I recently gave an evening Keynote address in Toronto. There were 75 members of an association in attendance. As I often do these days, I asked the audience, through a show of hands, to let me know who is part of the Baby Boomer Generation (1946 to 1963) – surprising with this audience, about a third of the hands went up. I then proceeded to ask who is in the Gen X group (1964 to 1979) – about a third of the hands went up. Then, who is in the Gen Y generation (1980 to 1995) – and again a third of the hands went up… less one person. Then I asked: “Is there anyone out there in the Gen Z group (1996 to present)?” One lonely hand hesitantly goes up. My first Gen Z at a talk I gave! (Now I feel really old!)
The leading edge of Gen Zs are now 23 years old and they are coming out of school and ‘onstream.’
In my travels around the world, I consistently and constantly hear from leaders everywhere: “I don’t get these Millennials. They’re lazy, narcissistic and self-absorbed. They’re not loyal, and they’re completely obsessed with their technology.” (I heard the same thing by the way, when I was ‘coming onstream’ as a kid in my 20’s…). To this, I always reply: “Fasten your seat belts. You haven’t seen anything yet!”
Gen Zs are the most disruptive, innovative and entrepreneurial generation in history. They are 60% more likely to be entrepreneurs than any other generation, and they think differently! They have ideas about building businesses that have no physical assets (no offices, I.T. Infrastructure, etc.), no employees (they view their opportunities for ‘talent’ acquisition to come from a pool of 7-Billion people in 24-time-zones), and they are developing products and services that are designed to be better, faster and cheaper than yours.
If not, what are doing to get ready for it? And by the way, the words: “It will never happen to us,” were uttered by Kodak, Blockbuster Video, Sears, Polaroid, and countless others.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker, and TEC Top Speaker of the Year for 2018. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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