I am certain you’ve heard some of the same stories I’ve heard over the last ten years. In communities around America, local hardware stores have been driven out of business by the entrance of a new Home Depot in town. Communities feel a similar impact when a Walmart sets up shop in town. Local discount stores just can’t compete with the new store’s low prices.
Have you ever stopped to consider what these stories have in common? One word: Size. The reason Walmart’s prices are so low is the sheer volume of products they offer. Similarly, Home Depot trumps local competitors because it has the advantage of being a large chain.
Let’s face it. Size matters.
The same is true for this emerging generation of kids I call: “Generation iY.” They are the youngest batch from the most studied generation in modern history — The Millennials or Generation Y. If for no other reason, we cannot ignore them because of their sheer size. They have just surpassed the Baby Boomers in size (the Boomer generation includes about 78 million Americans), and with immigration, which is the wild card, Generation Y could mushroom to 100 million strong. Worldwide, they are already the largest generation in recorded history. Almost half the world’s population is 25-years-old or younger. That’s nearly three billion people to nurture, equip and prepare to lead the way into the future. Like it or not, they will impact our economy, our social make up, our tax structure, our commerce — and they will become leaders sooner than later. Because Generation X is much smaller than the Boomers, they will not be large enough to fill all of the positions emptied when the Boomers retire. Generation Y will lead us. Hmmm.
Here are some questions as we consider the challenge of the global iY phenomenon:
• How can we meet Generation iY’s need for social capital (influence)?
• How can we let them find expression, yet keep them focused on solutions?
• When are they most ready to learn and accept guidance from adults?
• How can we instill timeless values in a pluralistic world?
• What are the biggest issues to resolve worldwide as they enter adulthood?
• Where can we steer them for leadership skills and mentoring?
Are you up for the challenge?