Hartz Mountain Corp.

Hartz Mountain Corp.

Director of distribution logistics


One of the most important ways that I see our end of the industry changing is the presence of Generation X in the workplace. Generation Xers are now into management ranks dealing with supply chain management. People roughly ages 26 to 37 bring a leadership style that is very different than us "boomers." Statistically speaking, we still dominate the top ranks but will no doubt leave in masses over the next 10 to 20 years.

Gen Xers are visual and time-sensitive. Nothing moves fast enough for them. They are the model of the TV remote - rapid fire through the channels, stopping only momentarily to get instant visual knowledge. They have transplanted this to the workplace, taking ideas from anybody, considering only if they work and how well. They seek responsibility over projects and do not embrace micromanagement.

Gen Xers love operational activity - what is happening NOW! - and then move on to the next challenge. They work hard. In

fact they work to live, whereas we boomers have always lived to work. When it comes to managing people, I have seen that they have a tough time "riding herd" on less-than-good performance or in guiding personnel who lack focus. They want people to like them and be seen as "good guys." There is no military management in them.

They can be blunt at times in getting "stuff" done, but they get it done. They can and will have options, such as moving to "Plan B," when making timely decisions. So how do we managers see management potential in Generation-X workers? Groom them early. Educate them. Give them not just responsibility, but authority. They want the "clout" over the services they will need to perform their tasks. Have them fly solo, but not fly away, and chances are they will stick with your organization.