When technology and a younger generation lead a new world of business
Jason picks up the report sent to him from his company’s Family Business Advisor, Mike. The report has a lot of writing, with an executive summary, examples, some graphs, financial info and metrics. Jason, the soon to be company president, scans the first few lines, and then tosses the report on his desk, where in a day or so, it will be covered by junk mail, insurance notices and other rubbish. Mike calls several times to follow up on the report, only to be sidelined by Jason who keeps saying he hasn’t had time to read it or the timing just isn’t right. Mike has hit the dreaded nexus of technology and youth – a mix of enthusiasm, short attention spans, high energy and lack of patience. How do we, as professional consultants enter this new game? How can we deliver information, services and materials that will both appeal to and effectively serve a generation who has an entirely different life experience? According to PsychCentral:
Before the deluge of iPhones, iPads and other devices, the average person had an attention span of about 12 seconds. Now it’s believed that we can only concentrate for about 8 seconds on average before moving on to something else. Fun fact: the average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds!
This up-and-coming generation is fundamentally changing the workplace and advisors will need to change right along with them. In our practice, we are finding new ways to present information, through the use of videos, podcasts, short stories (twitter-sized) and photography, to capture imaginations and attention. We have also focused on the art of creating possibilities, borrowing heavily from Rosemund Stone Zander’s positive practices in her groundbreaking book, The Art of Possibility. Bob Kulhan, founder and CEO of the consultancy Business Improv, talks about the importance of not alienating younger clients right from the start. The core of Kulhan’s methodology, described in Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv is about generating options and ideas without pointing out the negative or putting down ideas. Finally, we must find ways to stand out from the noise. We have found that our clients like to see themselves carefully reflected back in our documents – not just in words, but in podcasts, videos and screenshots. The selfie generation is attuned to seeing themselves in the context of their surroundings and we can provide this as a starting point.
We hosted an Online Mixer for members of the Galliard Network to continue this discussion on the changing world of family business. Sign in to hear the conversation!