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Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart

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This is the first time in American history that we have had four different generations working side-by-side in the the Traditionalists (born before 1945), the Baby Boomers (born 1945-1964), Gen X (born 1965-1980), and the Millennials (born 1981-2001).

Haydn Shaw, popular business speaker and generational expert, has identified 12 places where the 4 generations typically come apart in the workplace (and in life as well). These sticking points revolve around differing attitudes toward managing one’s own time, texting, social media, organizational structure, and of course, clothing preferences. If we don’t learn to work together and stick together around these 12 sticking points, then we’ll be wasting a lot of time fighting each other instead of enjoying a friendly and productive team. Sticking Points is a must-read book that will help you understand the generational differences you encounter while teaching how we can learn to speak one another’s language and get better results together.

288 pages, Hardcover

First published July 22, 2013

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About the author

Haydn Shaw

8 books5 followers
Haydn Shaw is a leading expert on understanding generational differences and transforming negative work environments and employees. He is a full-time speaker and consultant for FranklinCovey specializing in leadership, execution, and personal productivity methodologies. Before that, he was a minister for nine years and has a seminary degree. Haydn has worked with more than 1,000 businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and governmental agencies. He speaks and consults in excess of 170 days each year for clients who consistently invite him back. Recently hailed as a “leadership guru” by the Washington Post, Haydn Shaw has delivered hundreds of convention keynote or intimate off-site addresses. Known for taking groups from hilarity to deep reflection, he combines rich content with modern teaching methods. Having worked with hundreds of organizations, Haydn employs practical and inspiring examples from the boardroom and from the front line of business. Haydn Shaw travels from Chicago, where he lives in a multigenerational household with his family.

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5 stars
117 (30%)
4 stars
177 (46%)
3 stars
69 (18%)
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14 (3%)
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2 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 59 reviews
Profile Image for Beth Peninger.
1,504 reviews2 followers
November 5, 2017
Yes, THIS. What a great, and important, read. I really want to gift the executive team with copies and ask them to read and discuss - with a cross section of generations of course.
A friend of mine brought this book to my attention some time back. She had heard a summary talk on it and found just the 45 minutes she heard fascinating. And it IS fascinating.
Anything that starts with the fact that we have, for the first time in history, 4 generations working together in the workplace makes for fascinating discussion. To say that it has caused misunderstandings, tensions, resentments, and disrespect is an understatement. Shaw seeks to break down the barriers between generations and bring them to the common ground of 12 workplace needs so they can start from the common need instead of the complaints. The biggest key to success is organizations and their employees being willing to differentiate between generational preferences and business necessities. Also to learn to listen to one another and hear what each generation is communicating. And nothing that any one of the generations is communicating is wrong, we just need some understanding of one another.
To foster understanding Shaw outlines the major defining moments for each generation and how those feed things like work ethic, loyalty, dress code, policy making, etc. Shaw believes that companies can make all four generations happy with one singular decision but it takes understanding and flexibility to get there. It doesn't matter what kind of work is being done - McDonald's to Factories to Office Settings - intergenerational differences exist and they can either hinder the work or improve the work depending on how they are handled. No matter where you work and what kind of position you hold this book is valuable, even if nobody in your workplace ever reads it but you. Just one person with understanding can and does make a difference and a domino effect can happen.
"We have to understand that we are natives to only one generation and immigrants to the other three. We might as well not be jerks about it. It's okay to think about a different generation in the same way we might think about a different country - Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. Of course we will feel more comfortable with our own generation's customs, music, approaches, and values. Our own generation will always feel like home. But that doesn't mean we can't visit other cultures and learn to appreciate them and to speak their language." (Chapter 2)
Profile Image for Jared Nelson.
117 reviews3 followers
December 31, 2016
Enjoyed the perspective and comparison among the four generations currently in the workplace: Traditionalists (born before 1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980) and Millennials (1981-2001).

The book was well organized and easy to read. The first 8 chapters (of 19) were by far the best, since the author continued to provide new information.

Chapters 9-19 were largely redundant comparisons on specific workplace topics and very general characteristics of the 4 generations. I was unable to keep interested in the latter chapters long enough to prevent skimming.

I would recommend reading the first 8 chapters and saving the remainder as reference material, if needed!

3 stars.
Profile Image for Matt.
Author 1 book9 followers
March 18, 2015
Good summary of generational differences and strategies to overcome them. Almost humorously tailored toward clueless baby-boomer era managers who don't realize that the world has changed, and will continue to do so! :)
Profile Image for Karen.
100 reviews
August 3, 2017
This book should be required reading for all adults. I cannot get enough of my "learn on" in generational differences. The information is relevant...fascinating...and spot on!! Understanding generational differences is invaluable for those who lead people, but it also serves the same level of importance to anyone who interacts with people across the generations (read: ALL OF US).

Whereas Haydn Shaw's other book, Generational IQ, focus's more on how generational differences impact the church, Sticking Points speaks to secular businesses. Some of the information overlaps between the two books, but his examples and illustrations in Sticking Point relate to the general workforce.

The phrase "sticking points" refers to those areas we tend to get in a huff over because of differing opinions, preferences, thoughts that vary across the generations. The premise of this book is to not let those "sticking points" pull your team apart, but instead let the "sticking points" be the glue that further strengthens the working bond in you team. He lays out a 5 step process on how to make this work. At the end of this book are 12 common sticking points that employees/employers regularly encounters and in these 12 examples, he shows you step by step how to approach the sticking point.

Both of Haydn Shaw's books (Generational IQ and Sticking Points) will help you STOP focusing on the WHAT...meaning he steers you away from focusing on those things that drive you nuts (like someone texting on their phone during a meeting). Instead he helps you understand the WHY...and when we understand WHY someone does what they do, there is much more grace and understanding.
Profile Image for Juby.
161 reviews
February 6, 2022
I received this book for free in a conference tote and have been meaning to read it for years. It was published in 2013 so I figured a lot of it may be outdated and leave out the generation I’m interested in knowing about - Gen Z. There were some interesting observations in the book, in the first half, about what each generation’s challenges were and why they behave the way they do at work. However, this insight largely only works if you work only with Caucasians or those who grew up in the US (addressed in a few paragraphs in the appendix). I wish the book also covered generational sticking points for those who immigrated to the US and how their experiences shaped how they raised the next generation. I didn’t relate to the generalization of millennials (group-oriented, raised by parents who allowed them to question rules, want to wear flip flops to work) because I wasn’t raised by typical US born Baby Boomers. I do still think there were takeaways and useful tools to work better with my Caucasian colleagues - now I get why the Baby Boomers always want to schedule a live meeting for something that could be an email or Teams message, why companies make top-down decisions, and why Gen Xers are obsessed with work-life balance.
Profile Image for Sara.
247 reviews5 followers
February 7, 2018
I read this for my work as a director of lifespan religious education for a church. While the introduction and first few chapters of the book stated several times that the generational issues in the book would be applicable in non-profit and family settings, in reality the rest of the book almost exclusively approached the sticking points with business examples. So I was a bit disappointed about that.

However, there is some good advice and good context to be found here, particularly in the ghost stories of each generation chapters. Useful, not perfect, and I just started skimming the last sections and reading the nice graphs instead of the whole chapters.
Profile Image for Maria.
4,005 reviews103 followers
December 27, 2018
Shaw is a business consulting, helping companies deal with the fact that for the first time they have 4 generations working together. He lists 12 sticking points and why the generations see these issues differently. Things like managing one’s own time, texting, social media, organizational structure, and of course, clothing preferences, and more.

Why I started this book: Was looking for a short book to fit into the breaks during family time.

Why I finished it: Fascinating to read and fun to talk about with whatever family member was closest. I appreciated the analogy of generations like countries... explore and appreciate their context and culture.
234 reviews1 follower
December 5, 2017
I read this book for my work. The overall concepts presented are very useful so the book is worth skimming for that reason alone. I found actual analysis to be too generalized and the generations are not defined and characterized consistent with my experience. It also is odd to me at this point that the author thinks the "traditional" generation is presence in the workplace. You have to be 75 to be in this category. I think generational differences are real and being conscious of them will make one a better communicator and colleague.
Profile Image for Victor Lu.
217 reviews
July 25, 2021
Published in 2013, this book is pretty outdated at this point. I would have much rather forgone the discussion of traditionalists and instead discussed Gen Z, but the absence of Gen Z is likely due to the age of the book. Additionally, a majority of the text centers on white collar, middle and upper class work. There was no discussion of cultural differences stemming from race, which I think was a huge gap. Although the author did acknowledge this gap in the appendix, it would have been much more valuable to address such issues in the body of the text.
Profile Image for Heather Stock.
331 reviews
December 14, 2018
A good read that discusses the melding of generations within the workplace. Shaw discusses a five step process to apply to the twelve ‘sticking points’ that generally tear generations apart. For the first time in history, there are four generations in the workplace at the same time: Traditionalists (those born before 1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Gen Xers (1965-1980) and Millennials (1981-2001). Good read for anyone that interacts with people across multiple generations.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
313 reviews
June 22, 2019
This was one of those books that I listened to on Audible, then decided I had to have it in print because there are so many resources in it. Great book that made me re-examine my own generational preferences versus needed processes. I don't tend to subscribe to generalizations of this sort but found myself unable to argue with the information presented here. I think it will be helpful moving forward and would highly recommend this book :)
Profile Image for Steve.
142 reviews4 followers
January 17, 2021
Clear way to look at 12 different parts of most business cultures, looking at each from the perspective of the four generations currently working (traditional, baby boomer, generation x, millennial). I really like that there are charts for each topic that can be referenced in the future.

Bottom line: communication, listening and being willing to try co-worker's ideas is a good way to address generational ideals and input.
Profile Image for Karrie Flegal.
11 reviews
April 25, 2021
I really appreciated this book’s perspective on the different generations. It is applicable not only for the work place but also life- family, church, friendships. It surprised me at times with the reality of how much of a Millennial I am, but also it helped me realize how many of my frustrations are the results of generational differences that I can be better equipped to understand and now navigate.
Profile Image for Edward Bellis.
150 reviews
January 28, 2019
Well done

Heydn flexed his intellect with this book. His razor sharp understanding of the differences in generations is profound. His motivation clarity is insightful. His descriptions spot on target. Seeing differences as opportunities, recognizing their power, and leveraging their assets gives this book the 5 star rating. Well done. Well done!
8 reviews4 followers
February 6, 2019
What a great book. I found myself not wanting to put the book down, not rushing to read it. I found myself making notes and understanding myself and those around me. This book will have you opening discussion from all walk styles. I found myself being compassionate and sympathetic to those around me. This book is worth buying and keeping.
Profile Image for David Kemp.
135 reviews5 followers
July 25, 2020
I found this a very enlightening book. Easy to read but substantive.

We have two choices in life. We can stand still and expect people to come to us on our terms, or we can decide to practice Servant Leadership and start leading people from where they are. This book provides practice insight and instructions to achieve the latter choice.
Profile Image for Bill J Marion.
26 reviews1 follower
December 19, 2017
Every leader formal or informal should read this book

I enjoyed how Shaw points out that this isn’t just an issue between boomers and millennials.! It’s between all generations. We do have more in common than we have in differences. Great book!
Profile Image for Bryan Reeder.
63 reviews
March 1, 2018
An excellent book to follow up Generational IQ. As a persons who works with many millennials, I found Sticking Points to be extremely insightful. I would recommend this book to any leader that is working in a multi-generational setting.
Profile Image for Quinn.
Author 4 books28 followers
June 22, 2019
Good book on four generations (although there are now five) with a strong message: we can ignore, negotiate, force, or help them grow. Spoiler alert: the first three don't work. The rest of the book is an in-depth review of how values change, but authority lags behind.
Profile Image for Katie.
50 reviews1 follower
January 6, 2022
TLDR. I resorted to just the bullet point at the end of the last few chapters. I took what I could to relate to my situation but this is much more for organizations or companies dealing with all generations.
Profile Image for Jake Griess.
192 reviews4 followers
September 29, 2023
Fantastic and helpful book. I felt very understood as a millennial and also grew in my understanding of older generations. I’d love to see him do a Ted talk because everyone could benefit from these teachings. Will be going back to this as a resource continually.
Profile Image for Monica.
267 reviews8 followers
December 30, 2017
Fascinating and insightful look at the four generations in the workplace. Gave me helpful ideas and turned on several lightbulbs!
Profile Image for Sarah.
206 reviews
July 15, 2018
This was very good and insightful. It did drag on a little longer than it needed to. But overall, it was a worthwhile read!
73 reviews1 follower
December 26, 2018
Great read

If you work, this is a must read to help understand the generations in the workplace. Well-written with great sources and practical application.
Profile Image for Roy.
96 reviews1 follower
September 15, 2019
A bit formulaic and dated but still interesting and useful.
Profile Image for Kalie.
60 reviews
March 25, 2020
Read this book for a class. It’s a little dated especially reading it during the time of Coronavirus. I do think there are some useful ideas for working with different generations effectively.
Profile Image for James.
1,498 reviews108 followers
August 28, 2013
For the first time in history, there are four generations in the workplace at the same time: Traditionalists (those born before 1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Gen Xers (1965-1980) and Millennials (1981-2001).   Each of these generations grew up with  experiences that shaped their ideology,practice and assumptions. Traditionalists (or Builders) came back from World War II and built  many of the major companies and still lead many of these organizations. Boomers entered the work force and climbed the corporate ladder by putting in long hours. Gen Xers were smaller, and so did not move up the food chain as fast as Boomers did (because Boomers keep not dying). Millennials have now entered the workforce, but are not as inclined to follow the rules as much as the older generations (Gen Xers weren't either but because of their small numbers, did not effect much change).

Haydn Shaw has written Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Ploces They Come Apart to help businesses leverage the strengths of each generation. Each of the generations has something to offer. Traditionalists built many of the organizations, industries, and companies.  They and Boomers still occupy places of significant leadership, but have not always passed on important information. Gen Xers have navigated the business world (as defined by previous generations) and have risen to meet various challenges. Millennials are poised to creatively contribute to the market but find that they are judged by other generations for their work ethic, lack of experience, and disrespect for authority.  Stereotypes about each generation abound, and often the other generations are dismissed for where they are found wanting. Shaw helps us appreciate the gifts of each generation that is rooted in their history.

Shaw examines each of these generations, providing an overview of their characteristics and history before discussing the 12 'sticking points' which create generational tension in the work place. These are:

Decisions Making
Dress Code
Fun at Work
Knowledge Transfer
Work Ethic

In each of these areas, Shaw helps us acknowledge the tensions, appreciate why the tension is there, identify where organizations can 'flex' to accomodate different approaches, leverage the strengths of each generation and resolve how to handle these areas.

I appreciate many of Shaw's insights and I think this will be a helpful book for people working together from different generations. Because my own vocational goals are ministry, I immediately translate Shaw's insights to that context. I think he names some of the tensions of intergenerational ministry but his focus is specifically on the work environment (i.e. company policies, work ethic, etc). Some of this is translatable to a church setting (though not all of it).

One of the insights of this book that I appreciated was Shaw's explanation about Gen X as a 'squished generation.' When Gen Xers entered the workforce, they did not climb the corporate ladder the way their parents did, nor were they able to effect organizational change because they did not have the numbers Boomers have.  As a result, they have learned to navigate working with the older generations, playing by their rules (but breaking rules and asking for forgiveness later). Many of the features of Millennial generation are held in common with Gen Xers but because of their numbers, they will effect greater change in business and industry. However, for the moment Gen Xers are working in dynamic tension between Boomer leaders and Millennial's entering the business world. They have to navigate both worlds.

Books about generations are by necessity generalizations. Shaw admits that his characterizations describe generations but may not describe individual members of each generations. When generational characteristics are used as a hammer, they do not do justice to the personhood of the people they attempt to describe. Thankfully Shaw has put the hammer away and has written a book which helps us appreciate the different assumptions we carry to the workforce and how their can be a greater level of cooperation across generational lines. I give this book 4 stars.

Thank you to Tyndale for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Kati Grabham.
13 reviews3 followers
January 8, 2017
A must read for leaders/team members trying to lead and succeed in 2017. I recommend thus must for my friend who are military leaders - especially those over the age of 35.
Profile Image for John Nichols.
Author 12 books4 followers
July 20, 2013
In Sticking Points, Haydn Shaw opens our eyes to a common source of conflict in today’s workplace. We have 4 generations attempting to work side by side: the Traditionalists (born before 1945), the Baby Boomers (born 1945-1964), Gen X (born 1965-1980), and the Millennials (born 1981-2001). Each generation employs their own preferred forms of communication. Problem identification and resolution differ across the generations and each group expects something different from the work experience. Shaw identifies the major differences and offers methodologies to unite the groups at the discussion table.

I started reading, only to find myself completely hooked by page 14 where the shoes known as flip flops, sandals, or thongs, depending on your generation, are discussed in detail. I realized the author was speaking to me. Reading Shaw’s work evoked a new respect inside me, a rigid Boomer, as I consider the tattooed, pierced, flip flop wearers strutting into work at the crack of noon, and texting during meetings.
As a professional engineer, I appreciated Shaw’s logical presentation of the material. The book is well-formatted and will serve as a useful reference work. Shaw presents summary charts giving generational overviews as well as a wrap-up of generational specifics for each of the 12 sticking points. The book is filled with practical examples.

I highly recommend this work for anyone managing a workplace. The book should be required reading for pastors, elders, deacons, and other leaders in local church congregations. The inter-generational conflicts Shaw outlines are just as widespread in the church as they are in the workplace. Our church families could benefit from a healthy dose of generational awareness.

Note - Tyndale provided a complimentary copy of the book to facilitate the review.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 59 reviews

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