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17 Dec

Jean Silvestre

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It is as if our generation, the generation X, has been coined once and for all the “lost generation” and has totally disappeared from the surface of the planet. There is much fuss those days on the “millenials” (generation Y) and “post-millenials” (Generation Z) but not much to be heard on X's.

What people tend to overlook is that our generation, the Generation X, is about to enter the prime of its life and will soon populate most of the management positions out there.

X's are not lost!
X's have long been ignored!
X's are about to shine!

What is an "X" anyway?

There is no simple answer to date but the consensus is that you are a member of the Generation X if you are born somewhere between the early 1960s and the early 1980s.

They mapped time with generational buckets, defined archetypes and hypothesized the existence of generational cycles throughout the American history. They associated the term "Nomad" to our generation and made a strong parallel with the "Lost Generation" which lived somewhere between 1883-1900.

Their hypothesis is that the world goes through cycles of High, Awakening, Unraveling and Crisis periods.

For them "Nomad" generations are born during an Awakening, a time of social ideals and spiritual agendas, when young adults are passionately attacking the established institutional order. "Nomads" grow up as under-protected children during this Awakening, come of age as alienated, post-Awakening adults, become pragmatic midlife leaders during a Crisis, and age into resilient post-Crisis elders. Not really enticing ...


Not really. What the "Generation X Report" [2] concludes is quite different. This study find that X's are highly educated, active, balanced, happy and family oriented.

There is still hope ...

Who are the X's?

Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Barack Obama, Tim Cook, Michael Dell ... the list is endless.

If you take the Fortune 500 (as I did) and try to list out all the CEO which are X's, you will end up with a proportion lying between 30 to 40% of them.

The most amazing is that all those X's are leading some of the most innovative and challenging companies which are currently rocking this world!

There is a growing consensus that Generation X leaders' assets are their adaptability, technological literacy, independence and creativity.

Generation X leaders thrive on change; are fair, competent and straightforward; are very adaptable, flexible; and hate being micro-managed.

Still feeling being a member of a "Lost Generation"?

Bruce Tulgan [3], an acknowledged expert on Generation X, argues that employees with different work characteristics will be more effective and productive with different leadership styles. His studies show that X's managers are typically mature beyond their years, and very team oriented.

This is giving X's a strong advantage in remaking organizations to reflect twenty-first-century realities: the need for transparency, accountability, real-time performance, lack of ideology, top-of-market effectiveness, and cash value.

X's are very talented and pragmatic managers ...

The unsung over-achievers!

Baby Boomers are starting to retire.

While most businesses have not yet managed to find a definitive solution to talent retention and attraction for X's, they already start to worry and panic when they hear about "millenials".

It is great time to think about the X's!

That’s right, X's are more than just a footnote in the current headlines on "Millennials".

They likely still represent one of the largest and most wealthy consumer base and are getting more and more active.

"Millenials" might be gearing up to take over the workforce, but are currently less than 36% of it, are still a minority in managerial positions, and even as that number increases, X's will still be around for quite some time.

X's have outnumbered the "Baby Boomers" for 10 years already!

It’s time they got some serious attention.

X's are an important forgotten asset of many company's future ...



[1] Strauss, William, and Neil Howe. "The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy: What the Cycles of History Tell Us about America's next Rendezvous with Destiny". New York: Broadway, 1997. Print.

[2] Miller, Jon D. "The Generation X Report: Active, Balanced, and Happy: These young Americans are not bowling alone". University of Michigan, Longitudinal Study of American Youth, funded by the National Science Foundation. Retrieved October 23, 2012.

[3] Tulgan, B. "Managing Generation X: How To Bring Out the Best In Young Talent". W. W. Norton & Company, Revised Edition edition (August 17, 2000). Print.

Image Credit: Flickr


This post originally appeared on Linkedin. Written by Yannick Feder

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