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Birth Order and CRM

Are you a first born? A middle child, or perhaps you were born last in your family? Do you subscribe to the whole birth order thing? I remember, from a very, very long time ago making the observation that one of my brothers, a middle child, did not get as many Christmas presents as others in the family. At the age of about 4 or 5 it started becoming obvious to me, well before I had ever heard the term referenced.

Anecdotally there seems to be a lot of evidence, but of course the research also supports the notion that who you are as an individual is highly influenced by when you popped out in relation to your siblings.

So, I would like to offer that this birth order thing has just as much impact within the working environment as it does around the kitchen table. However, I would like to take the conversation up a level. I also believe there is a birth order dynamic when it comes to the generations within the workforce.

Certainly we have all heard about the Baby Boomers followed by the Gen Xers and now we have Generation Y starting to make a strong contribution to the organization. Attributes regarding each generation have been postulated, some more similar to astrology-like characteristics than what might be found through conventional science. My preference is not to get caught up in the content of the differences, but to acknowledge that they exist.

More importantly, if there are real differences between those who are 55, 40 and 25 other than just the experience of age, then it might be worth thinking through how that plays out with business effectiveness. For example, if your SVP of sales is a Boomer and has worked hard to figure out how to manage and reward a team of X’ers over the years, what happens when all the new recruits are Gen Y? Have we built a set of policies to manage and motivate one group that might not work with another group? I think there is a good chance that this can become an issue.

What happens if you have a Boomer SVP of marketing, but your customer base is heavily weighted with the younger generations – can there be a mismatch of preference? One might have learned the value of direct mail marketing, while the other wants to see a podcast on the 4 inch screen of an i-Phone. The call center team today is made up of a different group of folks than who was jockeying the phones in the 90’s. Do they have different aspirations and expectations? That is what I have been led to believe. Are you managing the call center with what you learned about the function a decade ago and with a whole different generation of workers?

H+E w PFDs

My apologies if you were hoping for some recommendations. I don’t necessarily know what to do about the differences between the three generations who make up our customer facing workforce and management team, but I do know that the differences between them will impact how the whole thing works.
Back when I was in graduate school we got trained how to write research papers. One of the things I remember most was making sure that every paper ended with a recommendation that would positively influence the possibility of getting more grant money for more research. I will conclude the same with this entry.

This topic merits further investigation.

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