Experts suggest we are in the midst of the greatest transfer of wealth of all time. The baby boomers, a generation worth roughly $68 trillion, are moving into retirement. As they begin the process of succession, business owners and executives are looking to find their replacement in a younger generation. Many business owners are even working alongside the very people who will take the reins when they’re done.
Countless businesses from coast to coast are being run by multigenerational teams. This is a matter that receives a sizable amount of attention in panel discussions, call-in shows, news articles and more. Oftentimes when talking about multigenerational workplaces, the work dynamic is framed as one of friction instead of one of opportunity.
It makes sense that the friction mindset is popular since generations have frequently been at odds with each other. Still, a limiting factor in this rhetoric is that it promotes a mindset where generations simply have to deal with each other until the old guard is gone, instead of one of empowering each other through their differences.
Chattanooga Floor Care has adopted the latter worldview. As multigenerational business owners, my father (Barry Jeffery) and I lean into each other’s strengths. The results speak for themselves.
Here are three ways our multigenerational differences have led to big wins for our business:
1. Experience and Fresh Insights
Younger entrepreneurs can read all the business books and listen to countless podcasts. But there are so many things that can only be taught through years on the job. On the other hand, by working alongside younger generations, seasoned entrepreneurs gain access to new ideas and fresh perspectives.
One of the things I rely on my father most frequently is the insights he can provide from his over 35-year career. Naturally, there are moments when our worldviews conflict, but having a learning spirit usually enables us to accept each other’s perspectives, square them with each other and figure out ways to create a mutually beneficial game plan.
2. Automation and Personal Touch
One of the hallmarks of younger generations is the continual refinement of automation toward greater efficiency. Millennials and younger generations look for the path of least resistance when it comes to just about everything from shopping to working, and even dating.
The benefits of efficiency allow us to do more with less — at speeds unfathomable just a few decades ago. But, while younger generations might forgo a personal touch for the sake of efficiency, veteran business owners hold fast to one simple truth: the customer comes first.
As a business run by two people of different generations, we constantly look for ways to boost efficiency levels while also solidifying our commitment to making sure we operate in a way that our customers, team members and partner organizations are appreciated. We take our time to solve real-world problems, and those real-world problems are tied to very real people.
3. Customer Relatability
As the market becomes more diverse, it’s important that companies embrace a leadership roster that reflects the large generational swath of the communities they serve.
At Chattanooga Floor Care, our customers can see themselves in our team and relate to us. This is a massive benefit that we would not enjoy if our business had been reluctant to embrace the positive potential brought on by a multigenerational team.
Benefitting, not Head-Butting
By embracing each other’s strengths, multigenerational teams can make each other stronger as opposed to tearing each other down. We can learn as much as we can from the experience and innovation that’s available. As the saying goes, “iron sharpens iron…” and one generation sharpens another.
Images courtesy of Chattanooga Floor Care and Heed PR. Main image from left to right, Matt Jeffery and his father Barry Jeffery.
Matt Jeffery is a co-owner of Chattanooga Floor Care, a family-owned and operated business headquartered in Chattanooga with a service footprint across the larger region.