I came across an illuminating infographic in the last week that discusses the different strengths and weaknesses involved in these demographics.
Not surprisingly the Millenials - those born after Generation X, in the 80s and 90s - are often (keep in mind this is statistics, and there are always exceptions) the most IT savvy and most adaptable to new systems. However they tend to lack proficiency in communication, collaboration even some problem solving skills.
Gen X - those born after the baby boom in the 60s and 70s - excels at communication, problem solving and relationship building. They fall short of the Millennials on the tech scale, and they’re not the leaders in executive presence.
Baby boomers - the post-war bunch - are the leaders as executives and mentoring, again unsurprisingly, are mediocre to weak with tech saviness and adaptability.
To the desired end of maximizing the strengths of your MSP, it would be nice to be able to foresee your best choices CIO, IT leader or vCIO. In the service provider industry most of these roles are filled by a team of people. So from that perspective, how can we leverage these different generational strengths to fulfill the leadership role as a team.
The key is to bridge the gaps in talents - to mix these generational aptitudes in pods or modular teams together.
- Generation-X people can focus on communication, client facing, and business development, based on their general strengths of revenue generation, relationship building, collaboration and problem solving.
- Millennials are most likely your best bet for the implementation of solutions, planning and do the engineering work mostly. They can adapt to and manage changes in concepts and technology, as they’re more up to date on it.
- Baby boomers will probably excel at dealing with the senior client interactions, and can also be mentors to the rest of the team.
This still leaves the question: who should lead those pods? As we see the bridge generation is Gen X with very good collaboration and relationship building strengths, which can be tapped to lead the teams.
Indeed these are generalizations, but I think they can still be a guide in one’s thought process to envisioning the structure of your team based on these statistical inferences. Just being aware of such trends can help you build teams based on combined strengths rather than searching for an elusive master of all skills needed to deliver value to your clients.