The multigenerational workplace is a hot topic of late, but I’m not sure the root-cause analysis is fully in place.

It’s not that people with disparate durations on life’s road is wrong. It’s also not new. The past had people from eight to 80 picking berries side-by-side.

I think it’s because it is an unprecedented time in history in terms of “life operating system.”

Let me explain.

Classically, generational research has looked at age. Demography. And true enough, shared experiences shape groups of people. Some of you remember vividly what was going on when John F. Kennedy was shot. I don’t. I do remember what was going on when John Lennon was.

When it comes to people and using technology, the problem is that age as a useful delineation breaks down. It’s not like Traditionals or Baby Boomers aren’t technical and “all them kids” are. That’s silly. Traditionals had mechanical engineers and biophysicists and on and on.

Here’s the problem.

In our lifetime (so to speak) we’ve evolved from an Industrial Age to the Information Age and we are now evolving out of that, too. I call this the Connectorship Age.

Technology: Physical (there’s only one way to turn on a motor) to digital (there are multiple ways to open an email or search a database) to embedded (in everything, including humans, blurring the lines between physical and digital)

Values and value creation: Industry created value with bigger, smaller, better, faster, cheaper. Industrial Era thinkers tend to value standardization and low tolerance for deviation from the norm (exceptions are costly). Content (data, information, knowledge) are scarce and centralized. Experts are the go-to people

Interestingly, the Digital Era values bigger/smaller/better/faster/cheaper (albeit with hard drives and processors). Digital Era thinkers tend to value less formality and flexibility.

But what about Contextual Era thinkers? What happens when the cost of talking to someone across the world is zero? Taking a college course is zero? Your hard drive has unlimited capacity (or you don’t even need a hard drive)?

There’s a new perspective on attention. Contextuals have low tolerance for deviation from relevance “If it isn’t just right for me, why should I give you the time of day?”

There’s a new perspective on meaning. Contextuals have so many possibilities that they may struggle with what’s in versus what’s out, how things relate, and points of reference.

There’s a new perspective on connectedness. Contextuals are likely to have multi-channel connections with different people or tribes for different reasons, in different durations.

And the point of all this is…

There’s no wonder we’re reeling. Especially if you’re not Contextual in your own life OS.

Connectorship realizes “one size fits all” is an industrial perspective. Trying to serve everyone is a sure-fire way to serve no-one.

Connectorship is proactive in realizing that the edge in reaching, teaching, and leading is, ironically, having more than one way of reaching people…ways that enable people with different life operating systems to engage your content.

Meet ’em where they’re at.