“What a mistake-a to make-a?”

The quote is from Alberto Bertorelli, a character in the not so politically correct comedy “Allo Allo” but if Alberto was to appear on your shoulder like a parrot each time that quote would apply in life, well I think we could all be very familiar with him by now, personally, I feel intimately acquainted.

Although we are all different it doesn’t stop us making similar mistakes and lately I heard a statement that is not uncommon to hear when helping people build their business. The statement takes different forms but it runs along the line of how those working for them are not able to do what they did or that it is a different generation and we are never going to be able to build this business as people just don’t do things the way we did them. Cue Alberto!

Are these different people the problem or is the problem learning how you deal with people who are different? Or is it learning how to run a business, which is much more than doing the work of the trade and the profession? People are always going to be different and have different skills, those starting a business usually do so because they believe they are better at their trade or profession than someone else so it must therefore make sense when they employ someone that this employee may not have the same skills in that trade or profession. Likewise the different generations definitely are different, but this does not mean one generation is better than another just that they are different, it will always be easier to relate to those that are similar to you but a business full of the one generation is going to have shortfalls over a business with new generations coming through and likewise the new business can gain from having a more mature generation involved. A good team will have a diversity of skills.

I thought it interesting to read an article lately on managing the mighty millennial from Accountancy Ireland, where it stated, “It is not millennial’s we need to change; it’s the mindset of the people who guide, mentor and manage them”. This article made me have a look at the various different generations and I came across a list of those you could be involved with in your business and their different skill sets which I summarise as follows:-
The Mature Generation were born between 1927 and 1945:- this generation grew up during times of lots of rules and being told to conform, they generally kept a job for life and are disciplined, self-sacrificing and cautious.

The Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and can fall into the work hard party hard category, or we need to all work together to save the world and change things category, they can be more positive about authority and optimism.

Generation X were born between 1965 and 1980 and were the generation that were more likely to come home from school to an empty house, this tends to make them more individualistic and entrepreneurial, but also less impressed with authority.

Millenniums (or Generation Y) are born between 1981 and 1996 and were generally well nurtured and supported by parents, so they respect authority, do like to work in teams but also expect support. They do not live to work, but rather work to live. They normally have a strong academic background and grew up around computers so they like to communicate digitally, like to schedule everything and want fast and immediate processing.

Generation Z are born after 1996 and have never known a world without computers and cell phones, they want to be connected and will consider things more globally, being bombarded with information means they will get bored quicker but more of them want to change the world.

These are only snapshot guidelines but managers, marketeers and those into self-development use these profiles and you may recognise a part of yourself or someone else in there. I’ll leave you with that as I am pretty sure Alberto is moving in with us shortly and we really do need to get the room ready.

Julian McKeown