Cool Generations Research Tool: American Leadership Database

Neil Howe at Lifecourse.com has created a great new tool for researching generation cycles in American Leadership. I created a short screencast showing how to use the the new “American Leadership Database“. You can examine trends in all sorts of characteristics of American politics and can parse it out by region, party, dates, etc..

Fun for politicos, generation geeks and researchers. Play around with it a bit!

Haven’t we had enough with Angry Boomers? Time for Gen X to Lead!

Baby Boomers (born 1943-1960) are rather famous for their outspoken and contreversial manner. In their youth they expressed a great deal of anger at “The Man” (aka their GI Generation parents) and used that anger to stop the Vietnam War and break down the shallow society that surrounded them. Even as a Gen X’er (born 1961-1981) I have respect and admiration for the changes that they instigated (I am not really a fan of the idealized American Dream) but times have changed, and I wonder if Boomers are ready to adapt.

I came upon a site that was truly troubling: “Angriest Generation” which has a call to action for the Baby Boomers to “Get Angry”. The author is looking for stories about what angers Boomers and why we need to listen to them rage about it. My response: sorry Boomers, you had your chance at protest, and now it is time to grow up and help the younger generations put this society back together. Enough of the “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” already. If Boomers really want to be productive, they should follow the advice of Neil Howe and William Strausss from their book “The Fourth Turning“:

The continued maturation of Boomers is vital for the Crisis to end in triumph. These one-time worshipers of youth must relinquish it entirely before they can demand from Millennials the civic virtue they themselves did not display during the Awakening.”

[See Howe and Strauss’ full script for Boomers]

So we don’t need anymore anger or outrage from Boomers, we need forbearance and wisdom. If you are a Boomer and you are ready to put your idealistic rhertoric aside, we need you in leadership. But if not, then it is time to let Generation X lead the way. In fact, an article from the Harvard Business Review Blogs a few days ago, makes this point very well:

Why Generation X Has the Leaders We Need Now

We already have a Gen X’er in the White House. Time for other Gen X’ers to step up and heed the call of pragmatic leadership at all levels. And Boomers we need your help! Just don’t think we are going to be interested in hearing what you are angry about, or that it will help solve the monumental problems our world is facing today.

Will We Miss the Boomer Generation Managers?

I found an interesting article about the differences between Baby Boomers (born 1943-1960) and Gen X’ers (born 1961-1981) as managers. It is written by Bob Filipczak, who is a Gen X’er.

My favorite quote:

The attitude that “organizations are interchangeable” is beginning to evolve into “employees are interchangeable, and thereby disposable.” If you thought corporations were ruthless during the 80s and 90s, you may be unpleasantly surprised by organizations under the stewardship of Generation X management.

A New Civic Generation

USA Today had an article last week on how the Millennial Generation (born 1982-200?) is stepping up volunteering. There are a couple quotes by “Millennial Makeover” authors, Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais (I am reading their book right now).

“Other generations were reared to be more individualistic,” Hais says. “This civic generation has a willingness to put aside some of their own personal advancement to improve society.”

If you are a Gen-X’er (born 1961-1981), take a look at this gallery that is included in the article. These kids are not acting much like we did in our youth. If you are like me, you probably can’t help think, “Damned goody two shoes! I’m not buying the act!”. Our Gen X cynicism sure dies hard.