We’ve all been there. You’re chatting with a younger colleague about popular music, movies or sports, and you wistfully mention Michael Jordan scoring 55 in his comeback game against the New York Knicks, or the twist ending to The Usual Suspects, or seeing Dave Matthews Band tour their debut album. This is when your counterpart says something along the lines of, “No, I actually don’t remember that, I was born in 1995.”
Oof. What a gut punch! But beyond a clarion sign of your own impending mortality, these moments are good reminders for leaders that while these young professionals comport themselves well and are often very impressive, they come from a different time.
There’s a danger in generational reductionism. Publications are often guilty of overgeneralizing and assigning common characteristics to entire generations based on decontextualized data points. “Gen X is disaffected, bitter, and likes flannel. Millennials won’t buy houses, get married, or eat mayonnaise.”