The values of the young will change the business world as we know it today. Technology has been booming for years and we are about to turn a corner.
All forces come in pairs
As Newton's third law of motion states, "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction". This pairing of forces is seen in the physical manifestation of the world around us. It is also evident in the changing of the times.
In the post-war era of the 50s and early 60s, people's lives appeared to be picture perfect. A fancy car, a beautiful home, and wholesome family life was desired by the masses. One decade later brought the rise of the hippie era. In equal and opposite measure, love was now free, money was overrated and possessions were shackles.
Anyone born after 1980 falls into the Millennial category. Millennials garner a lot of criticism from their predecessors, some of whom accuse them of being lazy and expecting success without hard work.
The author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek said - "Apparently, millennials (…) are tough to manage. They are accused of being entitled and narcissistic, self-interested, unfocused and lazy - but entitled is the big one.”
However, Millennials are also recognised for having high values. And they expect companies to have them too.
This is having a considerable influence on some of the big-name businesses, such as the Norwegian company Equinor, which recently changed its name from Statoil. Together with the name change, Equinor rolled out a major branding update. The focus has shifted to being environmentally conscious and looking for sustainable solutions.
Millennials are a reaction to the yuppy era. Values weigh higher than making money, and success is measured differently. Millennials want to do more than make a living. They want to have an effect on the world.
Sinek explained -
“[Millennials] have just graduated school, and are in their entry-level jobs, and when asked ‘how’s it going?’, they say “I think I’m going to quit.” And we’re like, ‘why?’. And they say ‘I’m not making an impact.’”
Shift in values
Sinek suggested that the issue for young people is that they do not know what constitutes making an impact. They just want their actions to have meaning. Millennials what to produce values as well as profits.
This is not going to happen for everyone overnight. Additionally, some will make peace with not making an impact. Yet, as the Millennial generation grows and becomes the leading consumer, companies and corporations will be forced to adapt to survive.
Of course, by this point, the scales will likely have tipped. Millennials will occupy a majority of leading positions in businesses, as the preceding generation of Baby Boomers retire. That in itself may turn out to be a key contributor to the shift in values that the business world is heading towards.
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