Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millenials, Traditionalists….all terms derived originally for the purpose of marketing and advertising to different demographic groups. Labels used to define similar values, life experiences and defining events that will guide consumer buying patterns.
I ask you…are differences between generations enough to move beyond mere consumer habits and ultimately define a cultural group? Will discussion of difference produce more than buying patterns? Is there enough difference that studying or discussing such difference will lend insight into improved leadership, management and outcomes of the organizations we pour our life’s work into?
It is obvious that the world around us is changing and it is happening fast. The challenges that non-profits face are increasing while the demographic group that has traditionally provided staff and board leadership in such organizations is in flux. The non-profit and public sectors are undergoing an evolution themselves, negotiating new funding demands, changing needs of the populations they are serving and a public that is increasingly savvy about where their dollar is spent. Providing for and supporting leadership transition has never been more important.
What are these substantial differences you ask? Check out this chart. It is one of the most complete looks at differences in values, communication strategies, influences, preferred work environment, attributes and skills that I’ve seen. It focuses on significant differences while suggesting similarities.
Back to the title of this post…recognizing real difference is just as imperative to understanding one another as recognizing our similarities. Such understanding and recognition will allow for deeper interpersonal connection while helping to negotiate the demographic shift that is upon us in our organizations and communities.
Now go study that chart, I will be quizing you on it later.