Despite warnings, many businesses still not ready for changing of the guard

Posted On May 28, 2013

Secession planning is an important part of any organization’s business strategy, and the onslaught of Baby Boomers entering retirement has been woven into news reports for several years now.  So why did a recent study by executive search firm Odgers Berndston find that nearly 60% of executives surveyed were unprepared for the change?

Turns out they may be ignoring the cultural differences among the generations. That is, while they’ve identified who is leaving and are dutifully transferring business knowledge down the line, they may not be looking at the more subtle – but significant – differences in how each generation views leadership, collaboration, and work ethics.  The result could be messy – not because Gen X (and eventually the Millennials) can’t lead, but because they do it differently.

An organization not prepared for a shift in leadership culture will have its work cut out for it. I’ve been blessed to work with many companies that are truly ahead of the curve in this area.  They’ve had the foresight to make incremental – and sometimes monumental – shifts in culture and even organizational structure as they adapt to a new style of workforce and leadership.

While these organizations are getting themselves in a great position to face the Boomer retirement surge, it is not too late for those businesses that have been content to stay the course and are now headed into stormy waters. A little more frantic, perhaps, but with the right approach you can avoid capsizing.

Categories: Baby Boomers, Generations, Succession Planning