Generation Labelling

Posted by Tom Locke on April 8th, 2011 filed in Business, History, Life

Last week I was in Toronto and had the pleasure of attending an executive breakfast focused on leadership come 2015.  The main focal point of discussion was the interaction of the four generations that comprise today’s business community – the Traditionalists (born, 1922 – 1945), the Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964), Generation X (1965 – 1980) and Generation Y (1981 – 2010).

With 2015 fast approaching, it was mutually agreed by all attending that the passing of the management/leadership “baton” to Gen – Y’s will soon be a reality.  

For successful transition and sustainability it was suggested that companies need to prepare now and that the use of a formalized internal mentorship program should be put into place.

I am in agreement with this.  The key will be in making a connection with our future leaders in order for them to be engaged and committed to sustainability. 

However, I have one major concern – something I call an ‘overlooked assumption’.  Have you ever asked yourself, “Who made up these labels for our working generations?” (Answer – the Baby Boomers) and, more importantly, “What do the Gen – X’s and Gen – Y’s think about their labels and the other generation labels?  Are they comfortable with them?  If not, what would they suggest?”  Let’s make sure we Baby Boomers discuss this fundamental labelling with our successors as we strive to connect and instill trust moving forward.

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