By Lucía I. Zamora Rivera │Forbes
In principle they must interact and, whether digital natives or not, they have to break paradigms and offer young people a sense of belonging and human belonging to the organization.
No, baby boomers are not a forgotten generation. It happens that technology is fashionable, then the millennials are. It automatically discards its predecessors and their influence on them. Millennials attract attention as they are certainly defined by the emergence of technology and its rise; All studies speak of their contrasts and the extremes of their behavior in society. They are judged, praised, studied, poorly understood and even disqualified. However, all these characteristics – good and bad – are the product of a generational past, whose features redefine their individual and collective role. Nobody talks about baby boomers, but they are the generation that – ironically – can be the trigger for technological change within organizations if they know how to orchestrate and manage skills, talent, leadership, knowledge and even opportunities Of succeeding generations. The big question is how can more than half a century of ideologies and knowledge be integrated?
Howe and Strauss are two of the main authors who have deeply studied the generational theme. Both classified according to the period of birth of a group of people and, therefore, shared similar life events. In this way five generational groups were established since the beginning of the last century. Wars, revolutions, diseases and those detonators that marked a society in general and a generation in the particular, were considered keys to appoint each group.
The trigger for excellence that deserves this analysis is the technological revolution: the emergence of the internet and the technological boom. Unlike other periods and generations, this phenomenon – besides being of great magnitude – will continue to mark the generations of the future.
Three generations: stability, knowledge and technology
It should be mentioned that the generational denomination made by Howe and Strauss may have socioeconomic and geographical variables. It also varies if it belongs to the early or late period of the groups in question. Let’s review three generations that have been directly and indirectly impacted by the technological phenomenon.
It is considered baby boomers to the generation born between 1943 and 1960. They are children of the generation of the silence (1925-1942), who lived the Second World War; Its upbringing was marked by demographic explosion and the postwar period. This characterizes them to have some rebelliousness and to break with the established schemes by the society (of there the emergence of movements hippies). Laborally they are traditionalists, rigid and structured, but also possess a great vision and knowledge. Two representative characters of this generation and curiously detonating of the information society are Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
Generation X includes those born between 1961 and 1980. It is a small generation compared to the rest. He lived events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of AIDS. It is said that one of its characteristics was to suffer an existential crisis for not feeling identified in history, At the time they were very criticized for not showing direction and for many it is even the forgotten generation. However, in the labor field they were able to highlight; Share certain traits with the baby boomers without being so rigid.
Millennials or generation Y is called those born in the last 20 years of the millennium (1981-2000). This group of young people is characterized by living in a connected world. Many were born along with technological detonators and their way of life is marked by these. They live in a self-imposed competitive world and by the speed of information. In the workplace can be qualified as unstable, but seeing it from another point of view have a vision more open to entrepreneurship, without the intrinsic need to have a security, aspect that a baby boomer would never call into question. This generational duality includes a nini (neither studies nor works) or to be the representative par excellence of this generation: Mark Zuckerberg.
No generation is perfect and all three have a particular duality. In the case of millennials, this becomes more notable, as they are the future decision makers in companies. Many of them are already approaching middle and upper management, but many others seem lost or “disconnected”. How to route them?
Change management: the mission of baby boomers
Baby boomers play a fundamental role in society, as they – business leaders – are the ones who can generate positive change in succeeding generations (the X and Y). They are a way to guide them towards knowledge if they know how to play a strategic role and mediator between the characteristics of these three worlds.
It is the baby boomers who can drive in them an entrepreneurial vision and leadership, structure and order. Establish a bilateral relationship so that the millennial through his or her revolutionized mind has the confidence vote within the organization and is allowed to be the intrapreneur of the company. To offer Generation X the voice that few have given them, to empower them and to advise them. The mission of the millennials will be to guide the baby boomer and generation X about the most efficient way to achieve business objectives through the intelligent use of technology. Generation X will have to balance and play a mediating role.
What sense do organizations give to the role of these three generations? In principle they will have to interact and, whether digital natives or not, have to break paradigms to advance as a society and offer young people a sense of belonging and human organization. For those who still question it, this is precisely where the baby boomers are.