Leveraging The Gifts Of The Greatest Generation.

I work with companies to enhance individual employee performance and create alignment company wide for higher levels of success. One of the tools I utilize is how to understand and leverage the various characteristics of the different generations. In all the years of studying generational differences and teaching effective ways of working together, I have found that it’s absolutely imperative that people master the values of one specific generation if they want to attain super high levels of success. If you are interested in “more than the norm” in your business, keep reading!

The Greatest Generation Truly is “The Greatest Generation”

Of all the generations (Greatest, Boomers, Generation X & Millennials), the Greatest generation possesses a distinct advantage over all the others when it comes to creating success and it’s present in every aspect of their being. Their way of doing things is often laughed about as it’s seen as ridiculous, unnecessary or a waste of time. However, when you look deeper at how this generation did things and then look at people that created high levels of success, you can see serious similarities and understand the tremendous value in learning from this generation and applying what they do.

What Makes Them So “Great?”

These people came from a simpler but challenging time (1925 – 1945). They were greatly influenced by events like the roaring 20’s, the great depression, world war one and two and the Korean war. As a result they became dedicated, respectful, patriotic and extremely loyal. They learned to not waste, to save for the future, to put their responsibilities before themselves and to sacrifice to create what they want. They don’t procrastinate, break their word or use excuses. These people suck it up, work hard for what they want, put in the time it takes to create it, don’t shirk their responsibilities and are grateful for the opportunities afforded them. They highly regard the satisfaction of a job well done.

Why Is It Important To Model This Generation?

I support people in creating higher levels of success everyday, it’s my career. From my experience of working with people for over 20 years, it’s not ability or talent that keeps people from being highly successful. There are lots of people out there with huge POTENTIAL. What keeps people from huge levels of success is a lack of ethics, values and morals that are critical to success. You may be one of those people that doesn’t want to face this but the truth is NO ONE OWES ANYONE ANYTHING and no one is going to show up and give you something. I don’t care what people say it’s very simple, if you want more, you are going to have to work for it! The Greatest Generation understands this concept and let’s face it, that concept seems to be dying off. For some reason, it’s become common for people to believe they DESERVE more for doing less but, if you can adopt and apply the ethics, values and morals of the Greatest Generation, you have a serious advantage.

How Do I Do What They Did?

Most of these people learned the hard way or were raised by people that learned the hard way. Life has a way of getting our attention sometimes and that’s one of the biggest challenges companies face. In our society, there’s a trend for people to be comfortable and we go out of our way to accommodate that. In doing this, we shelter people from hardship and along with that, the opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t like pain either but the truth is some of our greatest learning comes from pain (you didn’t touch the stove today, did you?). Creating the space for people to learn from their mistakes and then apply what they learned empowers people to grow and become more effective. It also removes the frustration and time wasted attempting to shelter or protect the company and increases individual accountability.

Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable/Challenge Yourself

Success is going to be work, hard work so just get used to it. You and your people are going to fail and if your vision and goals are huge, it will happen a lot. Get used to that as well. I highly suggest you learn to embrace it and learn from it. Make it ok for your employees to fail and find solutions. We are not our results so if someone tanks it big, it’s ok. It doesn’t mean anything, except you are working on something really big and that’s exciting! Stop seeking comfort (and I’m not saying to seek discomfort either). What I mean is that most people aren’t uncomfortable sitting on the couch eating ice cream because that’s not challenging. We aren’t growing when we lay around (except in the waist). When we push harder and go bigger it will be uncomfortable, the success comes when we use that discomfort as an indicator to weather we are challenging ourselves or not. Be patient and stay the course.

Be Grateful And Humble

I believe this is a lost art. I have worked with companies where I had to explain to employees that they were given the gift of a job. It’s weird to me that people believe their employer owes them more than a paycheck for the work they do and if you ask them to work late or do more, they act like you just hooked them up to a car battery! Being grateful is a great way to advance your position in a company and make more money (I’m not talking about being a brown noser). If you own your own company, you can apply this by working harder for your clients and expressing your gratitude often. Clients and employers provide the opportunity for us to pay our bills and put food on the table. That in itself in my opinion is a gift. If you want more in life, be humble, work harder, learn more, apply yourself and for God’s sake, QUIT WHINING!

Do The Right Thing

My father is a “greatest” and he and my mother recently put their home up for sale. Even though the realtor told him he didn’t have to, he has been patching holes from pictures, replacing sprinkler heads in the backyard, painting and doing repairs to the house. He could leave it alone for the next owner but he is adamant about leaving it in excellent condition. He believes that he is selling something to a person and he wants it to be right for them. The crazy part is people laugh and shake their heads when I tell them about it. They think he is crazy. Why do we laugh and think someone is crazy when they want to do the right thing? I am eternally grateful for the numerous lessons I received from my father and I think we can all take a page from his playbook.

I could write a ton more on this topic, there is so much to it  and in wrapping up I think it’s fair to acknowledge that our world has changed and I understand that we have to adapt but sometimes it pays to look back. Just because there is a new trend or a new way of doing things doesn’t always mean that it’s better or that the old ways are outdated. The fashion and design industries revive old styles all the time so why not look at the gifts of generations in the same way? You might think it’s old school but maybe it’s time to take out the old ways and dust them off to generate some serious success.

Looking to help your employees improve individual performance and align with company vision, click here to get more information about our corporate programs.

For over 20 years Jeff Rogers has supported companies to obtain much bigger results that have previously eluded them. His no BS, no fluff approach helps companies quickly uncover a true direction to elevated results and provides simple to apply tools to obtain them.



Align and Conquer

I work with several corporate clients. My goal with these clients is to help them attain higher levels of success by working to align the “human assets” of their company. Often times my clients are owner-operators and have a business partner or partners. Normally, this is the start of the alignment process because, more often than not, the partners are the biggest source of misalignment in the company and the biggest source of frustration for themselves and the employees alike. This misalignment at the top of the company creates all kinds of internal turmoil and usually filters into the client base. Trust me, if you own a company and have partners that are out of alignment, your employees and clients know it. If allowed to continue, misalignment interferes with communication, work flow, productivity, customer service and will eventually kill a company.

So why do people get into partnerships to begin with?

I mean really, do you ever hear “GREAT” partner stories? It’s rare. Even the best partnerships have challenges. In my experience, (including my own journey), I have found that most companies are developed by people that have a spirit for achieving bigger things – an entrepreneurial spirit. They gained their experience in a given industry and eventually got tired of working for someone else (whatever that reason may be). Many take the leap and soon realize they may not possess all the skills needed to make the business work. They discover the workload is too much for one person or they simply desire the comfort of a confidant. Whether the need for additional capital, workload or friendship, the partner appears. Usually this person or people are acquaintances or friends that they believe they know and can trust. (God forbid the partners are family, which would take another whole series of blog posts!) Maybe they worked with them somewhere before or they were present when the idea of venturing out was conceived. Whatever the case, this is when the problems start.

Why are most partnerships doomed from the start? Quite simply, a lack of clearly defined roles for each partner, and an undefined or non-existent shared vision. Rarely do I find partners who have clearly defined their roles and mapped out how their partnership will work. Partnership agreements are loosely written or not in place at all. Although they like each other (to start), soon they find reasons and problems that interfere with the expectations they had for each other. To put it simply, they never started the company with any sense of alignment at all. They can tell me when they believe the problems started, but usually fail to see that the breakdown actually started the moment they became partners.

Now, as much as I appreciate the job security of these situations, lets see if I can help you avoid or work through some of the challenges of a partnership:

 1. Make sure you have a shared vision.  

Do all the partners agree on the direction of the company? Is the vision for the company clearly defined or just presumed? Are all of the aspects of the company in alignment with that vision? I cannot stress the importance of this first step enough. Without a clearly defined vision, direction and roadmap for the company – what is the point?

 2. Clearly define roles.

Make sure all partners have clearly defined, written job descriptions with specific roles and duties laid out. Having this foundational piece in place is the best reference for each partner to determine who is pulling their weight or not.

3. Communication is key. 

Many partners hold back and don’t speak their mind for fear of the repercussions or backlash from the other. They usually deal with the challenges in their own way (stuff it down, attempt to ignore it, etc.) until the frustration grows past the breaking point. What follows is disaster. They may even hold on to things until the company is gone. No matter what the challenges may be, or how uncomfortable it may feel, you have to be willing to start a respectful and responsible dialogue with your partners.

 4. Switch to solutions.  

Getting things off your chest is good, however constant complaining is just, well, bitching. Form a plan that you can agree on that you can begin to implement right away. Action from everyone is important to assure agreements are kept and solutions are followed through on.

 5. Listen.

You must be willing to listen (and hear), be open to all viewpoints and be willing to make adjustments from all perspectives in order to create an aligned outcome. You have to be willing to do something different as do your partners. This can be the most challenging because additional stress is created by one or all of the partners who may be inflexible and positioned. It is not uncommon that I am hired by a company where at least one of the partners is not in alignment with the process of change. This lack of alignment results in a lack of desired outcomes and sometimes to partnership buyouts or splits. Sometimes when you have a partner or employee that is out of alignment, your only option, after exhausting all others, may be to get them out of the company before greater damage happens.

Is your company running at peak performance? Are you and your business partners in alignment? If not and you’re already in deep, I will be glad to coach you through the process to create alignment in your company. At BrainStorm, we implement communication techniques, programs and solutions to help make this process much easier.

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