IGNACIO – Your business – from leadership styles to marketing to hiring strategies – needs to be adaptive in today’s multi-generational customer base and workforce.
Tim Kirkland, CEO of Renegade Hospitality Group of Denver and best-selling author of business how-to-books “The Renegade Server” and “COACH,” delivered that message Wednesday to more than 300 people who attended the 13th annual Economic Summit sponsored by the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance at the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio.
All business ultimately comes down to working with people, and in today’s workforce, that means adapting to the different outlooks among different generations, he said.
When generations collide, it causes workplace problems, the worst of which is stereotyping, he said.
“But here’s the thing: When you have different generations in the workforce, the main thing to understand as a leader is that not everybody can be led the same way. Not everybody is looking for the same thing in their job or the same rewards in their occupation,” he said.
Baby boomers, born from 1948 to 1964, entered the workforce believing they might have a few jobs in one career, while millennials, born from 1981 to 1996, believe they’ll hold multiple jobs in various careers during their work years, he said.
“Boomers’ loyalty is different than someone who enters the workforce and says this is one of several careers I might have in my life,” he said.
Ultimately, Kirkland said, it is companies that are adaptive to the needs of all generations and modify their strategies based on the different outlooks commonly held among different generations that will succeed.
Recognizing people are at the center of all business is a lesson long-established at one company Kirkland has worked with, Walt Disney Co.
Kirkland described his surprise after quizzing a Disney executive about the company’s purpose and mission.
He said: “I had a lot of expectations about what I’d hear from Disney. ... I thought it was going involve imagination and magic and wonder and memories perhaps or fairy dust. Or maybe it would be technical excellence: We want to have the cleanest and safest parks.
“... I didn’t hear any of that. You know what I heard: She said we just do three things here, only three things, six words: Hire right, train right, treat right. We’re in the people business.”