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TransitionGenerational transitions are a natural part of evolution. And, that right now, we in a major generational transition. By 2020 75% of our workforce will be under the age of 40. The magnitude of this change has not been seen since the Boomers “came to power” 50 years ago.

History has shown that every generation is labeled as being different as they enter the workforce. But, the so called Millennial generation, and the Z Generation / Plurals that will follow them, are different and as leaders we need to not only recognize these differences but also realize that corporate cultures and organizational structures have to evolve.

In my opinion, the question history will ask of present day leaders is, how well did we grow and evolve the way all think, do and lead, therein preparing the next generation to lead and assure future business growth?

So the question we have to address is “how do we keep the plane flying while we reengineer it for a new type of fuel?”

We, as leaders, have to be willing to be flexible and adapt our businesses to a new digital consciousness. It is not productive to blame Millennials or reduce the issue to “they don’t have the soft skills they need”. We need to recognize we all need a bit of “reprogramming” if we are to successfully recruit and retain, not only the Millennials, but our existing, more experienced talent.

For evolution to succeed we need to rethink our organizational structures and pull lessons from The Berkana Institute’s Lifecycle of Emergence and the actions that will bring this generational transition evolution to a successful conclusion — without massive disruption.

Change never happens successfully as a result of top-down, preconceived strategic plans, or from the mandate of any single individual or boss. Change begins as local actions spring up simultaneously in many different areas. When these changes become connected local actions can emerge as a powerful system with influence at a more large scale or comprehensive level.” (Principles of Healthy Living Systems, The Berkana Institute, 2006.)

Gaynor Strachan Chun is Founder and CEO of SM+ART and a Senior Partner at On Brand Management, a diverse problem-solving firm that works with you to create your company’s ideal ecosystem — a culture, organizational structure, and process that delivers a high performing team of whole brain thinkers. A team able to think and act beyond the week, month or quarter and an organizational structure that boosts talent growth and retention. Contact Gaynor at gaynorsc@onbrandmanagement.com.

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