Talking ’bout my generation
February 20th, 2015
Our recent factsheet on Millennials got me reflecting on the role that generations play in setting the culture of an organisation. As a fully paid up, forty-something member of Generation X, I’m wondering how much of what my generation stands for has an impact on the culture of my business? To be honest I’d never really given it much thought until recently as I hadn’t viewed myself as part of a particular generation, let alone thought about what we collectively stand for. Are we really that different?
What’s been interesting to notice through the coaching I’ve done with Gen X clients over the last twelve months, is how we’re more willing to borrow ideas and aspirations from the generation coming through than the ones ahead of us. In coaching and group discussions with my contemporaries I’ve been aware of a growing trend amongst those in senior positions – they are starting to question why they’ve spent the last fifteen years climbing the corporate ladder. Yes they’ve got the big salary and the trappings that brings, but they are now asking themselves “Is this all there is? Surely I’m about something more?” It was OK burning the candle at both ends to ‘get on’ during their thirties but now they’ve got families growing up that they’re missing out on. It’s certainly not an attitude that the Baby Boomers had.
My feeling from spending time with my fellow forty-somethings in senior roles is that they are looking at the Millennials and thinking “Do you know what, I think they’ve got a point. I could do with some of that attitude to help me deal with the situation I’m now in, with my massively skewed work-life balance!” I’ve earned my position and played the game but now I want to be treated as an individual, to make sure that my personal values mean something in the organisation I belong to, and that I have some autonomy over my personal development from here on in.
Well done to the Millennials for waking us up to what’s really important!
By Neil Kimberley