Principal of Common Sense Enterprises, and an award-winning author of ten books who has been researching and writing about workforce trends for more than 30 years.
Bob has created the comprehensive training curriculum, Generations: Understanding Age Diversity in Today’s Workplace and has written or contributed to more than 300 articles for a wide variety of national publications.
His credits include CNN, CNBC, The Huffington Post, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Detroit Free Press, The Florida Sentinel, The Denver Post, The Providence Journal, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Entrepreneur, Money and even Women’s Wear Daily. He has written monthly columns for retailers, Realtors and human resources professionals.
Along with ten years on the faculty if the University of Phoenix, Bob has served as a special advisor to the American Productivity and Quality Center along with a number of corporate and academic studies on workforce trends. Since 1988, he has conducted more than 1200 paid speaking engagements from the towers of Wall Street to the Outback of Alaska. He holds degrees in industrial arts, psychology and education. He has earned the designation of Certified Speaking Professional from the National Speakers Association.
Over the years, our clients have included Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, IBM, KPMG, Discover Card Services, Shell Oil, International Dairy Queen, Kaiser Permanente, CITGO, Chevron USA, the Food Marketing Institute, Searle Pharmaceuticals, Super 8 Motels, Ace Hardware, Major League Baseball, the Professional Golfers Association and a host of other household names, associations, government agencies and educational institutions.
The past two months have been chaotic, to say the least. We have been ripped from our routines, sent home, and told to stay off the streets until further notice. Millions have had their incomes disrupted and their daily concentration destroyed by the ongoing uncertainty. Read more
Yes, you read that question right. In her brand new book, iGen, San Diego State University psychologist and author, Jean Twenge maintains that, “Maybe today’s teens and young adults have an underdeveloped frontal cortex because they have not been given adult responsibilities.” Read more
Fortune Magazine was out with an article recently based on a Monster survey that claims to identify the future expectations and work habits of a generation that has yet to be clearly defined. They interviewed a selection of youngsters, ages 15-20 who “who pre-qualified themselves as either employed or, among younger teens, planning to work in the future.” These, they claim, are members of Generation Z whose membership, according to them, is 60 million teens, pre-teens and toddlers.
Ever feel like you’re wasting time interviewing job applicants? They prepare answers for the questions they assume you’re going to ask. You end up asking those questions and getting those answers. There are only so many variations on what you need to know. Even if you get creative with how you ask, most can still adapt and tell you what they know you want to hear. Read more
Josh and his smart phone are one. Whether he’s sitting at his desk, in a meeting, in the car, or on the couch at home, he is always connected. In the space of 15 minutes, he might send and receive 10 text messages, answer three business-related e-mails, Google a restaurant’s location, search for a document on the company’s website, and check a Twitter feed about his favorite band. The one thing he rarely does is actually talk on the phone. “My thumbs are so much faster,” he says. Read more
Lonnie works as an analyst at a financial services firm. He graduated with a finance degree and a 3.35 GPA. But in spite of his training, Lonnie feels like he’s in over his head. It dawned on him a few days after starting that the recommendations he makes are the real deal. The firm could lose big money if someone follows his judgment and it doesn’t pan out. That really unnerved him. So he’s made a practice of checking in with his boss on anything he’s unsure of. But this week his boss took him aside and said, “You’ve got to think on your own. If I have to review every decision you make, I might as well do the work myself.” Read more
Let’s face it. Advances in technology have always been a mixed blessing. It is no different with today’s digital applications. On one hand, they save us hours and energy on the tasks that used to require manual labor. On the other, they delay, impair and degrade the development of complex reasoning skills. This is especially true among the so-called digital natives, those who have come of age immersed in electronic messaging, work-type applications, and non-stop entertainment. Read more
Joseph has a dilemma. In running a firm that employs 55 people, he has a wide range of ages on staff. His young people bring their technological savvy and enthusiasm to the game. His long-time contributors bring insights and expertise based on years of experience. His younger contributors seem to write off anyone and anything that they can’t find on a screen. So his challenge is getting these techno-savvy souls to embrace the wisdom their older co-workers can share. Read more
I spoke with a fifty-something manager recently and he asked me if I thought that video clips might be a better way to connect with his emerging workforce. My first thought was, “Well, Duh!” But then I got thinking about my 56-year-old self. So much has changed about training delivery in the past five years that it makes my head spin. As someone who began his career with overhead projectors and flip charts, there are days when I feel like I’m playing a constant game of catch-up. This article will address a few global questions. The next two will give you some practical ideas that I, and others, are using in the field.
How will you prepare for succession within your organization? As I work with and survey the members of those in their thirties and early forties, it is becoming abundantly clear that they will apply their own values and attitudes to the roles they assume. While this is not surprising, it’s helpful to take a look at the ways in which this will happen. What follows are five characteristics that I have discovered in my on-going research. Consider how these will apply to you and your firm. Read more
The eyes don’t seem to have it anymore. As digital handheld devices continue to pervade every part of daily life, we are watching eye contact and attention span disappear. There is a dog named Dug, in last year’s animated feature, “Up!,” who is so easily distracted by squirrels that it becomes a running gag throughout the film. This resonated with pretty much everyone who watched the movie. The reason is simple. It is becoming everyone’s experience. Read more
First, an apology. There will be those in their twenties who will rail against what you are about to read. They will complain that I am over-generalizing, jumping to conclusions or have a personal bias against young workers. None of this is true.
I applaud the hardworking young stars emerging in today’s workplace. But I have heard countless stories about young employees who seem to lack the desire to contribute more than the minimum, show up on time, if at all, and take the initiative to think through the normal challenges of daily life. “What’s happened to the work ethic?” Read more
Much has been made about the lack of work ethic within the emerging generation. “These kids are lazy,” veteran employees will say. “They take the easy way out. They have no self-initiative.” Even managers in their twenties have been known to complain, “What’s wrong with this younger generation?” When I hear these laments, the first thing I say is “Describe work ethic for me.” Read more
Critical Thinking: Thinking that involves the principled application of standards and criteria in the evaluation of practical and theoretical options for the purpose of reaching conclusions about those options. (University of Idaho) Veteran managers often complain to me that young people lack common sense. What they mean, I suspect, is that these young people are either unwilling or unable to think critically to the level of the managers’ expectations. But who can blame them? Read more
One of the major differences I have noticed between Baby Boomers and Generation X is their approach to problem solving. Boomers are more likely to believe in the system at least initially, while Xers bing their inherent skepticism to the table. Read more
I spend a good deal of time each year working with and speaking to a wide variety of associations. As the years have evolved, I have watched the average age of both leadership and membership within these groups age before my very eyes. What I have not seen is a groundswell of young professionals entering their ranks. Read more
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