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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - The Hidden Power of Gen Z

Craig Groeschel - The Hidden Power of Gen Z

Craig Groeschel - The Hidden Power of Gen Z
Craig Groeschel - The Hidden Power of Gen Z
TOPICS: Leadership Podcast

Craig Groeschel: The new book that we're gonna talk about today is called "A New Kind of Diversity: Making the Different Generations On Your Team a Competitive Advantage". Tim, welcome to the podcast.

Tim Elmore: Craig, it's always good to see you. And like I said before, you're looking good. You're looking really good.

Craig Groeschel: Hey, thank you. Before we dive into real helpful content, years ago, I can't remember how many years ago it was, you were at my house for some event, we were talking, and your daughter, Bethany, didn't have somewhere to go during a certain period and she actually moved in with us for I think it was a whole summer years ago.

Tim Elmore: It was was, yes.

Craig Groeschel: And she's had good news in her life as well. She's got good news recently?

Tim Elmore: Yeah, she's very serious with a boyfriend and they're making plans for marriage now, so it's kind of exciting, yeah.

Craig Groeschel: Yeah, that's exciting. Well, I'm super glad to have you on here. And this content, I read your book, and this is a book that is available anywhere books are sold. I wanna encourage people, one of the most helpful things we can do is to understand the people that we're working with. And I think you would agree that this is something generationally that we often challenge with or are challenged with. The book is incredibly helpful. Before we dive into it, I'd love to ask you, as one of my favorite go-to leadership experts, when is the first time that you realized that you were a leader?

Tim Elmore: Wow. You know, I think, Craig, it was when I was 17 years old and I was helping Shawn Mitchell, who is a pastor in Oceanside, but he had started an outreach on Friday night and we'd show a really great movie that had a great nugget in it and that he would get up and speak. And he's a dynamic speaker. I was in high school, so I held his coat and got him water and set up the chairs and things like that. But I remember Craig, one week, maybe two months into this gig, Shawn came backstage and whispered to me, "Tim, I don't think I'm gonna be able to speak tonight. You're gonna have to go on tonight". And I said, "Sean, I set up chairs, that's what I do, you know"? And he said, "Who's gonna speak if you don't speak"? So bottom line is he gave me his notes, Craig, and I looked them over, and with knees knocking, I spoke to a pretty big crowd of my peers for the first time. Well, bottom line it must have gone okay, 'cause Shawn gave me a big hug and said, "From now on we're gonna rotate. I'll be on one week, you'll be on the next". And I've been speaking on a regular basis since I was 17. The funny part about the story is, just a few years ago, Shawn and I got back together just to reminisce about old times and when we brought up that first time I got up, Shawn could not give me any eye contact. And I said, "What's wrong"? And he looked up and yeah, he goes, "Tim, I didn't have laryngitis that night, I'm so sorry". He said, "It was the only way I knew I could get you up there 'cause you would always depend on me". And so I thank God that he had the wherewithal to say, "The key tonight is not speaking one more time, it's getting this young whipper snapper up there and developing his skills". So it was at that point I thought, "I better watch out what I'm saying and doing". And it's paid off big time, so.

You know, I love that because that's a great example of what we can do in leadership is sometimes when we know we can do it ourselves, it's better to step aside


and empower someone else to do it. And look at what you've done as a result of that one small gesture from someone who believed in you. That's pretty powerful.

Yeah, absolutely.

I wanna tell you, thank you for your Habitudes books, and because like I said, about my team's like going, "You're interviewing Dr. Elmore? You know, Dr. Elmore"? They're pretty excited. And I'm curious, of all the different habitudes, is there one that stands out to you as the one that people talk about the most?

Wow. Well, Craig, there's a new one that hasn't been published yet, but it's getting a lot of, I'm talking to NFL teams about it and so forth, it's just something we need right now in the time we're in post-COVID, I call it guide dogs and guard dogs. And I basically talk about, we've given service jobs to dogs all the time, but the guide dog and the guard dog were two very common jobs. The guard dog's job is to protect, he's growling, sniffing out trouble, suspicious, barking. The guide Dog's job is to partner. I go first, I take someone that can't see very well and lead them along the way. I think when we're scared and anxious, we become guard dogs, we hold our cards close to our chest and we protect and that's all we do. But when we're guide dogs, we're vulnerable, we're transparent, we're taking initiative, and I'm pushing for people to be guide dogs. People need guide dogs right now. And they're leaders not guard dogs.

I think you're right. And I'm curious if you would agree, it seems to me that with the leaders that I'm talking to right now, a lot of them would say even in what's considered kind of a post-pandemic world, or at least growing toward that, that the complications of leadership today seem to be as extreme or maybe more so than a couple of years ago when we saw the peak of the chaos. Would you agree with that?

Yeah, I do.

Disagree? What's your opinion?

I do, and here's why. I sat in a green room with 16, I guess I was one of the 16, CEOs. We're all gonna speak some point that day. And so I turned it into a focus group and I said, "Hey, can I ask you guys a question"? I said, "Do you think that leading today is harder than it was even a couple of years ago or even back in the day when you were young"? Everybody said, "Absolutely harder today". One person said, "110%". And Craig, when I pushed back on that, I said, "Wouldn't you think it'd be harder when we were younger and we didn't know what we were doing"? Everybody stuck to their guns. And I think it's this, maybe I don't have any context for this type of feeling, or I'm not sure how to deal with this great resignation, this quiet quitting, this agency that employees feel. And I don't wanna do them wrong, but I also need to run this organization and we can't just have therapy. You know, it's a little bit tough sometimes. And some of us feel like, I don't know if I can do it anymore and so they exit. And I feel like now's the time we need to step up, not step back from our leadership.

So Dr. Elmore, how do we do that? And I think leaders, we know we need to step up, but one of the things I think a lot of people, I don't know if they'd use this language or not, but we're trying to diagnose what the real root problems are so that we can bring the right kind of treatment, motivation, encouragement, systems, correction, challenge, whatever. And I'm not sure that anyone is confident that they're knowing what's the right next few moves. What do you see? What do you suggest? How do we attack this?

It's a great question. And probably deserving of a better brain than what I've got right now, so. Maybe we defer that to someone better. But here's what I'm doing with my team that I think is helping. I'm not a psychotherapist, I'm not a, you know. My daughter, Bethany, is a therapist. She's got tools in her tool belt that I don't have. But when I offer my team context, applications, and belief, those seem to be ones that really help. So people need context, you know? And when we first started facing this pandemic, most people said, "I've never been through a pandemic before". So I stepped up and I don't think I was brilliant, Craig, but I said, "Do you guys realize? This is the fourth pandemic our world has faced in the last 100 years. And here's what we learned from the past ones, here's what we did, here are the vaccinations we picked up, here are the discoveries we made". And suddenly they had at least perspective. "Okay, you know, we may make it". Applications is key because I think when we're anxious, we get fuzzy, we get flooded, and I think we need clear applications. We can say, "I don't know what we're gonna do five years from now. I can tell you what we're gonna do today". Bam, bam, bam, and it's clear, actionable steps. People need clarity. You and I hear Andy talking about this. All people need clarity. The last one is belief. I think regardless of how smart our people are, they need a leader they admire say, "I not only believe we're gonna make it through this, I think we're gonna be stronger for it". And so when I do that, by the way, those three words spell CAB and I kept saying to myself, "I gotta get in the CAB if I'm gonna get to my destination today". So that would be my council on that one.

That's good, they also spell BAC.


Well that's. Only you would've picked that one up, Craig.

Well, it just depends on what order you put it in, so.

That's right. That's right.

You know, I really enjoyed your book, A New Kind of Diversity, and I can't wait to expose our community to your thoughts. And I wanna talk about, I got a bazillion questions, so there's five different generations in the workplace, and according to your book, this was shocking to me, that millennials and Gen Z by the year 2025 will compose 70% of the workplace. So by the year 2025, 70% of the workplace will be millennials and Gen Z. I guess we should probably start with a quick overview of the five generations and then let's dive into how we can learn to work together in a way that really makes for strong missions.

Absolutely. So for the first time in modern history, there are actually seven generations alive right now, 'cause people are living longer, you know, in their '90s. And mamas are still having babies. We got the alphas on the youngest side and the seniors on the oldest side. But five generations may be working together. I just spoke to the Atlanta Braves and they had five generations in the room, and it was like from interns to the 79 year old. And they were just very different. So the builder generation would be the oldest that might still be on a campus today or a corporation today. They were born between 1929 and 1945. They were called builders because they built so much out of so little, the Great Depression, World War II. They were civil, they were respectful, they were loyal, they were grateful, you know, that sort of thing. The baby boomers came along, that's my generation, we were called boomers because there was a boom of babies right after the soldiers came back from World War II. 76.4 million people born in 18 years. So that was '46 to '64. Then comes Gen X. Am I guessing right? Are you an X-er Craig? 65 to...

I'm an X-er, yes.

Yeah, okay.

Yep, '67, yep.

So Gen X was first called Baby Busters, not Gen X, because the first year of your generation's existence was the public introduction of the birth control pill. So instead of a boom, it was a bust, you know? And then on top of that, you had Roe v. Wade and you had a shrinking population, not a booming population. So X-ers grew up in the shadow of the boomers, went through a little bit of a darker time growing up in the '60s and '70s. Vietnam, Watergate, et cetera. Millennials came along next, that was Gen Y following Gen X. They were people born in the '80s and '90s, muscle minus. And we've been talking about the millennials for 15 years now, throwing them under the bus, have we not? And then finally, Gen Z would be the young people really that have only remember the 21st century. They've grown up not just with a cell phone, but with a smartphone, mental health has been an issue, terrorism's been an issue all their life, mass shootings. So a little bit darker time for these kids today. And can I just say one last thing? We've got to lead with empathy. I think so much we're just, "Ah, these kids today. Fragile snowflakes, you know"? And maybe they are, maybe a few are, but I think they're great people and we've gotta start with empathy and get to grit along the way, yeah.

No, I absolutely agree with you. I think I always look for what's good in a generation. And because all of us have our weak spots. And I think that the millennials and the boomers have been back and forth at each other. And the reality is we actually need each other in more ways than we know. I've got so many questions, I don't know where to start. But I learned a lot from your book about why Gen Z is struggling emotionally and mentally that I didn't quite understand. I had some intuition, but you brought a lot of texture to it. And we're hiring a ton of Gen Z. I would say probably right now, I'd say it's probably 70% would be Gen Z. And especially almost 100% in our intern program that would be Gen Z. Can you just, for our listeners who are gonna be working with more and more Gen Z, help us to have empathy. What was different about their world that's making it more complicated mentally and emotionally?

Okay, good question. I think for listeners to wrap their arms around Gen Z without stereotyping, they're often gonna come into a job with a high sense of agency and a high sense of anxiety. So agency and anxiety. High agency, they have been emboldened by a smartphone where they feel like I can ask Google questions that I used to have to ask dad or mom. So a high sense of agency. We see this, by the way, we see this in college sports. I'm in the portal, I'm changing teams, name, image, and likeness. Oh my gosh. You know, this is just crazy. But high anxiety, and I think it was brought about by the very same smartphone. So Gen Z would've grown up probably all their lives with a smartphone, maybe from middle school on. And the average kid on social media is taking in 10,000 messages a day. Just imagine that listeners. I don't think our brains were hardwired to take in.

It's overwhelming. It's overwhelming.

Yes. So the number one word that college students use to describe their life, Craig? Overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed. 94% say I'm overwhelmed. That's just not how life was supposed to be. I don't care what your philosophy or theology is. And so I think we're gonna need to lead them with better care. By the way, let me just say this, I remember when I started my career right after college, I started with John Maxwell right out of college. The mantra of a boss was, leave your personal problems at the door. You come in here to get your work done. Well today, the mantra is bring your whole selves to work, which may mean baggage, it may mean emotional challenges, it may mean mental illness. And so I think bosses are thinking, "My gosh, I gotta be a motivational speaker, a cheerleader, a therapist", you know. And I would say, yeah. Yeah, you kind of need to be that in some ways to this team member that has so much to offer, but may need a little help getting started, yeah.

Yeah, I think you're right. I think there is a lot to offer. And I'll kind of explain this, and correct me where I'm wrong, I'm having empathy and optimism for the people that we're working with. Empathy for, like, when I was a kid, we were worried about being bombed by Russia and we knew in the '80s, the economy kind of went bad, but we didn't really understand it. Now, there's every war, every act of terrorism, every school shooting, the younger generation has been exposed to that since they were eight years old. They see it directly.

No doubt.

Anything that's hot, any kind of pressure, they're gonna see on TikTok to fit in. They both wanna fit in and they wanna stand out and they can't do both. The sexual pressures, both of having immediate access to pornography would be overwhelming, I'm so glad I didn't have to navigate that because I don't know how I would've done, and then the gender questions that they're asking earlier today, and the reality, they've watched their parents struggle financially through different economies, their childhood was interrupted by a global pandemic, and now they're looking and they're old enough to realize interest rate's high, houses are at an all time high, I feel behind, I'm not gonna be to afford this, and it feels like my world's crumbling. Is that correct first of all?

No doubt about it.

Am I correct in my assessment?

You put your finger on the issue. And this is what makes me say, I'm gonna try to give you a booster to get started here, because there's so many things going against their having hope.

Yes, but there's also, in my opinion, and you can tell me if I'm, there's a little bit less entitlement, more of a, "I gotta get going". Kind of a street grit, a willingness to work hard, almost a desire to work hard. And I think for the first time in a while, my age, when I was younger, I didn't really see the value of older people. And I think there's some that now really see the value of, I kind of want a coach, I kind of want a mentor, but I don't really know how to ask. But there's a willingness to learn. Is that true?

Yeah, it is. In fact, the data shows that Gen Z tests slightly lower than millennials in entitlement. So you're right. I would say entitlement is morphing into empowerment. They feel a sense of agency, like I mentioned, they go, "I gotta get after this". And they're better at saving than millennials were.

Yes they are, yes.

And think about it, with the economy right now, you better be good at saving. They look at boomer parents that haven't saved as well maybe.

No I know many 19 year olds that have more money in the bank than 40 year olds. Like yeah, dead serious all over the place. So the other thing is, not only do they wanna learn from us, but I think you would agree we would be really, really wise generationally to learn from those who are younger. Can you comment a little bit about that? What do we need? What do people my age group, Gen X, even the older millennials, your age group, what do we need to learn?

Yeah. Well, Chip Conley uses a great term. He talks about modern elders and young geniuses. And I think both are in the workplace. The modern elder would be people like you and I, we're over 40 or 45 years old, whatever. And we really have some experience that can be helpful. But these young geniuses have an intuition on where the world is going that's faster than you and I have. So maybe one more piece of data. Raymond Cattell, a British psychologist, about 50 years ago showed us for the first time that in our first 40 years, we experienced fluid intelligence, for the second 40 years, we experience crystallize intelligence. And even though we have both all of our lives, we major in fluid earlier, we major in crystallize later. Here's the difference, fluid intelligence is I'm good at adapting, I'm good at creating, I'm good at innovation. Crystallize is I'm good at summarizing and clarifying what we've learned. So you can see how, oh my gosh, we need young people around. They have an intuition on what they could do with TikTok to monetize the company, you know? And then you and I need to be around to be those people that say, "Ooh, watch out for that. I made that mistake when I was 28. I want you to avoid that". You know, if we got together, it could be magic, I think. But we gotta get together.

Yeah, there's no way to fast track experience.

Yeah, that's right.

You can be really smart, you can have good intuition, but you cannot fast track experience. And yeah, it's really hard the older we get to have the generational, the younger, the savviness, the intuition, and I mean just, and even the language, and to understand what's going on in the culture. So I wanna ask it on two different sides, I would be on the older side, what can I bring practically to a 20 something year old team member? And not only what can I bring, but how do I do it in a way that I'm not the old person saying, "You gotta pay your dues". You know, that kinda stuff, which we know they hate. Gimme some advice on what I can bring and how I bring it.

I think there are two kinds of truths that any organization or team needs. And I'm gonna call them timely truths and timeless truths. So the timely would be where young people really are gonna pay great dividends. I'll give you a quick illustration. I talked about this guy in the book, Tony was a college student a couple years ago, worked at a major paint brand retail store, started mixing paints at the store, shooting videos of himself mixing the paints, put 'em on TikTok, went viral. He got 1.4 million followers. Not views, followers. So we thought, oh my gosh, we could monetize this. We could use this for marketing to another million and a half people that we're not reaching. So he puts a slide deck together and asked to meet with the executives, the management, to show him the slide deck and talk about this idea. He did not get one set of eyes to look at that slide deck. Didn't get one person that would say yes to I'll listen to you. But what did Tony did get was something he didn't expect, he got fired. He got fired because they were sure he was doing this on company time, he must be distracting to the customers, he's probably stealing the paint. All the things that we suspect of young people. So Tony moves to Florida from Ohio, has 2 million followers now, started his own paint store. This will happen to us over and over and over again if we're not stopping to listen before we talk. So I don't know if that's too elementary, but I think that's one. I am listening to my 20 somethings and 30 somethings all the time. So they've got timely stuff. Now I've got timeless insight. And I think you do too, Craig, because we've been around the block a few times. And so we can say, "Ah, can I share something that just, whatever generation you're from, this is gonna pay great dividends". So I think that's the addition we need to make. But we're gonna have to, once again, build a bridge rather than a wall and not just stay in an echo chamber.

I like that, build a bridge written on a wall. So I read that story in your book and it made me feel sick to my stomach because I wondered how many times have I missed that in a younger team member? It was interesting. And you know how fast life goes by, it seems like just yesterday I was that young.

Yes, we were emerging leaders.

Team member, right? And I remember now, I was way over confident, I thought I knew way more than I did, and looking back, I needed wisdom, I needed help, I needed coaching, I needed mentoring more than I realized. But I also had really good ideas that, I mean, I was rejected from ordination in ministry 'cause my ideas were too weird, right? And that, I mean, it was literally turned away from being ordained because my ideas were too far out there. And they ended up, some of them were not bad ideas over time. And so that I was rejected in the same way. What advice would you have, Tim, for younger team members? One of the most common questions we get asked, they'll say, "How do I lead up"? And so both there may be younger or they may be newer on the team or they're lower in the organization, how can they take the ideas, the insight they have and help those that might be tempted to fire the guy with the really good viral TikTok campaign versus transform a company? How do they lead up well?

Yeah, I remember being in this situation in my '20s with John Maxwell, who was clearly a better leader than I was and am. But I remember so wanting to do some things because I thought I had some innovative ideas that we needed to do. So here's what I did that worked. I did a lot of things that didn't work. But here's some things that did work. One, I needed to learn his love language. And for John it was productivity and saving time. So I wanted to make sure what I was doing for him was bearing fruit, it was producing results. And I did. I mean, thank God, what I was doing was exactly what he wanted. So I had his ear. And I knew I saved him time. When he asked me to do a project and I did it, he would write me a thank you note and here's how I knew his love language. He would say, "Tim, you just saved me nine hours of time". And I thought, this is him telling me I love you, you know? So learn the love language and add value. Number two, I wanted to make sure that I met with him and listened and expressed loyalty so that I would earn my right to share an idea. Now I know loyalty is an old fashioned word. We're a bunch of free agents right now, aren't we? But I just wanna express, if you're young and listening to this, show some sense of, "I'm with you, I believe in you, I'm with you, I believe in you. Yes, I have a brand of my own, but I'm really here for this team". When I did that, I would then have the right to say, "You know, I was thinking the other day about this problem we've got. Have you seen this problem"? "Oh yeah, I have". And I would toss something out. And I'm telling you, there were two or three major things we did in San Diego back in the '80s and '90s that I had come up with, but I had to earn my right to say that. So in one sense, it's paying your dues, but I feel like it was a good way to do it.

That is helpful. If what you say is true, 70 percent's gonna be on the younger side. We better be aware of how to create an organization that helps them thrive. Can you tell me when a, let's say a Gen Z or a younger millennial, enters the workforce today, how are their expectations, needs, wants? How are they different than maybe some other older leaders wouldn't quite yet understand?

Where do I begin? This is an hour long response Craig, that I'm gonna try to do in two minutes. So remember I mentioned the word agency before. Hang onto your hats, they may come and interview and ask for things that you would think, "Oh my, maybe after 10 years, buddy". You know, that sort of thing. And so I'm not trying to throw anybody under the bus, just get ready, they're feeling very audacious and they may come in asking for money, more money than you thought that they ought to have, more autonomy perhaps, and I do believe we should micromanage it first, I really mean that, for a week or two, and then we need to manage by objective. I think they love the fact that we might trust them enough to give them some liberty and autonomy. But we give them autonomy as they show responsibility. I mean, that's just good parenting, that's just good leadership. So that would be one thing. I think another item is they want to have a voice quicker than we got a voice back in the day when we were younger. So I think what I found myself doing that helped along the way when we hired new 20 somethings was everybody has a voice, but not everybody has an equal voice right away. And they would sit back, I could that made the hair on the back of their neck bristle. But here's what I meant, in fact I even said this, I said, "If I'm down at Chick-fil-A headquarters and an intern says something and Tim Tassopoulos says something, the president of the company, I'm gonna will listen to Tim. You know, he's got 40 years of experience, you know"? And they would usually smile and realize, "Okay, I see what you're saying". So I do want them to feel like they got a voice, but we need to be honest with him. You earn that depth of voice along the way as you get bring results. That's just the name of the game. So I'll stop there for now. But I feel like those are common sense but needed counsel.

And so in the younger generation, what are the qualities that you see they're bringing that makes you really, really excited to have them on your team?

Yeah, so this is an easy one. By the way, let me first say, too many of us leaders stereotype. We do say things like those Gen Z-ers are fragile snowflakes. 'Cause we've heard that term and we nodded our head and tisked and tasked and we just didn't like it, and so we stereotype. To me, Craig, stereotypes are mental shortcuts that are not helpful. We take shortcuts and it's not fair to anybody. We don't like to be stereotyped. So I believe they bring a hacker mindset 95% of the time. Hackers not just has to do with technology, they find a way to get behind a system and figure out how it works and they'll do it. So I love the hacker mindset they bring. Even more than the millennials. Number two, 72% of high school students, public high school students in America, wanna be an entrepreneur. So they're very often bringing an entrepreneurial mindset. What if we could set up gig economies within the organization? So they're getting to start this or jump in on that or do this project or that project and they feel like I'm not bored because I'm getting to move around and be creative and start things, of course they're gonna need help, but they wanna be entrepreneurs. That would be a big one. The third thing I would say is like any new generation, they're gonna be a fresh set of eyes. I know, Craig, you practice, it's whenever you have new team member, tell us what you see, tell us what you see. 'Cause we don't see it anymore like that. Though they're gonna bring that. We just hired a guy right outta Michigan, University of Michigan, he's been so helpful. He is so great. In fact, I often say, "Cam, I'm gonna be working for you one day". But I'm telling you, he's brought so much to our team, because we've listened as well as talked. And I would just say, we owe it to him to listen.

That's one of the quotes that I highlighted in your book. You talked about read before you lead.

Yeah, yeah.

Tell me how that works in different generations, 'cause it's gotta go every way. Younger, older, older, younger, crossover, jump up two, Jump down three.


What do you mean by read before you lead?

Well that simply means I am figuring out who's in front of me before I give directions. Remember Craig, one of our habitudes is chess and checkers. When I play checkers, all my pieces look alike and move alike. When I play chess, woo baby, I better figure out who this is, bishop or rook or knight. You've got bishops, rooks, and knights and they're all in front of you. So I gotta figure out who it is. I would say one of the categories that I think is big for us is communication. You might have a millennial that wants to just text message back and forth. And if that's not the communication norm, we owe it to them to say, "Hey, I appreciate that, feel free to text me. But if you want a team to get something, don't text it. We use Slack or we use this or that". I think communication norms need to be expressed to team members and I think a Gen Z-er is gonna be different. A Gen Z-er might say, "Keep it short and do it on a screen". A millennial might say, "Keep it interactive when you communicate. I like interaction". A Gen X-er might say, "Keep it real. Don't tell me life's wonderful, it's not wonderful, you know"? And a boomer might say, "You know, gimme the bottom line. I've been around 50 years here gimme the bottom line here". So that's silly and almost cliche, but I think we owe it to them to say, I know how to communicate to this person 'cause I know who they are.

One of the things we've done here, we use a lot of different personality type studies. And everyone's got their favorite ones. And I think organizationally, it's good to have one or two that you kind of specialize in. So you know when I'm trying to show value to a person with a certain type of Meyers Briggs, I will do it in a different way than when I'm trying to show value to someone else. Or if I'm communicating for a specific objective, if I know their personality type, I might put it in writing, I might ask some questions, others, I know they're more intuitive and they're gonna hear it in a different way. How important would you say it is, Tim, to train, if you got five generations working together, how much awareness do we need to be of how differently we think, how different our frameworks are? Is it as important as personality types? More important? How do we educate our teams to be successful working together?

I would say, this is just me and my opinion, I would say it's as important as personality, as gender even. In fact, Craig, we've talked for years about ethnic diversity, gender diversity, income diversity. I think generational diversity is as real as the others. But it's an elephant in the room that we haven't really talked about. But I think we need to talk about it. So you and I both have traveled to other countries. Think about it, when you fly to another country, you psych yourself up for, ooh, I'm gonna have to work harder to connect with these French people or Chinese people. They speak a different language. They have different customs here. They have different values. Bingo. I think I talked to 22 different values, different customs, and maybe different language. So I think we need to say, "I've got to put the work in to connect with them, at 22 perhaps, well just like I do a cross-cultural interaction". So that would be my answer. And I feel like in the book, you know what, this book was meant to be a bit of an encyclopedia where you don't have to read every chapter, just go to chapter seven if you need seven, go to chapter nine if you need nine. And it's gonna help you understand, ah, no wonder they think this way. No wonder they said that in the meeting. Of course they would. Look at what shaped them as they grew up. So that's my goal.

I found myself more excited about some of the chapters because of what I wanted to learn. But I was so interested in each one because I was learning, there's so much learning that everyone stood out as interesting once I got into it. And I'm kind of curious, are there common denominators that work no matter the generation? For example, if you go to a different country, eye contact probably matters or hand gestures or closed off versus open others. So there's certain physical interactions that bridge gaps. Are there qualities, traits that no matter the age group seem to work? Or are we just more different than that?

Yeah, no, I think there are. I do think there's a universal human need to be listened to. So I know I keep going back to that, please forgive me, but I actually think whatever nation I'm in, whatever state I'm in in the US, if I stop and listen to someone, I love what David Augsburger said, here I'll see if I can paraphrase this, to be heard is so close to being loved that for many, it's almost indistinguishable. I love that. Being heard is so close to being loved that for many, it's almost indistinguishable. So if I listen, you know Bethany, my daughter, if I listen to Bethany as if I might be wrong and she might be right, I blow her mind because I'm this dad that's 30 years older and written books and all so forth, but I'm listening like, "Oh my gosh, I never thought of it that way, sweetheart". Oh, I win her at the heart level. And I bet with your kids when you listen like that, they're, "Dad, seriously? You're Craig Groeschel, you know? Author and pastor and so forth". So I would just say, I know everybody listening knows this, but if we will speak if we believe we're right, but listen as if we believe we're wrong, we win people at the heart level I think.

That's so good. I think it's so important that it's really sad when we do generalize an entire generation and especially when we do it with a negative mindset. I think it's heartbreaking because we have to understand like we are the way we are because what we experienced. And we grew up in different times and we had different opportunities, different temptations, and it shapes us, it's significantly. The part of the country what we were raised in, who grew up with. And the more understanding we have, the more empathy we have, but also we see the way to leverage each other's strengths.

Yeah, no doubt.

And so I don't know why. I'm always fighting to see the good in each generation.

Yeah, I love it.

And I think I'm very optimistic about what's coming and I also, I need help from the younger generation all the time, all the time, all the time. And they are... Sometimes it's not a matter of who's right, sometimes it's just a matter of, okay, that's a different perspective. And if we can't understand where someone came from, why they might think that way, then we really can't ever get anything done together. And I think it's just... I hope our audience gets this book and dives into it because it's incredibly helpful.

Craig, what you just said was powerful and I think I use a phrase in one of the chapters, context explains conduct. Context explains conduct. Once you hear the backstory, "Oh my gosh, that explains it". I may not like it, but at least explains words of behavior and attitudes. And that's what leaders owe it. We owe it to our teams to get the context of our people.

I'm gonna have a little bit of fun with you and ask you some lightning around questions. But before I do that, I know there's gonna be a lot of people that go, "Okay, Dr. Tim Elmore. I'm writing this down. I hadn't heard of him before, I'm getting Habitudes, I know that". What else do you offer that could be valuable for our community to help them grow in their leadership?

Yeah, that's very kind to ask. Well, like you, I want so much to add value to leaders. I think I picked that up working for Maxwell for 20 years. I would say the assessment on this topic today might be really fun. It's free, so people can just go to a site and take the assessment. We call it, watch this, we call it the GQ. So it's your generational quotient. But it's gonna help a person who takes this 41 question assessment, understand how fluent they are connecting with Gen Z, with millennials, with Gen X-ers, with boomers. And then it even, there's a report at the end that says, "Here's how well you do with each of these generations based on the type". And then it even gives you some tips. You might wanna do this more often, you might wanna do that more often.

How do they find that? Because I'm thinking they might find men's fashion if they look.

That's true, yes. So simply go to, and you don't have to get the book, but you can find the assessment there as well as the book and all the bonus features. will get you there and get you the assessment.

Love it. So let's dive into some fun quick questions. Favorite leadership quote from Dr. Tim Elmore?

Mm, wow. You know, the one that I've been camping out on recently is, "The further out I can see into the future, the better the decision I make today". I don't think that's new, but it's just been relevant for me and some of our planning right now. It's hard to see out into the future right now. We just don't know what the world's gonna be doing in five years. But I know long-term thinking beats short-term thinking, high road beats low road every time, big picture beats little picture every time. So that would be my quote.

That is powerful. And unfortunately, I feel like I can't make very good plans 'cause I can't see too far right now. It's really hard

It's hard.

to see what's coming, isn't it? It really is.


Here's a question I've never asked anybody before, but I'm looking forward to seeing what you say, if you're with a leader that you respect and you can only ask that leader one question, what would you ask that leader?

Wow. There's a bunch of things come to my mind, but the first one I think is how do you keep growing? Because if they're a really good leader, one that I admire, they're probably ahead of me. And I wonder, have they stopped? And they probably haven't 'cause that's why I wanna read after them and listen to them and watch them. So how do you keep growing? I know that... You and I both believe that reader are leaders and leaders are people that are continue to grow. So that would probably be my $64,000 question for them.

I think that's a great question. Biggest leadership pet peeve?

Oh, for me, it's people that say they'll do something and then they don't come through. That just, that's probably not exclusive to me. I hate poor customer service when I'm in a store or a restaurant. If you say you're gonna do it, you make me a deal. I'm gonna give you all the money I promised and you gimme all the service you promised. So I probably sound like your grandpa right now, but.

No, you actually do. And I'm laughing because your body language and your intensity was so intense that I really believe you. Sounds like going... You kind of scared me when I could see you on the screen saying that. Like I totally believe you. So, hey, just for fun, Bethany, your daughter, lived with our family and she was was delight.

Yeah, and she loved it by the way.

Our kids loved her. It was really, really fun to basically invest in one another's kids is a really special thing. What's her favorite thing about you, her dad?

You know, I called her and I asked her this question, because you and I had texted. You said, "I may ask you this question". So here's what she said. She said, "Well, growing up dad, it was the fun that you brought to our home". Which I think that was good. I wish it was something else, but she felt like I made our fun. And I did. Her mother is so detailed and so perfect. Her mother is Mary Poppins, you know what I'm saying? So I felt like I needed to be Burt, you know, the one that's adding some fun. But then, you know, Craig, what she said? She said, "Now dad, I think it's because I feel unconditional love and acceptance for the decisions I'm making now". And she's not making every decision the way I would've made it. I wish I could teach her and equip and disciple and everything else, but I'm glad she feels that. And I told her that. I said, "I'm glad you feel. We absolutely love you, whatever you do". And do you mind if, I know we need to stop, but one of the things I talk about in the book, 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Could Avoid, we tried to avoid this, I think every parent that cares about their children builds a fence, a metaphorical fence, around their kids to protect them, to guide them, to keep them within boundaries. As that child grows older, they must tear down those parents' fences and build their own fences. Now every mom and dad hopes to God that that fence is really close to the fence that they had growing up, you know? And if you happen to be a person of faith, you can mix up your fence with God's fence, you know? God never said be in at 10:00 PM. He just didn't, you know? So I talked to my kids about that at 18 years old and I said, you need to... And I know tear down fence sounds horrible, but what I meant was, there's nothing more pitiful than a person that's 40 years old still going back and asking mom what to do. You need to build your own, you get your own compass, and I want you to get a good one. So I feel like that's important for us to love our children as adults along the way, yeah.

That's really wise advice. You've written over 30 books, is that correct?

Yes, 30. This is number 38, believe it or not, so.

That's amazing. So almost 40 books. So excluding the ones we've talked about, if you would recommend one book of all of yours, one other book to our audience, what would be most helpful to help them grow in their leadership?

Last year I did a book that I really was proud of, and I don't mean that in a horrible way, but I just felt like it was timely. It was called Eight Paradoxes of Great Leadership. I think people today are just in a different place and we do need to read them before we lead them, but I talk about the paradox of them needing confidence from us, but humility from us. And sometimes those are mutually exclusive. I think leaders need to leverage their vision and their blind spots. I talk to leaders all the time that said, "Thank God I didn't know that. I would've never, you know". Look at you, you did all kinds of things that were brand new in the world that you're in. And yet thank God you did 'em, you know? You didn't watch what other people were doing. So anyway, I found eight of these paradoxes and I found a case study for each one. I feel like that might be, if someone's just struggling to lead well, I feel like Practicing Paradoxes may be part of the answer of going forward.

So I have not read that book yet, but I taught on Competing Extremes, similar. I looked at your list. I had 14, you had 8, I narrowed it down to less than that. We had one that overlapped and it was your first one. My first one was Humility and Confidence.

And Confidence. Yeah, yeah.

Have you found any new ones that along the way, kind of a new Paradox in Leadership, that's interesting to you?

I have. And now Craig, I'm racking my brain to think of what they were. I should have written 'em down. But it seems like after you do a book, it's in this tree. You say, "Oh, I should have put that in the book. Should have put that in the book".

That's why I asked it, 'cause you always come across new stuff.

Yeah, that's right, yeah.

No, I look forward to reading. I need to read that one. But that's a great idea. And is there something that's coming up in the near future that you're looking forward to?

Yeah, I'm gonna be speaking at Live2Lead on October 7th that I'm pretty excited about. I dunno if that's gonna be after this broadcast podcast will come out. But it's gonna be a great line up. Pat Lencioni and John Maxwell and others. And I feel like I'm the one guy that should not be on the stage. But it's gonna be a great, great day that I'm really looking forward to the simulcast around the world. And hopefully talking about this very subject, how do we connect with the different generations and bring out the very best in them? So should be fun.

Well I wanna thank you again for your book and your work and your friendship. And the title of the book again is A New Kind of Diversity. I'm gonna just show it to the people that are listing. And this book is available anywhere and it'll help you to really create a culture where the generations can work better together in your workplace. Dr. Elmore, thank you so much for your investment in leaders over the years. In our staff, you've made such a big difference in different ways.
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