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We're creative, entrepreneurial, spirited, strategic people, us Gen Xers-not to mention capable of re-shaping the work force. That's prompted business leaders to call upon age-focused consultant companies such as Paul Litten's Generation Forward Inc. Through his management, consulting and training firm in Atlanta, Litten and his network of expert associates help Fortune 1000 companies recruit, retain, manage and motivate their exuberant cast of characters. Analyzing not just the current crowd, but also the subsequent employees who will pass through the 21-to-35-year-old window in the coming years (i.e., those Gen Y kids), Generation Forward counsels on how best to employ the younger-worker world.
Litten, who previously directed a leadership-building organization on college campuses in Miami, recognized a generation that approached work differently, yet was frequently met with much dissonance. "I thought, `Wait, these are creative, capable team players, but they approach work and life differently. So the set of buttons that you press to get motivation, vision and loyalty has to change,' " he says. "You've got a whole generation in a workplace that's pressing the wrong buttons."
In 1998, entrenched in Gen Xdom himself, Litten, now 35, developed a business plan, saved up half his annual salary and moved his family to Atlanta. Investing about $45,000 of his personal savings and utilizing a small contribution from an angel investor, Litten blended the experience from a former consulting company with his leadership development skills to create Generation Forward, which Litten expects to generate $345,000 this year.
With the knowledge that this younger working generation strives for what he calls entrepreneurial space, Litten advises managers to look beyond the perceived generational stereotypes and disregard work-force tradition. "We are living in a time where the generation wants more ability to affect the bottom line and self-supervise their work," he explains. "It's all about taking the incredible energy and productivity of the generation and helping [everyone] work together."
Generation Forward Inc., (770) 849-0062, http://www.generationforward.com