A Generation is a broader concept than just the age range: it includes the history, culture, myths, aspirations of that period, factors that influence growth, the way of seeing the world, of behaving, of communicating, of relating with others and to approach work. Every historical moment, therefore, every Generation, identifies its own Values and it is the Values that guide Life and the related Changes to adapt to the passing of events. Today 5 Generations live simultaneously, each with its own characteristics and Values. Here is an overview:
1925-1945, Generation of Reconstruction (Generation Zero or Seniors, Mature, Veterans): it is also known as the “Silent Generation”, since there was little to complain about and so much to do, being the moment of the Italian post-war reconstruction. They are anchored to the Values of tradition, such as family, marriage, work. They have little love for technology and little faith in Change.
1945-1964, Generation of Baby Boomers: it is the Generation of the economic and demographic explosion, of movements such as feminism and pacifism, of the mantra “sex, drugs and rock & roll” and of the cultural revolution of ’68. They believe in the push for Change, they have faith in economic prosperity, they are consumerists. They are workaholics, competitive, aiming for career and success.
1965-1980, Generation X (or Generation of Transition): it is the Generation that marks the transition between the old and the new millennium, with the events between the 80s and 90s, defined Values are missing. This generation considers belonging to the group as a fundamental lever of relationships. They are enterprising and technological; they are responsible for the expansion of the Internet. They are creative, looking for a fulfilling job with a focus on work-family balance. They work to live and don’t live to work.
1980-1994, Generation Y (Millennials or Generation Next): it is the Generation called “Echo-Boomers” because they are often children of Baby Boomers, it is also called “ME Generation”, as individualists. It is the first generation to be familiar with technologies. They have little interest in politics, they suffer from the economic crisis and the death of ideologies. They are socially sensitive, optimistic, ambitious, curious, challenging, accept diversity and different types of families. At work they collaborate with previous generations and they too are attentive to the work-family balance. They are inclined to change, so much so that the priority they look for in their work is the opportunity for personal development and growth, they look for mentors who inspire them and instill confidence.
1995-2010, Generation Z (Post-Millennials, i-Generation, or Net Generation). They were born and raised in the age of the Internet, which makes them always be connected to the Internet (they are also called “hyperconnected”). They are creative and enterprising; they don’t believe in the “American Dream”. This generation is also called “WE Generation” and “TRUE Generation” because they are very attentive to global, multicultural problems, have a less rigid concept of gender than previous generations. They deeply believe in the capacity for dialogue to resolve conflicts and improve the world, they are open to Change and to a greater understanding of different types of people. They have a close family relationship and the parents represent a role model.
Each Generation interprets work very differently: Baby Boomers seek power and career; Generation X is attentive to their role and to obtaining results; Millennials aim for personal growth and training; post-millennials are attentive to the vision and mission of the company, as their energy is oriented towards their future. In the world of work there are 4 generations (sometimes all 5) and some companies are going through the generational transition.
In this intergenerational context it is essential to increase and improve communication between one Generation and another, starting with listening, to identify the respective differences, respect and use them as strengths and identify Values as common points to optimize coexistence between different Generations and implement the changes necessary for a generational transition that ensures business continuity.
On November 6 in Las Vegas the Måneskin (Italian rock group born in 2017, Generation Z) open the concert of the Rolling Stones (English rock group born in 1962, Generation Baby Boomers). Between the two groups there are 3 Generations, different cultures, more than 50 years of life, experiences and epochal changes: how is it possible that they play on the same stage? Because they are united by the same Value, that of being transgressive and alternative to their historical period, today as then.
Author: Valentina Reiner
Valentina Reiner is Business Coach™ by Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC), European Individual Accreditation (EIA) Coach/Mentor at Senior Practitioner Level by European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC), Neuromanager Positivo Applicato (NPA®) by Apprendo Academy
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“True Generation”: generation Z and its implications for companies McKinsey&Co, 2018
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Instant Generation, Journal of College Admission, 2017