16 October 2014

Are you a Generation Flux employer?

Move over Baby Boomers and Generation Y, Generation Flux is here. Are you or your employees members of this adaptable forward-thinking group?

What is generation flux?

Most people have heard of the ages of the Baby Boomer and Generation X, Y and Z, but these are being put to pasture with a new term that looks beyond the demographics of your date of birth. Generation Flux is a trend or psychographic, a term to describe those who have the attitude and ability to thrive in a constantly changing environment.

The term was coined by Robert Safian, the Editor of Fast Company magazine from his many interviews with successful business leaders.

The reasoning behind Generation Flux

You can be any age and be a member of Generation Flux, because the term acknowledges the fact that all generations are experiencing change because the world around us is altering.

There is no doubt that change is happening faster than in the past. There were decades between the invention of the first telephone and the development of the mobile phone, but the functionality and appearance of smart phones now compared to just a few years ago is dramatic.

This is also a time of disruption. Companies such as Nokia, which dominated its market for years, have been unceremoniously knocked off their pedestals, while the rise of the digital industry has been a disaster for well-established chains like Blockbuster and HMV.  

Perhaps because of this changing environment, it is now more acceptable to be self-employed or own your own business. The numbers of start-ups has risen dramatically in the last five years and 25% of 16-30 year olds now expect to be working for themselves within the next five years according to The Prince’s Trust.

The idea behind Generation Flux is that the people and businesses that change with the times or are the agents of change are those most likely to succeed. This fits well with many small businesses, which are more likely to be able to adapt to changes and be open to new ideas. However both small and larger businesses can benefit from the Generation Flux mind-set. In fact, it may be necessary for all businesses if they want to become and stay successful in their chosen market.  

Are you a Generation Flux employer?

Like all of the generation terms, some traits have been associated with Generation Flux to help define who is and isn’t a Fluxer.

  • Are you responsive to change? Change can be scary, but it can also be a time of opportunity if you embrace it. Are you willing to break the rule book and look at things differently, challenging long-held assumptions of your own and those around you? Having a flexible attitude allows you to recognise when a business model or product needs to change (whether it’s a tweak or a complete alteration) to meets the needs of your customers better.
  • How well do you communicate? Fluxers have to be excellent communicators – able to listen and to get their point across well, while ensuring that it has been understood correctly. If you’re a business owner, you may need to communicate with customers and suppliers as well as any staff you have and how you communicate with them will affect their loyalty to your business.
  • Do you have a passion for learning? Generation Flux leaders recognise that they don’t and can’t know everything. However, rather than considering this a threat, Fluxers have a passion for learning– whether it’s keeping abreast with industry changes or learning something completely different. Because of this, they’re more likely to be multi-achievers and open to learning from everyone, at all levels of business.
  • Do you embrace challenges? Fluxers acknowledge that sometimes you have to take risks and that mistakes are an opportunity to learn and need not be catastrophic.
  • Are you protective about your creations? Fluxers appreciate that the product they started with may not be around in five years. They can’t be precious about their products because otherwise they shield themselves from ideas that could improve them. This links back to them being comfortable with change having a future-focus.
  • Are you self-aware? Those of Generation Flux tend to have high self-awareness, which is a trait of a high emotional intelligence. They know their strengths and weaknesses and how to make up for the latter. Being self-aware allows you to realise how best to manage and respond to both your needs and those around you.

Are you a member of Generation Flux? If not, perhaps it’s time you learned to cultivate some of the traits above.