Are Generations “Y” and “Z” better at business development?

2 years ago   •   4 min read

By Simon Haigh

The ability to negotiate successfully requires honed interpersonal skills for maximum success. Generation Entrepreni tends not to be lacking in self-confidence, with a “can do” approach to doing things. Simon Haigh considers that with these skills, these generations should be well armed for negotiation

Good deal-making requires flexible and adaptable deal strategies

Business is unpredictable, not least as macro and micro-economic factors are always changing. Deal-making in business is even more unpredictable, as it has its own particular set of obstacles, difficulties, and surprises that invariably arise: factors such as ego, dubious business ethics, corrupt practices, a “head in the sand” mentality, anger, greed and so on, add extra layers of uncertainty to the business mix.

Generation Entrepreni has a predisposition to being flexible and nimble, driven largely by the instant social media world and constant technology changes. Possibly because it has grown up in the more transient, higher turnover “gig economy”, Generation Entrepreni is also open to taking chances, is adaptable and not afraid of failing in the process. 

Deal Priorities and Values

Deal-making requires an appreciation of what is important now, plus the ability to predict what will be important down the line and to balance the two. This requires a pro-active, observant approach to deal-making.  Given that Generation Entrepreni has, through its endless access to online information sources, had ample opportunity to watch, monitor, discuss and learn from the failings of prior generations would suggest that it is well placed to take an informed and measured view in deal-making circumstances.

As Ronen Gafni and Simcha Gluck. 2014. The New Entrepreneurz- Changing the way you play life: Wiley put it: “The New Entrepreneurz are purpose driven, strong believers in smart work and great collaborators

In referencing values in deal-making, as a rule, Generation Entrepreni is motivated by a sense of purpose, which often transcends traditional, more Baby-boomer/Gen X concepts of winning at all costs. A higher meaning than pure monetary reward, work-life balance and quality of life, is often a motivator for Generation Entrepreni. As such, the goal of creating a good deal for both parties through mutual value satisfaction is not only possible, but also the only really sustainable way to do business and one, which Generation Entrepreni should be well suited to achieve. 

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Information and knowledge enhance deal-making power

Power is not static. It usually ebbs and flows during a deal and can change sides very quickly. Whether he/she likes it or not, a deal-maker’s power is always influenced by his/her credibility, legitimacy, knowledge through information, authority, appearance and influence. Perception is an extremely powerful power source in deal-making: perceived power can be as powerful as actual power. Generation Entrepreni, and particularly Generation Z, appears to be particularly adept expert at managing perception, and even influencing others through self-brand projection on social media platforms in particular suggests that it is as well placed as any generation, and probably more so, in the perception power stakes.

Networks and relationships increase your information base and deal


The closer the deal-maker gets to knowing the intentions, desires and assumptions of the other side in a deal, the more likely he/she is to ultimately getting what he/she wants from the deal. So, using networks and relationships is a very important additional way for deal-makers to gather the all-important information they need, which then enhances their knowledge and ultimately their power. Generation Entrepreni is history’s first “always connected” generation and so its networks are geometrically increased as a result. Whether these increased networks are always effective is another question, however.

Good communication is critical for effective deal-making

A good deal-maker employs carefully selected words and uses smart gestures. He/she also actively listens to the words used by the other side, while being very alert to their subtle signs, gestures and other clues. But, be aware that, even with language itself (let alone non-verbal communication), there are vast differences between cultures that give different meanings to certain words such as “reasonable” or “progress.”

The fact that Generation Entrepreni appears to be more culturally, sexually and racially tolerant than its predecessors in its attitudes, preferences and communication manners certainly appears to auger well for a  “culturally competent”, collaborative and innovative deal-making communication mindset.

There is little doubt that Generation Entrepreni is impacting the business landscape, for example in the technology, innovative, collaborative solutions and consumer markets. This is perhaps not surprising given that Generation Entrepreni has grown up online, in an instantaneous, digital “tweet world” of rapid feedbacks and constant technology iterations. The environment in which Generation Entrepreni has been raised, of rapid, high speed, networked communications, has clearly shaped their behavioural attributes and so also their business choices.

It also happens to be the case that Generation Entrepreni appears to possess many of the attributes required for good deal-making. Generation Entrepreni has a pre-disposition for being nimble, adaptable to change, flexible, with a self-reliant, self confident “can do, give it a go” attitude. It is not afraid of taking chances and perhaps failing in the process. Its sense of purpose, collaborative spirit, increased tolerance and accommodation for-freer flowing information share are all positive factors in Generation Entrepreni’s deal-making capabilities.

Does this new body of Generation Entrepreni attributes represent evidence of a new deal-making paradigm, being a generation of accomplished deal-makers uniquely placed to shape the business and deal-making landscape? Alternatively, is it just a manifestation of convenient coincidence, shaped by the environment in which Generation Entrepreni has developed? What is clear is that, as with all suppositions, the answer will lie in the judgment of future generations.

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