There’s a definite and very welcome trend among GenZ entrepreneurs to look to their own peer group for advice and information. That’s as it should be. But it’s also rather limiting. If you’re a 20-year-old who wants to know what it really feels like to be a customer who is 60, then you could look online, ask your contemporaries, and possibly get a rough idea. But if you really want to know you’d obviously be better off asking a 60-year-old.
Same with business. What does it feel like when you first hit a million in turnover? How do you actually interview for your first employee? Finding people with that experience is an obvious and sensible course of action. They know because they’ve done it.
But that also has its drawbacks. Older business people have been shaped and marked by their particular experiences, like a tree that has survived storms and droughts and been literally shaped by them. This can make people cautious, risk-averse and liable to recommend only a course of action that worked for them.
Of course they do, it’s what they know works. Human nature has a built-in programme to try to get us to do what we did in the past, because it obviously worked well enough to help us survive to this day. That’s useful but limiting.
So solicit advice from a wide range of people. Don’t just take the advice you like. That’s just confirmation bias. If the advice is this:
‘Well, you could try that, but normally it doesn’t work.’
You may well only hear this:
‘Well, you could try that.’
Constructive criticism is much more useful to you than mindless praise. You’ll learn from the first, not from the second. Be tough on yourself (and easy on others).
What Drives Them?
Everyone has a motive, a driver. Try to see why someone might be suggesting this or telling you to do that. If you do it right you can get the energy, innovative outlook and endless enthusiasm of your peers, balanced by the real-world experience and long-haul knowledge of older people.
So don’t think it’s weakness to ask others for their input. It shows humility, a desire for knowledge and growth. But only you can decide if you want to act on all, some or none of that advice. You’re the boss.
Well, that's our advice. What are you going to do with it?