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Amy Lynch

Interview with Amy Lynch

Amy Lynch is an expert on generational issues and managing the differences between generations. Learn how she got involved with generational research.

What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?

The BIG message that I hope audiences take away every time is that no generation is right or wrong, better or worse—just different! I want Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials ALL to leave my presentation feeling GOOD about their skills and contributions and GOOD about the gifts other generations bring to the organization, too!

 

What has been your favorite experience as a keynote speaker?

So many experiences have been terrific! After one keynote, a woman came up to me and said, “I was never going to hire another Millennial, but I’m better now,” as if she had recovered from some kind of disease! Many times, audience members have said, “I not only understand my team better, I understand my children now.” That NEVER gets old. It’s always touching.

One of my favorite speeches was to the staffers of the US Senate. The room was divided into idealistic Millennials and pragmatic, skeptical Generation Xers. At one point when I asked for comments, a Millennial stood up and looked around and said with absolute sincerity, “Hey, you Xers are not such losers after all.”

 

Why is it important to take generational differences into account in the workplace?

It’s critical to take generational differences into account because we DO communicate differently, work differently and solve problems differently. If we don’t know what those differences are and how to deal with them, we are doomed to be frustrated and inefficient. We miss out on supportive relationships, innovation and the gratification of shared successes (which is what gets us up in the morning to go to work!)

 

Who or what inspires you most?

Risk. I am profoundly inspired by people who take the risk of reaching across a generational divide to connect with a people very different from themselves. I’m inspired by Baby Boomers who learn new technology so they can manage off-site teams. I’m inspired by busy Generation X managers who want to-the-point discussions, yet find time to talk with Baby Boomers who need face-to-face meetings. I’m inspired by the many clients I work with who speak the truth to each other in the workplace, even while respecting our generational differences.

 

How would you describe the millennial generation?

Millennials are collaborative, innovative, confident and FAST. No, SUPERFAST. They talk fast, they grok websites instantly, and they process ideas at the speed of light. Add one more word: idealistic. They want big-picture purpose. Save the planet, build better cars or create ways people can spend time with their families, and Millennials buy in. They flock to companies where they can feel like paid volunteers, joining because they make a difference.

 

How did you get involved with multi-generational research?

About 15 years ago, I was researching how various cultural trends affect adolescents. The research led me to launch a national newsletter about parenting adolescents, and that led to a job as an editor and researcher at American Girl. After a few years, the young people I’d been researching began entering the workplace and working with other generations. Naturally, I trailed along with my research—and never looked back. I cannot imagine anything any more interesting than watching the generations “discover” each other!

 

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