I hope you took action and read the trust report I shared with you last week. (Here it is again if you did not get a chance.) It is stunning. Today I want to share a backstory about me, the generational divide, and how the young people of today are way smarter than even we young boomers.
My hairstylist is somewhere between 31 and 34. (Which puts her squarely in the ‘could be my daughter’ category.) She is a lovely lady, has won several styling and colour awards and runs the cutest, upscale salon in the city. Whatever she may lack in terms of business savvy is more than offset by her innovations in customer service, her big dreams and her unwavering belief in herself.
Like many of her generation, she lives a good chunk of her life on Instagram. Posts about her business, about hair, new products she brings in, about her kids, her husband, her nails, and all kinds of personal stuff about her life pepper her feed. She swears to me that so much of the salon’s business has come through her Instagram feed, she does not need to advertise.
She and I are entirely different in terms of generation, technology and seeing things from the customer point of view. I don’t use Instagram to find clients and never learned how to share my entire life, warts and all, with strangers. If I am completely honest, it is only in the last fifteen years that I have finally understood how and why a customer generally thinks and acts.
So, in the New World
When COVID shut down our country, my stylist was distraught. And she regularly posted stories — nearly always close to tears. Then when things started to gradually open, she changed her postings to all the actions she and her ladies were doing to make everything safe for their customers. It was very clear from all her social postings that satisfying the definition of ‘safe’ was uppermost in her mind. While I cheered her incredible efforts, I did think she was going overboard on the frequency of postings.
When I was finally able to get in and have my hair done again, she was ecstatic to report all customers had come back and were thrilled with the safety procedures. I looked at her and said, but honey, it is obvious you care about them. You regularly highlighted everything you are doing for them. You provided a ton of value in all your postings. The fact that they are raving means they trust you.
Fast forward to the George Floyd murder. Understandably, everyone around the world was upset. When the Black Lives Matter movement gained steam, my hairstylist started posting about all the events and courses she and ‘her ladies’ were taking. And stressed that it was all about doing better, being better and understanding the white privilege so many of us were born with.
Then There’s Me
At about her third or fourth BLM message, I flipped out and began my rants. (Privately of course.) Girlfriend, let’s finish the battles we have not yet won. Equality for the sexes. Getting more than a mere 2% of women into the boardrooms. Expanding diversity from mainly the government and banks into more businesses and politics at all levels. We gotta finish what was started years ago before we tackle yet another wrong.
And then I did what so many of us do. I kept my opinions to myself, turned the page/flipped the screen and went looking for more rational and reasonable thinking. In short, no action on my part.
When I read the Edelman trust report, the penny dropped. I realized my hairstylist was completely right and it was me who was out to lunch. She was born into a world different than mine. She has no idea about all the battles that came before her. She only sees the problems of today. And she did the smart thing – the thing so many of us fail to do especially as we get older. She took action. Indeed, it might be an imperfect action. It was nevertheless, action. And that action further cemented the trust bond she has with her clients. That action will be a major part of her future successes.
I had become what I vowed never to become. The person who passes judgement and then immediately excuses her thoughts and actions. My own experiences with my own battles and my own scars are just mine. Nobody else. And they are based on my limited view of the world. It was me who was the jerk. Most people sixty years and older have failed in their quest to make the world a better place. The younger generation wants to give it a go. Let them. Cheer them. Help them. Don’t try to stop them.
Just because I am older and more experienced in some areas, does not make me an expert on the stuff that is happening today. Just because I don’t like to share my entire life with everyone online, doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t do it. And my idea about finishing things before tackling new is old-fashioned thinking.
I admit. It is very tough to look in the mirror and say, “damn, you are better than this.” Yet, it is a valuable life lesson. One that we all need to learn. Please don’t be like me and think you have it ‘all together’ about everything business. You don’t. I don’t. We need to keep ourselves open.
To your success!