In this context, I'm convinced that Gen X'ers will be the leaders we need. The experiences that shaped those of you who were teens in the late '70s and '80s, as I've outlined in past posts, translate into valuable contemporary traits and perspectives.
- Your accelerated contact with the real world, for many through a "latch-key" childhood, has made you resourceful and hardworking. You meet your commitments and take employability seriously.
- Your distrust of institutions grew as you witnessed the lay-offs of the '80s and has prompted you to value self-reliance. You have developed strong survival skills and the ability to handle whatever comes your way with resilience. X'ers instinctively maintain a well-nurtured portfolio of options and networks.
- A sense of alienation from your immediate surroundings as teens, coupled with rapidly expanding technology, has allowed you to look outward in ways no generation before could or did. You operate comfortably in a global and digital world. Many of you are avid adopters of the collaborative technology that promises to re-shape how we work and live.
- Your awareness of global issues was shaped in your youth, and you are richly multicultural. You bring a more unconscious acceptance of diversity than any preceding generation. Your formative years followed the civil rights advances of the 1960s. High divorce rates during your youth meant you are the first generation to grow up with women in independent authority roles. You welcome the contributions of diverse individuals.
- Your preference for "alternative" and early experience in making your own way left you inclined to innovate. You tend to look for a different way forward. Your strongest arena of financial success as a generation has been your entrepreneurial achievements.
- Your skepticism and ability to isolate practical truths have resulted in rich humor and incisive perspective. You help us all redefine issues and question reality.
- Your childhood made you fiercely dedicated to being good parents, prompting you to raise important questions about the way we all balance work with commitments beyond the corporation.
- Your pragmatism has given you practical and value-oriented sensibilities that, I believe, will help you serve as effective stewards of both today's organizations and tomorrow's world.
The most difficult elements of your past may well be those that provide you with the strongest capabilities for today.