Generation X, sandwiched between the talented and aging Baby Boomers and the innovative and energetic Millennials, tends to be unheard, misunderstood, ignored, and overlooked. But Gen Xers are more valuable than many companies realize. In fact, any business interested in staying strong and pushing forward in today's economy must not forget Generation X and its powerful business potential.
Gen Xers are resilient
People born between 1965-1984 grew up before the Baby on Board car window sticker era. Instead of being pampered or coddled like so many in later generations have unfortunately experienced, Gen Xers were taught to be hard working, resilient, and self-sufficient. They have worked through more economic recessions than their predecessors, and many of them have carried or are carrying the burden of raising the next generation while caring for aging parents and relatives yet still holding down jobs and building careers.
Gen Xers are not just resilient, they're tough. The business world can be volatile, and people with tough minds and spirits are crucial for business survival and growth. People like Gen Xers.
Gen Xers are familiar with and old and new processes
Gen Xers grew up before the internet and modern technology changed everything. Hence, they have the best of both worlds: Their childhood and early years were spent without the distraction of modern technology, allowing them to develop the ability to focus and learn with fewer distractions. Then they were exposed to a rapidly developing new tech-based world in their youth and adulthood, the best time to take advantage of many new opportunities provided by the impressive developments in technology.
Certain things like memorization, deep learning, in-person skills, and persistence were more necessary in the days before smartphones and instant internet searches, allowing Gen Xers to develop cognitive and social skills that are not as prominent among the younger, more distracted generation. But Gen Xers are also young and flexible enough to learn new ways and incorporate old and new processes, bringing together the best of both worlds.
Gen Xers know how to leverage meaningful connections
Gen Xers have one foot in each world: analog and digital, physical and technological. Therefore they have a valuable perspective that no other generation can fully understand. Gen Xers have seen business practices emerge from technological developments, and more importantly, they know why.
Older generations may not have the flexibility to keep up with changing times, while newer ones may not understand how things came to be the way they are. Gen Xers are able to grasp both sides, and make innovative connections in business and in life that no other generation is quite able to match.
Business success requires a balance of stability and change. Companies that move too slowly risk being outpaced by more innovative competitors. However, companies that risk too much and change too quickly may throw out important cornerstones and destroy themselves with their instability. Generation X business leaders understand the necessity for both caution and risk. They have knowledge and real-world experience coupled with creativity and flexibility, which is why the key to business potential lies in their hands, more than it does in the hands of business leaders from any other generation.