I recently read an article that described the recent phenomenon that many businesses now employ as many as four different generations in their company.
1. Traditionalist (born between 1925 and 1942)
2. Baby Boomers (born between 1943 and 1960)
3. Generation Xers (born between 1961 and 1981)
4. Millennials (born between 1982 and 2004)
If this phenomenon can be found in businesses in general, it certainly also applies to family businesses. How exciting for 3 or 4 generations of the same family to be working together to create a family legacy.
But as with all new situations, there can be upsides and downsides. Traditionalists may be unable or unwilling to change their methods or ideas, but may still wield significant power in the business. GenXer’s may refuse to acknowledge ‘proven, tried and true’ methods that have previously served the company so well, bringing in new technology and new strategies. Millennials are embracing totally new styles of communication and employment. Baby Boomers may be caught in the middle, trying to embrace change and also acknowledge the facets of the business that have worked so well in the past.
It’s a challenge for all generations to work to compliment styles and not let our differences tear apart both the family and the family business.
What generational challenges are you experiencing in your family business?
How has those differences impacted your family communications?