Bridging the Generational Gap (Aboriginal)


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Presented at the 2010 Annual Conference of the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association, this presentation looks at Aboriginal workplaces in particular, and offers suggestions, most notably regarding the value and need for Aboriginal people to embrace social media. (It's best to download the entire presentation in order to view the notes attached to each slide).

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  • FNTI a post-secondary institute Native-owned, operated Tyendinaga Territory = between Belleville & Kingston ... Next slide: A video about FUTURE PRESENT RECENT PAST
  • (If the video does not play, see this link…) (If link doesn’t work, go to YouTube and search with these words…) Did You Know? 3.0 (Official Video) -2009 Edition
  • The events and conditions each of us experiences during our formative years determines who we are and how we see the world. As a result of these events and conditions, each generation has adopted its own generational personality.* Go over mainstream generations first, to provide context MAINSTREAM: Traditionals (over 65) Baby Boomers(46-64) Generation X (29-45) Generation Y (28 and under) * Book: “When Generations Collide” - Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman
  • Technologically defined by = radio Warn against overgeneralizing this information Each generation will have Progressives and Conservatives, for example And communities that develop within generations Tom Brokaw on Regis and Kelly had examples Rick Warren and Madonna = same generation CNBC special (tonight) regarding generations
  • Events that defined and influenced them Great Depression “ the New Deal” – in Canada: social insurance & various gov’t protections World War II
  • Born during/after WWII Raised in an era of extreme ... Optimism Opportunity Progress Technologically defined by = television
  • Events that defined and influenced them Civil Rights Movement Political assassinations (60s) Woodstock Vietnam war
  • Smallest in number Said to be born “in the shadow” of the Boomers Technologically defined by = personal computers and cable/satellite TV
  • Events that defined and influenced them Fall of Berlin Wall Challenger disaster Necessity of 2 working parents Divorce is common Corporate Downsizing
  • also called Millenials Generation Next Net Generation Interesting Note: no generation gets to identify itself Example: who would refer to him/herself as “Generation Next” – without Generation X preceding, “next” to what? Technologically defined by = technology in general ... Everything!
  • Events that defined and influenced them School violence Having their lives over-planned : play-dates, sports, etc Clinton/Lewinsky The embrace of multiculturalism September 11 th
  • re: NATIVE PEOPLE These top 4 could be all of us. Through personal interviews I’ve conducted, and from my own experience, I’ve come up with categories more relevant to us ...
  • Compare to mainstream boomers (especially among professionals/aboriginal workplaces) Look at our history via number of years (age 45 = 25 years service) (age 65 = 45 years service) Leaders have been leaders for a long time, and have found success at it. If you’re NOT this category, some tips: Acknowledge their experience Listen to their ideas Tom Brokaw this morning ... Boomer generation WAS feeling like it had to make everything happen, but not now. Yet this remains prevalent among the older generation of Native people. Consider our traditional ways ... The 7 th generation … the work we do is not about “me,” but about our descendants
  • Compare to Generation X Smallest in number Again: “In the shadow” Perhaps because of it, this generation ... Is not looking for hierarchies Is interested in a better work/life balance Was promised all today’s technology, yet brings elements of the past with us. Is sort of caught in between two hugely populated generations If you’re NOT this category, some tips ... Do you roll up sleeves and be leaders; or are you a manager? Do you offer multiple strategies and paths for career development?
  • Compare to... / Same as Generation Y Numbers are exploding! Tend to have a greater interest in our Traditional ways Note: This age group is at least one generation removed from residential schools . Therefore, the direct effects are lessened … will influence the direction of our communities/nations/etc the same way the mainstream boomers did, the way OUR Elders did. Raw numbers makes it so. More about them in a minute.
  • Each brings to workplace its own set of Beliefs Values Culture Perspectives Likes Dislikes Skills/Traits
  • Generations have been at odds for ... generations. Keep in mind our shared goals (especially for Native orgs/communities). There’s so much work to be done, we can’t get caught up in interpersonal issues. Just knowing that helps, I think. Recognize it. A greater shift happening now that we also need to recognize is ...
  • Article. Google search: “Keeping America’s Edge” National Affairs A very well-written overview of the past 100 years, moving from the gains, then failures, of manufacturing (i.e. auto industry) to the economic issues facing America today (i.e. necessary deregulation can lead to greater inequality). From the Art of Marketing conference, this past Tuesday Marketers/Speakers: Mitch Joel, Seth Godin, Sally Hogshead, Dan Heath Books: “Six Pixels of Separation” (Joel), “Fascinate” (Hogshead), “Switch” and “Made to Stick” (Heath) “ Linchpin” Seth Godin 1880 – Singer sewing machine was the most complex item in households and required special order parts The Ford System is what “we” grew up with: “make the same thing faster/cheaper” It’s made “us” the richest economy in the world. (quotes are from Godin’s presentation) Interchangeable PARTS = interchangeable PEOPLE “ SCHOOL was invented to progress people toward jobs” It sorta made sense, in a way, and here’s why ...
  • UNRELATED but interesting: Native ppl don’t need to be reminded of those 1 st few. Nobody is taught how to do that last one. Leaders need to learn for themselves. Godin focused also on this timeline Hunting Farming Cog in the industrial machine Be an artist THAT’S what the book is about. Be an artist. Artists are creative at WHATEVER they do ... Story: telephone customer service rep from the shoe store (customer wanted to return mothers shoes; rec’d big box & bouquet of flowers) Customer service rep was an artist: return and flowers was not “in the policy,” but ultimately provided benefit to the company.
  • There are some commonalities among the generations at work. Consider: Goals of your organization Goals of our people, Native people … may require humbling yourself to recognize when someone else may have a better idea.
  • Regarding all generations, the best organizations will learn to recruit manage motivate retain them ALL.
  • We all have something to contribute. Collaboration among the generations is necessary. BUT I’ve found the starkest differences among all generations is ...
  • Generation Y against everyone ... and Vice versa Consider the significant changes that have developed (for example) in ... Recorded Music Player Piano Records 8-track tapes Cassettes CD MP3 Future: “cloud-based” services An example: My experience as a Generation X ... I LOVE music I own a lot of cassettes = worthless now lots of CDs = becoming worthless quickly 2 weeks ago = “will only buy physical CDs only when I really, REALLY have to” Generation Y, on the other hand, has never cared about physical ownership of music; just want it available. Me: just experienced the convenience of music on my iPhone yesterday during the drive to Ottawa
  • From Say magazine special edition Quotes from some in the upper “Contemporaries” category and “Elders” category about Native youth. There were some good points made, too, but these stand out because – while they may be true – they are speculative and speak to youth as a whole. Underscores the idea of older generations defining the younger ones. What Young person would say “I’m Generation NEXT? Or Generation Y ?! “ Consider: How often do these considerations end up in professional Aboriginal workplaces? Have we created “a story” about Native youth – a stigma in some cases based on the very work we’re doing – that our young professionals have to fight from the day they start working with us? Is this bleeding into non-aboriginal workplaces?
  • People look to the youth and their embrace of technology and ... are flummoxed. Young people don’t know any different. They don’t say “new technology.” Facebook and young people’s need to reveal everything (even the word “reveal” is indicative of a generational perspective difference) Generation X and some Boomers are open to sharing but limit it Older generations are very protective of the information they share Social Networking – aka Web 2.0 – isn’t going away ... the world is moving toward being more open We need to look for ways to engage our lives in our work ... remember: Be an ARTIST When it comes to Social Networking, Digital Media, all this new technology, I believe that Native people have an upper-hand ... Why?
  • Digital Media/Social Networking is all about connections ... finding COMMUNITY We already understand that. Community is what we know best. That’s why we’re HERE today!
  • Make the technology work for you! Community-based organizations can use technology to further engage community members. Businesses have plenty of resources ... look it up! My organization is not immune. FNTI = distance education. We’ll be starting soon to upgrade our online work ... FACEBOOK “fan” pages: increase engagement/communication among students, graduates, even employees WEBSITE: connects us to remote locations (potential students), current students (virtual institute), and potential funders and industries that may want to partner with us TWITTER: helps create those connections with industry ... and creates an online presence for the organization.
  • Because no Internet access in presentation room ... (screenshot of my Facebook page)
  • My profile. Note the first entry. Those are photos I took and uploaded from my phone at the conference. If you were to click on any one of them, or the title …
  • … it would pull up this page.
  • The Anishinabek Nation/Union of Ontario Indians uses Facebook to engage its constituents. Each of these updates shows up on every “friend” or “fan”s newsfeed.
  • A Twitter screenshot ... updates from everyone I follow About FRIENDS and FOLLOWERS ... Facebook “friends” are reciprocal, it is agreed upon and shared “ Following” someone on Twitter does not require acknowledgement from the person/organization/account being followed. About your number of FRIENDS or WHO YOU FOLLOW … Do you want to BROADCAST or genuinely ENGAGE ?? Too many friends (Facebook) and following too many people (Twitter) makes it hard to keep up with so many updates. In particular to Twitter: look for your “community” of likeminded people Twitterers (?) can collect their shared tweets with a hashtag, a shortened identifier at a shared event. Example: the Art of Marketing conference hashtag was #taom, so that any tweet posted with that hashtag will be easily searchable. I learned of no hashtag created by the AFOA for this conference but I figured it must be #afoa, so I searched it and discovered …
  • … that I’m the only person tweeting at this conference. Next year we’ll all be on board? Note the first post listed, the most recent entry. I’ve written “The view from my hotel room. #afoa” with a web address. If you click that address …
  • … this new tab will immediately open in your browser. Again, this was all created from my phone. Consider: The information we can share among each other in our communities when connecting is this easy.
  • My blog.
  • With just one click, you can save the links to articles (entire web pages, actually) on the Instapaper website so you can come back to them later, when you’re ready to read them. Note the convenience.
  • This is where the young people are now ... especially under 20s As a (slightly) older person, I wonder how/when these abbreviations were agreed upon. As a writer, I struggle with this (though it is a time saver) because, even in a text message, I’m prone to using complete sentences and perfect punctuation. MTF = more to follow NP = no problem BAU = business as usual PCM = please call me PTMM = please tell me more CM = call me CYE = check your e-mail SOTMG= short of time, must go F2F = face to face
  • What are some ways to move forward ... ?
  • Story: I discovered a business associate online while searching for contact information and found an article recounting an award she’d received. When I spoke with her next, I mentioned it and she was surprised to know I’d learned of it. I said, “I Googled ya.” From Tuesday’s marketing conference: “If Google can’t find you, then maybe you don’t exist!” What does that mean for someone named JOSEPH BRANT? 3. Evidence of your ART – on your blog, your Twitter account, your Facebook page, your YouTube page – can help you ... or not! My rule of thumb: consider the worst possible person reading what you’re writing or posting (i.e. your grandmother, your boss) and ask yourself if you’re okay with that.
  • Story: student failing 6 out of 8 classes. Counsellor simply asked the student ... Why are you doing well in some classes? Instructor says hi when I walk in the room. She takes time to explain assignments to me. Counsellor asked OTHER instructors of that student to do these things, and he ended up failing only a 1 or 2 classes. ... Therefore, focus on those bright spots.
  • Bridging the Generational Gap (Aboriginal)

    1. 1. Bridging the Generational Gap and Conflict Resolution AFOA 10 th Anniversary National Conference Westin Hotel, Ottawa Thursday March 4, 2010 Joseph E. Brant Manager, the Indigenous Communications Department First Nations Technical Institute Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ontario
    2. 2. Did you know
    3. 12. Traditionals? <ul><li>anticipate security and stability </li></ul><ul><li>command and control leadership </li></ul><ul><li>“ change” means something’s wrong </li></ul><ul><li>uncomfortable with new technology </li></ul><ul><li>job changes rare </li></ul><ul><li>enviable work ethic </li></ul>
    4. 14. Contemporaries current age: 30 - 45
    5. 16. What does this mean for our workplaces?
    6. 18. <ul><li>1900s : Manufacturing economy </li></ul><ul><li>2000s : Service/Information economy </li></ul>
    7. 19. <ul><li>Create / Invent </li></ul><ul><li>Connect </li></ul><ul><li>Sell </li></ul><ul><li>Produce </li></ul><ul><li>Grow </li></ul><ul><li>Hunt </li></ul><ul><li>Lift </li></ul>
    8. 23. versus
    9. 24. Aboriginal generational perceptions of youth <ul><li>“ They have to work hard to achieve success.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ They need to be given encouragement and support.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Substance abuse remains a very huge challenge.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ They should be taught that all their decisions will affect their life—right from the start.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ They need to take responsibility for themselves and take advantage of all the opportunities that are available to them.” </li></ul>
    10. 37. Texting <ul><li>Do you understand any of these abbreviations? </li></ul>MTF NP BAU PCM PTMM CM CYE SOTMG F2F
    11. 39. <ul><li>Consider ... </li></ul><ul><li>Building your own personal brand online, or it will be built for you. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand that each day the world moves toward being more open ... </li></ul><ul><li>so be honest! </li></ul><ul><li>3. Your resume doesn’t have to be one page </li></ul><ul><li>4. Building credibility is not easy: time, effort and focus </li></ul>
    12. 40. <ul><li>Open communication </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-generational mentorship </li></ul><ul><li>Motivating co-workers/employees </li></ul><ul><li>Embracing feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Encouraging creative solutions </li></ul><ul><li>... a little fun, too. </li></ul>Actively engage in ...
    13. 41. Alternatively ... <ul><li>Forget the problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the signs of hope. </li></ul><ul><li>Find the bright spots. </li></ul>
    14. 43. References <ul><li>&quot;Crossing Boundaries Research Initiative.&quot; Web log post. UWinnipeg Research News . 5 May 2005. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>Dorsey, Jason Ryan. Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business . Wiley, 2009. Print. </li></ul><ul><li>From Digital Divide to Digital Opportunity . Final Report. Ottawa: Crossing Boundaries National Council (Aboriginal Voice National Recommendations), 2005. Print. </li></ul><ul><li>Gravett, Linda, and Robin Throckmorton. Bridging the Generation Gap: How To Get Radio Babies, Boomers, Gen Xers, and Gen Yers to Work Together and Achieve More . New York: Career, 2007. Print. </li></ul><ul><li>Herring, Susan C. “Questioning the Generational Divide: Technological Exoticism and Adult Constructions of Online Youth Identity.” Youth, Identity, and Digital Media . Edited by David Buckingham. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. 71-92. Doi: 10.1162/dmal.9780262524834.071 </li></ul><ul><li>Hui, Stephen. &quot;Q&A: Grand Chief Edward John on First Nations' Internet connectivity.&quot; . 16 July 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <>. </li></ul>
    15. 44. References, cont’d <ul><li>Hui, Stephen. &quot;Q&A: Grand Chief Edward John on First Nations' Internet connectivity.&quot; . 16 July 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>Hui, Stephen. &quot;Q&A: Indigenous blogger Dustin Rivers on using Internet technology.&quot; . 16 July 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Igniting Change&quot; profiles. Say Magazine AFN-INTES 2009 edition. Mar. 2009. Print. </li></ul><ul><li>Kopecky, Arno. &quot;Generation divide shows in First Nations leadership speeches.&quot; Web log post. The Hook . The Tyee, 22 July 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>Lancaster, Lynne C., and David Stillman. When Generations Collide: Who They Are. Why They Clash. How to Solve the Generational Puzzle at Work . New York: Collins, 2003. Print. </li></ul><ul><li>Mignone, Javier, and Heather Henley. &quot;Impact of Information and Communication Technology on Social Capital in Aboriginal Communities in Canada.&quot; Journal of Information, Information Technology, and Organizations 4 (2009): 127-45. Print. </li></ul>
    16. 45. References, cont’d <ul><li>&quot;Miscellaneous Notices.&quot; Canada Gazette . Government of Canada, 15 Sept. 2007. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>Price, Kella B. &quot;Generational Divide: Managing and Motivating the Multigenerational Talent of the Workplace.&quot; PowerPoint presentation. v ia . Price Consulting Group, 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>Smillie-Adjarkwa, Christine. Is the Internet a Useful Resource for Indigenous Women Living in Remote Communities in Canada, Australia and New Zealand to Access Health Resources? Rep. National Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research, 2005. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <>. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Why Education Needs Social Media.” Web log post. emergent by design . 11 Nov 2009. Web. </li></ul><ul><li>Please note: all personal interviews were confidential. </li></ul>