Many of our most powerful and lasting beliefs are formed when we are teenagers, when we first shift our focus from tangible objects and begin to wrestle with the values and ideas in the world around us. What we see and hear—and the conclusions we draw—influence for our lifetimes what we value, how we measure success, whom we trust, and the priorities we set for our own lives, including the role work will play within it.
Geography significantly influences the formation of generational beliefs and behavior. Each country’s unique social, political, and economic events shape specific views and attitudes among today’s adults. Understanding these country-to-country differences is critical to creating employment deals that attract and retain the best employees in each geographic area. Western generational models cannot be applied broadly to a global workforce.
Understanding individuals’ backgrounds and resultant perspectives or mental models both within generations and across geographies helps leaders grapple with the diversity, challenges, and potential of a global workforce. Better understanding leads to greater empathy for the “other guy’s” point of view and, ultimately, provides the foundation for more effective and efficient talent management practices.