Matt Wells

MILLENNIALS IN. (Eventually)
T H A N I . W E L L T H AT ’ S D I S E N C H A N T I N G …
Why Matt Wells
(honestly, I’m not real sure, but I thought this sounded good)
Birthday December 2, 1977
◦ Second child in a family of four children – google ‘middle child
◦ Born as a late Gen-Xer, Identifies with the ‘latchkey kids’ but not really a
◦ Close enough to a Millennial to identify more thoroughly with their
quirks, but not really a true ‘Millennial’
◦ Raised in a lifestyle most baby boomers and the Silent Generation are
familiar too
◦ A long term interest in people and what makes generations different
What are the Generations?
Generations are group sets of people born within a
approximate range of 20 years – some dates are fluid
◦Silent Generation – 1928-1945
◦Baby Boomer Generation – 1945-1964
◦Generation X – 1965-1980
◦Millennials – 1981-1997/2004
◦‘Z” Generation – 1998/2004 - ~2020
Caveats to the next few slides…
These are generalizations, use accordingly.
These may or may not represent you completely as
an individual but you may identify with parts of it…
That is the point.
Silent Generation (youngest is 70)
Went through their formative years during an era of suffocating conformity, but also
during the postwar happiness: Peace, Jobs, Suburbs, Television, Rock ‘n Roll!
Korean and Vietnam War generation.
Pre-feminism women; women stayed home generally to raise children, if they
worked it was only certain jobs like teacher, nurse or secretary.
Men pledged loyalty to the corporation, once you got a job, you generally kept it for
The richest, most free-spending retirees in history.
Marriage is for life, divorce and having children out of wedlock were not accepted.
Silent Generation (cont.)
In grade school, the gravest teacher complaints were about passing notes and
chewing gum in class.
They are avid readers, especially newspapers.
"Retirement" means to sit in a rocking chair and live your final days in peace.
The Big-Band/Swing music generation.
Strong sense of trans-generational common values and near-absolute truths.
Disciplined, self-sacrificing, & cautious.
Baby Boomers (youngest is 51)
The "me" generation.
"Rock and roll" music generation.
Ushered in the free love and societal "non-violent" protests which triggered violence.
Self righteous & self-centered.
Buy it now and use credit.
Too busy for much neighborly involvement yet strong desires to reset or change the common
values for the good of all.
Even though their mothers were generally housewives, responsible for all child rearing, women
of this generation began working outside the home in record numbers, thereby changing the
entire nation as this was the first generation to have their own children raised in a two-income
household where mom was not omnipresent.
Baby Boomers (cont.)
The first divorce generation, where divorce was beginning to be accepted as a tolerable reality.
Began accepting homosexuals.
Optimistic, driven, team-oriented.
Envision technology and innovation as requiring a learning process.
Tend to be more positive about authority, hierarchal structure and tradition.
One of the largest generations in history with 77 million people.
Their aging will change America almost incomprehensibly; they are the first generation to use
the word "retirement" to mean being able to enjoy life after the children have left home.
Generation X (youngest is ~ 35)
The "latch-key kids" grew up street-smart but isolated, often with divorced or career-driven parents.
Latch-Key came from the house key kids wore around their neck, because they would go home from
school to an empty house.
Very individualistic.
Government and big business mean little to them.
Want to save the neighborhood, not the world
Feel misunderstood by other generations
Cynical of many major institutions, which failed their parents, or them, during their formative years
and are therefore eager to make marriage work and "be there" for their children
Don’t "feel" like a generation, but they are
Generation X (cont.)
Tend to commit to self rather than was an organization or specific career. This generation
averages 7 career changes in their lifetime, it is not normal to work for a company for life, unlike
previous generations.
Society and thus individuals are envisioned as disposable.
School problems were about drugs.
Late to marry (after cohabitation) and quick to divorce…many single parents.
Want what they want and want it now but struggling to buy, and most are deeply in credit card
Short on loyalty & wary of commitment.
Cautious, skeptical, unimpressed with authority, self-reliant.
Millennials (Youngest is ~18)
Aka "The 9/11 Generation" "Echo Boomers" America’s next great generation brings a sharp
departure from Generation X.
They are nurtured by omnipresent parents, optimistic, and focused.
Respect authority.
Falling crime rates. Falling teen pregnancy rates. But with school safety problems; they have to
live with the thought that they could be shot at school, they learned early that the world is not a
safe place.
They schedule everything.
They are the least trusting of any generation.
They feel like a generation and have great expectations for themselves.
Millennials (cont.)
Have never known a world without computers.
They get all their information and most of their socialization from the Internet.
Prefer to work in teams.
With unlimited access to information tend to be assertive with strong views.
Envision the world as a 24/7 place; want fast and immediate processing.
They have been told over and over again that they are special, and they expect the world to
treat them that way.
They do not live to work, they prefer a more relaxed work environment.
‘Z’ Generation
In 2006 there were a record number of births in the US and 49% of those born
were Hispanic, this will change the American melting pot in terms of behavior
and culture.
The number of births in 2006 far outnumbered the start of the baby boom
generation, and they will easily be a larger generation.
◦ 61 percent of children 8-17 have televisions in their rooms.
◦ 35 percent have video games.
◦ 14 percent have a DVD player.
4 majority already have their own cell phones. They have never known a world
without computers and cell phones.
So… How is this shit going to work?
(from a leadership perspective, as the ‘new boss’)
In the next 10 years an overwhelming majority of the Baby
Boomers are going to retire and leave leadership positions,
How do you prepare for a leadership change in work
culture, which for the most part, will skip an entire
How do you manage 4 different generations in the
Boomers letting go…. They Don’t want too!
◦ They identify themselves by their work, they are the ‘me’
◦ They do love retirement, but don’t think they are ‘old’
◦ The oldest of the Boomers are 70 this year, the youngest are 51
◦ Consider their retirement an opportunity to play, but not real sure they are old enough to
◦ They are having a hard time letting go
Many have come back into the workplace ‘partime’ in lower levels
Many are still working as consultants…
Many have only ‘partially’ retired
Boomers have held onto their positions longer since the economic downturn of 2008
Boomers actually like, the Millennials
more than Generation X. Why?
◦ The Generation X tend to remind them of their generation’s failures
◦ Many of the Millennials are the products of Boomer second marriages,
the children that they hovered over and told how special they were.
◦ Boomers are very ‘me’ centered, and the assertiveness of the
Millennials makes them nostalgically think they are finding their
younger ‘clones’ (again with the ‘me’ thing, it really is true)
◦ Gen X tend to buck hierarchy and do not exude the loyalty that most
Boomers think they will find in their replacement.
◦ Many Gen Xer’s have moved on to different positions, or started their
own businesses
Starting the change…
(as a Millennial or one of us oddball Gen Xer’s)
Congratulations! You are now the boss…
1. Are you the only boss? Or are you dealing with a ‘partially retired boss’ who is still active in
the organization?
2. Identify everyone in the organization and speak with them on a one to one basis.
◦ For Associations that means employees and critical volunteer leadership
◦ People in general are scared of change, but everyone has something they would like to change.
◦ Do this without the hovering, exiting Boomer present
3. Find the true culture
◦ For many associations this is two-fold - Staff culture and member/organization culture
◦ The culture of each will dictate how your proceed with your leadership style and begin the melting pot
of change
Making it work…
1. Identify who the boss is, and own it.
◦ You are now responsible for other peoples livelihood
◦ Be responsible with every single action and decision you make.
◦ Be respectful of exiting leadership, but don’t be afraid to make necessary changes.
2. Take your notes from the individual meetings and get to work doing what you know how to do
◦ Organize your teams, we have been taught this from an early age, put it to use.
◦ Focus on individuals strengths, and goals for advancement for promotion, or termination
3. Give everyone ownership in the change, be humble in recognition
◦ I am a true believer in humble leadership, “actions speak louder than words”
◦ Association boards tend to want to accolade the primary leadership
4. Use the cultures to dictate how fast you implement management and organizational changes
into your approach
Managing the Generations in the
Silent Generation– there are still a few in the workplace today.
◦ Most loyal employees to the organization
◦ Mine their brains for organizational history, they are a wealth of information
Baby Boomers– most are looking to retire, but worried about money
for retirement
◦ Once they realize you’re the boss, they are great employees
◦ Work more than they are asked too, but not always the most productive with
their time
Managing the Generations in the
Gen X– let them do their work, they can be your most productive employees
◦ Don’t be afraid to let them work from home or on their own schedule
◦ Can be your most creative and innovative employees, but don’t expect them to stay long
Millennials– you know how to handle your peers, but you are now the boss
◦ They work great in teams and collaborations, and have great time management skills
◦ Remember to give them lots of accolades, that will keep them motivated
◦ They like a work-life balance, so move your management plan to accommodate them
Gen Z – Coming soon to a workplace near you
◦ They have never experienced a world without the internet, remember that
◦ Short attention spans will force the workplace to move at an even faster pace
Life experiences
Matt Wells
[email protected]

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