Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 8
Z is for ... Zealous
I have three Gen Z kids.
They've never known life without
social media or the internet. And they're
part of a generation of creative thinkers
whose brains are trained to multitask.
But what does this mean for the
"Zs have been raised with an
individualistic, realistic and competitive
nature," says Sarah Sladek, CEO of
XYZ University. "They have been taught
the skills to successfully defy the norm.
This means we're going to see the
pendulum shift away from collaborative
workplaces towards a widespread
demand for, and pursuit of, leadership
Sladek and Josh Miller, director of
Gen Z studies for XYZ University,
conducted a survey of Gen Zs. Out
of 1,395 responses, the two most
common words to describe success:
happiness and hard work.
When it comes to learning, Gen
Zs are interactive, so keeping them
engaged and motivated in the
8 ASSOCIATION LEADERSHIP
workplace is crucial for employers.
This generation doesn't learn by
listening, but by doing, often by
engaging their social networks. They
also prefer to learn online - watching
a YouTube video or taking an
In fact, Gen Z brains are
more flexible than those of their
predecessors, allowing them to easily
change focus when it comes to skills
and subject matter. Boredom is taboo
for these learners.
"Zs have learned to think like
hackers: fixing, changing and creating
new solutions and opportunities in
hopes of finding a better way to do
things," Miller said. "Zs are learning
critical thinking. They have learned
that every aspect of a business is
the result of a choice that the owner
made. In addition, they are learning
innovation; how to bring ideas to life,
create a brand, devise marketing
strategies, plan budgets and make a
And, Gen Zs are "geeks," he
says. They're not afraid to let their
individuality shine while chasing their
dreams and following their passions.
When it comes to networking,
social media is the preferred choice.
This generation has grown up with
Instagram and SnapChat, and
both platforms have expanded their
professional audiences. While there
are advantages, some researchers
fear Gen Z may not have adept
In addition to being natural leaders,
Gen Zs like to work on teams and are
But they're also entrepreneurial,
curators of content and fighters for
In short, companies and
organizations will most likely have
to adapt to the next generation of
workers, allowing them leadership,
learning and networking opportunities.
The question is, are we ready? -
Kristen Parker, Event Garde