Drop Generational Labels


You are not a Generation. You’re an individual. Singular. This is your real value.

It’s time now to drop generational labels. Aren’t you tired of people defining a whole generation by some list of “common traits”? The Boomer’s were this, Generation X were that, and Millennial’s are who the heck knows what.

Here’s the truth: every generation contains a countless, profoundly complex, massive mix of varied individuals. Sounds obvious right? So why then do we find it so easy to label individuals and make assumptions about them because they fit a particular age demographic? You’ve done it and I’ve done it, but starting today, we need to stop this shallow thinking.

In my previous post, I made the point that for the first time in history many millions of people can finally unlock their individual truth to express their uniqueness.

We’re living in the century of Uniqueness. This is the real possibility we each have.

What if as parents, leaders, CEO’s, teachers and employers, we approached everybody we work with as unique individuals instead of Millennials, GenX’ers or Generation C? What would that require of us?

Imagine you addressed your partner or child as a members of some group. What would you call them? Hey, Millennial, dinner is ready! Hey, baby boomer, pick up after yourself!

It’s unthinkable that we would reduce somebody to a general tag rather than address them by their individual name.

And by the way, as our kids grow up and get older, they live through at least three generational shifts. Their cultural reality changes but their identity – name and personality – remain.

What does this mean for us as employers and leaders?

  1. Reject the easy road. Drop the labels. Treat your fellow employees as the unique, one-of-a-kind valuable miracles they are.
  2. Renew yourself. Think about how often you have a used a label to define somebody and choose to not do that anymore. Take responsibility and begin using correct thinking and language. And by the way, don’t treat people according to your own particular generational filter – that’s just as damaging.
  3. Restore truth. The truth is each one of us is marvelously unique. Our inherent value and potential lies in this reality. A great and effective leader understands this and treats his people accordingly.
  4. Release potential. Take the time and spend the energy to discover, understand, respect and help your employees to do their work responsibility, through the filter of their uniqueness, not that of a “generation”.

I imagine some of you reading this are wondering which planet I live on! After all, who has the time or energy to do what I’m suggesting? The answer is all of us do and must. Humanity is entering a new season in history. It’s bigger than generations, cultures, and national or cultural movements.

It’s the era of the unique.

And whatever industry you’re working in, the ability to understand this new reality and respond appropriately will affect everything from your culture to your bottom line.

If you’re looking for an excellent example of how to make this real at your own company, check out David W. Dussault. A couple of years back, he hired me as a Culturalist at his advanced manufacturing company, P1, where part of my job was to help develop a culture facilitating uniqueness. A visionary ahead of his time, David understands the new era and is making the necessary changes to ensure P1 is not only relevant today but also ready for what’s coming. It’s working for him so it can work for you too!

Whether an employer or employee, you are not a piece in a “generation”.  You are a one time, never to be repeated, unique creation. So in your context, unlock your truth and express your true value. You’ll find that when you do, everybody wins!

This post was inspired by this excellent article from Ryan Holmes