Yesterday I spoke at the Oregon Employer Council Speaker Showcase. About 60 meeting planners from government and various industries were there. I always like to ask people what specific challenges they’re facing in their industries. Many of the conversations I had centered around the difficulty of operating in downsized environments. State agencies already know that more cuts are coming, so they’re very focused on how to face the next challenge of even more reduced staffing. The fact that the needs don’t go away is very challenging. There was a real hunger for gaining expertise on how to make the right priority decisions and how to choose what gets done first.

I spent some time talking to someone who represents the energy industry, primarily electric and natural gas. His challenge was totally different. In that industry, he’s grappling with widely divergent ages and knowledge within the work force. The oldest boomers are at the tail end of their careers, and their supervisors are now the tech-savvy 25 year-olds. Now that’s a challenge. Just communicating between those two groups is a leap. The young boss wants to text. The older worker wants face time. Or, to the amazement of the 25 year-old, talk on the phone.

Take a look around in your environment today and ask yourself this: what one single improvement would make the biggest difference in your business?

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