Millennials Schmellenials

Millennials. Keyboard Bah Humbug. I’ve officially jumped off the millennial bandwagon. In truth, I’ve jumped off all the generational stereotyping bandwagons and have decided to treat instead, people as individuals. Why this novel approach?

This month I’ve been reading a lot about why people say Millennials are different. Of note they list:

  1. They want a culture of purpose
  2. They want to be surrounded with high performing people like them
  3. They believe they can change the world
  4. They want freedom in their work style
  5. They want praise, praise, praise
  6. Money isn’t their only motivation

My reaction was “Hey wait! Doesn’t that sound a lot like me?” (And I’m technically a Gen Xer)

I got to thinking that this list sounds like what people said about Gen X. And, what I first said about the generation after me, Gen Y. And probably again, what people said about my parents as baby boomers.

And, the more I looked at it, the more I realized that each generalization likes to stereotype the ones that come after it as different. As entitled, as difficult. This is dangerous, and wrong thinking.

The fact is this, categorizing entire generations into one amorphous character is insulting.

The Millennial generation is made up of a group of distinct individuals,  just as all generations before it. And so, if you are trying to adapt your selling style, culture or entire company to attract the common definition of a millennial you are likely making yourself unattractive to the majority of the generation that don’t fit the stereotype.

How about this instead:

  1. Create a culture that drives the performance you desire.
  2. Create a selling style that meets the needs of your customers and your stakeholders.
  3. Develop the products that meet the client’s needs
  4. Attract people that fit well and will thrive in what you built.

The key to business success is NOT developing a business that is attractive to a generalization about a generation. It’s about finding people that work well with your team, and treating them as individuals.