Packaging teams are most successful when they take advantage of the strengths of their members. Sometimes this means understanding and adopting different thought processes, which is especially powerful when colleagues share their prized ideologies with each other.
After exploring the particular talents of Millennials, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation, the focus now falls on Gen X—the “middle generation” stuck between two headline-grabbing generations, and the most underrated generation from my purview.
I have worked with many Gen Xers in packaging (born from 1965 to 1976), and I feel deeply grateful for their two massively valuable mindsets. See if you find these useful as well.
1. Balancing. Both.
Often in the packaging development process (and in many processes of design), an obstructive mindset settles in and impedes progress. For example, we detect this mindset with questions like “Do we invest in the legacy package or hatch a new pack?” and “Do we strategize new channel packs or optimize the core packaging?”
And as most ponder the pick, GenX brings us back from the binary and beckons us to consider both. We need to optimize, iterate and maintain—AND create, capture and conceive the future!
Gen X, most naturally owns this mindset, from the shaping influence of their upbringing—where they watched both their parents work and deftly deliver family dinners. They witnessed career and family co-exist and successfully flourish. So when they are leading decisions and making a choice, they often leave room to balance the priorities of both for success.
Action: Diversify any evaluation process with a Gen X voice of balance, and open your mindset to include both.
2. Pro-style productivity
And so to the balanced approach the other generations may snark, “easier said than done”—to which the Gen X replies—“watch and work your system.” Whether it is Sheryl Sandberg sharing her high-wire act of motherhood and career or Gen Xers balancing their surplus of ambition (like Elon Musk charging Tesla, soaking solar or re-imagining space orbit)—Gen X is the maestro generation of the productivity mindset.
In the book “Do More Better,” by Tim Challies, he describes a holistic approach to productivity that elevates above the trick shticks tried by so many—and extends a mindset that first conceives of a prominently productive lifestyle. This is the essence of Gen X: focus on what’s most important to you (purpose) and systematically define spheres of responsibility (manage your missions). Then use the tools of the trade to contribute to efficiency at every level (steward resources efficiently). This enables you to achieve and live life with those who matter most. No generation does this better than Gen X.
Action: Cultivate a total-lifestyle productivity mindset, and then cascade efficiency to every level.
Generation X offers distinct and valuable mindsets that everyone can benefit from and adopt. Centerline your packaging team by leaving room for “both” and promoting a productive lifestyle for achievement.
Matt Dingee is the co-founder and president/COO of OnPoint2020, a consultancy offering Packaging Insights and Services to growth-minded brands of all sizes. Dingee previously developed an array of packaging at Pepperidge Farm and Campbell Soup Co., where he conceptualized and commercialized a first-to-market flexible re-close feature, which garnered the distinguished DuPont Award for packaging innovation. He also led an international assignment where he managed and integrated packaging strategy as an influential business driver. Dingee’s passion is working with an entrepreneurial spirit to help brands discover the power of packaging in their business. You can also find him pressing his coffee on his Aeropress and serving his local church.
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