Here’s a question for anyone older than 30: When is the last time you chatted with a teenager or twenty-something about the future of our world? Ah, generation Y. I’m raising two of them, born in the tail end of the Y timeline (those born between 1977 and 1997).
It’s both scary and fascinating the way their minds think. I’m excited and energized by most of it. And I think it’s important to be purposeful about making personal connections to understand this 80 million+ group who will reshape the world with leadership that many of us predecessors may find unconventional.
They love brands, they’re techno-savvy and probably the generation best prepared for globalization. But they don’t own land lines or subscribe to newspapers, and their employment expectations and work habits tend to rub older generations the wrong way.
In two weeks I’m going to Atlanta for the Catalyst Conference 2010, the largest gathering (12,000!) of young leaders in the U.S. My plan is to be like a sponge during this powerful convergence of next generation leaders, because I want to have a better understanding of the hearts of young leaders who see things differently. And I’ll get to meet some of the thousands of influencers and do-ers who are making a major difference and who have the power to change our communities and culture for good.
I’ll be in great company, along with others from generations who came before this next generation of our history:
1901 – 1924: “G.I. Generation,” came of age during World War II and was known for its respect for government and its patriotism.
1925 – 1942: “Silent Generation,” known for its post-war stoicism and its ability to take adversity in stride.
1946 – 1964: “Baby Boomers,” the largest generation of the past century, is credited for creating and defining the American middle class.
1965 – 1976: “Generation X,” a more independent and cynical generation.
I’m with the last of the Boomers; a child of the 80s with big hair and big dreams of doing things way differently than my parents’ generation. Where is your place in history? Are you willing to soak in what our emerging leaders have to offer?