As president of the consulting firm Practice Development Counsel, Phyllis Weiss Haserot helps companies increase profitability by focusing on improving relationships among generations. Haserot, the author of the forthcoming book, Generations & Money: Talk About the Last Taboo, talks to contributing writer Michelle Lodge about working with multiple generations.

1. How does addressing age diversity affect profitability? Multi-generational advisor teams have the potential to serve clients well across the spectrum of ages and also to sustain a practice when older advisors want to transition out. Generation-based conflicts, brought on by differing work styles, interpersonal and relationship building skills and image (attire, tattoos and piercings) and other perceptions of professionalism, need to be addressed sensitively and in a timely fashion to maintain a productive work environment. If not, and conflict arises, a useful approach is to employ facilitation and mediation techniques that assure all sides are heard and come to solutions [in a collaborative fashion.] Firms and individual teams can bring in a neutral third party to help or internally establish an ombudsman role and specified protocol. Some branch managers or business unit heads may not have the skills to deal well and fairly with workplace conflicts. Since these frequently affect client relationships—and serving and retaining clients is paramount—systems and outside support are a good investment.

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