Last week I had the chance to listen to Vistage speaker and futurist David Houle. David talked about coming changes, many of which are driven not only by technology, but by Millennials entering the workforce. We are already seeing flattening organizations and a move away from hierarchy and titles and offices and cubicles and all the stuff Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are comfortable with. In entrepreneurial companies, which make up the majority of our Vistage groups, hierarchies never existed. These companies pride themselves on being nimble and quick to respond to marketplace demands. The result is a competitive advantage, now more than ever, because these are the companies able to attract and retain Millennials. As Vistage companies grow, we Chairs encourage owners to build a leadership team so they can build a sustainable enterprise. Owners want experienced leaders to do this – In walks the boomers and Xers, accustomed to structure and ready to create that sustainable enterprise, and with their ability to create processes to support a sustainable enterprise, comes their comfort and desire for hierarchy, titles, offices, etc.


Perhaps as David says, as the Millennials become leaders, this will all even out. In the meantime, here are my questions for Boomer and Generation X leaders and followers:

  • Is it time to pause and ask, how much of what I expect in terms of hierarchy, paying dues, etc. matters?
  • What recognition is truly important for me to feel successful in my organization?
  • When joining a new organization or taking on an assignment, what behaviors, rather than titles and trappings, should I be asking for from my leader that will set me up to succeed?

Elisa K. Spain

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