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New York, March 20, 2015   View from my window

And it’s been in the mid-60s temperature-wise these last few days in mid-December!!!

Nature is full of surprises… and so are people.

Your preconceived notions about members of a generation may or may not prove to be true. Learn the typical generational influences and use that framework to understand behaviors and worldviews. It will help to solve your/your organization’s inter-generational challenges.


Phyllis Weiss Haserot       www.pdcounsel.com

For the holidays: Shine light and love!


After the events of the past week and month, I feel that simply saying Happy Hanukkah or Happy Holidays is insufficient. Instead, and in the spirit of the holidays, I am asking myself – and you – what can we do to shine a continual light and love and ward off fears at this time and going forward?

As a start, let’s talk to each other. Conversation can be powerful.

I have many friends in their 20s and 30s, who I talk with regularly. And I am wondering what teenagers who have never known a world without the threat of terrorism are thinking and feeling. What are you hearing? This is not meant to be political.

Please share your thoughts.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com



On Veterans Day – or any day – we need to go beyond expressing gratitude for veterans’ military service. That’s a given. But what they really want and deserve are jobs – new careers – that not only provide a paycheck (vital) but also enable them to use their skills, insights and perspectives gained from their experience to continue to contribute in meaningful ways.

Whether potential employers, recruiters or workplace colleagues, it’s important to realize that 20- or 30-something veterans, particularly those who have had combat experience or trained those who have, are not typical Gen Y/Millennials. Of necessity, they have achieved a greater sense of maturity, and they have likely faced and survived different challenges. Often they are more comfortable working and socializing with Gen Xers and Boomers. Their diverse experience should be recognized for the extraordinary value it can bring to the business and consumer marketplace. They know what extreme loyalty and teamwork is.

Reach out and help them network and learn the business cultures they will be entering. Respect them not only for their past but what they can be in the future given the opportunity.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot     www.pdcounsel.com




Recently I attended a panel on Millennials at which the moderator posed the question to the audience, ”Can Perspective be taught?” “How?” She said she had no answer.

The answer seems fairly obvious to me – simple, but not easy: Make time both informally and organically as well as in periodic planned occasions to converse, dialogue, and share revealing stories among the generations to create understanding of why and how attitudes and behaviors were formed.

The younger generations don’t generally have the perspective to appreciate the positive changes the Boomers accomplished and what our society and business world was like before. We have to teach that better so they understand and are aware of what they could stand to lose.

It’s not just about younger people learning from older and more experienced colleagues. Equally important is the reverse – that older, longer tenured colleagues and stakeholders learn perspective from the younger ones. I am referring to the value of understanding how different people see the world, what they view as new markets and skills for the future, and what it looks like to them to never know what things were like before.

This cross-generational conversation lays the foundation for more understanding, empathy and working out solutions together rather than holding on to rigid opinions that criticize without possibility of useful solutions.

One reason I find the negative things I hear about one generation or another frustrating is that often behavior that’s criticized became a habit because no one told the “perpetrator” what’s wrong with it and why. That is not something that should be left to shaming on social media, an action that doesn’t solve anything.

When I pointed out after the panel discussion that cross-generational conversation can make a significant difference, the moderator who raised the question of whether perspective can be taught responded that the young people (in this case) might listen but they don’t change their behavior. Well, that’s not been my experience if the conversation is carried on with a non-judgmental tone.

Here are 5 Tips for Teaching Perspective:

  • Check your attitude. Refrain from being judgmental.
  • Use a neutral tone of voice. Don’t lecture. Assume a friendly demeanor and an open mind for discussion.
  • Explain in the context of a conversation you are having. Be concrete. Tell a story with a meaningful outcome.
  • Don’t be defensive if there is pushback. Explain that you want to better understand each other.
  • If the learning doesn’t appear to be happening, try again later with another story or approach.

It may take a few repetitions and illustrative stories, but gradually it sticks. If not, the individual is just not open to learning, and that can be manifest at any age.

The alternative is continued frustration and less than optimum productivity or performance. Let’s face it, those are the people you have to work with. So unless you get off on just being able to claim you are right…give the conversation a try.

Please comment and share your thoughts and experiences. How do you deal with teaching perspective?

Phyllis Weiss Haserot     www.pdcounsel.com





Most of us would like to feel we have made a difference.

Working on a client engagement that included the challenges of transitioning planning for partners in their early 60s, I developed a series of “legacy exercises” focused on work legacy. Ideally everyone by age 50 should be thinking about legacy. 

Starting earlier is even better, as it helps to create a career vision of meaningful work. Perhaps sadly, often busy people tend not to think about legacy till later when they must try to make up for lost time. Legacy is about more than end of life and who to leave money to. It is about work, family, friends, causes, mentoring – what one passes on to the next generations and peers in as broad a sense as you would like to think about it. Primarily it is about values and about continual learning for you and others.

Here are some questions you might start thinking about as an individual or a team.

  • What do you want to be remembered for wherever you are working now? By your clients? by your colleagues? In the context or your role or roles in the organization?
  • What do you want to be remembered for in your community?
  • What would you like to pass on to the next generations – people you work with or know in other capacities?
  • What do you want to be remembered for in general as a person?
  • What can you start to do now or change now to be able to achieve that legacy?

Building legacy can be one of the most fulfilling things you can do in your life. And not only that, it outlives you and, in a way, keeps you present when you are no longer there.

Contact me to learn about our Legacy-Makers Mastermind groups and to receive a free list of “Tips for Building a Legacy at Work.”

Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com





In the month of Love (Valentines Day) and Leadership (Presidents Day), I am making a pitch for breaking down silos and creating a coalition on inclusion and true opportunity.

A primary reason dealing with intergenerational challenges at work is so crucial is that not only do they directly affect bottom line revenues, but also they intersect with other diversity factors such as gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation (and much more) that organizations already admit have an impact on their market position, workforce hiring, retention and productivity. 

The big data folks and the politicians know this is true, and realize it is complex. And they are better at crunching the numbers and exhorting than marshalling coalitions to work constructively and productively for change.

I will continue my writing and speaking about breaking down the affinity silos and creating coalitions for inclusion and changing workplace structures in the future. I welcome anyone who is interested to come on board with me (pwhaserot@pdcounsel.com). We can achieve much more progress together.

Stay tuned, send your thoughts and comment here.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com



Elevate into 2015!!!
It’s been a great year… and 2015 will be even better! Not just because I am a congenital optimist (guilty!), but also because we have a clear purpose and you in my life supporting that purpose.
Spark the New Year right off with some great cross-generational conversation with your clients, colleagues, family and friends. Stay on our journey.
With many thanks for your friendship, confidence and trust, wishing you
Health, peace, joy and fulfillment in 2015
Keep doing great, meaningful work, having fun and spreading joy!



Continuing a 25-year tradition, we have made a donation to City Harvest in the name of our clients, referrers, advocates and dedicated colleagues.  We support City Harvest’s efforts to “rescue” high quality and nutritious food from restaurants and other sources that would otherwise go to waste and distribute it to those in need of food.

 To you who are much more fortunate, I wish these invaluable intangibles:

Health, peace, joy and fulfillment in 2015

With many thanks for your friendship, confidence and trust to:

my wonderful current and past clients,the Cross-Generational Conversation Day Planning Committee, the Cross-Generational Conversation group members on LinkedIn, my Mastermind Group, social media followers, my great friends and family – and of course, you, my valued readers.

Spark the New Year right off with some great cross-generational conversation. Let us know how it changes your perspective and how you want to connect to others. What new challenges will you take on? What problem are you determined to solve? What new skill or knowledge will you acquire? What knowledge will you pass on to a younger or older colleague?

Keep doing great, meaningful work, having fun and spreading joy!





I have purposely avoided putting politically infused content on social media because my work transcends the political, and I don’t want the two to be linked. But this morning (8/29/14) I read a Wall Street journal OP-Ed by (Republican) John Barrasso, Senator from Wyoming, that I feel compelled to comment on.

The title is “Six Threats Bigger than Climate Change.” In it he states that Secretary of State Kerry is wrong to say that climate change is the biggest challenge we face right now. He goes on to elaborate on six foreign policy threats we are all aware of from terror threats around the world.

I can’t argue that those six threats are not more acute at this moment. My beef with the article and his point is that we shouldn’t be seeing the serious threats as an “either or” situation. We, and our leaders, rightly need to address longer-term problems as well as the most immediate ones. We need to look even beyond current generations.

AND while ordinary citizens cannot play a role in foreign policy other than to vote and express their views, everyone has a role to play in ameliorating the climate change threats in at least small ways. We can adopt more sustainable practices and conserve energy and other things we can incorporate in our everyday lives without need for government legislation.

We need to look even beyond current generations.

A citizenry frustrated with inaction from both parties’ inability to get almost anything done can take action in their own small ways and feel they can and are making a difference.

Let’s stop the political posturing and do what we can!

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com


When senior professionals who are used to being in charge must make way for new leadership, they may be able to stay productive in valuable new roles for the firm.

Here are some that have been developed at our client firms or that we know of, or we suggest:

*  Chief Learning Officer (professional development)

*  Chief Diversity Officer

*  Administrative Partner for a practice group

*  Hiring Partner responsible for lateral recruiting and integration

*  Chief Business Development Officer (to work with the Marketing Department and be able to meet with prospective clients as a firm “partner”)

*  Pro Bono Director (partner level)

Of course, the partners need to be willing to adjust their compensation, but they should be able to cut back hours - a flexibility bonus.

Obviously, in the case of many of these, a firm can only utilize one person in the position. A firm could have several administrative partners (non-equity) and project managers for practice groups and attorneys whose function is business development leads and client relationship management without performing billable work or being a major business generator.

Firms (desperately) need more mentoring, training and coaching for associates and junior partners. It is often not being done diligently and frequently because attorneys are not compensated for these functions and often not even given non-financial rewards, including much praise. Even people who don’t need the money want to feel valued. That is a big issue we find with our clients. Not feeling valued is often more of a source of resentment and poor morale than reduced or lack of financial compensation among transitioning partners.

So, one of our transitioning principles and recommendations is compensation during the transitioning process - compensation at the attorney’s highest level, but rather a figure sufficient to provide an incentive and security for doing transitioning right and helping the heirs apparent and the firm. Firm support of a transitioning process will take away potential stigmas and convey that the individual is valued and is continuing to contribute to the firm.

Transitioning partners also need to develop some excitement for what they can do work-wise after they leave the firm, should they want to keep working - and many Boomers will, in some capacity. So some transitioners will decide they have attractive options and not want to hang on.

(c) Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com

Note: This blog is an excerpt from the 2014 edition of The Rainmaking Machine by Phyllis Weiss Haserot (Thomson Reuters/Westlaw) to be published summer 2014.

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