Equity bank has almost 1000 branches and 2000+ service stations across 8 countries. The bank has been dominating the market particularly the last two decades. So far, it has been in existence for 35 years. The bank has received thousands of accolades sighting the transformational initiatives of the bank in the industry.
With this much success, one may wonder why the CEO did not give a second thought to the suggestion of rebranding the whole bank; the process that cost the company billions of shillings. Precisely, our aim is to capture the needs of the young generation (employees and clients alike) and make them partners in crafting sustainable financial solutions for the future.
Having led multiple teams that aided different aspects of this process, it became more apparent to me, after hundreds of intense board meetings, that if you are not building your business having millennials in mind, your business will die with you.
Most business leaders today, were brought up in a generation where young people were asked to shut up when old people were speaking; in other words, their opinions were not valid. They only existed to be seen and not heard. They never questioned a single thing however illogical it appeared.
‘Good people’ are the ones who woke up at crack of dawn, always before the sun. They wore formal wears. They tucked in their snow white, well-ironed shirts. They tightened their ties around their neck all day, regardless of the weather. They were clean shaven and held documents at an angle below their ribs, tight enough to give then a ‘focused-person gait’ but loose enough not to get a single crease.
They were not allowed to evaluate information passed on to them. Neither was it acceptable to test the validity of illogical rules passed to them. They only talked about business and serious things. They never smiled. They didn’t show any sign of social life. They were to put on a serious look on their faces and never show any emotion. They sat still behind their desks for 12 + hours until their bosses left the office, to show commitment.
As a result, their definition of ‘disciplined people’ or ‘good employees’ are those who show traits that fit into what was modeled on their childhood as good.
Most millennials don’t give a hoot about these ridiculous standards of your generation. They just want the work done. You can do it while wearing a bikini, on the beach, or heavily dressed in winter clothes seated by a fire place or just relaxed naked in your bathtub at 2am in the morning listening to heavy metal or frogs croaking. Whatever the case, just get the work done well and on time. Period.
Whether you like it or not, this is the present and future that constitutes the clients who consume your product or service. You may decide to find brilliant, multi-talented, highly-motivated millennials who are innovative enough to bring generational relevance to your otherwise antique vision. Mentor them and model sustainable professionalism needed for the task before passing the baton to them.
Or sit in your boardrooms with your age-mates and lament about technology, social media, lack of morality and end of the world being the reason for making losses and having stunted growth, then decide to spend heavily on TV and radio commercials in an attempt to reverse this.
You can build your products and services with your customer in mind, or build these with your prejudice at heart. The first leads you to a sustainable future. The later accelerates you journey to the ground. Embrace the millennials or die with your vision! To read more posts by Danstan, click HERE