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I believe the best team is a 'mixed' team

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Tech Talk by Peter Mate
Peter Mate is co-owner and president of Planit Canada, a software and services company devoted to servicing the manufacturing industry. For more info email peterm@planitcanada.ca
Kids… They always seem to amaze me…
As my wife and I watch our two young girls unwrap hoverboards for Christmas, we didn’t know what was about to unfold.
My six and eight-year-old daughters hop on and after about 10 minutes of trial and error, they start whizzing through the house like the hoverboards were extensions of their bodies. They were a little wobbly at first, but boy did they ever catch on quick.
It’s only after my wife and I tried that we realized, it’s not so easy.
How is it that these kids that we’re supposed to parent and guide learned how to do this in a fraction of the time it took us? I’m pretty stubborn, so I kept practicing until it felt more natural, but it took me much longer to get it than my kids.
As I thought about it, I realize that this is reality. Younger generations have an easier time with change and adapting than us oldies. The oldies provided the hoverboards, the space to use them and the safety at first in case they were about to fall, but it’s the kids that jumped in with both feet and soared.
When showing my mom how to use a tablet she recently got, I was the kid. She kept asking: “How do you know all this?” as I whizzed through setting it up for her. It was easy for me.
When I think of change in business and industry disruptors, I typically think of young companies that are technology driven and have the agility to pivot on a dime. Then again, I know a lot of young startups that never make it. So, what’s the right balance?
I think that there’s no success without experience and knowledge. Maybe the people with the knowledge and experience should be the ones to educate and mentor the younger generations while giving them access to the latest technology. Easy said, but it’s hard to be the experienced one and step back to let someone else do something differently than we would have done it, especially when we think the ideas are going to fail.
As adults, we typically look for solutions that run the least risk of failure. We weren’t always like this. Which one of us never tried crazy things growing up? BMX jumps anyone? Something happened. We got comfortable. We now fear failure. We stop taking 
big risks. Kids don’t have 
that filter.
What if there’s a way to increase a shop’s capacity without an expansion?
What if there’s a way to ease installation allowing the existing installers to install jobs faster and better alleviating the need to find more installers?
What if we changed how we engineered our products in order to do more with the existing teams we have?
What if we could cut estimating time down without adding more people?
There are so many opportunities to be better. You’d be surprised at what ideas younger generations would come up with if they only had the opportunity to be part of the solution.
I believe the best team to make significant change using the available technologies out there today is a mixed team. Some people with experience and some with crazy ideas. Be bold, try crazy things and don’t be afraid of failure. It’s all part of growing.
Evolving means change and change is uncomfortable. It means trying new things. Some will fail, but some will succeed. We keep the successes and learn from the failures. If we keep repeating this in our businesses, we keep evolving. Now get out there and buy a hoverboard “for the kids” …

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