Dean Niewolny, CEO, Halftime Institute
Helping Your People Finish Well
The first few waves of Baby Boomers have left the building, and they have taken their decades of experience, their strong relationships and their cool heads with them. Soon, the GenXers will head for whatever is next for them as well. How will this outflow of talent affect your business? And, is it possible to stop it and make your organization stronger while still keeping this group happy and productive?
If you think about it, the years between 50 and 75 for most of us could be our best and most productive. At the turn of the 20th century, the average male lived to be about 50 or so. Women lived a bit longer. People had difficult physical jobs that took a huge toll on their wellbeing. Medical and dental science was not what it is today and many suffered in some kind of chronic pain of one kind or another. Retirement and the prospect of doing nothing was the most attractive option available. Little wonder that the Gold Watch became so popular.
But then, things started to shift, as they often do. Medical science started figuring things out that helped us eat better, avoid crippling and deadly diseases by being vaccinated, and the average age ticked up. Work ceased to be back breaking and difficult and was done at a desk and indoors in air conditioned rooms that better suited us.
All of this meant longer life spans. Instead of passing on to the Great Beyond at 50, you and I have a whole second half ahead of us. We still have energy and drive and we still want to accomplish things. In fact we need to accomplish things and have goals out in front of us. We’re better off when we have something to do tomorrow and the next day and the next. At fifty or sixty, you might be doing the best work you have ever done! Why stop? And, if you do, how will that affect you?
Couple all of this with the dreams we all have about what we could do with all of our gifts and talents and…we have a problem. A whole generation of talented people cannot just walk off the precipice of retirement and do nothing for the next 30 years. What a terrible waste of talent that would be!
A New Way of Looking at Retirement
Let me just interject this, because it’s true: The idea of traditional retirement for some is appropriate and it works. They travel, work on their golf games and do whatever they please whenever they please. But, for achievers who have accomplished much in this life, the idea of slowing down or even tapping the brakes is unthinkable. For those folks, it can sound like 30 years of soft sandwiches, aimless afternoons, boredom, and maybe a waste of our precious time on earth.
Yet, retirement is still sold to us in its original package even though we know it doesn’t work for most of us, at least in that traditional form.
If you are reading this, you are most likely in a senior leadership role. You are probably already a CEO or will be shortly. Your success depends on building a great team of knowledgeable and capable leaders who follow through and get things done. Your team needs to understand your business. They need to know the competition and be able to anticipate their every move. Their deep relationships and trust are invaluable.
The good news? You don’t have to go out and find that team and build an eye-of-the-needle selection tool that screens for just the right person. Why? Because, thankfully, they are most likely already there in your organization. But, they will leave someday because they think they have to.
That’s the drill, right?
It doesn’t have to be. The truth is, many are in halftime and they have much more that they can do for you and your organization. Help them find their way forward so that they can finish well.
If you do, I’ll guarantee this: Your stock price may or may not rise; your sales might fluctuate, and the markets may waver. But, these valuable people who have devoted their lives to their work and doing it well will be eternally grateful for an opportunity to finish on a high note. And you’ll have the personal satisfaction of having a role in helping great employees flourish and finish with meaning.
About the Author
Dean Niewolny is CEO of the Halftime Institute. Before that he spent 23 years in executive roles with three of Wall Street’s largest financial firms. In 2010, he left his marketplace career to help others who, like him, wanted to expand their own first half success and skills into passion and purpose for meeting human needs and having an impact. His latest book is “Trade Up: How to Move from Just Making Money to Making a Difference.