I don’t believe in millennials

I don’t believe in millennials.

When I say “I don’t believe” I don’t mean to say that I lack confidence in that group of people who have been labelled “millennials” by the social scientists and marketing types. On the contrary, the generation of people who have been transitioning into adulthood over the last 10-15 years are among the brightest, most creative people I have ever seen. I have great confidence in this group’s ability to lead humanity in ways never imagined and I’m looking forward to where they’ll take us. I think they’re going to do it better than any previous generation has done.

Maybe it’s better for me to say that I just don’t care much for the labels.

I was talking with my friend Tori over dinner this week. At 23, Tori is a “millennial,” but img_1274don’t you dare call her that because she, like me, disdains those labels. As we discussed how organizations put so much of their resources and energy into trying to strategize how to go after her age group, she lamented that effort as having the unintended effect of actually being discriminating. In her view, it’s a kind of reverse ageism.

I agree.

As we talked we landed on what some might see as a novel concept. What if every organization just did what it was supposed to do? Instead of targeting a particular generation of people, what if our businesses and government leaders and churches and civic organizations just sat down and did what they were created to do. And instead of trying to draw one kind of person in, what if they pushed the story of their organization? But don’t just stop there.

Once a potential client decides that a given organization can bring relief to their particular pain point, what if they put their resources and energy into nurturing and maintaining individual human beings rather than trying to stake a claim on swaths of target demographics?

Imagine if every individual that was checking out your organization was drawn in because of the story you’re telling instead of your clever marketing?

No, I don’t believe in millennials or boomers or Gen-Xers or whoever is next. I believe people are looking for great stories because, frankly, there are just too many bad stories out there. People want to know there’s something better and great stories are timeless and transcend any generational/marketing strategy even the most astute minds can conjure up.

Just figure out what your story is and start telling it.

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