Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and form a larger cohort than the others I’ve previously written about. (Sometimes they are referred to Baby Boomers I and Baby Boomers II with the cut off year between being 1959.)
Certainly those born before 1959 can remember Martin Luther King and John F Kennedy, the Beatles and Elvis and other massive changes to the world of politics and the music industry.
Don’t underestimate the Baby Boomers, amongst Baby Boomers there are some powerful people in the world today who have made a lasting impact. This cohort includes such people as Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Madonna, Barack Obama, the Price of Wales, Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair, Benazir Bhutto, Angela Merkel, Ellen DeGeneres and many, many more.
The name was given to this cohort, no one knows by whom or when to describe the generations born after the Second World War, when populations worldwide experienced a boom in births. This boom due on the one hand to partners returning home and on the other hand to the start of movement of families, particularly in Europe to countries where they were either displaced as a result of war or to which they had moved as a result of labour shortages due to war. It was now safe to have children in so many ways. It is also important to understand however the British Baby Boom was not as vast (25%) compared to the US (40%) Baby Boom and circumstances in which the early cohorts in both parts of the world grew up were very different up until 1959 (in the UK there was still rationing to a great extent). Similar applies to continental Europe as well; the world was a more austere place.
The focus here is on communication. Baby Boomers value knowledge. They grew up with encyclopaedias. If you were very lucky and your parents could afford it (or a man came round and collected weekly payments) you had the whole 15 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica in the UK or its equivalent elsewhere.
Baby Boomers value face to face communication and discussing knowledge or information with other people. For them face to face communication means in person, particularly when they want to do business. They may well be as good as younger people at using LinkedIn, Twitter, video communication etc., but for many other things they like to meet you in person.
People of this cohort are rational. In their eyes there has to be a reason for something having happened. They believe in ‘commonsense’. However what is commonness to me may not be commonsense to you. These traits are not always useful as we need Emotional Intelligence or soft skills to understand others better. See this link here for some potentially useful frames for everyday life and to understand ‘commonsense better.Baby Boomers like to negotiate, not just in business, but also in life, using rational thinking this may take longer.
Baby Boomers are prone to working long hours, you work until the job is done. Even though in the UK for Baby Boomers university education was free a far lower proportion of over 50s actually has a university degree and would therefore have been paid less for longer hours. They have also either not accrued a pension pot or one that is not generous, due to belief that the state would provide after all their years of hard work.
They are however more loyal to a company or organisation it can take a lot for some of them to change their loyalties. Loyalty is everything and money will motivate them to stay as opposed to younger generations who will move for more money and are not as loyal to a company or brand (there will always be exceptions). Baby Boomers are driven by the fact that their parents probably had little money and struggled to provide them with the material things they needed in a changing world. The change for them was just as monumental in their growing years as for other generations, but slower than in the current day and age. It has in some circumstances led to some Baby Boomers wanting and having everything material, facts that can lead to some bad press for Baby Boomers – in the words of Mike and the Mechanics in the song the Living Years ‘Every Generation Blames the One Before.’
So how would Baby Boomers like to be communicated with? You will find some who do not like change, some who may refuse to adapt. A major change once every ten years might work for them but they are happier when they take charge of the change themselves once every fifteen to twenty-five years. They like to hear what things have in common, what has not changed as well as how things are the same. Others will accept change once a year if the change is not drastic. They need change once every five to seven years. They like to hear that things are the same except more … less …better. They tend to resist major changes except when they are perceived to be gradual. Upgrades are okay because they are about an improvement new and different is not (think of those people you know who still have a mobile phone that’s like a brick and who has a smarter smartphone).
They like to talk about people and name them and meet with you regularly. They like to be given praise and told how valuable what they did or said was. They follow procedures and processes well. They value their own territory of responsibility and when needed will work together with others. They appreciate an understanding of others and how they are thinking and feeling (they don’t always get that right, because unless they have truly learned to understand others from the other person’s point of view, they only understand how they themselves would feel).
If you’d like to know more contact me Rosie O’Hara the Developing Works website, or via my Coaching Website tel. +44 (0) 7796 134081 (What’sApp as well), +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004. And please comment on this blog too.