Generational Purpose: When Differences Lead to a Commonality

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Generational Purpose: When Differences Lead to a Commonality

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Purpose is critical for organizational success. Is there such a thing as, generational purpose?

Generational purpose

Likely one of the most important yet often unrecognized concepts about generational differences is that each generation may have their own belief (but different) about a similar subject matter.

For example, all generations have a belief about entitlement, respect, and yes, beliefs that drive purpose.

Purpose and Motivation

When you ask ten people what brings them to work each day you’ll probably get at least two or three different answers. Many might suggest some connection with money or providing for their life or family.

The drive for money can certainly be a motivator, but so can fear, or inspiration. What motivates us is usually connected to a purpose, and perhaps sometimes more than one purpose.

At least several stereotypes exist about the workforce generations and motivation. Many believe that some generations are less motivated than others.

Depending on who you speak with it might begin with generation X, but many today are more likely to cite the millennial generation or generation Z as those lacking motivation.

Motivation for your job or work might have a lot to do with money, but it probably isn’t really responsible for the work you do day-in and day-out. Having purpose for your work might matter more than what most people realize.

Some of the most interesting businesses are built around purpose. Have you ever thought about this?

Why does Google, SpaceX, or Macy’s exist? What about Amazon, eBay, or Facebook? How about your local grocery store, the automobile dealership, or the hardware store? What is their purpose?

We might be able to cite numerous differences about purpose related to each of these businesses. How is this related to generational purpose?

Generational Purpose

Many businesses seek answers to managing a multigenerational workforce. They report problems in working with or communicating across five generations. They often cite things such as laziness, a sense of entitlement, and a lack of respect as limiting factors for success.

All of those things might be important and there are many different views about each one. The most successful businesses are finding ways to bring to life the purpose for the work that is done, and as humans we all respond to doing things for a purpose. Purpose is our connection and motivator.

Why do we need Google, SpaceX, or Macy’s? Some might argue that we don’t. Others might believe we can’t live without them. What brings them to life and causes them to exist?

It is about purpose, the best organizations have one or serve one, sometimes both.

Regardless of your generational orientation, one thing we all have in common is that we are all motivated by a purpose.

It’s something we all have in common.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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A Good Friend

February 27, 2017at 2:55 pm

What is your purpose?

    Dennis Gilbert

    February 28, 2017at 12:22 pm

    I think this is a good question. My purpose is help people and businesses reach greater heights or to achieve performance excellence.

      A Good Friend

      February 28, 2017at 5:04 pm

      Excellent Purpose! Stay the course!

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