Generation X – Bridging the Gap in Leadership

There is no clear decision when “Generation X” begins or ends, it is typically said that is starts in the early 1960s and ends in the early 1980s. Generation X follows the baby boomer generation and are often referred to as “Gen Xers”. “Gen Xers have been called everything from slackers to disloyal, from dumb to just plain bad” (O’Bannon, 2001). It seems that this could not be any farther from the truth.

Gen Xers come from a time when the divorce rate in America was skyrocketing. “Between 1965 and 1977, the divorce rate in America doubled. Over 40% of Xers come from broken families, and 12% of elementary school children grew up as “latchkey kids,” responsible for their own welfare after school until their parents returned from work” (Zill & Robinson, 1995). Although no one realized it at the time, this taught the Gen Xers how to be self-sufficient. It also taught them how to handle difficult situations.

Gen Xers are looked at as being responsible for bridging the gap between the baby boomers and millennials. Carolyn Wiethoff states, “Gen Xers grew up in the information age, and they are quite comfortable with technology. Politically, they grew up as America’s global power was declining. In the business world, Generation X saw a record number of corporate bankruptcies, Wall Street scandals, and massive corporate downsizing.” They have shown they are capable of being tech savvy, such as millennials, and exhibit leadership skills shown by the baby boomers.

Gen Xers were forced to be responsible and handle adversity at a young age. This valuable skill translated to the workplace and created great leaders. In a study published by DDI, it looked at more than 25,000 leaders spanning 54 countries and 26 major industries. They found Generation X accounts for 51 percent of leadership roles globally (Neal & Wellins, 2018). Their ability to be responsible and handle adversity has showcased their leadership skills.

Gen Xers are viewed as loyal employees, but also value time spent with their families. This can be directly related to how Gen Xers were raised. They take pride in spending time with their families because it was something that was taken from them at a young age. They understand the value of family and what it can mean to their spouses and children.

Their life experiences have impacted the way they communicate, act, and react to the world around them. Their experiences have given them the tools to communicate to both younger and older generations. They have risen to leadership levels without sacrificing the value the of family. This can be directly related to their upbringing. They were shown family and financial instability. In turn, they have made it a priority not to repeat history.

Sources:

Neal, S., & Wellins, R. “Generation X-not millennials-is changing the nature of work.” 11 April 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/11/generation-x–not-millennials–is-changing-the-nature-of-work.html

O’Bannon, G. (2001). Managing our future: The Generation X factor. Public personnel Management, 30, 95-106.

Wiethoff, Carolyn. (2004). Management Basics: Managing Generation X . Indiana libraries, 23(2), 53-55. https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/bitstream/handle/1805/1343/Management%20Basics.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Zill, N., & Robinson, J. (1995). The Generation X difference. American Demographics, 17, 29-32.

By: Tyler Houchin, General Studies Major – IUPUC

Words change human behaviors

We all know of someone that speaks before they think. While not knowing how it affects those around us. Words can change human behavior in both positive and negative ways. One single word can make the difference between liking a person and disliking a person.  It can affect relationships, businesses and impact your career. Using the right or wrong words will show you how a person is going to react.

For instance, when communicating with your significant other use words of encouragement such as love, proud and beautiful.  This will allow the person receiving the message to feel happy, appreciated and able to open up and communicate better with you. On the other hand just using the wrong words such as always or never, you’re pathetic, you have to do this will change the behavior of the person. They will shut down, become standoffish and not feel comfortable to communicate you with.

Same thing in businesses they know the right words to say to keeping customers coming back instead of losing them. Greeting their customers asking how their day is going will make them feel welcomed and willing to shop at their store. Ignoring the customers using words like hurry, I don’t have time for this will make the customer want to leave and tell their friends about how badly they were treated.

Just one negative word can ruin a person’s day. Nevertheless, one positive word can make a person’s day. Benjamin Franklin said, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” So in other words choose your words wisely because they have the potential of accomplishing nearly anything or destroying nearly anything.

By Tameeka Sizemore, Psychology major- IUPUC

 

Frame of Reference

How does your frame of reference affect how well you are able to complete the task at hand? This is a question I find myself asking when preparing this blog. There are many times I have overlooked the importance of this. Over the last year I have learned from personal experience on how my frame of reference can affect how I approach problems in the workplace.

The first step to understanding the role of your frame of reference is to know what the frame consists of. This can vary by your location and the activity you are currently participating in. My frame of reference at work focuses on mainly cost and revenue generated. I am also from Generation Z. This has a larger effect on the technological side. I see the advantage of how technology can improve efficiency even if It cost more than standard equipment.

I reflect over the past experiences I had at work while thinking about my frame of reference. Many of these issues could have been resolved earlier if I would have stepped back from the situation to define how I am viewing the issue versus how the other person views the issue. Most business are trying to make as much profit as they can while keeping their customers happy. Working in the quoting department is just that. We try to maximize our profit. While I look at this my customer is trying to minimize their cost. It is best to approach this as if we were a partnership. We both need to agree to the price that satisfies both of us. While this process sounds simple it took us around 2 weeks to accomplish. If we would have started out at the point where we both were transparent with our needs this process could have taken only a few days.

In my short time in business I have found it best to take a few minutes before each meeting and analyze where my customer/coworker is coming from these meetings would have been more productive. We also would have been more efficient which frees us up in order to do other tasks. Going forward I plan on scheduling a few minutes into my calendar in order to my position to that of my opposition.

Researching Potential Employers

When searching for a job, it is equally important to research potential employers. Having a good understanding of the employer can tremendously help you prepare for a job interview. By doing this research beforehand, you will have a greater understanding of what you are walking into on interview day. Questions that you may have had prior to an interview could be answered by simply doing your own research ahead of time.

What exactly do you look for when researching a potential employer? Some of the most important aspects to look at would be how long the company has been in business, and if the business has been successful. Obviously, no one wants to start a job just to find out the company is going downhill. You want to make sure the employer has built their business on a strong, solid foundation. Another part would be the company culture and morale. Other details to look at would be location, schedule, a general idea of salary and benefits, and employee retention rate. Again, researching these things before a job interview can help you come prepared for any further questions you might have.

Now the question is, HOW do you research a potential employer? With the internet right at our fingertips, it should be easy! A couple of my favorite websites are:
• Glassdoor – A free website with information compiled from anonymous employees around the world. You can narrow down your search to certain geographic locations, if you wish. The website provides information regarding salary, benefits, interview process/questions, pros/cons of working there, etc. It is a great website to research potential employers.
• LinkedIn – Search for the company page on LinkedIn. Is the employer well known? Do you have any mutual connections? If so, are they people whom you would want to work for/with? These are important aspects to look at when researching a potential employer.

Aside from those helpful websites, it is also imperative to review the company website. Is the site valid, updated, and user friendly? Do you feel welcomed when looking at the site? Click around on all the tabs throughout the site. You should be able to gain a great understanding of who the employer is and what they do by looking through their website. Some employers will share employee testimonies on the career page. This can give you insight on why people like working there!

Researching a potential employer can be quick and simple. It is always a good idea to do your research before heading into a job interview. The more information you know ahead of time, the more prepared you will be. Knowing what to look for in a potential employer and where to look could be the key to your next successful job interview!

By Samantha Winters, Business Major – IUPUC

A Typical Job Interview

I’m sure many of you if not all of you have been through at least one job interview in your lifetime so far. Well, how many of you actually took time and effort to prepare for the interview? Probably not as much as you wish you would’ve.        An interview consists of many simple but huge steps you should always follow. After completing all your resume steps which should have been done in order for you to get an interview, you want to make sure those files and documents are accessible to yourself as well as your future employer. Make sure you always plan ahead and maybe even bring an extra copy of your resume. You should always go into the job interview feeling confident and strong that you have a place to fill the position you’re trying to get. Employers have many jobs other than being a hiring manager. Time is money, don’t waste their time. Most employers will only bring you in for an interview if they feel like you will be a good fit for the position and team. Most interviews for very serious businesses are put together to get to know you more personally. If they know you can do the job, they will always have you come in for a face-to-face interview that way they can get to see how you act in person. Most of the time you’re going to be at work and so they want to make sure they like you at a personal level as well as a coworker/team.        In order for you to do good in an interview, you should always be conversational with the employer. Don’t be shy, speak up and speak to them as if you met a new person. A lot of times people feel discouraged in an interview which results in them being quiet and not showing themselves at a high potential. You don’t want to make them feel awkward, the more you talk the better you will be off. You should always be prepared physically as well as mentally. Going into an interview you should be wearing something that is at least a bit dressier than a regular day for yourself. Maybe slacks, jeans, polos, clean shoes, etc. Dress yourself accordingly to the job title. Although not everyone can look as nice as one another, you should always try to be at your best physical appearance that way they know you are serious enough about their opening position.        Expect the greatest but don’t let that tear you don’t fit the requirements for the open position. You can expect to receive a drug test, background check, legal citizenship, and other requirements for the job. Hopefully this has given you a few helpful tips about a job interview.

 

By Corey Wall, Business Management Major – IUPUC

The Process of Finding a Job

During your lifetime, you will most likely experience the process of searching for new job. There are many steps you should take when beginning the pursuit of a new job. In this post, I will provide you with three of my biggest pointers for a successful job hunt.  It is important to focus on your network, presenting employers with a strong resume, and maintaining an open mind.

 

Often times, it is most convenient to begin your job search within your network. Networking with professionals, whether it be your friends, family, coworkers, etc. can often lead to information about jobs that are available. On top of gaining inside information through your network, your network acquaintances can often give recommendations to people they know or companies they have connections to if you are seeking employment with one of them. For this reason, it is important to maintain positive relationships within your network. Today, many people choose to keep the people in their network updated through LinkedIn. Utilizing your network will make your job hunt more successful.

 

In addition to taking advantage of your network, it is important to present a strong and updated resume to employers. When employers are reviewing your application their first impression of you will be shaped by your resume. Your resume should always appear professional, grammatically correct, and organized. It is also important to always be truthful on your resume. Often, your resume is the factor that determines whether or not you will be asked to complete an interview. Your resume should represent who you are successfully, and impress employers.

 

One thing that often restricts people while searching for a job is their state of mind. Keeping an open mind can be one your greatest assets while searching for a job. Many people have defined characteristics they are looking for in a job, and they aren’t willing to take a chance on jobs that are outside of their comfort zone. You may not always get the job you wanted, but there are always more opportunities available. Applying for jobs that may not seem like the perfect fit for you, but have potential can often lead to a great opportunity. The struggle of finding a new job will be a lot less stressful and successful if you keep an open mind and a positive attitude.

 

Overall, the process of finding your next job can often be frustrating and time consuming; however, by using my three tips for a successful job hunt you will find the perfect job. The first job you get may not be your dream job, but if you keep fighting and progressing in your career you will eventually find satisfaction with your career. Often times we have to work through jobs that may not be enjoyable, but persistence will eventually lead you to the right fit.

 

By Walker Thomas, Business Major – IUPUC

Adidas vs. Nike

There has always been a constant competition between Nike and Adidas, but what about their online websites? Which business has the better website? While shopping online the other day I found myself going back and forth between the Nike and Adidas websites. One website was catching my attention more than the other one was but why was that?

After doing some research on what makes a business website successful I found that some of the most successful business websites are easy to navigate, informs their visitors, keeps the visitors on their page, and eventually converts them into customers. Also it is important to make sure that the website is responsive and can adjust to the screen of any mobile device. Turning a visitor into a customer by the time they leave the website is one of the main reasons for having a website for a business.

When comparing Nike’s website to Adidas’ website, here is what worked, what didn’t work and which one was more successful:

When I pull up Nike’s website I notice how there is a lot of use of the colors white and black. The only major use of color on the home page is when looking at the different boxes that were promoting certain products like running materials for men, women and young athletes. At the very top of the home page there is an ad promoting a new shoe, but there again was a lot of the color white. This didn’t make me very interested in the product and resulted in me just scrolling on past the ad. The home page also appeared to have only the main purpose of advertising running products. This in my opinion didn’t work for their website because not everyone is buying only running products from this brand. What really was successful for this website was that on the home page the links to men, women, and children products are right at your eye level in the center of the page. This made it easy to navigate. Also, when I first pulled up the website a box popped up for me to enter my information to sign up for a newsletter with coupons and information about new products. I felt that this was a good way to give customers information and to draw them back in to buy products later on.

When I clicked on the “women” link for Nike I am taken to a page that has advertisement boxes that say “bring on spring”, “lighten up for warmer weather” and “run your city”.  These categories seemed very vague to me and were in very tiny font. Even though there were tiny links at the tops of the page that said shoes, clothing and new releases, I have to scroll down even further to find the links to buy items such as shorts, sports bras, and hoodies. This page made it difficult to find what I was looking for right away. I would have to click on several links just to find the exact product I was looking for.

The home page of the Adidas website looks very similar to the Nike home page, but there were some major differences. On the home page for Adidas there is a large and colorful advertisement promoting a new shoe that they are selling. Already they have caught my attention through the use of color and have made me interested in looking into the new shoe. Unlike the Nike home page, Adidas’ home page featured a wide variety of products under the title “What’s Trending”. To sign up for the newsletter and receive coupons I had to scroll to the bottom of the home page. This was a downfall compared to the box that popped up on the Nike home page. What also didn’t work for the home page was that the links to the men, women, and children items were on the top left side of the page. The links weren’t the center of attention of the page and instead the large advertisement was. In my opinion those links are the most important links on the page and they should be placed in a way that shows that.

When I clicked on the “women” tab I was taken to a page that has around 7 pictures with the straight forward categorizes of Prophere, Ultraboost X, Bras, Tops, Tights, Shoes, and Adidas by Stella McCartney. Adidas had the tiny links for shoes, tops, new arrivals and other products as well, but I liked how the pictures were there as links too. That is so because these tiny links that both websites use are easy to miss.  This website made it easier to find certain faster by having them already categorized on the page.  I found that this made it easier for me to find my products compared to the Nike website. The large bold font that was used on the Adidas website made it easier as well.

Overall I found that the Adidas website was more successful than Nike’s business website. Adidas had better use of space, color, and text. I found that Adidas held my attention longer and had me looking into different products that I wasn’t even shopping for to begin with. Also, they were more successful with promoting a large variety of products whereas Nike seemed to focus in on only running materials. Adidas would result in me becoming a customer by the time I leave their website.

By Kaitlyn Richards, Business Major – IUPUC

 

Fake News

If any of you pay attention to politics in America at all, you have probably heard some mention of it. President Trump is very well known for making the claim “that is fake news” multiple times. But what really is fake news? How can we tell what fake news is? Today, I’m going to help you figure out what fake news is and where to go for unbiased news.

According to Wikipedia, the definition of fake news is “… a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes…”. For those of you that don’t know exactly what “yellow journalism” is, it is journalism that has little to no research that uses attention grabbing headlines to sell copies. This means that they may make outrageous claims that may not be true just to sell copies. This is what fake news is.

Spotting fake news and recognizing it is getting more difficult these days. The website IFLA.org gives a very good guide of how we can do this. They say there are eight steps to identifying it. The steps, in no particular order, are to consider the source, check the author, check the date, check your biases, read beyond, see if there are any supporting sources, ask yourself if it could be a joke, and finally, ask an expert. By using these suggestions, you should be able to identify whether what you are seeing or hearing is fake news.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid there is not currently anywhere you can go for unbiased news. I have looked for quite some time for unbiased news, as I would also like to read some news that is unbiased. But after much searching, I’m not sure if there is any news site out there that does not have some bias in it.

By Clark Hauer, Business Major- IUPUC

Why must we listen?

When you were young do you recall your parents telling you to LISTEN?  Perhaps you remember them saying ‘I know you hear me but are you LISTENING to me?’ At the time did you wonder ‘What is the difference?’ Let me try to explain what the difference is and why it is an important life skill.

Hearing is a physical activity that refers to the vibrations your ear receives then turns into sounds. On the other hand, listening is much more involved and can be a physical AND mental activity.

There are also different types of listening. For example, active listening involves not only the physical activity of listening to what is being said but also in watching the body language of the speaker. Effective listening requires focus, and concentration which requires both physical and mental activity. Both types are extremely important in our daily communications.

By being both an active and effective listener you can help in preventing miscommunication, misunderstandings, establish a connection with the speaker, and also improve the interpretation of what is being said.  I am sure we have all experienced a variation of miscommunication or misunderstanding. What if you had a simple misunderstanding while working on project and someone was hurt? Could a  miscommunication from a co-worker lead to clients losing their investment? Would you lose your job? Unfortunately, all of these things can and have happened.

Here are some ways you can improve your listening skills.

Maintain eye contact. By keeping eye contact with the speaker your mind will wander less and the distraction of those around you can be kept to a minimum.

Remain attentive. Once eye contact is established you can remain attentive and you are likely to absorb and retain more information.

Keep an open mind. Save your questions and judgements for the end of the speech simply because they may be answered at the speech progresses.

Listen to the words the speaker is saying and when you hear them in context and it will help in interpretation and limit misunderstandings.

Don’t interrupt. Of course this goes without saying however we often need reminded.

Employers are providing workshops and seminars to their employees simply because of they want to emphasize the importance of listening. Listening is a skill that is not only required but essential for the workplace, relationships, and everyday communication.  How well do you think you listen?

 

 

By Lindsay McIntosh,  Senior at IUPUC

 

 

“I’m a businessman.”

“I’m a businessman. I’ve made my money supplying a popular demand. If I break the law, mAl_Caponey customers are as guilty as I am.”  

      Alphonse “Al” Capone was a notorious American mobster based in Chicago. He became increasingly popular among the people of Cook County during the Prohibition era. Capone was the main man for bootlegging, the illegal selling and distributing of alcohol.

      Capone viewed people as either potential customers or potential threats. He used his popularity with the press to help people see him as someone who was on their side during the Prohibition. He used this to his advantage to get what he wanted. Since Capone is majority Italian, the way he ran his mob was different than most. His men were very loyal, and if not they would be dead.  Once, he had invited members from his mob whom he had found out had been aiding his rival gangs to dinner, and afterwards he had proceeded to tell them that he knew and he tortured them all night before killing them. Capone had a tendency to run things the old way while making a modern twist. He would host a soup kitchen for the press to see and at the same time he would be paying off police.

      Uncle Al is still one of the most famous mobsters in America. He was only sent to prison on tax-evasion in 1931, four years after the Supreme Court deemed illegal income was taxable in 1927. He later died of a heart attack at his home in Miami on January 25, 1947.

 

     By E. Green, Business Major – IUPUC

 

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