The more things change…

Posted On May 23, 2013

In June 1997, TIME magazine ran a cover story about Generation X – “Great Expectations of So-Called Slackers” where they attempted to enlighten Boomers and Matures about the benefits of Xers in the workplace and the world in general.  The discussions that piece sparked with clients, colleagues and peers were the impetus for what is now Generational Insights. This week the folks at TIME are at it again with their cover story “The Me Me Me Generation” and its companion piece “Millennials: The Next Greatest Generation.”

On the one hand, this feels a little like seeing dock siders and day-glow clothing in the stores – I’m not old enough to be living through trends a second time, am I? On the other hand, these articles tap into a recurring theme in my work with companies throughout the country – yes, the younger generations have always confounded their predecessors.  In and of itself, this is not news.  What is news – and what I believe is at the core of the disconnect in the workforce – is how each generation confounds us.

Research shows us over and over that even when you count for the follies of youth “generational DNA” is distinct, and this brings about both challenge and opportunity.  Businesses emerge – stemming from new ideas and the need to meet new demands. Expectations shift – politically, socially, organizationally.  Companies that are ready and willing to adapt to change – even while holding steadfast to principle and tradition – are always the ones that thrive.

So, I’ve seen two iterations of this cover story now.  I wonder what the headline will be in the spring of 2029. Anybody want to venture a guess?

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Generations