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INNOVATE

Why Generation Z Is the Key to Company Innovation in Southeast Asia

Here is why and how the Millennials and Generation Z can help leaders and organizations find relevance in today’s high-flux world.

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BY Ryan Jenkins - 12 Feb 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Leaders should point their people to a better future. But identifying "better" is difficult, especially in today's high-flux and disruption-prone marketplace.

Every industry has shared assumptions that fuel the prevailing model of how things have always been done. Today a "this is always how we've done it" mindset is a slippery slope to irrelevance.

Right now, somewhere in the world, someone is messing with the rules of your industry's prevailing model. Someone is pioneering new approaches under the safe canopy of anonymity, getting ready to strike with an improved product or service. Mobile technology and ubiquitous connectivity have enabled accelerated disruption.

The 33-year average tenure of companies on the S&P 500 in 1965 narrowed to 20 years in 1990 and is forecast to shrink to 14 years by 2026. At the current churn rate, about half of today's S&P 500 firms will be replaced over the next 10 years.

Now more than ever, the prevailing model causes leaders to get complacent, industries to get stuck, and companies to go under.

How Companies Stay Relevant in a World Prone to Disruption


Seek uniquely better.

What makes your company processes, policies, programs, or perks for your employees uniquely better--different and superior--from other companies?

What makes your company solutions, products, or services for your customers or clients uniquely better--distinct and improved--from competitors or the industry standard?

Discovering uniquely better is virtually impossible alone or in a vacuum. Discovering uniquely better takes intention and usually the emerging generations--Millennials and Generation Z. (Read this to learn more about Generation Z and read this to learn the differences between Millennials and Generation Z).

According to Al Ries, author of Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It, "The next generation product [idea or solution] almost never comes from the previous generations." Fresh eyes often bring the best ideas.

Our natural human tendency is to turn our back on our ignorances and face the familiar and comprehensible things we can control. But effective next-generation leaders face their ignorance in order to discover the uniquely better solutions that will keep their company relevant and unstuck.

1 Simple Way to Seek Uniquely Better


Listen to outsiders.

Listen to those outside of your organization, industry, and generation. Outsiders aren't bound by the same assumptions and prevailing models that are likely to hold your organization back.

Millennials and Generation Z especially are unaware of the walls that your industry has enclosed itself into for decades. Create a company culture of listening where ideas are welcomed, be open to the next generation challenging the status quo, and empower Millennials and Generation Z to be champions of seeking uniquely better solutions.

Millennial and Generation Z outsides are your organization's ticket to a better future.

I help companies better lead, engage, train, and sell to Millennials and Generation Z. If you'd like help solving tough generational challenges inside your organization, click here.

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