“…can I tell you something…? I don’t think you’re in love with the past.
I think you’re scared of the future.”
Generational business visions. What I mean by that is while businesses chug along making money, or not making money, how they make their money changes by generation.
Back in august 2013 I described what I called “the evolution of business vision” suggesting that there is a generational shift occurring in how people in business are viewing business.
I attached to that thought a belief that the 50somethings were an impediment to progress and, in particular, the progress that the younger business generation offers businesses.
I believe all of that even more so today.
Organizations are adapting how they attack business purpose, vision and outcomes <measurement & attitude> driven by the rising younger people who view it significantly different that the existing older management.
This is creating a natural friction with the impatience of the rising and the lack of impatience to change by those in power … in addition … there is a natural friction found in how an organization assimilates the new and the old <and the necessary experience needed to make it happen> to make the well needed changes for progress.
This is attitudinal stuff we have always dealt with in business as we churned thru generations.
What do I mean?
- All generations are shaped by the generations that came before
- All rising generations want to shape the future based on how they have been shaped <and it will not be the same as those who shaped their thinking>
- All generations currently in place will want to shape the rising generations based on past learnings <and it will most likely contain unattractive features to the rising generation>
Where I truly believe the new well-needed vision shift is running into an obstacle is with ‘respect.’
And oddly … I will suggest it isn’t that the young should respect the old … but rather the opposite. I believe the 50somethings need to get their proverbial heads out of their asses and develop some respect for the young and what they can do <that we cannot>.
Show them respect and I imagine they will show us respect <if we have the ability to deserve it along with the right attitude>.
If two generations are to have respect for one another … the younger generation will have to believe the older generation has some value <in what they offer> and listen to it.
I fear we 50somethings are losing their respect.
We have always been old and less adaptable … but now we are truly becoming an impediment to progress <or getting better>.
The obstacle mentality may have something to do with attitude, and pride, but to get to the core of what this is all about you really need to discuss money … not only how we personally get paid <earnings & wealth> but also how the company gets paid <profits, revenue, growth, etc.>.
And I say that wishing more business people would talk about his rather than “selfish, lazy, entitled’ younger people and “old, out of touch, tech amateur” older folk.
Money, and how it is viewed, is the issue
Basically I believe that the demands of managing business has evolved generation to generation … bloated dollar management to squeezed dollar management to … well … I sense it will be something like the ‘added value’ dollar management in the near future <if the 50somethings help with some progress>.
The following chart diagrams my entire thought process:
Here is the explanation behind the diagram.
The current 50something management generation is literally and figuratively the generation that got squeezed.
What I mean by that is this was the generation who had to learn how to do more with less and get more with less. This was the generation who was also demanded to generate more profits and sales increases … with that same ‘less’.
To do that we … well … we maintained the same business models and the same business processes <to a large extent> and hen simply squeezed dollars and organizations for everything they had.
If there is anything this current older management generation understands better … I don’t know what it is … they understand the concept of the squeezed dollar and squeezed organizations.
They had to figure it out because they had to adapt to what the economic environment demanded <or be killed if you don’t>.
That said. This means the burden, what they know and believe is the way to do things, of this business generation is the squeezed dollar.
They arrived in their situation because the boomer business leader generation was more about ‘the bloated dollar.’ They overcharged and built brands & businesses based on excess <and encouraged a belief there was value in excess> and, yes, offered some good products & services along the way.
I will note everyone made a lot of money.
This generation of 50something business leaders has already made a lot of money.
The one before, let’s call it the boomer business leader, made even more.
And each made it differently.
Boomers thrived on the bloated dollar.
– The bloated dollar was when companies could charge whatever they wanted and got it.
Project estimates contained ‘fat’ <or ‘fluff’ or ‘padding’> to absorb unforeseen changes or challenges and buyers assumed the price was what the price was.
The current generation of business leaders has had to thrive in a ‘squeezed dollar’ environment.
Therefore in order to maintain continuous sales growth <which is actually a relatively ludicrous concept> and continuous profitability the current business leader had to find ways to squeeze the same profit/growth out of less dollars <cutting staff while cutting prices while cutting … and cutting … and … well … cutting>.
I say all this to get to where we will go and why there s so much conflict in the business world.
Suffice it to say that economic pressure creates a certain type of management style in order to be successful. 50somethings learned on the job and actually were quite successful maintaining the boomer ‘earn as much as I can’ attitude <a version of extravagant desire for more> as well as working leaner <on the edge of what an organization is actually capable of>.
Unfortunately for the business world … the next generation of business leaders want something different <and they should … because where do you go after a bloated dollar and then a squeezed dollar?>.
The next generation? <the current ‘youth’>
They really don’t like either the financial ‘squeezed/lean’ aspect or the organizational aspect tied to the financial earnings attitude.
Therefore, in my opinion, the young <who are obviously chafing under the existing management style> will most likely swing to what I call the ‘added value’ dollar.
It suggests accommodating attitudes beyond simple profit <and purpose driven value> as well as simple positioning companies by ‘de-commoditizing’ within industries <rebuilding value beyond lowest price>.
What I mean by this is that they want businesses to swing operationally back toward a ‘bloated dollar’ construct but stuff the ‘bloat’ not with any padded aspects but rather with some purposeful aspects which encourage employees to think, and know, that they are part of a ‘good capitalism’ rather than a simple ‘morally hollow’ capitalism.
Regardless whether my prediction is correct or not … what is correct is that the 50something business management objectives are not aligned with the younger generation objective desires.
And that lack of alignment pertains to both management style as well as corporate objectives.
This is an issue.
But I do believe it is easily solvable.
Follow the money.
Stop talking about feelings and ‘features’ and flexible hours and laptop/tablets for all and free lunches and start talking about doing what a business should do well – make money and make money you are proud of.