Mind the Gap: Kaki


Jessica is a Gen Y agent who joined ABC Realty shortly after she graduated from college last year. At college she was very active in several community organizations and often participated in events and functions. Gracey (Silent) and her son John (Boomer) are well established at ABC Realty. They are both RPAC major investors and actively recruit fellow REALTORS® to invest in RPAC. Christopher is a Gen X broker who would like to harness the collective power of his agents with a new “giving back” program brokerage wide. He invites Jessica, Gracey and John to lunch for a discussion.

Jessica would like to create a program that supports the local food bank that provides food boxes to the elderly. Each agent in the brokerage could opt in to have a portion of each closing go toward the fund. Gracey and John love the idea of an opt-in program, but think the money should be directed toward RPAC. Both are convinced that their cause is the most “worthy.”

What generational traits would influence Jessica, Gracey and John to feel the way they do? How does Christopher help his office find consensus on what needs to be done to implement a program that works for everyone?


Understanding general characteristics displayed by particular generations can help facilitate solutions and maintain healthy working relationships. Let’s look at the agents in this scenario and begin to build an understanding of some of the influences that may shape their opinions.

Jessica hails from Gen Y and knows that giving back is a high priority as they have a heightened sense of civic duty. She grew up in an era of communication and sees ways to grow her proposed program through social media and is confident enough to make it happen. Gen Y can also be impatient, so it is difficult for her to wait on Gracey and John to get on board.

Gracey grew up in the Silent Generation. She is hesitant to move away from what she has been doing because change does not come easily to her. Gracey and Jessica hold the same values when it comes to civic duty, but Gracey is staunch in her respect for the established way of doing things. To her, Christopher’s meeting may seem a bit pointless as feedback is less important to the Silent Generation.

John is a Boomer and likes the idea of having a program that the office can rally around. Boomers like to support a team effort and are willing to dedicate the time to ensure an effective program. After all, the Boomers have a strong work ethic and are committed to spending the time necessary to get the job done correctly.

Some of the challenge for Christopher is his Gen X predisposition to independence. What he would really like to do is just create the program on his own and do it. But he knows that he needs to be sensitive to the way he rolls this out, so he wisely gathers and considers input. Gen X also values feedback, so this is a way for him to gather that feedback so that he can make a decision. He is naturally distrustful of organizations, which is why he decided to create a program just for his office.

Christopher has a well-intentioned group that he needs to guide to an outcome. He has a couple of options that can help build consensus through presenting some simple facts to those involved. On one side, he can point out the foundational value of RPAC. As a REALTOR® RPAC is part of doing business; Christopher can explain that RPAC monies helps to protect the industry by funding those candidates for elective office who best represent the concerns of REALTORS®.

He can guide the group to look at the community programs funded through the REALTOR® Party, here. While there is a menu list of existing initiatives, there’s a category ‘Game Changers’ where members can submit their own idea for consideration and funding will be granted for the ideas in community outreach, RPAC fundraising, advocacy or building REALTOR® Party strength. Through further discussion, the group may find that they can do both projects. NAR provides the means for REALTORS to build better communities and build REALTOR Party strength.

So what is the solution? I guess that is for all of us to decide. What we know for sure is that we all bring generational influences to any meeting or discussion. With such a diverse range of ages in the work force today, it is imperative that we embrace and understand our differences, so that we can work towards common goals. Once we understand each other a little better, it will be easier to work through any challenge. For the time being, a simple awareness may be all it takes to bring the generations together.