Generational experts say that a major difference between Boomers and their children is their penchant for immediate feedback online and otherwise, which can add a boost to a cross-generational business dynamic.
“While the family-owned business is exploring new worlds such as online marketing and overseas expansion due to their children's involvement, the parents are able to equalize this fast-paced change by ensuring that the business focuses on the traditional approaches that got them to where they are today," says Paul Blake, Vice President, Generational Equity.
So, forget about following Grano on Twitter.
“I think that form of communication is depersonalizing society. There’s an intuitive side, there’s a body side, there’s a face time that’s very important,” Grano says of proliferation of online tools. “I have executives that will text each other or e-mail each other when their offices are eight feet apart. I go insane. I say, ‘Get up, get off your butt, and go talk to your partner.”
Joseph tries to get his father more involved in e-mail and social networking, but to no avail. Instead, he plugs his father’s company news for him online.
Grano a Grano
The Grano father-son-duo rejects the idea of “keeping up with the Joneses.”
“I don’t agree with it at all. And I think it gets manifested in different ways,” Grano says. “Your earnings, from one firm to another, ‘Well they’re taking a lot of risk, I better take a lot of risk.’ That’s what created this financial crisis we’re in.”
Joseph agrees, uncharacteristic for a generation stereotyped as being more “selfish” than the Boomers known for their “selflessness.”
“My father taught me that attitude really is everything,” Joseph says. “No matter what your lot in life, there is no reason to have a negative attitude. If you have a positive attitude, you’ll come out okay. Good things happen.”
Good things have happened to both Granos, as they continue to learn from and teach each other.
“I’m very proud of my generation,” Joseph tells his dad. “If that’s true, the future is safe,” Grano replies, smiling at his son.
Watch "Tom Brokaw Reports: Boomer$!", Thursday, March 4 at 9pm ET on CNBC. The program will also air Saturday, March 6 at 7pm ET; Sunday, March 7th at 9pm ET; and Monday, March 8th at 8pm ET.