Age Difference Turf Wars?

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“Lately, I see a lot of 


wise old hot-shots vs.


smart-ass young






The same woman walks into two competing retail stores with age-different sales styles:

“Afternoon, Ma’am, how’s that traffic out there today? You drive far?” greets her at store number one.

“Hi Ma’am. Let me show you to our electronics department. I’m sure you’ll be interested in seeing the new Apple iPad. Can you believe that thing can do…?” is the first thing she hears as she enters store number two.

Disagreements come to a head once again in the professional services business down the street:

“Frank? Pfffft! All he’s got is that dusty old Rolodex thing with a thousand scribbled and crossed out cards. I think we should rent an up-to-date email list and send out a blast announcing our new services; combine that with a big splash on our website and let people download the info pages –like an ebook — on the apps we now offer in exchange for their email addresses.”

“Jaysyn? You gotta be kiddin’— he’s been here for six months, tryin’ to run everything and doesn’t have a clue about customer service. The kid’s got a Black Berry wired to his butt and an iPod growing outta his ear. We need to work our existing customer base to announce the new services, and most of them don’t even have computers, never mind email addresses.”

You own or run the business. It’s your call. How do you keep everyone happy and still keep customers coming in the door? What do you do if the old guy is your brother (brother-in-law, cousin, your father)? What if the young dude is your nephew (your wife’s best friend’s son, your banker’s son, your lawyer’s son, your own son)?

[Just by way of momentary diversion, I’m reminded that it’s often been said that the biggest problem with a family business, by the way, is the family. Lots of stories about that. I’ll save them for another post.] 

So, you have to do — first and foremost — what’s best for the business, right? Can you and the business afford ongoing turf wars? Is it just an age thing or do two or more same-age-range feisty types engage regularly in territorial battles? “I was assigned Westchester County and she was supposed to handle Rockland; now you’ve got her doing Northern Westchester. What’s with that?”

RULE ONE for getting things straightened out: Get things straightened out! Sit down with the people involved and get each to speak her or his piece with no interruptions allowed by you or the opposition forces. Take notes. Ask followup questions and ask for examples with no interruptions allowed by opposition forces.

Make a decision and explain your rationale with no interruptions allowed by opposition forces, then get on with life. Do not put off a decision. Do not waver on the rules on engagement and do not waver on your decision. Once you’ve established this as a procedure (and it may take 2-3 times), you’ll see fewer and fewer disruptive turf battles.

If you don’t see the strugglers taking chill-pills, you will see more and more evidence about which of the warring parties is most out of line and probably least productive. Let go of him or her, no matter who’s uncle or daughter or neighbor is involved. Be nice about it. Offer relocation help. But — for the sake of your business — stick to your guns and “e-li-minate the neg-a-tive”! 

Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day! 

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