going
• Allow for increased work/personal balance

Now that I’ve laid that foundation, we’ll talk about some business cases and making the most out of communicating with each generation.