Growing up in Milwaukee in the 1970’s, I saw how my parent’s generation was not completely aligned with younger people. I recognized the disconnect in the generations through the clothes we wore and the music we listened too. While my friends and I listened to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, my parents listened to Roberta Flack, Glenn Miller and the occasional barbershop quartet. As a result, I believed that if I continued to listen to new music I would be able to relate better with younger people as I grew older. What I didn’t count on is not only has the music changed, but so has the technology to listen to music and the way it is distributed. I am considered old by my co-workers because I still buy my music on a CD and listen to vinyl records.

I typically explain what we do in the investment management business by saying “we solve puzzles and manage detail.” When we recruit for our team, we look for people who love to solve puzzles and have the ability to think critically. Because we are regulated by the Securities & Exchange Commission, we operate in a culture that requires consistent disciplined record keeping and precise analytics. Over the years, we have had our challenges working cohesively as a team to support our disciplined culture. Those challenges were manifested in established procedures not always being followed, monthly records not always being maintained to our standards, and trade settlement processes not always being followed. Once we recognized that there were generational differences impacting how we work together, solve puzzles and handle the complexity of everyday detail, we brought in consultants to help.

Our consultants took us through the self-assessment process and helped each team member better understand how they relate to one another in their day-to-day interactions. Even in the most healthy business culture, a random unspoken interaction between two people can have unintended negative undertones and be misinterpreted. The cumulative effect of misinterpreted social cues has a way of chipping away at a person’s self-esteem and confidence. In turn, the resulting distorted view of perception will undermine how a team effectively works together. When we are trying to identify relative value in a security and the optimal portfolio structure to manage risk, we cannot afford distorted perceptions of our colleagues to cloud our interaction.

We are now on the third leg of our journey. We have brought in coaches who are professionals and trained to help guide us through the office environment and better understand our interactions. Here is a paradox: if my wife points out that something I do irritates her, I may not receive that feedback well. However, when a person outside my normal orbit provides feedback at my request, I am more open to receiving it in a healthy context.

In my career I learned to ask for feedback and seek out mentors in both my personal life and in my professional career. Today, I find that whenever I give permission to someone I trust to speak into my life, I grow as a person. That growth is what allows me to find relevance in what I do and appreciate the individuals on the team. We are trying to bring that perspective into our organization. Having people who are professionally trained to provide valuable coaching and to work with our employees is a gift. They are in a position to help us grow in our career in a way that a boss or a co-worker cannot, and they are able to provide counsel in a healthy manner so that messages are filtered constructively.

My dad couldn’t understand why a person would listen to Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, and I couldn’t understand the allure of a barbershop quartet singing Sweet Adeline. Ironically, today I do not understand how shouting syncopated lyrics at me in a rap song is music, and my younger co-workers think Cat Stevens’ music from classic albums like Teaser and the Firecat and Catch Bull at Four don’t make any sense. I expect that my coach will point out that I am set in my ways and might benefit from hearing other opinions. I remember saying something like that to my dad.

Gregory Hahn, CFA, is president and chief investment officer at Winthrop Capital Management in Indianapolis.