Networking, Economics, and Generation Z

The last few days I have spent in Dallas, Texas at the latest NSCA Business Leadership Conference (BLC). It is one of my favorite times during the year. At roughly two and a half days, NSCA packs a ton of information into that time. If you are unfamiliar with NSCA, it is a trade organization serving the systems contractors in North America mostly.

Thursday night is when a majority of the attendees land and get settled. There is a golf tournament that day that is regularly attended. The proceeds go to support NSCA’s education foundation. As the guests gather around a cocktail party the first opportunity to network and trade business cards happens. After that there is a nice dinner where various awards and new initiatives are announced. This year Michael Hester, formerly of Beacon, and his wife gifted $25,000 for a veteran’s scholarship. The NSCA education committee also laid out their plans for Ignite; an initiative aimed at connecting with educators to get more young people involved in the industry.

Friday and Saturday was filled with a full lineup of speakers and break-out sessions. Among these is a favorite of mine, Dr. Lee McPheters and economist from Arizona State University. Each year the professor lays out where we are economically in an entertaining way. According to him, we are going to experience between 2.3% to 2.5% growth in GDP. That’s a bit lower than our average before the recession. However, Dr. McPheters said we may need “to get used to a new normal” indicating that our current economy may not be able to sustain 3% plus GDP growth.

Brock McGinnis and Kelly Perkins then headed up a panel on multi-generational work places. There were two main take-aways from this session. The first is simple clarity in your communication with those of another generation. I would say we could all do with more clearly defined expectations with others. It tends to eliminate misunderstandings. When you tell a worker what their task is, what “done” means, and a timeline that is expected in a way they can understand that may help work flow better. The other is the fact that the next generation, Generation Z, will be graduating college in the next few years and entering the workforce. So, as much as we GenXers have wrung our hands about Millennials we have another generation who are different to communicate with. Those that figure out how to engage those Z’s and connect with them in a way they want to be communicated with will be more successful.

Overall, the BLC is well worth the investment. It isn’t a trade show. Technology is not the focus, your business is. It is a great event for not only the business owner to attend but members of the team as well. There were several firms that had project managers, sales people, and marketing members all learning how to work better and make the business better. I’m very much looking forward to connecting with those I’ve met this year and attending next year’s BLC in Phoenix.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

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