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Values drive boomer lifestyle

Bernard Salt, Melbourne Director of KPMG Consulting, said it 12 days ago; Dr Peter Ellyard, Futurist and Director of Preferred Futures, said it eight days ago: Value shifts are driving our economic future.

Speaking at the well received Regional Conference of the Property Council of Australia on April 6, Bernard Salt — author of the annual report Population Growth — demonstrated that whatever way you wish to look at it, changing values among consumers are determining the shape of economic growth to come.

Even though Generation Xers (1961 - 1976) will increase by 2021 to 4.6 million compared to Baby Boomers (1946 - 1961) 3.9 million, it is the Boomers, having the largest increase in generational numbers — currently 4.1 million to the 2.5 million Pre Boomers (1931 - 1945) — who will continue to be the leaders of change.

Boomer value shifts are impacting everything, including where we choose to live, with an immense shift in population away from the bush and into the coastal areas — bleeding the bush and booming the beach, as Bernard says. Our Wheatbelt area is suffering the greatest loss of population per annum of any area across the nation.

Conversely, coastal places like Margaret River, Broome, Greenough, Mandurah and Busselton, enjoyed a larger than 3 per cent growth over the 12 months to June 2000. ABS stats show that Busselton and Joondalup/Wanneroo are two of the fastest growing areas in Australia; both lifestyle value driven.

Foremost futurist Peter Ellyard stated on ABC Radio on April 11 that while many trends of the future are difficult to predict, we can look at and understand that shifting values are the strongest determinant of things to come.

Put simply, values are about what is considered valuable, said Peter. What is considered valuable is what we work for and want more of - the demand side of supply and demand economics. So to look at what the future holds in terms of economic growth, look at where our values are heading.

Three of the greatest value shifts becoming ever more visible in the corporate world, surprising many economic rationalists, are the values of individual responsibility, passion, and dignity.

Responsibility for self-regarding employment decisions, skilling, health and retirement. Responsibility for the wellbeing of our colleagues, our neighbours, our community. Responsibility for our planet and for the sustainable use of its resources.

Passion to follow the heart and soul and not just the head regarding what we do. As Peter says, to follow our passion for what we do rather than merely following our talents or penchant. To do what is exciting and valuable, contributing to a better world.

And dignity, a respect for self, for all others, and for the planet. The Mandarin mianzi. So we can be proud of all we do, on and off the job.

Three old fashioned values. As we Boomers and Xers get these three operational values back again, so will we create our healthy sustainable 21st Century future.

n Ann Macbeth is a futurist and executive coach with Annimac Consultants. Contact 9384 0687 or by email at annimac@annimac. com.au

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