Millions of adult Americans have different values today than they did ten or fifteen years ago. They have a new set of priorities for their life, both personal and professional. Their new way of thinking is not by accident. It is a product of the times.
Consider the case of Darren Glover. He’s a forty something father of two, a college graduate and a district sales manager for a retail chain in North Carolina. Fifteen years ago when he shopped at the grocery store, he read product labels for health information. Today, he reads them, as well as researches them on the net – for their social responsibility. He went from worrying about his health to the health of the workers who were part of the product’s production cycle. Ten years ago, he scrutinized employment opportunities for salary and benefits. Today, he first screens a company for sustainability, social outreach and how the employees are treated. Seven years ago, he instructed his financial advisor to invest his money to make a minimum annual financial return. Today, he’s investing in companies the same way he’s buying products or considering career opportunities – with the world in mind. The vast majority of his investment portfolio is weighted in socially responsible investment funds. Over and over again, he’s started to look less at himself in a vacuum and more at the plight of people living in distant lands, “them” – in an increasingly interconnected world.
He’s an elder member of a new generation – Them Generation.
This generation isn’t confined to a demographic, it is a way of seeing the world through interdependent eyes.
Suggested activity: Scrutinize one business issue this week (new product, old process, etc.) and ask yourself what it means to someone outside the value chain (company, shareholder, Customer). Look five years into the future and identify all the humans that will be impacted by the business issue. Find the “Them” out there that have no voice, but will feel the impact of your business. When you start to think this way, you are aligning yourself with the fastest growing segment of the population: the socially responsible.
Read: Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken
His point? There’s a revolution coming, driven by NGOs and people just like yourself. This revolution is driven by an unrest around environmental, ethical and ethnocentric issues.