Millennials

Millennials

I read an article the other day about the evolution of the millennial generation and their ability as it relates to working for, working with, and having to work for Post War leaders, Baby Boomers, and Gen-X. It focused on workplace distractions, and it got me thinking about output and how output is what remains relevant in the workplace. Linda Ronstadt was quoted that no one has connected one generation to the next better than the Eagles, better than any Behavioral Scientist can. There is just something about music, and I concur, because all my kids love the Eagles, as do I. The Eagles

  1. “Currently, five generations make up our society.  Each of those five                                         generations has an active role in the marketplace. Depending on the                                     specific workplace, the workforce includes four to five generations.                                       Here are the birth years for each generation:
    1.   iGen, Gen Z or Centennials: Born 1996 and later
    2.   Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 to 1995
    3.   Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976
    4.   Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964

      Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born 1945 and beforeMartini.jpg

Post War Generational Behaviors

Let me begin by making some basic observations.  I grew up watching my father, a real post war stereotype, providing for his family and making many friends over the years.  He’ll be 90 this year, and I find myself talking about my observations as a child and teenager  He made a good living, he was paid on output, he did what he had to do, and then he found time to enjoy life. Distractions are different from generation, and if a three martini lunch wasn’t a distraction back then, I don’t know what was.

As much as  this new generation is welded to their tablets and smartphones, and employers at times ban them from certain workplace environment, every generation has been distracted at work, unless you consider the three-martini-lunch normal?  And even though certain kids are medicated or high these days, very few are getting hammered at lunch like the good old days.

Baby Boom Behaviors

We are a pretty vain generation. Certain Boomers on unearned income borrow money on things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like, and then there are those waiting for the trust fund to kick in.

With regard to how we work, one of my favorite sayings my friend shared with me in a sales meeting when he turned in his weekly report was “Don’t confuse activity with results.”  As for me, at age 24, I chose the same profession as my dad and embarked on a sales career.  I only had three jobs, and took pay cuts at every position move with incentives based on output.  I had to turn in a report every week about sales calls, phone calls, prospects, revenue generation, client retention, and community service.

Back in my 20’s and early 30’s, I worked for a public company with many offices.  Each office had a little dink word processor for correspondence and a fax machine, and that was it. I had the opportunity to visit many offices and teach my peers some sales techniques, including a stint in the UK.  I turned down a promotion to move there, and, looking back, I’m glad I did.

We sat in a bullpen and that was tough for some. What were my distractions?  A phone personal call or kicking back to read Sports Illustrated. We didn’t have desktop computers so there were no ergonomics concerns and no carpal tunnel leaves-of-absence.  The only thing you got was a stiff neck from being on the phone too long or a sore hand from too many handshakes.  I showed a friend of mine his old business card.  It didn’t even have a fax number on it.  I used to call his landline, write notes and delivered resumes via a cab driver.

We were taught to do one thing.  Get results.  And always with the understanding not to confuse business standards with ethics.  We all know there are many paths to output, from thank you notes to lunches and dinners to gifts to bribes.

Generation X

Known for work-life balance, less loyal than the boomers, more tech savvy, craves attention and reassurance they are doing a good job, and a bit of a free agent mentality to job hop elsewhere if they’re not feeling valued.

Millennials copy.jpg

Millennials earning their way to a billion dollars

Millennials

Personally I’m looking forward to the millennials repairing the damage the Boomers have done. How things have changed.  We now put in cell phone lockers when we need all distractions eliminated.  Bring your pet to work, work with your shoes off, sit on the floor, and work from home.  But there is still only one thing that matters.  Output.

“Millennials have become the largest generation in the workforce.  Millennials are also the fastest-growing generation of customers in the marketplace, bringing the greatest lifetime value.  In addition, Millennials exhibit different attitudes toward employment, sales and marketing, which are challenging many conventional strategies and approaches.”  – http://genhq.com/faq-info-about-generations/

A 2014 Harris Interactive survey on behalf of CareerBuilder, a job recruitment website, found that 38 percent of U.S. workers had a younger boss, up from 34 percent in 2012.

Bring your dog.jpg

In closing

There is the current dilemma of long range planning for any business, private or public, and how to motivate the staff, regardless of which generation is steering the ship. A friend of mine helped give some clarity to what’s next:

  1. You can continue to learn as we grow and teach/coerce as we go;
  2. The management of a company can learn as they grow and be a valuable resource for the owners to depend on and enjoy building with;
  3. You can outsource the skill set necessary to take the company to the next level and beyond;
  4. Or cash out; and, finally,
  5. The owner can put the brakes on and let all of the employees enjoy their success for a while, and just sit back and listen to the Eagles.

What’s your choice?

The Courier Express and Buffalo News

It was Christmas and my mother gave me a hermetically sealed copy of the last addition of the Courier Express. It was right around the anniversary of the Buffalo Blizzard of 1977 and got me thinking about my day job in grade school and high school and the history of the Courier Express and my pals delivering the Buffalo News. I was 17 years old at the time of the great 1977 blizzard and it was the only time since I took over the route from my brother where I actually had a few days off. I had 100 customers of every size, shape, color and interesting and colorful personalities and a few stodgy cheap curmudgeons. Courier

That being said, we never got a day off, and if you were lucky enough to go on vacation with your family, you usually had to beg someone to take the route, lay out a map by hand, and overpay to take the route for the week. And how about when you got your license and you didn’t have to pull the wagon through the snow?  Who doesn’t remember dragging that wagon through the snow and when it got too deep, you’d anchor it to a sled for easy going? And how about collecting in subzero temps and the customer saying “You were here last week!! There is no way I owe for two weeks!!!” Your hands were so cold it was hard to make change by the end of collections. And waking up at 5:45 AM to see if they called your name on the radio for a free prize. A genius idea to get the carrier army up and roaring ensuring early delivery. And having to borrow money from mom to pay your weekly bill if collections fell short, and she gave it to you interest free. And oh, the bonus, the Christmas calendar, other gifts from some like holiday cakes and cookies, nothing from some, and the noticeable generosity of tips from others. The reward you’d get for being a good business person throughout the year. 

To this day I remain an early riser and I attribute it to the Courier.  We were armed with all the tools: the delivery bag, the collection tickets, the wagon and the delivery box.Courier 1Courier bag

That paper installed good business values. I read page by page the hermetically sealed copy of the last edition of the Courier dated September 18,1982. As I sifted through the sections and pages it was a walk down memory lane. I digressed and read some interesting historical data on the Courier Express, like Mark Twain was an editor in 1869 and they added a Sunday edition in 1875. I found a good friend’s engagement picture, close acquaintance Carla.  Was she surprised when I texted her a snap shot of it.

Carla

A bit of historical perspective

If you had the Buffalo News route back in the day there was no Sunday edition until 1979. My close friend Rich Weber had the same route I had delivering the Buffalo News.  We used to collect together and one of our notable customers was Syd Pastor whose family owned the Pepsi franchise.  On occasion he was home and usually owed us $50 each along with a generous tip. My Courier route Monday through Saturday paper count was 35 papers and it was usually a flimsy 35 pages. Rich delivered 65 Monday through Saturday Buffalo Newspapers to the same geographic area. I could stuff all my papers into two delivery bags over each shoulder and off I went. According to John Connolly, a seasoned Buffalo News editor and retired Air Force enlistee “The Wednesday and Thursday editions of the Buffalo News were gigantic compared to the Courier with coupons and advertisements. The Courier saved their coupons and ads for Sundays.” My last year  delivering was 1977 and the daily paper was ten cents and the big Sunday money maker was 75 cents.  I’d usually get a 15 cent tip on the weekly Courier charge of $1.35.

Connolly also noted “It wasn’t until 1979 when Warren Buffet took the helm that the News started Sunday delivery as well.”  As I was delivering and getting to know my customers, usually at collection time, I didn’t know the Buffalo News was the scrappy republican paper and often at odds with the sedate democratic liberal morning paper. I was too young to know the two papers were at odds over the new Bills stadium location where the News wanted the burbs and the Courier advocated for a downtown location. My customers were an eclectic mix of business folks, lawyers, stoners, engineers, moms and the highlight was Milt Northrop was on my route.

Oh those were good times and there should be some type of retired paper delivery alumni association for all of us.

Might be fun.

Courier.jpg

My Mom – Eloise Kreuz

My Momkreuz-family

As we wind down 2015, I was at my parents the other night reminiscing about the year with my mother Eloise. I’ve been fortunate to be able to spend some quality time with her lately. I was thinking about all my friends and the one common link we all have. We often talk of our mothers. Some lost their mom’s early, some midstream, and some of us are still fortunate to have them in our lives. Living or deceased, who doesn’t enjoy talking about their mom in mixed company.

Mom has two great grandkids (GGK’s) now (as of 2022 up to 8 GGK’s and one on the way), and my granddaughter Eloise is named after her. I happened to be there when my daughter told my mom what she was having and what they’d be naming her. That was a magical moment that I’ll cherish forever. As she cares for my dad we’ve been enjoying talking about many things in our lives. She used to love watching Norm and I play gin rummy, and occasionally I’d pick a lucky card and win.

She’s had some great accomplishments in her life: number one in her class in nursing school, a skilled nurse, lifetime accountant for the family Courier Express route, six healthy children, 17 grandkids, two great grandkids, a husband who always knew the difference between right and wrong, a hole in one, attended a super bowl, and sound relationships with all of her daughter-in-laws and son-in law.

Twelve years ago we celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and what a party it was, with that monstrous size family of theirs. Twelve years later they are still going strong and Norman appreciates all she does for him. I made a choice not to move away 26 years ago, and as I look back at the life we’ve enjoyed in Buffalo, I’d say that was a pretty wise move.

Mom retired from nursing at age 75, and the caregiver in her has held strong for all of us. My family often wonders how many term papers she typed, how many cab rides she took us to the doctor, and how many times she walked to the grocery store.

I often tell her how much I love what I do, and she told me her dad retired from farming at age 93. That gives me hope for the next 27 years, and I hope to be as prosperous and successful as he was.

We spent many years traveling back to the family farm in Ohio and those are memories we’ll all cherish forever. In the world of lavish vacations and social media, I wouldn’t trade those family farm vacations for anything. She taught us values, the difference between right and wrong, and strong morals. I’d say she did a great job.

Happy New Year mom.

The Kreuz Family farm house including green house, hay loft, chicken coupe and dairy cattle

Givers and Takers continued

Giva and Take

Date:  February 28, 2015

Blog Posting: 7

      I received some interesting responses to my Givers and Takers posting, and, as always, I appreciate them all.  Every day we are confronted with choices, and giving or taking plays an important role in all our decision making.  Over the past month, I have been involved directly and indirectly in two dramatic episodes impacting the fate of a couple of the several partnerships that we’ve been building.  It has been a telling manifestation of giving and taking.  And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate our good fortune, especially when it is challenged.

      On the one hand there was our elation over the remarkable sale of our FedCloud initiative, Autonomic Resources [http://tonywalkerpost.com/2015/02/21/now-that-was-a-ride/], and, on the other hand, there was the contraction of our Consilium One partnership [which, unfortunately had to rely on the protection of the bankruptcy court].  For all of us who are involved in our Partnerships, the good has always significantly outweighed the occasional embarrassment.  

      And now, propelled by the successful sale of Autonomic Resources, we will be venturing forth with the Advantage Business Exchange, FedDROP, and Cloud 9 Resources, our three new ventures that will build on all our past and current successes [while always learning from our intermittent missteps].  These three new partnerships will join an incredible lineup of resources that include our Capax Global and AP Professionals partnerships [not to mention all of the resources of the Advantage Co].  The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.  Thanks for being a part of it.​

Givers and Takers – Part 1

Date:  February 9, 2015

Blog Posting: 5

A friend of mine and I were talking the other day about givers and takers.  It got me thinking about the differences in people, and I started running through all of the contradictory personality traits I’ve encountered over the years.

One instance that always stuck with me about raising my children was a recent trip to Florida with my youngest daughter, Haylee.  After I gave her some money to spend at Charming Charlie’s, she came away with a boatload of goodies from bracelets to hair ribbons to rings to necklaces.  I asked her “Why so many things?”  And she told me, “They are gifts for my friends.”  I wasn’t sure what to think when she first ran out with a bag full of trinkets, but after she told me her intentions, I was proud that I had a generous and thoughtful child.

A behavioral study I read about 4 year old children comes to mind.  Over many years, the study measured the greed or patience of 4 year old children to ascertain how certain behaviors at the age of 4 shaped certain adult behaviors.  It was noted that greedy kids typically weren’t stellar adults, and patient kids had more favorable measurable outcomes in adult life.  And while I’m certain there are many more academic studies out there, I just enjoy observing behaviors as I navigate through the back nine.

Have I given more than I’ve taken?  It’s good to give pause and offer that question some quiet consideration.  To a certain extent, I guess it depends on the eye of the beholder, but I am confident that I have always had everyone’s best interest at heart, and I believe that is the foundation of being a good ‘giver.’  Any incident of giving or sharing must consider whether you are expecting something in return or not.

Over the years I have given and received my fair share, and I’ve never really kept score, but I do recognize how fortunate that I have been. By the way, I try to stay away from the people who keep score, especially the ones who know who bought lunch last time.

So what constitutes certain personality traits?  As I was talking to my friend about it, it got us thinking about other behaviors and the different types we’ve encountered in our lives.  We’ve put together a short list for consideration:

  • Giver or Taker
  • Generous or Cheap
  • Thankless or Appreciative
  • Substance or Flash
  • Self Absorbed or Concerned
  • Positive or Negative

We all encounter these various types through family, business, and social activities.  It’s pretty easy to pick and choose where you think your friends, family, and acquaintances fit, but what if you feel like you are on the wrong side of the equation?  How do you change?  Can you change?  Do you want to change?  Is it a thoughtful note, a kind gesture, a random gift, or a random act of kindness that’s missing?  It has me thinking about all of my relationships.

Who hasn’t thought about these scenarios as you navigate through life.  Go ahead, give me your opinion, or just take my thoughts and move on [or make a note on your scorecard, I’ll owe you one].​

The Autonomic Resources Adventure

Date:  February 27, 2015

Blog Posting: 6

Over the years we have built some remarkable companies, some falter, while others meet with remarkable success.  The Autonomic Resources adventure was one of our most audacious pursuits, and I am proud to have been a part of it.  Here is a little backstory from my partner Tony’s blog http://tonywalkerpost.com/2015/02/21/now-that-was-a-ride/

For the first three years, I was little more than an idle observer of our FedCloud initiative; but, for the past 16 months, I have been working directly with Tom and John to bring our FedCloud adventure to fruition.  It was a high risk venture [certainly higher than we ever anticipated], and it was wrought with tension throughout the journey [somewhere between white water rafting and waterboarding].  Fortunately, this past Thursday, we were able to complete the sale of Autonomic Resources [after nearly three months of a roller coaster ride of negotiations and due diligence].

Autonomic.jpg

Although the sale of Autonomic Resources’ remarkable FedRAMP ATO’s might put our FedDROP start-up in limbo, I couldn’t be happier for the entire Autonomic Resources family, especially the crew at our headquarters in North Carolina.  And I am particularly proud to have been in the trenches with Tom and John seeing this thing through to such a successful conclusion.

A special round of thanks needs to go out to Butch, Kerry, Mike, Lynn, Geno, and the Pfalzgraf team for bringing this one home.  And an ever bigger thanks to Joe Kreuz, who got all these partnerships started over 20 years ago.

When I look at our lineup of IT partnerships today, especially Capax Global, CBX, and AP Phoenix [which just had it biggest month ever in January], I can’t help but be excited about what the future has in store.

My family is healthy and happy, I have the best partners in the world, the sun is shining, and the sale of Autonomic Resources has provided us with the resources to expand exponentially.  If I could drop a dozen pounds, I’d have it made.

PS  Tom and Anthony are both in Naples today, and we will be over at the Shoppes at Vanderbilt checking out a potential location for our warm weather ABX [along with a new TW&Co and Giancarlo’s].  I’ll keep you posted.

Givers and Takers part 1

Givers and Takers

Date:  February 9, 2015

Blog Posting: 5

Giva and Take.jpg

A friend of mine and I were talking the other day about givers and takers.  It got me thinking about the differences in people, and I started running through all of the contradictory personality traits I’ve encountered over the years.

One instance that always stuck with me about raising my children was a recent trip to Florida with my youngest daughter, Haylee.  After I gave her some money to spend at Charming Charlie’s, she came away with a boatload of goodies from bracelets to hair ribbons to rings to necklaces.  I asked her “Why so many things?”  And she told me, “They are gifts for my friends.”  I wasn’t sure what to think when she first ran out with a bag full of trinkets, but after she told me her intentions, I was proud that I had a generous and thoughtful child.

A behavioral study I read about 4 year old children comes to mind.  Over many years, the study measured the greed or patience of 4 year old children to ascertain how certain behaviors at the age of 4 shaped certain adult behaviors.  It was noted that greedy kids typically weren’t stellar adults, and patient kids had more favorable measurable outcomes in adult life.  And while I’m certain there are many more academic studies out there, I just enjoy observing behaviors as I navigate through the back nine.

Have I given more than I’ve taken?  It’s good to give pause and offer that question some quiet consideration.  To a certain extent, I guess it depends on the eye of the beholder, but I am confident that I have always had everyone’s best interest at heart, and I believe that is the foundation of being a good ‘giver.’  Any incident of giving or sharing must consider whether you are expecting something in return or not.

Over the years I have given and received my fair share, and I’ve never really kept score, but I do recognize how fortunate that I have been. By the way, I try to stay away from the people who keep score, especially the ones who know who bought lunch last time.

So what constitutes certain personality traits?  As I was talking to my friend about it, it got us thinking about other behaviors and the different types we’ve encountered in our lives.  We’ve put together a short list for consideration:

  • Giver or Taker
  • Generous or Cheap
  • Thankless or Appreciative
  • Substance or Flash
  • Self Absorbed or Concerned
  • Positive or Negative
  • Sarcastic or Nice

We all encounter these various types through family, business, and the social activities.  It’s pretty easy to pick and choose where you think your friends, family, and acquaintances fit, but what if you feel like you are on the wrong side of the equation?  How do you change?  Can you change?  Do you want to change?  Is it a thoughtful note, a kind gesture, a random gift, or a random act of kindness that’s missing?  It has me thinking about all of my relationships.

Who hasn’t thought about these scenarios as you navigate through life.  Go ahead, give me your opinion, or just take my thoughts and move on [or make a note on your scorecard, I’ll owe you one].​

What would Norm do?

Aside

What Would Norm Do?

I was talking to my mom the other day about our new business, the Advantage Business Exchange (ABX). I told mom as I began to recruit a ABX sales agent team I’d be looking for people similar to my dad Norman. His business acumen and sales ability were second to none as I watched him sell Yellow Pages his entire adult career.

The year was 1969. I was in fourth grade in Cleveland, Ohio. My dad was selected as part of an elite sales team to expand LM Berry’s Yellow Page footprint in Western New York. He was good at what he did and off we went to Buffalo. I watched my dad prosper over the years. I often tell people dad taught me social and selling skills at the kitchen table. He sold Yellow Pages his entire life, first for Ohio Bell, then for LM Berry, and finished off his career with White Directory Publishers.

When I landed my first sales jib at PAYCHEX in 1982, I broke the news to my mom and dad and they were so happy I was following in similar footsteps. I was a cold calling maven and walked the beat, knocked on doors, made cold calls and wrote hand written thank you notes just like him. His farm heritage turned him into an early riser and I too rose early.  He milked cows every morning and I delivered newspapers. Getting up early and working became a way of life.

Norm 1.jpg

Yellow pages was Google from the 50’s to the 90’s. I told my mom Google didn’t exist back then, and if dad were selling today, he’d be top of the heap in Google sales. If you wanted something back then, you had to rely on Yellow pages and word of mouth (and an encyclopedia). One thing I noticed as I grew up was my dad had a great following of clients, and every year when it was time for renewals, he sold those ads with confidence as he renewed one account after another, traveling from city to city around New York State. I bumped into Lee Federaconi who used to buy adds from my dad and unsolicited Lee says “Your father would often come for lunch and always stayed in touch after my renewal. That’s what real sales pos do.  He always had something nice to say and always complimentary.”

My dad sold one thing and he sold it well. Forty Five years later after my dad was recruited, we will be recruiting our own elite sales team at ABX. I wrote in my high school yearbook that I wanted to wear a suit to work and follow in my dad’s footsteps. I wonder how much more he would have made if he had other things to sell to his loyal following. That being said, ABX has developed a great product mix and we’ll make those products and services available to our ABX tenants, ABX agents, and global commissioned sales force.

​These ABX sales agents will have the opportunity to sell many of our products and services. ABX’s entire product line will be accessible online in our resource library at http://www.consiliumresources.info/

Norm Tractor Angola

Norm showing me a few tractor tips from his upbringing as a farmer.

The Advantage Business Exchange

Launching The Advantage Business Exchange

Date:  December 10, 2014

Blog Posting: 3

I am proud to announce the launch of our new business concept, The Advantage Business Exchange (ABX).  At ABX, we are a trusted one-stop resource for all of our clients’ business needs.  We provide our commercial, institutional, and government clients with direct access to premium resources for all of their business activities.  All of our services, programs, and products are fully vetted for our clients’ assurance that they are receiving the finest resources befitting their specific needs.  ABX is located at The Walker Center and showcases many fantastic world class resources including:

  1. AP Professionals AP
  2. iWorld Professionals iWorld
  3. Capax Discovery Capax Discovery
  4. c1Secure CISO
  5. c1Advantage c1
  6. iWorld Shopping Center iWolrd Shopping Center
  7. iWorld Fundraising iWorld Fundraising
  8. Giancarlo’s Sicilian Steakhouse and Pizzeria, Events, and Catering Giancarlo’s
  9. Grivani Corporate Gift Giving Grivani

ABX’s business services will offer robust Resource Library of Business Services and product offerings available to certified and commissioned sales agents, and Physical class A space located at the Walker Center offering professional office space and advertising opportunities, individual catalog and profile displays, virtual web based presentations, and physical presentations all in a succinct bundled package.  You can get a sneak preview of the goods and services available by viewing our annual catalog on line at http://www.theadvantagecatalog.com/2015

ABX will be presenting a weekly Webinar Series and showcasing their subject matter experts in their respective fields commencing with our grand opening January 22, 2015.

 

ABX.jpg

The Advantage Catalog

20th Anniversary Catalog Edition

Date:  November 29, 2014

Blog Posting: 2

Check this out!  Our annual catalog will be in the stores, on the shelves, and distributed next week at our annual catalog launch party.  You can view The Advantage Co annual catalog online at  http://www.theadvantagecatalog.comThe Advantage Catalog

 

Here is a little story for you.  For starters, one of my titles I use often is Chief Story Teller (CST).  The Advantage Co opened its doors the summer of 1978 as I was finishing my first year of college.  36+ years later, and as we approach the launch of our 20th anniversary of our annual catalog, I often reflect what has transpired since the first catalog edition in 1995.

​I started my first business as a partnership with The Advantage Co in the summer of 1993, the Walker Center opened its doors the holiday season of 1994, and our first catalog edition was published for the holiday season in 1995.  My mother, Eloise, has the first 19 catalogs neatly arranged, next to the encyclopedias, at the home that Norm built.  Mom and I often reminisce as we peruse the catalogs and what’s transpired over the years and what a wonderful experience it’s been for the Advantage Nation, and the Kreuz family for that matter.  

I hope you enjoy this year’s edition as much as Eloise does.  

Catalog.jpg