A Generational Look at Our World and My Week in Nashville

April 7, 2014

For all the time and energy I expend discussing demographics, I really should know more about my audience. True, I have a general sense of who is out there listening based on who’s calling into the show, who’s stopping by my mortgage company, and so on. But there is a specific, detailed demographic profile of my audience beyond what I can see, and fully understanding that profile is my single biggest professional goal. As you should know by know from listening to this show, demographics are the key to understanding practically every trend out there.

I read a series of stories this past week stating that most new construction over the last year has been apartment complexes and not single-family homes. I don’t know why I read a series of stories on this; I already knew it. I saw this development coming years ago! The impetus for this development is demographic. As far as single-family homes are concerned, there is a housing bubble-era supply glut that is only now beginning to normalize. Likewise, as we lose members of the Greatest Generation—estimated to be about 8,000 a day—their houses end up on the market and normalize any upward demand pressures. There is simply no reason to be building new single-family homes right now.

Similarly, the Millennial generation is maturing. It hasn’t yet started to reach its peak productive years (40-60), but it has definitely entered its career stage. Normally this is when people start a career, get married, start having kids, and so on. However, the Millennial generation is postponing matrimony; they are getting married and having kids far later than any generation before them. They have moved away from home, but do not yet need—or even want—the space of a house. Thus, they are renting apartments in massive numbers. Take a drive around Colorado Springs—north on Nevada, up on Interquest—and you’ll notice several apartment and condominium projects being built.

I see the influences and effects of demographics everywhere. In the news and newspapers. In the construction and mortgage industries. Truly, the study of demographics is one of my greatest passions. And it’s a blessing to be able to share this passion through my other great passion: radio. Radio allows me to share my insights on economics and demographics with other inquisitive individuals. Whatever the demographic composition of my audience looks like, I’m sure the vast majority listeners have that quality of inquisitiveness and curiosity in common.

I share what I know with my audience because I think that anyone taking time to listen to new information is also determined to apply what they know to improve their life. But there’s a lot I don’t know! So last week, I attended Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership workshop in Nashville to learn as much as I could from the man whom I consider one of the most knowledgeable and practical individuals in the field.

There is no way to cover everything I learned during that week in Nashville; it was like drinking from a fire-hose! I encourage everyone who hasn’t to pick up Ramsey’s book “EntreLeadership” and study it thoroughly. But here are a few key concepts that I think everyone should be familiar with:

#1. The Law of the Lid. This basically states that an organization—whether a business or family or church—is contained by its leadership. Thus, the organization can only grow as efficiently and as large as its leadership. The leaders or leadership team acts as a lid, and is the sole limiting factor in an organization’s growth.

#2. As goes the king, so goes the kingdom. This law both complements the Law of the Lid, and stands on its own. The fate of the kingdom follows the fate of its king. Whether in a household or business or volunteer group, the whole organization takes its cues from the leadership team. If the leaders are impatient, short-sighted, or arrogant, the entire group will follow. Leaders must be certain that they not only have good, solid principles and values but also that they project these principles and values to their kids and employees.

#3. Don’t force your goals onto other people; help them discover and achieve their own goals. The single greatest thing a leader can do is to encourage their employees to fully realize their unique qualities and achieve their own unique set of goals. It’s common—and disastrous—for leaders to pursue their own goals and use their employees as tools to achieving that goal. Ideally, leaders pursue goals by utilizing the unique qualities of their team members to achieve that same goal, while simultaneously encouraging those team members to settle on and pursue their own goals.

This really only begins to scratch the surface of my week in Nashville. But it truly was a transformative weekend. As you continue to listen to the show, you’ll pick up bits and pieces of what I learned, as I’m sure I’ll graft my newfound knowledge onto what I had already known. In the meantime, I have a huge reading list of new books to read on Ramsey’s recommendation, from which I’m sure I’ll gain more new insights to share.

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