Stop the generational madness!!

I’ve seen many of these article in the past, but for some reason this one REALLY got under my skin.

58 Extremely Disappointing Facts About The Class of 2018

“Extremely disappointing?”  “Heartbreaking”.  Please.

My first reaction is AAAAARRRGGGH!!  Not because I want to be a pirate and wear a puffy shirt, but because it is things like this (and the mentality they promote) that DIVIDES us. This is part of the problem, not the solution.

First of all, WHO CARES if people graduating in 2018 don’t know who Destiny’s Child is?  I graduated in 1988 and I am SURE there are things that were important pop culturally to previous generations that I had no idea about.  Yet, I survived.

WHO CARES if these folks have to view a Motorola Razr in a museum?  That’s where I get to see the tools that early cave-people used to survive.  Nobody weeped that I was missing out on actually using them.

All these types of articles do is widen the divide between generations.  Boomers and Xers laugh and feel superior because they know about this stuff while younger generations just get more ammo for not trusting the older generations.

What we should be doing, is focusing on what brings us together, not what separates us.  It’s team building 101… find what you have in COMMON and explore that.

I think part of the reason these types of comparisons are so popular is that A. it’s easier to find differences than similarities, and B. We don’t have to admit that the world has passed us by and if the things on this list are still relevant, then we must still be relevant.

No doubt, there is a fear factor working with (especially) younger generations.  They do things differently, they talk differently, they work differently… and somehow being efficient and using technology to accomplish something (and then having more time to spend with friends and family) is less attractive than toiling away for hours on end with no social life.

It’s because the toil is what is known.  Don’t get caught up in being stagnant because of the fear of the unknown.  As fast as things move, you could become irrelevant in the blink of an eye.

Seriously, stop the “generations-are-different-and-different-is-bad” madness and mentality!  We all want to succeed and be part of something great!  That just looks different in 2014 than it did in 1984… and that’s a good thing!

If you need more help in figuring out how to bridge the generational gap, check out my friend Ken Whiting and all he and his company WAVES for Success has to offer.  Ken gets it, and he can help you get it, too.

Okay, I feel better now.

Thanks for reading!!


About the author: This is not the first time Matt has written about looking for the similarities, rather than the differences between the various generations.  The Kids Are Alright is a blog post about just that. The Kids Are Alright is also a movie about The Who. Some readers might not know who The Who is, and that’s okay. That’s why there’s Google.

Is this okay?

By now, many of you have seen the video going around with the Southwest agent going a bit “off script” in her pre-flight spiel.  If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

Personally, I love it.  The reaction of the crowd is self explanatory, and something we should all be striving for in our business.  But don’t you know it… someone out there is probably more than a little peeved that this crew member made such a mockery of the important safety instructions.

Was it a little irreverent?  Yes.

Was it out of the ordinary?  Yes.

Did it enhance the traveling experience?  Yes.

Was it memorable?  Yes.

Could it have gone horribly wrong?  Yes.

And it’s that last one that makes a lot of people nervous.  Not everyone is a comedian, not everyone knows the boundaries of humor and good taste, and not everyone has the quick wit and timing to make this funny.

So, instead of giving the people who DO have those skills the chance to shine and have a memorable impact on our business, we cookie-cutter spiels and pre-record announcements, all so they will be the same every time.

And we all know how fun and entertaining “the same every time” can be.  Isn’t that the definition of boring?

Recently, Theme Park University did a post about the service and attitudes at Hard Rock Park. While it may not be for everyone, it certainly was different.  And memorable.

Do I think we should let any employee loose with a microphone?  No.  But we also shouldn’t hold back those who have the talent, can cultivate the skill, and possess the willingness to do things a little differently.

As we see from the Southwest example, the outcome can be truly spectacular.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading!


About the author: During Matt’s career in the amusement industry, he’s been known to ad lib a spiel or two.  His favorite?  Telling guests who have just entered a round room not to stand in the corner. If he had a nickel for every person who looked for the corner…





Teamwork starts with common bonds

First, I will apologize to those living in northern climates who have been buried in a mountain of snow this winter.  Why apologize? Because this is a story about riding through town in a convertible.  With the top down.  In February. (I live in Florida, in case you didn’t know).

Anyway, a about a month ago, while driving around with the top down, I noticed another car approaching me with its top down.  As it so happened, it was also a VW Beetle of about the same year as mine.  Only difference was the color.

Not my Beetle, but you get the idea.

Not my Beetle, but you get the idea.

As we got closer, an instinct hit both of us at the same time.

We waved.

Did we know each other?  No.  Are Beetle drivers just overly friendly?  Perhaps.

I think we were struck with the instinct to greet each other because we were both driving similar cars and had both chosen to ride with the top down. We didn’t know each other (and I would not recognize the driver again if seeing them outside of their car), but we had something in common.  In a split second, we bonded over top-down, open-road, VW Beetle-ness. It was a special moment.

Ever have trouble getting your employees or management team to work together?  To see eye to eye, to give the benefit-of-the-doubt, to embrace an idea as an idea, not a threat to their employment?

What do they have in common?  Sure, they may work for the same company, wear the same uniform, even have the same boss.  But are those things that really BOND people together?

In the case above, the top-down Beetle said something about us.  It was a reflection of who we are, the choices we make and what’s important to us.  Simply putting on a uniform doesn’t automatically instill pride.  What does the uniform (and the company it represents) stand for?  Does the employee buy into that?  If not, matching shirts will not be enough to bind people together.

Think of any enthusiast group, whether is the American Coaster Enthusiasts, the Honda Element Owners Club or The Polar Bear Club, the love of the product, sport or ideal comes first.  The wardrobe comes second.

While there are MANY different programs and exercises out there to help build your team, here are a few points to keep in mind.

  • Hiring matters – if the above story is any lesson, finding common bonds is as much (if not more) about bringing people together with the same ideals as it is about finding people who can do a certain job.
  • Commonality matters – even if you’ve hired people with similar outlooks and ideals, they still have to get to know what they have in common as individuals.  This only happens by working together and communicating.  There is no such thing as an automatic team.
  • Firing matters – if you find someone that isn’t supportive of the culture or can’t cut the mustard, it’s okay to let them pursue other opportunities (in other words, set them free). If you have done your due diligence to get them up to speed and on board, and they still provide a negative influence, cut your losses. Don’t keep people on the team who are detrimental to the team.  Your committed employees will thank you.

What opportunities have you created for your employees to find out what they have in common with each other?  What have you found that works really well?

Thanks for having something in common with me!


About the author:  If you are like Matt, you are passionate about helping others achieve their maximum potential.  Is it always easy?  No.  But that’s why there are people like Matt.  He shares your passion, and has the skill to help you help others.