BLG Leadership Insights Features

Leading Generation X, Y and Z

It’s easy as you get older to just give up. Technology is confusing. It takes a great deal of energy to keep up with the almost hourly changes in how we communicate. So why bother? You might be saying to yourself: “Hey, we’ve been successful, so why not just keep doing what we’ve been doing for the last couple of decades?”

Well, the painful truth of it all is that before you know it, you’ll be hiring people who have nothing in common with you.

Each year since 1998 Beloit College has released something called The Beloit College Mindset List. According to the college’s website it’s a list that “provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall” or as I like to call it “a list that makes you feel really, really old.” This year’s list for the incoming class of 2014 includes such gems as:

  • John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.
  • DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.
  • Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.
  • Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.
  • Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive

Beloit College started the list in order to help the faculty avoid using “dated references” in the classroom. But this list illuminates much more. It highlights the point that being a leader is more than just profits and quarterly statements. It’s about having an open line of communication with those you lead. It’s about never losing touch with what each of your employees understands and finds relevant. It’s about making sure everyone is on the same page, working towards the same goals and getting things done.

Sure, this year’s list will make anyone over 40 (heck anyone over 30 for that matter) laugh and reminisce about a simpler time (by “simpler” of course I mean connecting to your $20-a-month AOL account with a dial-up modem). But it will also remind you that the concept of leadership is an organic thing: It must keep adapting, growing and advancing or it dies. So check this list out and understand that soon enough these 18-year-old freshmen will be the backbone of your organization.


Picture Credit: Aldoaldoz