Saturday, November 20, 2021

The New Roaring Twenties

The Time Is Now To Start Your Own Roaring Twenties  

The Once in 100 Year Opportunity--The New Roaring Twenties
Rapid industrial and economic growth, accelerated consumer demand,
and significant new trends in lifestyle and culture.

by Kevin Baker

It is not just the changing of how we work for companies that has changed during Covid.  It is not just about Zoom creating the work from home movement.  It's not about the Great Resignation.  The current massive quit taking place globally is an incredible event which will likely go down in history as a major turning point as big as the beginning of the industrial age, the 1970s freedom movements, or the information age.   

The unintended consequence of government policy worldwide is a reversal of the economic relationship between those who own assets and balance sheets, and those who are a labor expense line on their profit and loss statements.  

The current problem some businesses are having getting workers to replace those quitting their jobs did not happen overnight.  After many years of a low growth rate of wages compared to the growth rate of productivity and corporate profits, millions of lower paid workers are simply not returning to low paying businesses.   

During Covid, low wage workers reconsidered their careers.  As people making low wages were put out of work by government policy, or decided the risk of facing the virus was not worth their low pay, people began quitting work.  While forced to not work by government Covid lockdowns and stay at home, people re-discovered their love of family, hearth, and home.  They realised work-life balance is a myth.  Being locked up in homes against their will caused them to invest in their homes, home-based business, and mothers who want to homeschool.  

In the post war period, government social engineering fuelled the idea that women were not being treated equally and should go to work.  Double incomes produce double taxes for government coffers.  Women left their children with daycares and government run schools to pursue careers.  Covid lockdowns caused a great awakening.  Mothers love their children, they love mothering, and they have had enough with fuelling government tax coffers at the expense of family. 

Holy Family with an Angry Baby
Brian Kershisnik Art

The Data 

Barry Ritholtz shared these St. Louis Fed charts in his blog (which is one of my favourites):

The first chart shows those at the lower end of the income scale will no longer work for low wages.  The second chart shows that white collar, professional and business service jobs, are not quitting.  Companies with a business model requiring low wage workers are having a very hard time finding workers.  This is permanent, not temporary.  When governments around the world decided to pick winners and losers, the unintended consequences of putting health over the economy created an 18-month mega shift they cannot control.  

As an American living and working overseas in Sydney, I have watched the Covid situation unfold in both America and Australia.  Living through some of the most restrictive lockdowns in the world here, I watched government decide that some businesses and workers were essential, and others were not.  I watched businesses built on savings, hard work, and investing all an entrepreneur had destroyed by short sighted government class elites.  I watched people put out of work supported by small government support payments reinvent themselves.  Teachers, pilots, managers, business owners, workers of all kinds, were put out of work losing everything while government agencies cut no one.  These people decided they would not go back to the way work was before Covid.  

The Re-Opening: A New Era Begins

People have decided enough is enough.  While some protest in the streets, others have decided to no longer be in the lower class.  While governments played with their lives, those suffering decided to upskill, get certified, pursue degrees, find new fields to work in, launch new apps, and decide to build their own businesses.  They shrugged at government, and kissed work as it was goodbye.    

I did quite a bit of reading about the 1918 flu pandemic.  As the world cautiously emerged from The Spanish flu, a worse pandemic than Covid, The Roaring Twenties followed.  New technologies such as radio and indoor lighting emerged.  A new post WWI pandemic world emerged.    

During the four-month lockdown in Sydney, I began sharing with people here that I saw an increasing likelihood that the government decisions were creating the conditions for a massive economic realignment.  Before Covid, talk of universal basic income and AI putting many people out of jobs was the futurist outlook.  What they missed was how converging forces present in the economy for decades would become an emergent black swan.  

In her comments on career plateauing, the late Judith Bardwick put it this way back in this 2013 interview with The Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Robert A. Foisie School of Business: 

After World War II, Bardwick said, career advancement seemed limitless, as American industry grew, the birthrate was still fairly low and “those who were committed to success, walked into the most expansionary period of corporate growth in history.  "Few people at the time had college degrees, until the federal GI Bill created an opportunity for many, especially men, to graduate from college. At the same time, “companies developed the desire to prevent unionization by employees,” Bardwick said, “and the idea developed that if you treated your employees marvelously well, they would make a commitment; productivity would increase and employee retention would be high.”

So companies gave employees a lifetime commitment and “employees formed the fundamental expectation that there is no limit to what you can become,” she said. “The American dream Bardwick was realized to an extent that could not now be duplicated.” Companies became multi-layered and bureaucratic, creating many more management positions than were needed, but also creating opportunities for promotion. Government programs also multiplied. As the baby boomer generation grew up and the economy hit several recessions, many more employees were competing for fewer high-level jobs. Baby boomers plateaued before they expected, too, since there are only a small number of jobs at the top of corporations.

As economic conditions changed, companies downsized and outsourced. As a result, she said, “everyone has become a business of one. That’s why we must ask ourselves, ’What do I have to offer that someone would want to buy? What can I do that will get someone who pays me closer to their goal?’ ”

“It’s very different for the millennials, because the situation is the reverse of what it was after World War II,” she said. “In reality, this group is facing a lack of opportunity.” In spite of talk about the improving economy, employment conditions remain recession-like, she said, adding that economic societal changes, government policy and personal attitudes share the blame for poor employment conditions. Around the world in developed economies, significant growth is very scarce and the opportunity for greater success has declined. Many young people feel cheated of the opportunity they expected to have.

Where government and business failed to correct imbalance for decades, the unintended consequences of government health policy during the Covid era has opened the door to a new Roaring Twenties.  The GDPs of economies are growing at rates not seen in decades.  Consumer demand is outstripping the capability of supply chains disrupted by labor shortages and Covid regulations.  Lifestyle and culture around the globe is rapidly moving away from what existed pre-Covid to a new, better society where families, children, and meaningful work has voted with their feet and quit work and society as it was.  

Government planners, economists, academics, and business did not see this coming.  Black swans, native to where I live in Australia, are beautiful to see.  Of course, looking back, we can see how what I call the Great Reversal happened.   After WWII, the social contract called The American Dream exchanged a job for life that could buy a house and college for the children, for a commitment to a company. Over time, the contract was broken.  Lack of opportunity, low paying Walmart-style jobs, the gig economy, and children with high college debt ruining their lives has finally been disrupted.  

We are about to see a new future of leadership in the world.  Like Atlas Shrugged in Ayn Rand's world, workers in the Covid world shrugged at government and business, and simply quit.  

Friday, August 11, 2017

How People and Businesses Everywhere Grow

by Kevin L. Baker
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Why People and Businesses Do Not Grow

If a person is frustrated, failing, and fearful in life or in their business as an entrepreneur, owner, or manager, I will ask them questions about courage--strength in the face of fear. The presence or absence of courage is the crucial factor that determines whether a person, business, or organization is growing.  

My business works with people, teams, and companies to lead them to reach the peak of their potential and grow.  I often encounter very intelligent people when I begin an engagement with a company.  Yet, even the best teams get stuck.  Stuck companies are not developing internally, or growing sales and profits.  There is usually one of two things going on in stuck companies--lack of courage or lack of ability to execute growth strategies.  

How the 4Cs Formula Changed my Life

For several years, I was part of a Vistage CEO peer mentoring group.  After a change in the Chairman of the Board of the company where I was President, the direction of the company took on a "circle the wagons" mentality.  As a leader, that was not the strategic plan our senior management team had built for 10 years.  I was asked by my business owner and CEO peers why I did not just go out and start my own business at that point.  I was obviously capable and competent to do so.  

Having started four entrepreneurial ventures in my life with three of four succeeding, I should have had the confidence to believe I could succeed. Nevertheless, I was stuck and not moving forward.  My business coach, Linda Murphy gradually uncovered the reasons I was holding back, and we began to address the underlying fears of change that had gradually caused me to not move forward.  That is when I discovered the 4Cs formula.

The 4Cs Formula

I am a lifelong learner, and in my pursuit of growth as a businessman, I had come across Peter Diamandis' "Abundance 360," and his podcast with Dan Sullivan.  Dan is founder of an entrepreneurial coaching firm in Toronto which was just 90 minutes form Buffalo, New York where I lived.  Dan has a teaching on "The 4Cs," and it changed my life.

Sullivan says, "
Nothing starts until you commit to achieving a specific measurable result by a specific date in your future. After you’ve made the commitment, courage is required because you have to take action before you’ve acquired the capability to achieve the result. Capability is actually created because of your commitment and courage. And, finally, confidence is the result of these first three stages."

“Commitment leads to Courage. Courage leads to Capability. Capability leads to Confidence.  Confidence leads to Commitment. Apply, lather, rinse, repeat.” 

Sullivan's work helped me to unlock the reason I was holding back from launching out into my own business venture and staying there.  I now know, the 4Cs are "a universal language for any person to grow into a bigger and better future."  Having taught the principles to many in my work as a consultant and coach, I have grown in my understanding of them and added my own observations and learnings as I coach CEOs and key executives.  

Commitment--Selling Your Goal to Yourself

The root of fear is often a belief that you do not have the capability to do something you want to commit to.  Since you do not think you are capable, you do not make a commitment. I have known many leaders who say things like, "I will not make a commitment for our company to something until we are capable of doing it." Let me translate that.  "I do not think I am capable of leading our company to become capable and confident enough to carry out this commitment."

Commitment is the cornerstone to building anything.  The best way to make a commitment to a goal is to have a starting line, a finish line, and a deadline.  

Example of a commitment: I make it my commitment to grow from having no business, to launching my business by January 1, 2016.  

Procrastination Is the Opposite of Commitment 
Once you publicly state you are doing something, you have "skin in the game."  Commitment forces us to start moving forward.  You may realize, "I cannot do this alone."  That is where courage comes in to take stock of what you will need to carry out your commitment.

However, not being capable yet of carrying out a commitment is not a reason to kick the can down the road until you are capable.  If you make that choice, you will become frustrated, fearful, and failing.  Commitment is the first step on the road to growing capabilities.

Next Time: Courage Moves Us Forward

Saturday, April 22, 2017

What is Your Business Mindset?

By Kevin L. Baker, MBA

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The Realization of My Personal Business Mindset

In my life, I grew up working in our family printing business founded by my father.  After getting a Bachelors degree, I have also worked in corporate life beginning in middle management rising to the executive offices as a CFO and then President (the American title for what other countries call a Managing Director).  I have worked for public and private companies, and been an entrepreneur starting a non-profit and two for profits businesses. 

Having worked in both entrepreneurial and corporate environments, I know that my greatest happiness and performance at work occurs when I work in an environment where my personal basic business mindset matches that of the organization where I work.  

I have realized that I work best in a business environment where the entrepreneur mindset I learned from my father (and genetics) is combined with just enough structure to have efficient and productive systems on board.  

Now, let's ask an important question: Are you more entrepreneurial or corporate minded?  You need to work with people who share your mindset and who think like you do and appreciate that view to be happy and reach your peak performance.  

The environment you work in is fundamentally either ENTREPRENEUR (E) OR CORPORATE (C).  Neither is bad. Just radically different. Are you on the right team?  A good match between a person and where they work occurs when you ask, "Am I right for this organization, and is this organization right for me?"  The answer is found by looking at the contrasts between the E and C mindset.  

The Two Fundamental Business Mindsets Contrasted

Am I an "E" or a "C" in my basic business mindset?

1.  Change or Stability

  • E sees an environment of change as good and normal. Change makes things better and brings improvement.  If there is no change there is no growth. Cs may think things are stable, but stability is an illusion. Markets in the tech age are dynamic and changing.  We must learn to live with ambiguity.  Nothing is sure forever. 
  • C sees change as a threat to stability, a risk, and disruptive.  Change must be incremental, carefully planned, and managed.  

2.  Personal or Impersonal

  • E remains focused on relationships with customers and clients as the most important thing whether they are truly entrepreneur startups or mature companies.  A certain segment of buyers prefer to do business with companies that keep it personal.  They do not like being treated as "just a number."  If you perceive that quality is always sacrificed for quantity, and that deep relationships with clients and customers are the priority, you are an E.
  • C sees a meaningful personal connection as costly.  The cost of growth is providing more transactions to more customers or clients.  A positive customer experience and lower prices to more people is the best model. While relationships will not be able to be as deep as in an entrepreneurial business, the population of people seeking lower prices is more than those wanting the deep, personal relationship that a small or young business provides. 

3.  Flexible or Fixed

  • E sees being flexible in the approach to business as what it takes to thrive, keep things relevant and interesting so people remain engaged, and the wellspring of continuous improvement. 
  • C sees a fixed environment as fair, reasonable, and the only way to prevent chaos and division.

4.  Do or Study

  • E business mindset is to learn by doing.  Trial and error will produce iterations which further learning. 
  • C mindset is to research and study, run focus groups, and require careful project planning to conserve resources by getting it right the first time.  

5.  Windscreen or Rear-View Mirror 

  • E business mindset is a focus on where we are right now.  To use the analogy of driving a car, the focus is looking forward through the windscreen, not where we have been in the rear-view mirror.  Rewards come by being resourceful and producing results right now in the great game of business. 
  • C business mindset is oriented to "the rear view mirror." It rewards by seniority, loyalty to the company, the status of prior achievement, and how you play the game.

Why Your Business Mindset Matters

The best combination for your personal achievement is when you match your business mindset with the environment you work in.  Am I right for the company and is the company right for me?

If you are an E, you belong on Team E.  If you are a C, work on Team C.  If you an an E/C then seek to live out your business mindset on Team E/C.  Both the person and organization will be happier and more successful by asking, "What's your business mindset?" when job seeking, hiring, and evaluating the growth and performance of a company. 

Visit Kevin's consulting and coaching website!

Living in Sydney--A Thriving Entrepreneurship Center

Living in Sydney--A Thriving Entrepreneurship Center

G'day from down under!  I have exciting news to share with everyone who follows my blog. First, innovation and startup are a huge part of my professional life, and have now guided me in my personal life to live in one of the world's premiere cities--Sydney, Australia!

This city is a thriving center of innovation and entrepreneurship.  I have a lot to share with everyone in the USA about what is going on here in the innovation and entrepreneurship space.  In coming posts, I will share the many opportunities for Americans wanting to invest or sell products here.  First, let me quickly catch you up on me.  

Why I am Living in Sydney

I relocated to Sydney in November 2016 after visiting here many times over the past two years.  My move is strictly personal as I am married to an Australian and we decided to make our home here.  I loved my life in Western New York. Three of my grown children and grandchildren live in Western New York.  I also have a daughter and a grandchild in Virginia.  Being back in America to visit my mother and family each year is a must.

Now that I am running an international business with clients in the States and here in Australia (known as Oz here), Sydney is our home base, but we will also spend time in the USA between Buffalo, New York and New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  

What I am Doing

After almost three decades in corporate and non-profit executive management, I have launched out as an entrepreneur.  Working for another family building their vision and balance sheet without an equity stake became too constraining for me.  I am now building my own portfolio business full-time under my Kevin Baker Inc. flagship.  

Kevin Baker Inc. is my business consulting practice founded in 2012 in New York.  My original consulting business continues with clients in New York and now here in Sydney specializing in:
  • M&A Advisory and business brokering.  
  • Due diligence services for business buyers.
  • Exit and succession strategies for sellers all the way through sale.  
  • Capital sourcing strategies--Working with existing business owners, startups, and business buyers on business plans; presentation decks for lenders, seed capital, angel investing, and venture capital; and cap tables. 
  • General management consulting with a focus on strategic growth.

I have also added a Chair Group practice providing group and 1:1 executive coaching affiliated with The Executive Connection (TEC) in North Sydney.  In the USA, I had been a member of the executive peer mentoring organization Vistage.  TEC is the Aussie counterpart to Vistage. So I have changed which seat I sit in--from member to Group Chair.  

And finally, after 10 years leading a food manufacturing company with sales channels in major grocery stores, I am working on launching a line of "New York Style" branded food products in the market here.

What I am Excited About

One of the first steps I took as a former college professor in a new country is to find my way into the academic ecosystem here.  

I was very excited discovering the "Gather, Innovate, and Grow Engine (GIG Engine) Created by the Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) and NewSouth Innovations (NSi) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney Australia.  Initiatives like this help people like me meet the new people in a new country!  

What's New?

As an American living abroad, I am still reading the same websites, talking to the same people, and have a USA phone number so I am very connected to America.  The only difference is travel takes a bit longer to see clients!  I now rely more on Go to Meeting, Messenger, and Google Hangouts to see Americans when I am here in Sydney.

Here in Sydney, I am enjoying meeting new people and building a new network.  It is a true entrepreneurial work here, and I am loving it.  

So, with all that and more new with me (I will tell you more later), what's new with you?  I am launching my "Peak Your Potential" podcast in the near future and will be interviewing many whose life and business stories will inspire others to push toward the summit of their life potential--so please write if you think others in Australia and the USA would like to hear about your story!

Keep climbing!


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Beneficence: Looking Out for The Welfare of Your Customer

One should render positive assistance to others (and abstain from harm) 
by helping them to further their important and legitimate interests. 

I heard Max Levchin, the 40 year-old entrepreneur famous for his roles in Affirm, Glow, Slide, Yelp, Yahoo, and Paypal, say, "You can conduct yourself as a business ACTIVELY DOING GOOD for your customer."  

We live in a refreshing time in the world of business.   As technology has made the world smaller and connected us, people are beginning to care about each other and what we do to live in this world.  The internet has us doing commerce with people who are not local.  We need to trust people we may never meet when we buy and sell things online or live in other people's homes via Airbnb.  

In business, ethics go beyond doing what is contractually right.  In today's business economy, being emotionally intelligent and having relationally mature people-skills is a trend that has replaced the "buyer-beware" horse trader doing harm mentality of previous generations.  

Doing good to our neighbor, once viewed as a liability in business, is now a competitive advantage for those who are truly good people with motives to help their customers.  Let's face it.  People are tired of playing "Got ya" games in business.  Ethical principles in the new world of business are:

  • Actively do good to your customers (internal and external) so that work matters and is making a positive difference in the world. 
  • Business focus is on people, products, and purpose--not just profit.  
  • Company loyalty comes from work being a family that supports its employees families.  
  • A work environment needs to value those who create its value.  An unpleasant work environment is not tolerated today.
  • Be accountable

Are you an early adopter or laggard in the new business world? How you answer this question has a lot to do with where you are on the continuum of success.  

Monday, March 7, 2016

When I Start a Business How Do I Pay People Without Money?

Business Incubator and Activator Series 1.1

Last year my son and I pondered launching a consulting business together.  As always, startup capital and which of us would get paid as partners (and how) were on the table.  He had left his day job and I had not.  So that was question was easy!  

At the time, we were working as consultants with John Gavigan and 43 North, the wildly successful Buffalo, NY incubator and activator at the heart of the Buffalo business renaissance.  In new ventures, a common question by the entrepreneur is: "I really need a partner for startup capital, but we have not gone to revenue yet.  Got any ideas?"  As a matter of fact, yes, I do.

I can’t pay them…

Who says you need to? You can get people to work with/for you by providing many different forms of compensation besides monetary. Sounds far fetched and I really doubted this at first, my initial impressions was that people would only work with you if they have a deep stake and feel like they’re part of the founding team. WRONG.
Here are some alternative ways of compensating people who can help you build your startup:
  • Equity – yes, you can give equity without making someone a co-founder. Just make sure it’s vested.
  • Revenue sharing – and agreement to split the equity generated from a specific project/product. You can add clauses that limit duration and determine the portion of the split.
  • Strategic partnership – working alongside partners to provide them value with your product/service in exchange for them helping you build it up.
For help getting past constraints and roadblocks as you build your business, email me anytime!  --Kevin 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Five Challenges of a Family Business

Image result for family business

In 1977, my father ventured out on his own as an entrepreneur to start our family printing business, Port of Printing.  As the oldest son of a business-owning father, I experienced organizational dynamics I would only learn to put terms to many years later as a graduate student in an MBA program.  

My being the oldest son in a family business set the course of my career.  The small to medium-size family owned business (SMB) is where I have spent most of my life in both middle and now senior management roles.  

For those new to the SMB world, Gartner Group defines SMBs as follows: Small businesses are usually defined as organizations with fewer than 100 employees; midsize enterprises are those organizations with 100 to 999 employees. The second most popular attribute used to define the SMB market is annual revenue: small business is usually defined as organizations with less than $50 million in annual revenue; midsize enterprise is defined as organizations that make more than $50 million, but less than $1 billion in annual revenue.

Recently, I have had the privilege of working with a great family in creating and executing a continuity plan as the family has become older and decided to have its first non-family key executives.  

Here are five challenges of working in family a business:

 1.  Family politics: Many family businesses operate like a gang or The Mafia.  As family members, we need to focus on building a strong family as the core of the business. As non-family members, you will never be part of the family (even when owners like to say you are), so never take sides when family members discuss family issues. 

2.   Change: Growth of business means learning how to deal with honoring the past while creatively destroying it in order to keep competitors from destroying you first. 

3.  Communication is at the heart of leadership: The flow of information between management, owners, and board is critical to decision-making, change, and growth.  This is the essence of governance and leadership.  
When there is "back channel" communication (i.e., triangulation), gossip about family members, and negative judgments without direct conversation, family tensions will be high and dissension present. 

4.   Culture: As a big fan of Dr. John Ward's work on family business, I find his definition of family business culture both accurate and academically precise: "Culture is the result of what a particular group of people think and share together as being most important to them (values) and as a result, their shared basic beliefs influence the ways they interact with each other and with the world around them."

 5.  Anxiety: Learning to handle uncertainty with maturity can either make or break morale, engagement, and productivity in a business. Consultants are great tools for processing anxiety to prevent blame, scapegoating, triangulation, and Groupthink from taking over. 

These top five issues in family businesses also apply to larger corporations.  Innovation and entrepreneurial success flow from how well we navigate these management waters.  I am looking forward to taking a deeper dive into these and other topics in coming months.  See you there. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Creativity, Design, and Innovation

Creativity is an inborn capacity for thinking differently than most, seeing differently, and making connections and perceiving relationships others miss. But most importantly, it is the ability to then extrapolate contextually useful ways of employing that data: 
to create something that meets a specific challenge.
 (Andy Rutledge)

Flying back from a baking conference in Florida, I was once again (as I am most days) thinking out what is next in our strategy for growing our sales revenues in a competitive and mature industry.  As I watched my son work a puzzle on his iPad I was thinking how developing new business ideas is like a puzzle or chess game.

Creativity, design, and innovation are always my big three drivers of growth. My son and I joke that our creative genes are regarded by some people as unconventional.  Exactly! 

Creativity is essentially the development of an idea.

Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system.  Design moves obstacles to the creative idea using new conventions or plans.  This is why I laugh when people say we are unconventional.  If we did what everyone else does we would get results equal to, or more likely, less than what others get.

Innovation is turning ideas into value.  Creative people such as artists often die poor because they never learned or desired to monetize their creativity. 

As I was flying home thinking about the market trends presented at the American Bakers Association, I was thinking about the future needs, opportunities, and trends emerging in the tastes of American consumers.  For years we have been building a creativity, design, and innovation culture.  In future blogs I will share some of our learning.

Andy Rutledge quote from Wendren Setzer at The Wren Design 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Innovation Engineering

Dr. W Edwards Deming was the American Statistician credited with helping rebuild Japan after World War II. The founder of Toyota said, “Dr. Deming is the core of our management.”   The Japanese credit Dr. Deming with teaching them in the 1950s to “work smarter not harder” and become the first producers of continually improving cars and electronics.

Today I am reading about the Eureka Ranch, and Doug Hall's "Innovation Engineering."  Good stuff. Watch this video while available! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Why Age Matters With Innovation

Ken Bates, Chair of the Department of Business at Houghton College in Upstate New York, sent me an interesting New York Times article that I share with you below.  It sparked my thinking about age, work, and innovation. 

Business is definitely a competition, and one advantage younger participants often try to leverage is the benefit of having fewer hours logged on the clock of life.  Younger workers are perceived as more flexible, lower cost, more future potential, more energetic, and so forth.  Older workers are caricatured as set in their ways, slowing down, resistant to change, and lacking fresh ideas.
As a middle age executive level manager, I look at those behind and ahead seeing great value in both cohorts.

Our organization is comprised of
people of various ages.  Each age segment adds value to our organization and in turn, we value all our workers on the basis of their contribution. 

We have employees in their 60s and 70s who are harder and smarter workers and in better physical shape than some of our younger team members.  Our older employees are often coming up with our better ideas.

On our team, we have a 20 something recent biz school grad Operations Manager with a great analytical and operational mind who developed our lean manufacturing plan.  He co-manages with a Production Manager almost 60.  As a 40 something I lead the team and our innovation initiatives. 
While our younger team members add great value, they also carry liabilities. 

The major downsides of a younger workforce I see are as follows.  1.) Lack of experience leading to errors (and added costs), 2.) An entitlement attitude (a millennial generation issue of trophy kids and helicopter parents), and 3.) A lesser work ethic on average than those older.  Our older team members do trend toward being too conservative when it comes to risk for growth, yet also do bring most of our product innovation to the table. 

As the following article and study point out, innovation production is simply not being produced as much by younger innovators as older innovators due to the reasons presented below.  This is indeed true in our organization as well.