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Part 1: The Uncomfortable Truth about Changing Workplace Demographics (and Why You Can’t Ignore It)
Part 2: The Exciting Possibilities of Changing Workplace Demographics (3 Converging Trends)
by Patricia Neal
August 20, 2019
#1: Boomers Looking for Legacy and Meaning
Picking up from Shabnam Banerjee-McFarland’s excellent essay, let’s take stock of Trend 1: the enduring impact of the baby boomers. Seventy-two million baby boomers; about ten thousand of us turn sixty-five every day. We are facing some of the biggest decisions of our lives. Some of us are retiring; many more are not, for a variety of reasons including financial and fulfillment. As Ms. Banerjee-McFarland notes, 70 is less old than it used to be.
We have spent most of our lives much like our parents did: long work hours, but often in a 2-income household, with our children as the first latchkey generations.
Many of us are now taking a breath, and realizing our priorities may be changing. Many of us are seeking to leave a legacy of meaning and to find our purpose or find a new purpose.
#2: The rise of women in the workplace
Not only are women “coming online” in matters of equity and influence, but older women are finding reemergence into their purpose and expression through their work. As Sallie Krawcheck writes in her article, Why Now Is the Best Time Ever for Women to Start Businesses, “...there is broadening recognition that startups with female leadership are more successful than those run by men only. We are beginning to see a critical mass of inspiring, successful female entrepreneurs providing role models. Our success is resonating particularly with women of the Millennial generation -- the female leaders of the future. There is a growing ecosystem supporting women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses....The list of organizations, tailored to women, providing some combination of coaching, networking, instruction, and introduction to funding sources is growing every day. Underpinning the emergence of these organizations and the hundreds of other smaller, grassroots networks of entrepreneurial women supporting one another is a growing recognition that there are no limits to how big the proverbial pie can grow.
There are no queen bees in these networks, but rather relationship-focused women who recognize that it's not just one or two or three female entrepreneurs who can be successful, as in the old days of one seat at the table for a woman in corporate America. At this table, there is pie for everyone. We can lift one another up, and achieve more together than we could alone.”
#3: Purposeful Leadership
Our children, Generation X (sixty-five million) and Millennials (seventy-three million), know there is a better way to create lives that seamlessly integrate meaning, purpose, commerce, lifestyle. As Ms. Banerjee-McFarland notes, Generation Z is even more progressive, activist-oriented, and diverse than their millennial counterparts.
You have seen the progression coming through the identification of intelligences beyond IQ. First there was Emotional Intelligence (EQ), then Moral Intelligence (MQ), then Spiritual Intelligence (SQ), then Social Intelligence (SQ2).
What is the next frontier that will lead to this evolution? We predict the rise of Purpose Intelligence (PQ). As Richard Leider notes about purpose: “Your Purpose. Your aim or goal. Your reason for being. Your reason for getting up in the morning. You may not have considered the first three items, but most of us have wondered about a reason to get up in the morning, at least occasionally. The power of purpose, is about that reason: to help you unlock the purpose of your life.”
Living and acting with purpose is a practice. It is profound, it is ordinary. The power of purpose brings you back to the heart of the matter in every setting. You know why you are doing what you do and continue to align towards expression of your purpose. Then you find how to share it with others, and align towards enabling others to do the same.
All three trends point to new leadership and organizational constructs that design for distributed and situational leadership, collaboration, and equity--the next leap in leadership. It’s an exciting time to be engaged in shaping the future of work.