Change Your Generational Perspective
Let’s do the old man rant together!
“Back in my day we didn’t need all this fancy equipment to run a shop, we would just write it all down.”
“These days you have to take apart half the vehicle just to get to the air filter.”
“0W-16?!?!?, it used to be 20W-50, and 10W-40. These oils are just too thin.”
And now the new one: “These kids don’t know anything about real work, they think they are entitled to everything, this is what happens when everyone gets a trophy!”
With each rant, there has always been a “yeah, but...” Yeah, but with computers we quickly track all our data as soon as a vehicle comes in (or even before). Yeah, but you used to have to junk or rebuild an engine at 100k. Yeah, but these engines are far different than what you used to run. But what about the trophy generation?
The trophy generation includes people from multiple age groups who are now taking command of the workforce. The trophy reference comes from the idea of participation trophies, even for those in last place. The idea that everyone wins creates a stigma of unrealistic goals in life as older generations, different cultures and non-conformist reject that theory and typically drive to get personal success and the grand prize.
What good is it if the trophy generation doesn’t see what you see—that capitalistic drive, eat success and bleed profit? Believe it or not, this generation has the same, if not greater, drive for success than any other generation. They just do it differently. They have more information than you ever had at their fingertips, and they know how to utilize it. Their ability to draw off of successful people is far more superior than the old Zig Ziglar cassette tape in the car method. Not to mention their networking abilities.
This “everyone gets a trophy” mentality is important to unlock how they can make you that profit and achieve your goals. In this era, everyone is getting on a team not to win it all, but to work on their skills and learn to work as a team. Unlike the old days, when Johnny got the ball because he was an all-star and everyone else just became really good at getting Johnny the ball, the new team takes the time to develop in all skills and share in experiences to understand what they like and what they are good at.
So how do you, the leader, take on this generation and utilize them as part of your team? What can you learn from their development method to ensure they want to be there, and they want to win? You, puffy chest leader, must deflate your ego, and let go of your past success. Those who pride themselves and hang on to running for four touchdowns in the championship for high school end up being the shoe salesman who can’t understand society.
The employee who comes up to you with marketing ideas, management thoughts and dreams of how the shop could be should not be shot down because they are young. They haven’t been here that long or are thinking outside of their pay scale. This person is doing what they were taught to do. They are trying to become fully involved in the team to make everyone successful and polish up their own skills.
You are the coach of the team. A successful coach doesn’t look at a young third-string quarterback and tell him to sit down and watch the first-stringer. A great coach finds ways to identify talents and maximize it to the team’s benefit.
It can be very challenging as leaders to accept someone who does not know your long history of mistakes and triumphs. In that same line, you must accept that this emerging leader will also take place in their own series of success and triumphs. You get the honor and advantage of being there to guide them and earn their loyalty, and loyalty is one of their strongest strengths.
“Our new leaders coming up are inexperienced, entitled and love their phones too much.” says the old rant.
“Yeah, but they are able to do things you never could have done, and if you include them, you will be more successful in your future because of their team driven, technology savvy, and loyalist nature.”