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Birth of a Vision: THE ORIGIN OF CROSS-GENERATIONAL CONVERSATION DAY

Have you ever found yourself literally bolt up awakened by an idea that just kept coming and wouldn’t quit?

Celebration

My inspiration for Cross-Generational Conversation Day was the stunning example of determination and resiliency of a 36-year-old friend and star teacher, Karri Ankrom, to jump back into life after episodes of a series of daunting illnesses. The idea of declaring a “Day” literally woke me up with a fountain of details pouring out of my head. It was the morning after celebrating an almost miraculous “recovery” of her then most serious set of medical complications.

Somehow my subconscious associated the two – or probably relieved of the immediate worry, freed me to birth the idea I had conceived of two months before, told one person, and then forgot about. The mind can be full of surprise associations!…. I felt if she could persevere facing all her difficulties, I can be committed enough to implement my vision. It and she continue to inspire me.

Once it was quickly outlined in mind-maps and notes on two pages of lined yellow paper, I was determined to take the concept to reality 

I know in my gut that the world and virtually every organization need cross-generational conversation as an integral part of its culture and business model. I had been working on programs and using the phrase in consulting work, writing and speaking for several years. What would create more awareness and urgency for more action in all types of organizations? We needed something dramatic – a focal point, a trigger that would capture attention… So unanticipated, the “Day” concept was born!

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Think about it! What is it worth to you to invest a day or even half a day of your team’s time if the outcome would be greater insight, productivity and reputation as a best place to work for the top talent in all generations? 

Contact me to find out more about Cross-Generational Conversation Day and prepare to participate in this groundbreaking process of multi-generational insight and collaboration to grow engagement, competitive position and revenue. 

pwhaserot@pdcounsel.com    www.pdounsel.com

RESOLUTE, BUT NO RESOLUTIONS

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. And with all the messages floating out there in the first days of the year, some of you may be feeling relief that I am not urging you to make resolutions. (If you typically do so and keep them, that’s commendable)  Nevertheless I do believe in reflection and setting goals and admire commitment, determination and focus. I do urge you to be resolute.

 I readily admit that I am talking to myself as much as any of you reading this, reminding myself to stay determined and focused on the big ideas I am committed to. Planning is in my DNA and fun for me. Staying with the execution takes more effort without external deadlines (which I always make) and people to hold you accountable.

 So here’s my deal offer: Keep nudging me and support my determination and commitment, and I will be happy to do the same for you. Give me a call out once in a while to see how it’s going. Let me know when you’d like me to do the same for you.

 And if you do make resolutions, here are some apps to record, track and remind you to make them stick. Resolve to Pay Attention to Resolution Reminders.

 Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com 

FOLLOW A PASSION TO YOUR NEXT DESTINATION?

In almost every group discussion I’ve participated in with college students and young alums as a mentor, cross-generational networker, coach or friend, the question of following or having a passion in one’s work comes up. It’s become gospel that “passion” is necessary to succeed or be happy in or at work. And at networking meetings we are frequently asked to mention our passions to build relationships. In a discussion at a dinner meeting of students and alumni of the Cornell Women’s Network this summer, I took the opportunity to speak up for those who haven’t identified a passion (yet) or maybe don’t know what passion is for them.

So I was delighted to read a Gen Y/Millennial contribution to the New York Times “Preoccupations” column (9/30/12) titled “Follow a Passion? Let It Follow You.” He explains and explores the myth and relates his own experience. It also helps to explain the new label “Hesitation Generation.”

Cal Newport, age 29, now a computer science professor at Georgetown University, wrote of his generation, ”Growing up we were told by guidance counselors, career advice books, the news media and others to ‘follow our passion.’ This advice assumes that we all have a pre-existing passion waiting to be discovered.

This only makes sense for a small group of people who by their late teens have had a clear passion in sight. (And in my consulting and coaching experience, many of those discover by their 40s that the passion has died for them and their strong focus on it with blinders to other broadening interests has left them ill-prepared for career and life transitions.) For anyone else, the pressure to follow a passion they have identified may be intense and even cause anxiety among those with a passion that they have actually chosen the right thing. Every time Gen Yers’ work is hard or lacking total pleasure they want to job-hop to find a better right choice – not sticking it out long enough to succeed. The Hesitation Generation.

Newport summarizes, and cites Daniel Pink’s book “Drive” for details, the traits that lead people to love their work: a sense of autonomy, feeling you are good at what you do, and feeling you are having an impact on the world, whatever the job is. He says these elements need to be earned and take time (my emphasis).

Newport concludes offering this advice: “Passion is not something you follow. It is something that will follow you as you put in hard work to become valuable in the world.”

Very savvy and perceptive for a 20-something. And good insight for a member of any generation with anxiety that they have/had no passion to follow.

Has this changed your mind about the “follow your passion” gospel? Has it reduced your stress if you have not identified a passion or worry that your choice may prove less than perfect? Please share your thoughts.

Phyllls Weiss Haserot     www.pdcounsel.com

Are Age and Wisdom Connected?

I received a very interesting article from The Economist sent by my friend Iris Wolinsky, a mediator and arbitrator. I love it and always say we need to challenge our assumptions about age - and all aspects of diversity and behavior.

Here is link to article. Age and wisdom  Older and wiser?

Americans get wiser with age. Japanese are wise from the start

What are your thoughts?   

 

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT ON INTERGENERATIONAL COLLABORATION

I received this note from my dynamo Cornell extern, Jaime Freilich, a junior at Cornell University and campus representative to the Clinton Global Initiative University:

“I was at the Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting, and I had the pleasure of hearing Madeleine Albright speak. She said something so relevant to everything you work towards. The gist of what she said is that in order for our country to be forward-moving, intergenerational conversation and collaboration is imperative because the younger generations have the creativity, energy, and idealism to think of creative solutions to problems while the older generations have the practical experience to ground the young ones and to work together in pursuit of a better tomorrow. I thought it was very interesting and I had to share with you!”

So true. Jaime knows my strategic purpose is to facilitate and foster intergenerational understanding, appreciation, cooperation, collaboration and action. This goes way beyond bridging the communications gaps, though that is integral to it. Our future strength depends on it – as businesses, institutions, families and the kind of world we want to live in.

Along these lines, one of my favorite aspects of my work is facilitating dialogues among people of different generations in business settings. My monthly newsletter is called Cross-Generational Conversation (sign up at www.pdcousel.com). And I’m vey excited to start a Linkedin group also called Cross-Generational Conversation, with a multi-generational group of committed contributors.

Jaime will be there. Will you? I invite you to join the conversation. Maybe we can even get Madeleine Albright to comment.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com

 

YOUR "LIFE REPORT" AND TRANSITIONING

 

In David Brooks’ New York Times Op-Ed column (October 28, 2011), “The Life Report,” he asks people over age 70 to reflect, write a report or essay and send it to him evaluating what you did well and not so well and lessons learned along the way. He suggests categories of career, family, self-knowledge, faith and community and even that you give yourself a grade in each area.

Brooks wrote that the main purpose would be to help young people. “Young people are educated in many ways, but they are given relatively little help in understanding how a life develops, how careers and families evolve, what are the common mistakes and common blessings of modern adulthood,” he wrote. The other purpose would be mature self-reflection.

That same day, I received an e-mail from Civic Ventures’ Encore Careers (I am on the mailing list because of Next Generation, Next Destination), piggybacking on Brooks’ idea for people who have transitioned to “encore careers” after their major career(s).

I say the life report is a great idea – but why wait till 70? Let’s start doing it at age 50 or 55 when enough experience has accumulated and there is still much time to adjust course. Even people still in their major careers will benefit from the self-reflection (with or without grading). And what a great mentoring tool, a coaching tool and legacy!

So, consider it and start thinking and writing. You don’t have to send it to David Brooks to publish – though go ahead if you want to. Do it for yourself, your family and friends, the students you know and young work colleagues. Share it in alumni groups, community groups, social media, etc. It will help you and others in their growth and transitioning.

Tell me what you think. Comment here. Pass it on. Let me know if you start something going in your circles.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

PICASSO ON TRANSITIONING AND REINVENTION

My coaching colleague and former serial entrepreneur Craig Jennings posted a wonderful Picasso quote on his weekly Prescriptions for Inspiration:

“ I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it.”

---  Pablo Picasso

That’s the attitude consultants who like new challenges have. It’s an attitude anyone in any kind of transition should adopt. New things can be scary if you let them be, but also exciting, exhilarating and very gratifying when accomplished.

We are living in a world and at a time where there are few certainties, and the risk-averse are at a disadvantage. Young people tend not to know better than to try whatever is new and they think they can learn from.

Boomers - Remember the 60’s and 70’s? Some experiments and lessons are painful; some result in a tremendous payoff. With enthusiasm and initiative, if not an intense passion, even if we lack Picasso’s talent as most of us do, doing what you haven’t done before can bring a new career direction, personal growth, a new income stream and a boost to professional identity.

See what hints, help and inspiration you can get from the younger generations, Don’t let pride be an obstacle, and make positive choices. You just may find new energy and that life going forward is more fun. 

Comments positive and to the contrary are welcome. 

Phyllis Weiss Haserot      www.pdcounsel.com

 

 

POLITICAL REINVENTION, AND THEN SUCCESSION PLANNING

I am thrilled to see the success of the young people of Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East and northern Africa striving for democracy with so far so little violence. If – and it’s a big if – they can bring about positive change in a peaceful way, they will have shown that this Gen Y/Millennials generation has strong convictions and the will to fight for them with less of the lasting harm the protests of the Baby Boomers in the 1960s brought.

Since it takes two sides to come together, perhaps the older generations will learn something too about achieving change. It’s too early to tell, but you know I’m an optimist.

Now the harder part, succession planning and peaceful succession 

Phyllis Weiss Haserot

NEW YEAR CHALLENGE FOR CHANGE - Action and Reinvention

Being both future-oriented and an optimist, each year I send a new year’s message. This year, it’s by way of a video, Challenge for Change in 2011.  See it here.  You can also read it below.

 Join me in my wish for a healthy, peaceful, prosperous, fulfilling and joyous year for all of us.              Phyllis

 Challenge for Change in 2011

 Last year my New Years message was the Gandhi quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”                                                                                                                                                                          For For 2011, when we seem surrounded by political gridlock and angst, I send forth the words of President John F. Kennedy:  “There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long term risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

 I ask you to think about that and how it applies to your life and work. What are you holding back, not acting on, cocooned in your comfort zone when you know you need to be leading or participating in change?

 Now is the time!

 Wishing you a spectacular New Year – all  year!                                                                                      

  Phyllis Weiss Haserot

 

PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS CHECK-IN

Many professionals focus on their clients’ goals more than they reflect and plan to reach their own goals – or even identify them. At least twice a year, it’s important to check in with yourself to ensure you are heading in your desired direction.

You can begin with these questions:

  • How would you honestly evaluate the status of your business now?
  • What role do you want to play in your business during the next 3 years? Is that role different than in the past?
  • Over the next 3 years, what do you, personally, want to achieve?
  • What are your financial goals short-term and long-term?
  • How will you achieve them?  Consider forecast trends in your marketplace.
  • Is it time to begin thinking about and planning your personal exit strategy from your business?

For some more thoughts on what to reflect on as you develop your goals, check out Jeri Quinn’s blog post http://www.drivingir.com/understand-your-service-before-defining-your-goals

Start now and make a habit of reflecting on and tracking your own goals.

 Phyllis Weiss Haserot

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