Power Meeting addresses dealing with generational gaps.

Just when you thought you'd had it with Generation X along comes the Millennials.

"People from other generations just don't 'think' right," said California consultant Robert W. Wendover at the Quality Service Contractors Power Meeting XI, June 4-5, Cleveland. "They don't seem to work hard enough and don't seem to have the same priorities as you do."

As a result, hiring, training and motivating across generations may well require a psychology degree. The major reason generations think differently is that a person's attitudes are formed by "generational markers," major events that naturally tend to be vastly different from decade to decade.

"Members of a generation are linked through shared life experiences that occur in their formative years," Wendover said.

The country's predominant employer comes from one well-known generation, the Baby Boomers (anyone born from 1946-1964). This generation's world view was colored by the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, color TV and the trinity of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. These crusaders wrote the book on personal fulfillment and their mantra is "Buy Now/Pay Later."

Contrast that with Generation X (those born between 1965-1980), who were weaned on Sesame Street, Watergate, MTV and personal computers. They tend to be uncertain about the present let alone the future. As a result, they're intently focused on themselves and how they can make the best out of "living for today," Wendover added.

Into this mix now come the Millennials (anyone born after 1981). That makes this year's high school graduates the first Millennials to enter the job market in large numbers. Wendover says Millennials' values were shaped by cell phones, O.J. Simpson, Desert Storm and the Internet. Millennials like to have fun, tend to "just show up," and do exactly what's asked of them in order to "earn enough money to spend," Wendover added.

When managing Generation Xers, Wendover suggested avoiding the idea of "paying dues" since Gen Xers are natural task eliminators and will naturally find a way to avoid what they would term "meaningless" tasks that a Baby Boomer might just figure is an "efficient part of the process." On the other hand, emphasize how a Gen Xer can build skills that would add to his or her professional growth. Above all, offer sincere recognition for the job well done since Gen Xers can see through anything less.

With Millennials just entering the job market, Wendover emphasized the importance of clear directions and leading by example. By all means don't compare them to Generation X, and learn to live with the tongue stud.

Power Meeting

More than 120 contractors attended the two-day meeting. Other speakers included PM columnist Frank Blau (who donated his speaker's fee to the QSC) on a subject he knows more than a little about: profit and loss statements. Mike Henning began the meeting with a talk on succession planning. Kevin Dougherty gave an abbreviated rundown of his normal two-day seminar on "Customer Service Training," which has been a part of QSC education for the past two years.

At the meeting, QSC also announced the following programs:

  • A new QSC Operations Manual, which will be available as text and as a searchable CD, should be available by the next Power Meeting. "This should cover the waterfront of how to run your business in an organized fashion," said QSC chief Sam Baker.

  • A model commercial service agreement package is in the works. QSC already offers a model residential service agreement package.

  • The group's popular Customer Relations Training course will continue to be offered throughout the country. Regular dates will be set or QSC will attempt to fill a need on demand to schedule the two-day class. For example, the CRT class will be coming to the Chicago area next month at the behest of the Great Lakes chapter.

  • The QSC is currently sending soliciting bids to develop a "Fast Trac" training manual for HVAC technicians. The group already offers a Fast Trac manual for plumbing.

  • The QSC Education Com-mittee is in the early stages of planning a service repair projects management course that will be modeled on an NAPHCC course that specializes in construction.

  • A new look for the QSC Web site should be in place by the time you read this article.

The QSC Power Meeting XII will be Feb. 3-4, Houston. The meeting will have a special emphasis on leadership. For more information, call Baker or Emily Lowstutter at 800/533-7694 or 703/237-8100.