Based on my conversations and interviews with hundreds of young people and their parents over the past decade, a study I commissioned among more than 1,000 young men and women, and three books I authored about Gen-Z and young Millennials, I can confidently report that Gen-Z and Millennials are dramatically different generations. Millennials are the offspring and inheritors of many of the least appealing qualities of Boomers, Gen-X and Gen-Y, while Gen-Z represents a completely new entry into the genetic pool, bred as much on the Internet and media as they have been by their parents – and in many cases even more so. They're a small generation but an exceptional one from which we can learn a great deal. Those who make the investment to engage with their new Gen-Z team members will find they offer uniquely valuable insights and organizational value. Those who assume they are Millennials on steroids will miss an opportunity to be witness to a generation who will be our guides and leaders through a tumultuous period that will make the last two decades seem to have passed in slow motion.
They have seen the old systems fail and see no reason to keep them around. After all, in their lifetime technology continually advances so quickly that phones are considered outdated within a year. Gen-Z does not believe in perpetuating anything that isn't working. They are not destructive, simply disruptive. They believe themselves to be both responsible for and capable of manufacturing their own happiness and success. In order to do that, they have no qualms about breaking down long-standing institutions and transgressing traditional boundaries, such as gender, which they view as artificial and outmoded.