Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hanging with the “Jones” - Leaders and Followers take note

Have you ever felt like you are too young to be a Boomer, but too old to be a Gen X?

I would be a case in point – I bounce between the stereotypic traits of Boomer and Gen X. Like the Boomers, I’m dedicated to my career, drive a conservative car, have low debt and try to be environmentally conscious. But then again, I am into all types of technology, listen to current music and active in the community as do the Gen X. A couple years ago, a diversity conference speaker said a person will tend to demonstrate a particular generation’s traits the closer they are to the mid-point of the generation’s year span. Perhaps there was an explanation – I was not at the mid-point of either generation.

WWII = 1928-1945 / Boomer = 1946-1959 / Gen X = 1960-1980 / Gen Y = 1981-2001

Then enters Jonathon Pontell and his identification of Generation Jones born between 1954 and 1965. Finally, I have a home. But more importantly, so do most of the leadership stepping into the important jobs of industry, community and politics. The term comes from the phase “Jonesing around with my friends.” Meaning – The Jones are hanging around with the Boomers and Gen X’ers, but not really part of them. For example, Barack Obama is our first Generation Jones president.

Whether you are leading the Jones or a follower, there are significant lessons for you here.

What might you do differently as a leader or follower knowing about the Jones?


Anonymous said...

I was born in 1957. Some of my values, such as my work ethic, are definitely in sync with Boomers. But some, particularly my attitudes towards and use of digital media, are in line of GenXers. Now I know why. I'm a Joneser!


Bruce said...

I have found my people! I was born in 1956, boomer work ethic is true, but web techie, Google user. Thanks John, I have always felt like I was hanging in that gap.

Brian K said...

Like you, John, I often feel like I do not quite fit any of the stereotypical generational molds, but take a little from each.

I'm liking the pics on your posts :).

Anonymous said...


In my opinion, a true leader has attributes which are timeless. There is no significance in either time, environment or culture between the effective leadership skills and personality traits of historic figures such as Patton and Alexander the Great for instance.

Yield to your generational "grouping" if you like and base your decisions there. I'll stick to the basics and plan for change.

In the end, I think I'll win! ; )

Another great post, thank you.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I are both Boomers, but we are really Jones because we can relate more easily with Gen X'ers at times. Being in the service industry, we find many Boomers are set in their ways and refuse to change. Our business tag line is "We Color Outside the Lines", causes eyebrows to go up. Most of individuals that think it is "cool" are the Gen X'ers. Regardless as to what age one is, you should always be open to ideas and comments from the "younger" generation. It makes be sad for the Boomers that only want to hang around other Boomers. More power to the Jones.

Larry Lacy

John Bishop said...

Thank you for your insights and comments on Generation Jones. Pretty much across the board folks have said "you're right, I've never felt part of either the boomers or Xers." For me, it is a good reminder not to stereotype anyone into a box they likely don't fit. Talk to them and find out their true drives, wants and motivators.


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