Most growing organizations, especially entrepreneurial ones, have two distinct generations that reside within them – and no, I’m not talking about Baby Boomers and Generation X or Xers and Millenials. I’m talking about growth generations – namely your Legacy group and your Accelerate group.
Your Legacy group is comprised of the teammates who’ve been with you since the early days. They know your culture because they helped create it. They’re stable, dependable, and committed. They know the industry and have strong relationships with your customers.
Your Accelerate group is made up of those teammates who’ve recently joined your organization as you’ve grown. They may or may not have industry experience, but what they do have are fresh ideas, an eagerness to try new things, and an excitement for the growth and future of your business.
Know the Challenges
Of course, any time you have two very distinct growth generations in the workplace you’re going to have challenges to overcome. Your long-time, loyal Legacies often find comfort in doing things the way they’ve always been done. They can be more resistant to change, feel entitled to opportunities and promotions due to their loyalty and tenure, and may even view Accelerators as threats.
Accelerators bring their own unique set of challenges to the table, such as their learning curve within the business or industry as well as their need to learn how to fit in with the existing team, which includes building relationships with those in the Legacy generation.
3 Tips for Leading Both Groups
It’s the leader’s job to bridge the gap between Legacies and Accelerators, since both generations are needed and necessary for the company’s continued growth. Here are three tips for leading these two distinct groups:
- Illustrate the value both generations bring to the organization. You need the experience and the expertise of the Legacy group as much as you need the fresh ideas and drive of the Accelerate group.
- Communicate what will and what won’t change. Sharing what will and won’t change as you evolve will put the Legacy group’s fears at ease while also communicating to the Accelerate group what values your organization holds dear and will never change.
- Remember that the people who helped start the business won’t always be the same people who take it to the next level. This doesn’t mean that Legacy teammates can’t or won’t help lead your future growth, but it is a reminder that different teammates and strengths are needed during different seasons of your company’s growth.