Where do you go next? What lies ahead? Does your knowledge just get lost?
It is said that few can today be an effective CEO or MD beyond a 5-year tenure in this day as the speed of change is so fast, it is nigh on impossible not to get stale, burnt out or narrow in thinking. At the same time, the average life span of a CEO is 5 years. Interestingly, CEO often have longer life spans as those with leadership ability are able to have a positive approach to life that this creates a resistance to a number of illnesses.Given all this, what does one do once the tenure comes to an end?
It is something that is so often overlooked – not just for CEOs but for all senior players. The average person will become a Director today aged around 40-45. The average CEO will be appointed at around 50-55.
Of course many become NEDs and Chairman, create their own portfolios and live happy lives. It has always been the way that the commercial way is brutal and people will come and go in roles. All true but how can we use this knowledge in the best possible way?
We have long argued that this is the first generation which sees two groups that almost need each other. The baby boomers do not possess the skills of the millennials and the latter do not possess the robust nature and competitiveness of the former. How can we bring both together to create a framework that can be more formidable?
At the moment this is unlikely to happen. Millennials do not like the way that business is run. They do not believe it is often run ethically. May do not like the values of their leadership teams. There is a genuine lack of trust and also a lack of trust in those that approach them to be NEDs with a relatively light touch.
With such lack of trust, this bond/marriage is unlikely to happen and maybe this is no bad thing given the present landscape. Maybe there is a natural need for change? Bar there is a real bank of knowledge and expertise that we do probably want to retain and tap into as the world is becoming ever more complex.
So what is needed?
We need to build greater trust between generations and this does start with behaviours. There needs to a stronger understanding of what is emerging
There is a need for more genuine and authentic approaches
Vice versa there needs to be a real understanding of the knowledge that exists and can be tapped into. CEOs may leave the stage around the age of 60-65 but they are likely to live till 85 so there is still 20 years of activity and support to the emerging that can take place.
We need to be more open-minded to a career change, change in role and how we all adapt our skill sets.
Get this right and it can create a strong legacy for the next generation of leaders plus give real purpose to those that feel lost as they leave the stage. Most CEOs are pretty competitive in nature and they don’t want to leave the centre stage. They don’t need to but maybe everyone needs to think about how we do work to create greater trust, responsibility and respect.