Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tip # 200: Understand & Resolve the Generation Gap in Your Business

At Retail Confectioners International’s (RCI) Annual Convention & Industry Expo, Keynote Speaker, Matt Havens, kicked off the convention week with the hilarious opening session, Us vs. Them. Being a relevant topic for leaders of any business and industry, retail confectioners filled the education session eager to discover new solutions to effectively manage four distinct generations operating side-by-side. During Haven’s presentation, he poked fun at the different generations represented in today’s working environment, pointing out that there are really only two generations in the workplace, “people younger (or less-experienced) than you are and people older (or more experienced) than you are.”
©2016 Keynote Speaker Matt Havens. All Rights Reserved.

Not only were attendees rolling with laughter during his presentation, they walked away with a simplified understanding of the generation gap, as well as applicable strategies to create a more effective working environment for team members of all ages.

See below for just a few major takeaways, as well as  strategies from Matt Haven’s Us vs. Them.


·         Advancement is a process that never stops. As a parent, you will continue to learn new things 20 and 30 and 40 years after the birth of your children. And as a professional, you should expect to keep learning new skills, new technologies, and new approaches in the last five years of your career just like you did in the first five years of your career.

·         Your company’s current practices and processes exist for extremely good reasons. To date, those practices and processes are the best that anyone who has ever worked at your company has ever come up with. That doesn’t mean they can’t be improved, but it definitely means that they shouldn’t be completely discounted either.

·         No matter what generation you consider yourself to be a part of, you do not know everything there is to know. Every generation needs the other, because no one group of people has a monopoly on knowledge. You need your older colleagues to learn how they’ve done what they’ve done and to help guide you so that you don’t have to constantly reinvent the wheel; and you need your younger colleagues to help you continuously look at your business from a new perspective.


·         Invite your newest employees to deliver a presentation to the rest of your team on a topic they already know something about. It will convince your newest team members that you value their knowledge, and it should also convince your older team members that your new hires have something valuable to offer.

·         When discussing a potential change, invite everyone to debate the pros and cons of adoption. You probably won’t get 100% buy-in once the final decision is made, any more than you’ll get 100% buy-in from anything. But you will be certain that you’re making your decision with all the available information, and everyone will know the potential risks to watch out for as well as the potential rewards for moving forward.

·         Create teams of varying age ranges. Studies have shown that diverse groups that communicate well with each other are consistently more productive than homogenous teams.

Learn more about Matt Haven's and his insightful journey to understanding the generational gap at RCI Members: Stay tuned to view Matt's full presentation and other education sessions from RCI's 2016 Annual Convention & Industry Expo, which will be available on our member site at

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