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How to Manage Generational Dynamics

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This story appears in the March 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The 25 employees at Lumen Legal use e-mail and IM to communicate with each other. But last year, there was a communication breakdown. The company's twentysomething Gen Yers kept trying to IM their Gen X and baby boomer co-workers, who weren't always logging on to IM. It was becoming a source of irritation at the Royal Oak, Mich., attorney outsourcing firm, where 25 percent of the staffers are Gen Yers, 40 percent are Gen Xers and 35 percent are boomers. For the company's twentysomethings, "there's this frustration, like, 'Well, I was going to try to IM you, but you're not logged on--and why aren't you logged on?'" says founder and CEO David Galbenski, 39.

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