Generations in the West are different than in the East. Are you familiar with these generations, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y also known as Millennials? Are they in our Family Business? Historically we had at the most 3 generations in the workplace. Businesses soon may have as many as five generations in the workplace.
Today the average family business must manage the traditional Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and the “Me Generation”. The dynamics are powerful not only does the team have to manage each generation; but we need to be aware of the perception each generation has of the other.
In addition to the generations in flux, firms will want to create knowledge workers. A knowledge worker is anyone who works for a living at the tasks of developing or using knowledge. For example, a knowledge worker might be someone who works at any of the tasks of planning, acquiring, searching, analyzing, organizing, storing, programming, distributing, marketing, or otherwise contributing to the transformation and commerce of information. A term first used by Peter Drucker in his 1959 book, Landmarks of Tomorrow.
Many business writers, scholars and educators discuss successful firms, powerful cultures; resilient family businesses the points that might be over looked are Knowledge workers and having Fun.
Do you remember the scene from Mr. Holland’s Opus, Glen Holland is working with a high school clarinet player; she can’t “play thru the bridge.” Holland explains, “Playing music is supposed to be fun. It’s about heart, it’s about feelings, moving people, and something beautiful, and it’s not about notes on a page. I can teach you notes on a page, I can’t teach you that other stuff. He goes on to encourage Miss Lang,
“Let me ask you a question. When you look in the mirror, what do you like best about yourself?
Gertrude Lang: My hair.
Mr. Glenn Holland: Why?
Well, my father always says that it reminds him of the sunset.
Mr. Glenn Holland:
Play the sunset. Close your eyes.”
A knowledge worker is anyone who works for a living at the tasks of developing or using knowledge. In our daily tasks we should remember great cultures remember working together is about heart, it’s about feelings and sharing. Successful firms, with resilient cultures understand it’s about connecting people, moving together, challenging and accomplishing more than any individuals efforts. Working, winning together should be fun.
Having three or five generations on the Team can create real value and opportunity. TINSTAAFL-There’s no such thing as a free lunch-in B school they talk about opportunity cost. To get one thing that we like, we usually have to give up another thing that we like. Making decisions requires trading off one goal against another.” The idea that there is no free lunch at the societal level applies only when all resources are being used completely and appropriately, i.e., when economic efficiency prevails.
Success with the clarinet or business comes with effort, with challenges and the willingness to say, “Is this right?” In great processes, the first step in the second operation is to verify the completion of the first operation. We must verify product from suppliers, we must verify the proper completion of the operation before ours.
Quality, Safety and process win the day.