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Drive a Culture of T.E.A.M. Work to Stay Customer Centered as Generations Change

Updated: Mar 25, 2022

How will your people take care of your customer? It’s T.E.A.M.-Work!”

This was the title of last month’s Leadership Lesson that linked the virtues of T)rust, E)mpathy, A)lignment, and M)otivation directly to the behaviors of your people so as to help create a customer centric culture. It is vital to understand the changing generations of both your customers and — most importantly — your employees. Not appreciating the generational differences may lose you both customers and employees. Knowing the values, virtues and capabilities of each generation will help you retain both.

Let’s review the characteristics of each generation focusing on your people.

  • Who joins your organization or to whom do you sell and support,

  • What distinguishing attributes each generation offers, and

  • Why each generation finds value from your dealership.

To fully understand the various generations, let’s review their behaviors and expectations from their point of view.

Generation X

  • Birth years: 1965-1980

  • Current age: 41-56

  • Generation Size: 65 Million

  • Media consumption: Still read newspapers and magazines, listen to the radio and watch TV (about 165 hours worth of TV a month). They are also digitally savvy spending roughly 7 hours a week on Facebook — the highest of any generation.

  • Habits: Being digitally savvy, Gen X do some research and financial management online, but still prefer transactions in person. This is a demonstration of personal and business brand loyalty. In the organization structure, they are either in place or will soon be. If their progress to higher levels of management is not met by the current company, they will offer their service to other companies in related fields.

  • Digital tools: Used to manage their work and life balance, and the maximization of the work-family relationship.

  • What’s on their financial horizon: Trying to raise a family, pay off student debt, and take care of aging parents. They are looking to reduce their debt while building a stable savings plan.

Generation Y – Millennials

  • Birth year: 1981-1996

  • Current age: 25-40

  • Generation Size: 72 million

  • Media consumption: Extremely comfortable with mobile devices, but 32% still use computers for purchases. They typically have multiple social media accounts.

  • Habits: Less brand loyalty than Boomers or Gen X. They prefer to shop for products or services and have little patience for inefficient or poor service. Thus, millennials place their trust in brands or work for brands with superior product or service histories.

  • Digital tools: Used to help manage their work and life and the maximization of the work-family relationship.

  • What’s on their financial horizon: Millennials now power the workforce and many with huge amounts of student debt. They seek organizations that will help them achieve their life and career goals, including paying off their debts.

Generation Z – the iGeneration

  • Birth year: 1997-2012

  • Current age: 9-24

  • Generation Size: 68 million

  • Media Consumption: Gen Zers typically received their first mobile phone at age 10. Many grew up playing with their parents’ mobile phones or tablets. They grew up in a hyper-connected world and the smartphone is their preferred method of communication. They average 3 hours a day on their mobile device.

  • Habits: Gen Zers adopt a more fiscally conservative approach. They seek a business relationship based on speed, listening to their needs, and the ability to express their opinions freely without peer-to-peer constraint. Their lived experience is real and immediate. Authenticity and immediacy count.

  • Digital tools: They seek digital tools to help manage their work and life balance, the maximization of the work-family relationship and for immediate pleasure.

  • What’s next on their financial horizon: Learning about personal finance. They have a strong appetite for financial education, and they want to own their business and are willing to invest time in businesses to help them achieve their personal goals.

“Not appreciating generational differences may lose you both customers and employees…”

Generation Z is the bench for your next leaders and will soon begin to make important decisions for your organization, and about their potential to align with your business. You have the unique chance to train them in your image with your processes and procedures.

Build a Team of Generations

Coaches on a team win by combining the attributes of different players at different positions who work together to leverage all their different virtues. Basketball teams need guards who are quick and shoot from a distance, forwards who are versatile to play defense and offense inside and outside and centers to dominate around the basket.

Can your business offer Generations X, Y and Z what each generation wants in terms of a T.E.A.M. working environment, a positive relationship with their supervisors, a future career path, quality personal time, clarity and alignment of goals and values and recognition of their professional results?

This has nothing to do with luck, but with the hard work of coaches who understand their players, design a game plan that builds on their strengths and mitigates their weaknesses and demonstration trust, empathy, alignment and motivation in their work.

When you build a team of Generations X, Y and Z, you will have formed the foundation for Creating a Customer Centric Culture.

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