Post author: Mic Johnson
There are a few things I’ve been thinking about for quite some time that need to (and I believe will) happen in the business world. I’m not exactly sure when the transition will reach “there’s no turning back now” status, but I’m confident that it’s going to. If I had to guess, I would say (optimistically) we’ll start seeing the pendulum swing further in the direction of the items mentioned below in the next 3-5 years.
(Small caveat: When I’m talking about generations below, I’m generalizing. Many of us have a blend of generational characteristics. In fact, I’ve long referred to myself as a GenX’er With Y Tendencies. Ask me why the next time you see me and I’ll explain.)
1. More women (finally) in leadership positions.
Women are moving toward the glass ceiling and have hammers in BOTH hands (and maybe a spare or two in their purses). Just a few recent examples include:
And one of my favorites….There’s a Girl Scout troop teaching girls to be CEOs.
I’ve talked with my wife Missy and several other women about some of the things they’ve had to put up with in their careers and it blows my mind. Even worse, there was an unspoken, reluctant acceptance that it’s just something that women have had to deal with if they wanted to advance in their careers.
I have a strong sense that more and more women aren’t going to put up with this much longer. And when they get to those positions of leadership after playing the game for so long, they’re going to change the rules of the game…and, in many instances, they’ll be even more effective than the men they’re replacing.
2. The Death of Old School Cultures
Old school cultures, led by old school (predominately white) men, being forced to (finally) change because Millennials (and increasingly more Gen X’ers) won’t work for them or buy from them.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with people about this topic. Everyone rolls their eyes and shakes their head knowingly. We’ve all been around cultures and people like this.
So why do we stand for it?
If we’re honest with each other, people have put up with this BS for decades because they’re afraid of losing their jobs and are afraid to speak truth to power. And to make matters worse, many in power surround themselves with people who won’t question them and carelessly build cultures where people don’t have a voice.
So one bad decision leads to another, and another, and another. Eventually, the culture begins to implode on itself. We’re going to see a lot more of this in years to come in businesses that have gotten away with old school, ineffective cultures for far too long.
3. Increased Entrepreneurship
It’s already happening, but we’ll see increased entrepreneurship among GenX’ers and Millennials if/when old school cultures don’t change. I have many friends who have been at companies for several years now (or hopped from bad culture to bad culture), putting up with way more than any employee should ever have to, and who are disillusioned or on the path to disillusionment.
Something seems to happen when you hit 40 (or even earlier for some of the lucky ones). You start to question…
“Is this it?”
“Is this why I’ve worked so hard?”
“So that I can do the same stupid/boring job working for the same people who don’t listen and who don’t ask for or value my input?”
Millennials won’t make the same mistake as many of the GenX’ers before them, even it means they have to live at home a little while longer instead of working for a company culture and leadership that suck.
The rarely mentioned GenX’ers (yes I’m one of them and yes I’m tired of our generation being ignored) weren’t a big enough group with a big enough voice to force this much needed and long overdue collective evolution.
That’s not the case with Millennials. As soon as they hit their stride as a generation (and it will happen), big changes will soon follow. We’re already starting to see ripples in the water. Eventually, they will become waves. For businesses, governments, and for Boomers and Gen X’ers, the choice is clear:
Get on board and ride the waves…or grab a life preserver and hope for the best.