Business Growth & Strategy

Tapping Younger Generations – Faster Decisions for Small Business Owners

In the late 90’s generation X started hitting the business world and it seems like the pace of business has continuously gotten faster since. Now the Millenials (generation Y) are popping up and product development cycles are shorter, the sales cycle is shorter, and technology is obsolete by the time you implement it. This need for speed doesn’t seem to be ending either. It seems like the personality type of these newer generations drives faster decisions with an accepted tradeoff of risk.

So where does this new approach come from? While many writers have dogged Gen X in the past and more recently Gen Y as a bunch of entitled brats, I would like to share a different perspective. I believe the incredible amounts of stimulation those generations have endured equips them to make faster decisions with a higher understanding of related variables that could mean the difference between failure and success. Being raised hyper-stimulated seems to have an effect on how the younger generations operate in the business world. This built in ability to process information is something business owners can utilize to improve their results.

It seems to me as a member of Gen X that today’s CEOs and business owners mostly come from a time when decisions were more thought out, they took more time to see how things fit together. However now they can utilize the moxie of these younger generations to get a business benefit. By empowering these up and coming decision machines to be more self sufficient, businesses can create a symbiotic relationship between the two personality types. They can work together to move fast but smart. Those businesses that embrace this concept will be the ones to succeed as the tides shift.

This opinion came to me while having a conversation with my 17-year-old cousin, Luke, the other day. A young millennial, Luke had just opened up his brand new copy of Halo Reach, a popular new game for the Xbox console. He had never played this particular version of Halo before. As he’s loading the game and acclimating himself to the new story line, I’m trying to talk to him about his college choices. He’s going to graduate this year from Army Navy Military Academy in North San Diego County, and I’m hoping he is interested in attending a military university. I’m talking to him about one of life’s most important decisions and he’s killing aliens like it’s more important. When I return for a second attempt at this discussion Luke amazes me by regurgitating everything I said, and tells me that while it would be nice to go to college for free he’s more interested in selecting a university that has a good finance program so that he can work as a broker. I asked him how long he’d known that, and he tells me that he formulated the entire opinion while playing his game. His theory is that because his father has raised him with a good understanding of the finance industry in general it will be a subject that he has a high chance of success in academically and through other family connections employment would most likely not be a problem.

All this, and he never put down the controller. To me this is a sign of how personality types have changed in whole generations and how working together we can balance the well thought out methodical processes of the past with the quick thinking hyper-aware style of future generations. Thoughts? Disagreements? Comment and let me know.

Category: Business Growth & Strategy Leadership Competencies

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Vistage Staff About the Author: Vistage Staff

Vistage facilitates confidential peer advisory groups for CEOs and other senior leaders, focusing on solving challenges, accelerating growth and improving business performance. Vistage member companies grow 2.2x fa…

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