Millennials: The Truth Behind Generational Thinking Style Trends

Today’s Millennial workforce. We hear that often that they’re entitled, lazy, self-centred and lacking a strong work ethic.

And yet in my time, every generation has been called the same. The Gen X “slackers” of 25 years ago? The spoiled “Me Decade” Baby Boomers?


Is it possible that the stereotypes aren’t so much about generations as they are about life stage? About age?

No matter what decade marks your time as a younger member of the workforce, there is almost always someone older than you thinking that you’re naive, your ideas are unrealistic, and you don’t know what it’s like in the “real world.”

HBDI data of Generational Thinking Styles

So, we decided to have a look at the HBDI data and see if that revealed anything about the generations.

Our research has looked at the thinking preferences and work elements of Millennials compared to those of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers when they were in that same age range. While we’re still completing the longitudinal analysis, here’s what we can tell you: there are no substantial differences as far as we can tell. This chart, which compares rankings of work elements, is a good example:


So if our research (and that of many others) shows that Millennials don’t think all that differently from Gen Xers or Baby Boomers, then why all the grumbling?

Not only is life stage a likely factor, but the brain might also play a role here, too. Although their thinking may not be different from yours when you were their age, it’s different from your thinking now.

But you can “think yourself young”! Thinking agility allows us to meet others where they think, whether we’re members of the same generation or not.

To become a more Agile Thinker, try using the SAC Process.

S: SHIFT – your thinking.

A: ALIGN – your thinking to where others are.

C: CONNECT – your thinking.

It’s a good foundation for improving communication, engagement, teamwork, idea generation, innovation and more—and those benefits are truly timeless.


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