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The Power of Multi-Generational Teams

Lesson 4 of 6

Mutual Apprenticeship

Gaynor Strachan Chun

The Power of Multi-Generational Teams

Gaynor Strachan Chun

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Lesson Info

4. Mutual Apprenticeship

Lesson Info

Mutual Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship, you know, obviously the actual meaning of the word has kind of like gone through multiple changes as any word does. Obviously, originally, an apprenticeship was actually signed over to a master. You know, a master craftsman. And they initially work for nothing for them. I don't mean that kind of apprenticeship obviously. But I mean it's the principles of apprenticeship. And you know, the principles of apprenticeship are that you are learning from somebody who is a master at a particular skill. But if you take that into and I'm working with ... And you're doing it by actually doing. So it's not that you are learning in a classroom where typically most classrooms are still kind of like somebody standing talking act people. But you're actually learning by doing. So if you think about this in the workplace, the people coming into the workplace for the first time are just hands down better technology than any of the rest of us are. They've grown up with it, they live it, ...

they breathe it. We can learn from them. We, you know, there's other people that have been in the workplace for a while that have wisdom about how best to deal with a upset client, right. They have the personal relationship experience. We can learn from that. But the only way that we really learn and here again, it's back to your brain again is by doing. We don't really learn, we don't retain that learning by kind of like somebody's sitting talking at us. Or sitting down a computer, kind of like and typing. Or you know, kind of like trying to learn in your piece of software. I mean you have to actually learn by doing. So that's the form of mutual apprenticeship that I think is a very interesting notion in companies where there is generational intention. To break it down cause then A you're pairing people up based on skills that they each want to learn. You're giving them the opportunity to get to know each other and they're both learning from each other. So if you think about it that way, mutual apprenticeship becomes an interesting way of thinking about it. And we all can do with learning. I mean we are life-long learners, right. What did you say? Learning doesn't stop when you can leave school. You have to keep learning. And especially these days to be relevant which was another thing that Laura and I were talking about. Cause things are changing so fast. So and it really does fit into this notion of lifelong life-wide learning I'd like to think as suppose to long cause it's some mirror about the breathes and the depths. Not just the depth of your learning. So how we do business obviously is we know it's really evolving. And we can count on that change continuing. I mean, technology is only gonna change it even more. And what happens as well when real AI comes into being and robots and everything else is gonna really kind of like change our world. So the jobs of tomorrow haven't been invented yet. Some rolled stone offices still be some jobs. They kind of like will remain the same. But the vast majority of our jobs will change. So the only thing that we can do is to keep learning from each other. It is our lifelong life-wide skill. And it's really about moving away from what to learn. What subject matter, what kind of like, you know, particular software program to learn but how to learn. So how do we actually learn from each other? How do we put into practice the learning through experience so that we are actually, we know how to be flexible and adaptable and continue to learn as we go through our careers. So how we actually learn? Knowing is not the same as understanding. Again, these are two things that people tend to really kind of mix up. You think, well, I know that. Oh, yeah, I know a lot of things too but do I understand it? Probably not, right, so, knowing and understanding are two very different things. And the understanding is where you, it comes with the experience, right. From actually having done something. So you've taken the knowledge, you've done something with it and therefore you've learned. So I think this is well is where kind of like, you know, the different generations can really help each other and really kind of like come together so that we know that. Reading about concept or even seeing a demonstration as we've said is really not the same as doing it. Reading about, reading the instructions on a cabinet, putting a cabinet together are very different than actually sitting down, putting all the pieces together. And not ending up with extra screws, right. So, it's the same as that. And this is really a concept that was first brought forward by this, recently brought forward by this Professor Beilock. Who actually wrote this book called, How the body knows its mind which is actually very interesting book about kind of like just that whole thing of practice and experience and very much based on how a craftsman, how a master craftsman would actually learn his trait. Where it's trial and error is experienced, you know. It's bringing technology in when it's gonna be useful and making the job better and not bringing in when kind of like when it doesn't actually add to the process. It really does fit with that whole notion of apprenticeship as well. And then shared learning, there are still some places where you know, apprenticeship over kind is still in place. I mean the medical profession. You're a resident right, you have to go through the process of learning from other doctors. So there's still some kind of professions that still use this notion of apprenticeship but it is really fallen off a lot and then in a lot of the other places that we work. And you know, internships, there are some that are great but a lot of internships, I don't know about anybody here, but a lot of internships, you just sit and do the filing. I mean you've given the crap jobs to do because nobody else has time to do it. I mean it's really bad, right. So again, one of the values of difference is actually learning from each other. And if somebody has the skills that you don't then work directly with them to learn those skills. A part from anything else, people are flattered, right. People are flattered when you come and see. You know how to do this really well, can you teach me? It's amazing how many conflicts break down if you actually just kinda like have that mentality that we can learn from each other. So but of course, it's all about kind of making sure that the shared learning continues and it doesn't break down because of barriers. Break down the barriers, build relationships, and suddenly the generational differences I think will disappear. Right down the skills you would like to learn. Take a few minutes, write down the skills that you would like to learn and who you know that you might be able to learn them from. And then, write down what skills you could teach someone. And then we'll discuss those ... Just to get us focused on that. Okay, so, tell me, tell me, what skills would you like to learn? So I'm in the middle of restoring an old camper trailer that we're making into kind of a fort. Nice. (laughs) Nice creative project. And the exterior of it has some leaks, somethings like that that I have no idea how to deal with those. And I know my dad can help me with that so that's a place I wanna go to get some help. And we also wanna put solar to it. So that Right. The plan is to make it kind of a T-Shack. And that's another thing that my dad could be helping me with. And then for my business, there's a lot of technology and software things and I just go right to Creative Live. (laughs) Well, that's a good thing, there you go. That's a perfect place to learn those skills, right. I don't know if you guys have anything on camper restoration and auto lighting. (laughs) Anything on camper restoration? Maybe that's a new topic. That could be a new topic, there you go. And then I like to do a lot of baking and cooking and I, our house is usually pretty busy. And so I'm usually doing that pretty quickly and I'd like to slow down with that a little bit and teach my kids. There's a lot that I've learned of just tips and why things work and why things don't and I haven't passed that on. That's a good one, yeah, yeah pass on those tips. A family, for a family tradition, that's right as well. That's a good one. Who else wants to share? Oop, sorry. (laughs) Yeah, oh, it's okay. I would like to learn how to sew theater costumes. Wow! Yeah, because in my life I did get a few performance and I did my own characters. And so I always had this dream to be able to build the costume by myself. I always use to buy them or adjust them but I really would like just to buy the fabric and understand how to build. Wow. And actually my mom knows how do it. Wow. But well, now we live far away so it's not so easy. Skype. (laughs) And then ... Skype, yeah, that's key And then about skills that I could teach, well, I actually did teach also multimedia classes. But because here, everybody knows multimedia stuff, and so doesn't seem something so unique that I can teach. I would like to teach in California how to do mask in paper mache. Yup. And that is actually something that in Florence we know how to do it. But here not many people knows how to sell this. And in case that I can share my multimedia skills, I would like to do this in Cuba. And I could teach some coding over there so they can eventually find a moment of internet. And they could publish their own thoughts. Interesting. About their word. Yeah, interesting. So I think it's very good to share the skills in the places where people don't have the background about it. Absolutely, right. How about you? And that, I can go next? Yes, sorry, you're remembering, I'm not. I have a huge list of things that I would wanna work on but something for my own personal ... I think it would be a very cool skill to learn as I have, it's to learn to not only take and shoot video but also like to edit video and create little tid bits whether it's for personal life or for business. I just think that's a very useful skill. And I do have, I mean I have a friend that works at Dreamworks and then I have another friend who's a filmmaker but you know, it's like finding the time to book time with them and you know, Right. Have them, kind of give me a little bit of their insight. That would be I think it would be really cool a thing of to eventually learn. And then on business side, I think I would love ... I have a friend Jane who does like food blogging and she does a lot of social media strategy and content development and it would be really cool to gain some of those skills for social media just to bring more visitors to my business website. And then as far as for me to get back, I think I've done so through some of the young designers that I've worked with and mentored. But outside of design, I love to teach dancing cause I love Latin dance so ... Ah, right. I definitely teach Salsa. Teach the Salsa. And merengue bachata chacha, so I really enjoy movement and that would be a fun thing to teach. And that certainly goes across generations. (laughs) Exactly. That's the great thing about the arts, right? Yes, actually. It really is the great thing about the arts is that, you know, truly creative companies don't typically have as many issues. Because everybody there is already has that commonality that they really appreciate the arts. And actually kind to think of it, all of the dance classes I've taken, have all been intergenerational. Yes, there you go, yeah, I mean yeah most dances like one of those things, it's ageless. Yeah, that's true. It's ageless Thank you. So I put sewing pattern drafting. Mixing colors, that's just but lot of practice though. Pigments. Right. Look really knowing colors. And then wardrobe stylings, that's knowing the body and that kind of is all related to this sewing. Archival photography, I would like to be able to take, you go through people's photographs and do the stories and do a whole ... Archive. Yeah. Then, practical thing, video would be something. But I mean that's last on the list. Right right. Skills to teach, course organizing and then some mixed media, paper and caustics. Cooking and even I think all the homemarts. Cleaning, I think a lot of people don't even know basic things. That's interesting you say that. Yoga, I could teach that. Cool. Well, that's all. That's a very interesting list. (audience laughing) It's a very interesting list. (laughs) I love that list. Anybody else, that's it. Yeah, I am, remember, I actually learned a lot of my social media skills from a young woman that I hired at Ovation TV when social media was really just becoming kind of the thing. And she was fantastic at it and I learned all of my social media skills from her. She was very generous with like her time in terms of ... And I was her boss but it's like, you know. But she was generous with her time and then I actually got, she would join me in ... I had nine departments and social media was one of them and so then I brought her into the content meetings so that she could learn how to better ask the content people what she needed for the social media. So that was a good way of us both kind of like doing a, what I call a skill swap. And kind of like that term, you know, skill swap where you kind of like sit down and say, okay well you know I need to learn this but kind of like what do you need to learn and then how can I facilitate that for you. And especially when you're all working for the same company too, it's great. Because that's how people grow too. It's by expanding their skills so that's the best story I have on that one.

Class Description

What do you get when you put a baby boomer, a GenXer and a millennial on a team? Squabbling? Misunderstanding? Utter chaos? Or maybe you get a potent mix of styles, perspectives and ideas that can move your business forward in ways a more homogeneous team couldn’t.

While teams made of like minded individuals can seem more manageable and harmonious, they aren’t particularly realistic considering that the current workforce is made up of people from four different generations. So it’s a good idea for managers and team members to figure out ways to just get along.

Gaynor Strachan Chun will explain both the challenges and opportunities that multigenerational teams present and show how they can provide team members with experiences that are more fun, fulfilling and successful.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Recognize the unique strengths of each generation.
  • Keep an open mind, accept different opinions and respect others’ backgrounds.
  • Find the fun in multigenerational teams.
  • Get over stereotypes and presumptions that we have about different generations.
  • Understand the value and power of diversity.
  • Set up rules of engagement.


Jerry Smith

very well done, so much to learn, best of all is the process of explaining stuff is amazing, i totally highly recommend to learn from here. 10 our of 10 points from my side. Jerry Smith


It's so refreshing to have a productive and practical conversation about multi-generational teams. Gaynor reminds us of the important roles that generations play in our society by discussing how both wisdom and disruption are essential. She provides language and concepts that help us break down our stereotypes and empower multi-generational teams to be not just functional, but also creative.