15 Jul How to Bridge the Gap with the Younger Generation
Through my experience of working with clients over 50, who have been in business for a fair period of time, they aren’t ready for retirement yet, but they’re thinking about succession planning. With that, they’re looking to some of the younger people in their businesses.
However this process doesn’t always run smoothly and I think a big part of that is because they just don’t understand what makes them tick.
I spoke with Michael McQueen, an Australian-born speaker, social researcher and bestselling author. With a background in marketing and research, Michael founded a consultancy specializing in demographic shifts and social trends called The Nexgen Group. He gave some great advice on how to bridge the gap with younger generations in your business:
“Prioritise the relationship. I mean, the relationship with this group, with Gen Y, is absolutely critical. Probably more so than for previous generations. This came through consistently in the research I did with young people, they in many ways stypify that old phrase: ‘I don’t care how much you know, until I know how much you care’.
‘I don’t care how much you know, until I know how much you care’.
“You know that idea of ‘I don’t care if you’re the boss, or the manager of the business, or even my parent or my school teacher, I don’t care about how many credentials you’ve got, until I know that you care about me first, I’m resistant to what it is you’re trying to teach me or coach into me’.
“So the relationship is vitally important. So, you know, a couple of keys on building a relationship with this group, number one: be real, be authentic. They’ve got a finely tuned ‘BS’ meter, so let your guard down, show yourself to be real.
“They’ve got a finely tuned ‘BS’ meter, let, you know, let your guard down, show yourself to be real.”
“You know, when you stuff up, acknowledge it. When you make a mistake, apologise. If you don’t know the answer to their question, say ‘That’s a great question, I’m not sure’.
“This seems like common sense, but you tend not to see it. And it’s amazing how common sense isn’t common practise. Because the business owner feels that that’s their power base, ‘I’ve gotta look like I’ve got it all together at all times and I’ve gotta have all the answers.’ Whereas with this group, they know that their employers and parents and teachers don’t know everything.
“So rather than trying to pretend just be honest about it, and rather than being seen as a sign of incompetence, by young, by this young group, they see it as a sign of strength, because you can be real.”
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