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Sticking Points Book

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Why I wrote the second edition, now with Gen Z?

(From the Preface)

Once a week someone asks me when I am going to update Sticking Points and my workshops to include Generation Z. Or they say it more bluntly: “This is feeling out of date. Why not drop the Traditionalists and replace them with Gen Z?”

But really, beyond adding Gen Z, it is time to update Sticking Points because the conversation around generations has changed:

People who teach my workshops tell me that participants have begun to point out that the Millennials are pushing forty, and the material should reflect that. (It should. Now all three life stages of the Millennials are in the book.)

Increasingly, older Millennials have told me that they are tired of people talking about Millennials because it’s often to bash them. Can’t we move on?

Some organizations are not discussing the topic of generations at all and talk instead about unconscious bias. Occasionally some younger Millennials or Gen Z Cuspers stop me in a workshop because they don’t think generational differences are much of an issue; people should not be categorized but understood uniquely. (More on this in chapter 7.)

There were strong reactions to my TEDx talk explaining why Millennials get blamed for things that are related to a new life stage!1 I was not surprised that some in the older generations complained that I was using emerging adulthood to explain away “irresponsible behavior.” But I did not anticipate the number of Millennials who thought I had betrayed them because I did not blame that behavior on the older generations who made them this way and ruined their economic opportunities, or that I only understood Millennials of privilege.

These comments show how the conversation has changed since 2013. They also demonstrate that life stages are the cutting edge of generational research. That’s why for the past seven years I have focused on life stages as much as generations in my research. That approach moves beyond flat generational categories and opens up new understanding.

You now hold in your hands the result of that research—an updated handbook to all five generations, including fully revised information about Millennials and a guide through the maze of contradictory and occasionally scant Gen Z data.

This book was specifically written for the workplace context, but it has broader applications. Generational differences don’t just show up in the conference room. They surface in the home, on the school or nonprofit board, and at religious organizations. Anywhere people get together, what I call the “ghost stories” of the different generations impact the way they think. When we understand why another generation thinks the way they do, we are much more likely to appreciate their differences and speak their language.

A quick note about my research. This book is . . .

based on conversations and interviews with thousands of people as well as the latest published research.

about all five generations (with extra attention to Millennials and Gen Z, since they are the newest) so the whole team can read it together and then put it to work.

quick to read, with a touch of humor. (If we can’t laugh at our generational differences, they’ll always irritate us.)

practical. (If you can’t apply what a book recommends, what’s the point?)

I’ve been most pleased that readers love the practical ideas in Sticking Points. One client said they read ten generational books and picked Sticking Points for their firm because it was more practical than the others.

To make it practical, I’ve included . . .

comparisons of how generations think, which a major client described as “the answer key to the generations.”

a five-step plan for leading rather than managing generational differences.

ways to apply this five-step plan to each of the twelve generational sticking points you face at work (or home).

I wrote this book in such a way that you wouldn’t have to read it straight through. Really: I wrote it so you can find what you need quickly and skip what doesn’t apply. But my biggest surprise has been how many people have read it cover to cover.

Everyone told me the rule of thumb for a second edition is to change only 10 percent. If you change more than that, they said, write a new book. I did the opposite. I and my team went through every page, updating statistics, validating examples, and changing applications to fit today’s conversation and to reflect what I have learned in seven more years of helping clients.

I didn’t want to write a brand-new book because now, as then, there is no other widely used book that covers all the generations. Thousands of people have used Sticking Points as their guide to all the generations. Now that it is current, they still can.

More Book Endorsements

With over 30,000 employees around the world, it was imperative that we build collaborative and effective teams across multiple functions and geographies. Haydn was able to unlock the obstructionism we saw across generations. His delivery was motivating, and his methods and insights were clear and empowering. With the path illuminated, our teams rose and worked effectively and passionately, from 22 to 62.

Matthew Rubel, former chairman, CEO, and president of Collective
Brands (Payless ShoeSource)

I go all over the world speaking to organizations about leadership, and Haydn has made a slam dunk with Sticking Points. He explains why people from different generations think and act the way they do. Why does this matter? When we understand the “why,” we can work with people to get outstanding results as teams or individuals. Understanding the “why” enables leaders to celebrate differences and capitalize on the creativity and innovation of each generation. It’s a must-read for leaders.

Pat Williams, senior vice president of the Orlando Magic

Companies need to understand how each generation behaves at work, how they want to be managed, and their needs in order to retain them and keep them engaged. Haydn’s book will help you unlock the value behind the generations and bring them together for the benefit of your company.

Dan Schawbel, Forbes contributor and author of Me 2.0 and Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success

Johnsonville Sausage has always been about the people who ensure we produce the highest-quality products. When Haydn spoke to our leaders, he got us thinking about generational differences in new ways that help us better attract and empower employees of all generations. I’m glad Haydn’s put the insights he shared with us into a book that can help thousands of others. You need this powerful book.

Ralph C. Stayer, CEO and owner of Johnsonville Sausage

When it comes to troubleshooting workplace issues and facilitating harmonious interactions among employees, FranklinCovey is the undisputed leader, and those who are currently managing four disparate generations need look no further than practice leader Haydn Shaw, whose bookSticking Points zeroes in on the areas—like organizational structure and use of social media—where communication is most likely to break down and cause a negative impact on the bottom line.

Alexandra Levit, author of #MillennialTweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Managing the Millennials

Sticking Points contains insights and processes that do indeed work. We’ve had Haydn back many times to teach our managers the tools he has put into this book. I found it so valuable and enjoyable that I invited my wife to come hear his presentation. You’ll come back to this book again and again when you run into a new generational challenge. But more important, it will improve your ability to speak the language of other generations at work and in your personal life. A must-read.

Jim Thyen, president and CEO of Kimball International, Inc.

Sticking Points provides a practical road map for sidestepping the stumbling blocks that come with a multigenerational workforce. It is a great guide for business leaders feeling the pain of managing four completely different generations. I agree with Haydn Shaw—don’t try to change them; lead them. This astute and entertaining book is an important one.Sticking Points provides a practical road map for sidestepping the stumbling blocks that come with a multigenerational workforce. It is a great guide for business leaders feeling the pain of managing four completely different generations. I agree with Haydn Shaw—don’t try to change them; lead them. This astute and entertaining book is an important one.

Tamara Erickson, a McKinsey Award–winning author and expert on organizations and the changing workforce

Four generations are challenging associations like the American Business Women’s Association to rethink how they attract, retain, and engage their members that are in various stages of their lives and careers. What works for Traditionalists and Boomers doesn’t necessarily work for Gen Xers and Millennials.Sticking Points is an excellent read that gives organizational leaders, teachers, and families essential tools to help them connect with every generation effectively. Our multigenerational membership loved Haydn Shaw’s breakout sessions, and I know you will appreciate his book.

Rene Street, executive director of American Business Woman’s Association National

Understanding the four generations in the workforce is critical today for maximizing customer satisfaction and team productivity. Haydn is a true guide to better understand the differences of this issue and take advantage of the opportunities! I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a well-researched, easy-to-read, and practical guide to this important subject.

Stephen G. Oswald, Chairman, President, and CEO of Ducommun, Inc.

In his book Sticking Points, Haydn Shaw presents timely advice for executives and managers struggling to understand the newest generation of employees. His insights helped us unravel this mystery and provide a path to better communication, greater productivity, and exceptional performance and will do the same for you.

Michael Engler, PhD, Chairman/CEO of Cactus Feeders, Inc.

Banking continues to
-pour billions into heavily staffed branches devoted to servicing its’ shrinking number of traditionalist customers

-invest vast sums in 24-hour call centers for the Boomers

-utilize a few part-time contractors in India to answer Gen-X email

-rely on a discount programmer in shorts and flop-flops, sitting their parents basement, to develop their mobile App to try to stay relevant to their burgeoning Millennial customer base.

Don’t make the same kind of generational mistakes in your business.  Let Haydn put a smile on your face as he helps you navigate through the Sticking Points in every facet of your company and show you how multi-generational leadership wins out.

Timothy P. Bailey,retired chief credit officer and vice chairman,
TCF National Bank

Thinking about my younger teammates—and teenage daughters—as “from another country” still makes me smile. And it has improved my ability to listen and understand. This book is a must-read for those who want to work with, live with, and lead other generations effectively.

Jennifer Colosimo, VP of Wisdom at DaVita; coauthor with Stephen Covey of Great Work, Great Career

Haydn Shaw’s new book Sticking Points is definitely the right resource at the right time for twenty-first-century organizational leadership. Having experienced Haydn’s practical wisdom at numerous retreats, I have learned that the principles laid out in the book are widely applicable across different types of organizations. I unreservedly recommend Sticking Points as a mustread for any organization’s leadership team.

Robert Van Allen, PhD EE, cofounder of SVS Inc. and executive/program manager for the Boeing Company (retired)

Sticking Points is an excellent book, a valuable glimpse of how generational differences impact organizations. We’ve brought Haydn to our staff and events we’ve hosted for other universities because our students and staffs span the generations. Leveraging the generational differences is critical to our success and yours. You need this book.

Judith Flink, executive director of student financial services for the University of Illinois

Haydn’s caring, sincerity, and inspirational sense of humor put him in the top one percent of speakers in the nation. Now he’s going to the top as an author. Sticking Points tackles one of the major problems in organizations all over the world—the friction between generations. And now, in one book, you can gain understanding and learn how to deal with all four generations in a very practical hands-on approach so that your organization can achieve its highest priorities.

Ruth Williams, author of How to Be Like Women of Influence and Happy Spouse, Happy House

Questions and Answers 

Sticking Points: How to Get Four Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart 2nd Edition, Now with Gen Z by Haydn Shaw