Thursday, June 26, 2014

Changes mean changing decision thinking for Boomers

An old Wall Street Journal article about the decline of traditional shopping malls got me to thinking about the changes we’ve been witnessing over the last decade or more. 

Most older Boomers grew up with:

  • movies at the drive-in
  • cruisin’ at the Big Boy or local drive-in restaurant
  • TV shows like I Love Lucy, Gun Smoke, 77 Sunset Strip, Ed Sullivan
  • Singing groups from the Four Seasons, Beatles and Rolling Stones to singers such as Elvis, Bobby Vinton and Paul Anka
  • Issues including the Cold War, bomb shelters, Sputnik, Armstrong on the Moon, Watergate and race riots
  • Startling events from the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Hungary and the 6-Day war between Israel and Egypt/Syria.
  • downtowns dying as malls and suburbs exploded
(Ok, I realize these experiences show I grew up in the midwest in the 60s.)

Impact of Boomers

These shared experiences guide our thinking and decisions. 

Boomers have lead most organizations (governments, businesses, associations and nonprofits) for 20 or more years.

Over the next five to 15 years, most (if not all) Boomers will be retiring. As they retire from companies, they are likely to retire from their volunteer board positions. In addition, many current Boomer association executives will be retiring too.

Successful associations will plan now for Boomer-less boards and memberships.

That means engaging Gen Xers and Gen Ys in discussions and planning for programs and services based on their shared experiences not ours.

What is your association doing to prepare?

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