Mind the Gap: Russ


Carol is sharp as a tack. At 75, she is still chairing the education committee at her local board and is a certified instructor for three national designations. Ashley (Gen X), finished up her doctorate in Digital Learning. She taught for 10 years on the collegiate level about Webinars, video-conferencing and tomorrow’s learning styles before deciding on a career change to full-time REALTOR®.

Carol has been commissioned by her Baby Boomer association executive, Don, to revamp the education department because class registration and revenue have fallen over 60% over the past five years. Ashley has been invited to a meeting with Don and Carol to add insight. Carol opens the meeting with the statement, “If you think we are doing anything on the computer, we can just stop this meeting right now.”

How do you make sure that all interests are represented?

Did you Mind the Gap correctly? See what Russell Boyce, NARLA 2012 Graduate, has to say:


When you look at the real estate industry, it’s diverse—people of all ages, races and backgrounds. A diverse real estate association helps make the real estate industry strong. But, when you examine the generational differences in the workplace, how do you maximize the strengths and not suffer from generational gaps?

In the scenario where a 75-year-old is trying to work with a Gen Xer, you can feel the conviction from both individuals to hold their own ground. This is very common when an older agent meets a younger agent. We see it every day in this business. We also see it in many of our clients as we try to work any indifference out, while maintaining the common goal of achieving a meeting of the minds. If each individual would keep in mind that one of the key ingredients in effective communication is to “listen”—there would be much less conflict. Listening to each other with an open mind and having respect for the other and their opinion would bridge most communication issues.

As the AE, Don has to step in to mend the gap. A heart to heart with Carol is in order. He can counsel her to consider the changing times; the growing younger demographics of new REALTORS® and home buyers. Change is the only constant and their board needs to keep pace with change. While Carol may feel that she knows what works Don is going to need to point out that all schools, including universities have an element of online learning. To encourage Carol, Don can assure her that she has strengths that can be adapted to online delivery. Carol’s years in the business make her a subject matter expert.
Don will need to make sure that Ashley doesn’t get discouraged by Carol’s seemingly iron clad statement. He can encourage her to draw on her interpersonal skills as a REALTOR® first, to help Carol become her partner, not a detractor.
He needs them to work together to address the falling registrations and revenue, and that their efforts as a team will produce long lasting results.

Effective communication across the generations is needed to create and maintain healthy work relationships. Many real estate associations struggle with a generational disconnect when it comes to communication. Half the battle is being aware each generation has a different way of communicating. It can help you anticipate miscommunication and tailor your message.

As you can see, these are four very different generations. In the real estate industry, we all work towards a common goal. It’s important for there to be a give and take among the generations. Understand what each needs and wants and be willing to accommodate each other. Communicating effectively between the generations can give help your business be more productive and give you the edge among your competitors. Always try to listen intently, share your opinion respectively and know that there are times when you can simply agree to disagree. If you get to this point you will truly have mastered the ability to “Mind the Gap.”