CEO’s Blog – Bridging the generation gap

Martin port

By Martin Port

22 April 2019

The Brexit vote divided young and old. People who had already made their money, bought property, and perhaps even retired, were much more likely to vote Leave, while students and those on the first rung of the career ladder wanted to Remain.

When I started reading articles about the backlash – young people saying they wanted to deny older Brits the vote, claiming they were out of touch and selfish, and older people calling Millennials “snowflakes” – it worried me.

We need to bridge the generation gap. I’m in my fifties, and I am in no doubt about the talent and contribution of young people. BigChange could not thrive without them.

My kids are young – they range in age from 18-33 – and they have given me some incredible ideas for the business. When I said I wanted to call my new product “The Marketplace”, my daughter said, “Don’t do it”. She works in digital marketing and she explained that “marketplace” sounds like a place to hawk products or advertise, whereas what I’m building is a place where like-minded entrepreneurs can team up and help one another. She convinced me to call it the BigChange Network instead. She may be young but her advice was sensible and I listened.

When my son was at school, he used to rave about a concept called Golden Time. When kids did great work, their teacher would reward them with an hour of fun activities that they really wanted to do. I was inspired by the idea and have offered Golden Time at my business. My colleagues get their BigChange birthdays off to celebrate the way they want, and we give them extra time off as a reward for great ideas or going the extra mile. I call it Golden Time.

It sounds like a cliché but young people are the future. They are more technologically minded, they have fresh ideas and they are more adaptable. Listening to them makes me more adaptable too. I may be at the Saga stage of life but I don’t want to turn into a dinosaur who can’t change or try new things.

And this is a two-way street. My kids listen to me (at least sometimes) and my colleagues at BigChange listen to my ideas and experience because I respect theirs.

The young and the mature should not be at war. We should be listening to each other and working together to build great businesses – and a world – that we can all enjoy.

Martin Port
Founder & CEO

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