Nupur Goenka

The author is GSEA Chair, EO Gurgaon, and Director, GD Goenka Group

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Gen X: The Lighthouse Guiding Entrepreneurial Spirit Of Gen Z

According to a recent Nielson study, about 54 per cent of Gen Z indicated they wanted to be entrepreneurs. Seeking consumable nuggets of wisdom, Gen Z turns to Gen X, the latter having witnessed the entrepreneurial world transform with all its significant ups and downs

People used to think twice about challenging their destinies in startups or personal business ventures a few decades ago. It was likely to be a family endeavour if you were an entrepreneur. However, today's scenario is entirely different. Not only have people embraced their enterprising spirit, but they have also transformed the startup ecosystem altogether. With each generation's unique business approach, the entrepreneurial landscape has considerably evolved over the past few decades.  

Today, in this dynamic entrepreneurial space, Gen Z is bursting with enthusiasm, daringly eager to seize global opportunities with a genuine appetite for risk. According to a recent Nielson study, about 54 per cent of Gen Z indicated they wanted to be entrepreneurs. As this upcoming generation of youngsters, aged between 8 and 23 years, treads alternative paths and explores the world of startups, they look up to erstwhile generations to guide them. Seeking consumable nuggets of wisdom, Gen Z turns to Gen X, the latter having witnessed the entrepreneurial world transform with all its significant ups and downs.  

Often underappreciated, Gen X has experience-based learning to offer and plays a critical role in driving the execution of business strategies and bringing new ideas to reality. They're becoming more enterprising and understand how millennials and Gen Z operate, serving as a reconciling bridge between the two. They are, therefore, adept at entrepreneurial leadership roles. Here are some key lessons that Gen X is dispensing to other generations to learn from: 

Work expeditiously 
Gen-Xers are synonymous with efficiency and speed. Often looking for innovative or 'jugaadoways to get their work done, they are quick at their uptake. They offer feedback only when needed and are keen on seeing results rather than micromanaging. They are more focused on delivering results and usually look for ways to help others perform well and improve where required. Taking on this method can help other generations lead a more balanced lifestyle where they have more time for the things they love doing. 

An outside perspective is key. 
According to a study by Development Directions International's (DDI's) Center for Analytics and Behavioral Research (CABER), gen-Xers are much more likely than others to seek a third-party perspective. They seek guidance through workshops, coaching, etc., from an outside source to gain a fresh outlook. They see that existing leaders may require a refresher when navigating challenges and are open to different ideas and thought processes.  

  Balancing the Scales 

Being the in-betweeners between millennials and Gen Z, Gen X is all about maintaining a balance. They have their own unique way of working and come equipped with a balance of conventional and digital methods, making them adept at driving execution and building talent. They often use their traditional leadership skills and tech-savvy abilities to find seamless solutions to improve efficiency. Gen-Xers are skilled at leveraging technology to support traditional development and help businesses grow.  

Pivot to thrive 

Gen-Xers saw massive economic ups and downs when they began their careers. They witnessed economic turbulence—the dot-com bust, for instance, and realised they would need to keep working to grow. They are wired with the mindset to keep going and leverage their skills to the fullest. A MetLife study of gen-Xers found that only 2 in 5 are working in the same career they started. Gen X understands the importance of pivoting to ventures and jobs where they see growth potential. They develop flexible careers while keeping their skills razor-sharp and transferable in order to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. 

Despite aiming to chart entirely new career paths for themselves and detouring, Gen Z eventually wants to stick to scripts for dependable, growth-oriented careers. With this desire in mind, they consider Gen X as their beacon of startup advice. Having ridden the waves of change successfully, Gen-Xers have a penchant for seeking the best and most efficient business solutions, making them someone to look up to. Filled to the brim with resilience and resourcefulness, Gen X has become the lighthouse guiding future generations' entrepreneurial yearnings. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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