How Do The Generations Differ? An Interview with Generational Expert, Dan Negroni

Have you noticed differences among the generations in the workplace? Are you prepared to transition your company to a younger generation or the next generation in your family? 

We interviewed Dan Negroni, C-Suite Advisor at launchbox, to learn more about his 2024 Exit Planning Summit mainstage session, what inspired him to study generational differences, and key insights from his book! 

Meet Dan

In today’s world, the workplace is different, and different solutions are needed to combat disengagement, remote and hybrid work, belonging, unhappiness, and the Great Reshuffle.The future of work depends on us connecting all generations in the workplace. Dan Negroni is an executive performance coach and hyper-growth CEO who guides companies in bridging the gap for all kinds of employees across the generations. 

His new solution to the old and tired Millennial/Gen Z and diversity keynotes is innovative and helps companies right now. Independent science-based research, systems, tips, and tools bring leadership-based skillsets, belonging, and happiness to each employee on an individual basis. Dan helps companies as a People Activator to deliver “personalized” development. His simple and practical approach comes from his foundation as a serial entrepreneur, experienced business leader, attorney, and master coach of CEOs and Gen Z and Millennials, Inc. Top 100 leadership speaker, and Amazon best-selling author of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation leaders in the Workplace. . He has coached over 25,000 leaders on relationship building in the workplace. He is on a mission to inspire and maximize people and their companies while creating the best “next-gen” leaders and workplaces.    

We’re excited to welcome back Dan, Chief People Evangelist at launchbox, to next month’s Exit Planning Summit. Dan was our Keynote Speaker at the 2018 Summit, and his talk was so well-received that we asked him to return. This time, he’ll be our Main Stage Speaker on April 30 at 1 p.m.  During his Main Stage session, 6-Step Platform to Unstick Businesses to BRIDGE the Gap to Successful Transitions to Next-Generation Leaders, Dan will discuss how small and medium-sized businesses, particularly family businesses, are challenged with focusing on transition and succession planning. Dan will help participants understand how to bridge the gap and generational divide between today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. 

What inspired you to study the generations and how they interact?

It came about organically. My children were entering adulthood—adulting, as they say—and needed help understanding themselves and connecting with the world. I noticed a huge gap in skills and a disconnect between the generations—and the realization that we don’t train them enough nor prepare them for interactions with different generations. And since I love growth opportunities 24/7, I decided I needed to help all the generations bridge the communication gap.

How can a better understanding of the generations be used by exit planning advisors? 

The number one life and work skill is building relationships, so this knowledge of the generations helps you better understand yourself as well as those you are advising. And if you’re working with a family business trying to succession plan, this is even more important. It’s vital to learn to successfully connect with others of any age. People come together to create value, to innovate—that’s the root of every business, so you need to be able to activate people to do that well. Activating people is both a challenge and requirement of successful businesses.

What do you suggest for our advisors who are helping business owners build their companies before a sale? 

We have a formula to help them—it’s called BRIDGE. We provide a process that advisors can undertake to build bridges of connection and help owners do the same. Our six-step formula helps clients develop and clarify their tools or plan for transition to guarantee their legacy based on the next generation of prosperity for their business.

How does BRIDGE integrate with EPI’s Value Acceleration Methodology?  

I think BRIDGE is foundational to the Value Acceleration Methodology. The more you understand that people are your biggest asset, then the easier and quicker it is to apply the Value Acceleration Methodology accurately. Remember, humans control a business. That’s why it’s important to connect intentionally with others. And think about this when it comes to family businesses—it’s important for the different generations to be honest and direct, especially because it can be more emotionally complicated. I want to help make that transition less difficult by bridging the gap and helping people connect, collaborate, and create value.

What can the EPI community expect from your Main Stage Session?  

I’m excited about it! It will be interactive, and I think people will really connect with what I share. I’m going to walk attendees through our six-step BRIDGE formula by sharing a real-life example of how one CEO had to figure out how to successfully transition a business to the next generation. I’ll share what the CEO learned during the process and how advisors can use those learnings and use them with their clients.

Other than your session, what are you looking forward to at the Summit?  

I love the Exit Planning Summit and look forward to hearing from the audience about their experiences. I like hearing about opportunities for transitioning businesses successfully and learning how I can better support others, helping them find perspective, be empowered, and bridge the gap!

Interested in learning more from Dan?

Dan Negroni joined EPI as the Keynote speaker of the 2018 Exit Planning Summit and we are happy to have had him in the Exit Is Now Podcast Studio on Wednesday, February 28. Click here to listen to his episode. Dan is a generational expert, a culture expert, and an attorney by trade. He talks with Scott Snider about culture, generations, and growth. Dan will also be heading to Marco Island for the Exit Planning Summit this April.

How Do the Generations Differ in terms of Owner Readiness?

Recently, EPI released the first National State of Owner Readiness Report in 10 years. This report highlights the vast improvements made in owner readiness across the nation. And especially in younger owners. One of the key observations found in this report is that exit strategy is a top priority for younger business owners.  

Younger generations have scored better across all readiness factors. They are more inclined to have written and formal plans, are more educated on exit planning, and have formed formal exit advisory teams. Exit strategy is a priority for them and their businesses.  

These data points on generations collected from the 2023 State of Owner Readiness Survey mirror the commonly accepted general statistics across the US. Millennials and Gen Xers tend to build to sell, value their time, want to work smarter, not harder, and enjoy change in career yet want freedom. Baby boomers tend to hold their businesses close. They are passionate entrepreneurs with many starting their businesses out of their garages, sheds, and homes. They have spent decades building their company and navigating national and global crises like the Great Recession and the Global COVID Pandemic. Though they have the unique ability to navigate this, with their average age at 68 years old they now investigate the next phase of their lives. 

However, this focus on their business has sheltered them from focusing holistically when it comes to their exit. Their identity has become tied to their business, and they lack a balance in their personal lives. They have focused on growing a successful company not a significant one. As such their readiness scores and general acceptance of exit strategy in this 2023 national survey reflect that mindset. 

Click here to download the report.