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What we can learn from other generations

We are a small business, with our team of 2 being born in different generations (late Baby Boomer and early Gen X).  We were both brought up by the Traditionalist Generation and, being close in years, have very similar views in our business approach.

We are also lucky to work with many Companies and across many different generations.  As their business coaches, we can install into them the habits we have learnt over many years of corporate life and the younger business leaders are teaching us business hacks that their generation take for granted.

One of the Companies we are grateful to work with are a UK based start-up Company called Upward Fitness & Wellbeing. Both owners fall into the Gen Y / Millennial generation and it’s fair to say that there has been learning from both sides.  We act as their business coach and they act as our personal fitness trainer and nutritional coaches.  We manage this business relationship whilst being based in 2 different countries, over 7,700 km apart, different time zones and working weeks!

So how do we manage the joint coaching relationship? Let us share how we do this and how this relates to our personal education from the “millennial kids”!

Communication: we are both of the (now) old fashioned school of written word and face to face communication.  We run very organised diary systems that allows us to carve out time in our day for our clients to give them focused support when this is needed.  We are process driven and although adaptive based on client needs, prefer to have structure to our day.

Millennials are not so enamoured to read long text, and face to face meetings are a little difficult when you are not in the same country or on the same time zone.

We have adapted our communication by using fairly recent and constantly updating tools.  Skype and Zoom are great for holding face to face meetings even when many miles away.  It can be a little difficult sometimes to get a good connection, but when it works it’s amazing.  We recently managed to find a window in the time zones to be able to have a joint Zoom meeting between Dubai, Sydney and Arizona - the connection was amazing and held for the 2 hour session.

When shorter and urgent questions come up, we keep up to date using WhatsApp, its instantaneous and allows us to answer each other’s questions quickly and in our own time without it disturbing our day.  Sending a quick video reply certainly helps with longer reply and saves typing (us being of the slightly older generation who seem only to be able to type on our phones using one thumb whereas the younger crew seem more than capable of typing with both thumbs on such a small screen!). 

Monitor progress: With business coaching, we work with our clients to install a systematic approach with routines – Jim Collins refers to this as the 20 mile march - putting into place daily routines that take you step by step closer to the end goal to achieve their business targets. 

Once we have taken the Company team through the business tools and created their annual business plan, we monitor progress through a shared drop box and a weekly dashboard.  We can see when documents have been updated and review their dashboard, dropping them reminders and coaching by WhatsApp.  If we need to jump on a call, this is arranged against by WhatsApp, keeping them on track towards their target and answering urgently questions when need be. 

They monitor our fitness and nutritional progress using 2 Apps.  They set us weekly fitness programmes and targets via an App, and check our progress based on the data we put into the App.  To keep us motivated and on track, they send us weekly videos giving us guidance and keeping us focused on our health and wellbeing.  We send them updates and questions and every 2 months our programme is adjusted based on feedback and requests from our side.

Client interaction: We are used to the traditional view of having a detailed Company website, Linked In page, Company blogs, podcasts, speaking engagements and attending network groups – all of which work, and I have to say a lot does depend on your target market and where they are looking for information about you.  As business coaches, having a strong Linked In profile with testimonials and having a website presence certainly helps with your credibility, our Company Facebook page is less important.

However, how up to date are these sites?  Do they talk to the younger generation that are less worried about these types of things?  Recently designed websites are mobile friendly and tend to give the bear minimum information, which clearly explain what your Company does, is your Company website up to date?

Keeping up with Technology: Technology is fast progressing, and having static images and information are aging sites very quickly.  Headers on Facebook no longer need to be static, you can run a video in its place, which is basically selling your product much quicker than a nice picture.  Blogs are fast going out of date as well, soon to be replaced by Vlogs as technology moves and becomes more cost effective.  We now use the same technology to create quick coaching videos for clients that are struggling over a part of their business plan.  By recording a quick coaching video, they are able to return back this for ongoing reminders and clarification.

Facebook live is great for sending instant images and updates to your clients.  Video updates are more informative and easier to digest than text.  Instagram and Snap Chat Company accounts can, depending on your product and audience, be where you make 95% of your sales!

Technology is far reaching and you need to keep up, constantly asking where your clients are looking for information.  Concentrating your energies on daily update videos will be more productive then updating a website that doesn’t reach out to your audience and yet most of us seem to spend many hours with IT programmers (or trying to do this ourselves) that a 30 second video which takes less than 5 minutes to film and upload is a much better use of our time.

Its moving so quickly and there is so much new technology out there, the older generations need to learn from their younger colleagues to keep up.  Generation Z are now in the workforce, they have been brought up only knowing swipe phones, it’s time we used their experiences to help our businesses grow.

Find out more about Upward

Find out more about Upward Fitness & Wellbeing at: www.upwardfitness.co.uk

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Claire Donnelly

Written by Claire Donnelly

A Business Growth and HR Strategist helping medium size companies to Scale Up using proven systems. Claire is an MCIPD qualified Human Resource professional, with 25+ years’ experience working within various industries and 10 + years’ experience of HR practices throughout the Middle East. As a HR Generalist she has held a number of senior and Board level HR positions. She is experienced in working at both strategic and tactical levels.

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