Sunday, May 6, 2007

Gen X vs. Gen Y?

Thanks to Be Excellent blog for their post on Gen X vs Gen Y... It is a new study and they report the following:

  • More Generation Y owners say 'having fun is a priority in my business' (75% Generation Y vs. 66% Baby Boomers)
  • Generation Y business owners are more likely to find it 'very difficult' to leave their work to go on vacation (39% vs. 26%)
  • They are also more likely to put in the long hours - 10 or more hours a day (66% Generation Y vs. 58% Baby Boomers)
  • Surprisingly, Boomers also report having more natural energy than their younger peers (60% vs. 50% Generation Y)
  • Despite Generation Y's perceived greater ease with technology-- two-thirds (66%) of Generation Y entrepreneurs consider themselves tech savvy compared to less than half (47%) of Baby Boomers--both age groups agree that experience trumps tech savvy in terms of business success.
  • Passion is the leading driver for both Generation Y and Baby Boomers in starting their businesses (55% Generation Y, 40% Baby Boomer)
It is interesting data. I have to think that on most of these points the difference is not cultural.. but rather related more to life stage. It is fair to say that as we all get older, for most of us, our priorities shift a bit. For example, I am more likely to go on vacation today than I was 10 years ago. I know the business will survive without me... I like to think that has a bit to do with maturity. Not sure understood myself and the world this well back in my 30s..

I think we have to be careful not to read too much into this data. There are a ton of consultants out there trying to sell the concept that you have to manage Gen Xs and Gen Ys differently most I have heard are good, but they take the data too far sometimes. As we think of how we supervise and manage our employees, this is just one aspect of what a leader needs to consider.

For example, I don't know an employee who is going to say "please don't make my work fun!" And yet, we all know, there are parts of every job that can not be made fun. If Gen Ys have less tolerance for those tasks, the grungy part of work, this will present a new challenge for leaders. Either through good selection practices, or through internal coaching, today's business leaders need to address these challenges. Balancing the needs of your workers at their lifestage is just one more skill today's leaders need!


James E. Robinson, III said...

oh man, no mo yello. almost unreadable in an aggregator. content is content, design is design. stick to content ;-)

Mitch Owen said...

Thanks to James for his instructive suggestion.. I did an overhaul on the site to insure better readibility.. Hope he appreciates! :)