When an elder dies, a library has burned down. When an elder leaves your company, they take the library with them.
How can we keep that library of wisdom and experience in the company and make it a shared library?
There are five generations in the workplace today:
- Traditionalist (76 to 99 years old).
- Baby Boomer (57 to 75 years old).
- Generation X (41 to 56 years old).
- Millennial (26 to 40 years old).
- Generation Z (25 years old and younger).
What would it be like if we could share the wisdom and experience in both directions through these silos and bring these generations together, especially the elders who may be on their way out with their full library of wisdom. What would it be like if we had more transformational communication in organizations?
Instead of quietly moving the elders out the back door in a RIF or early retirement, why not leverage their wisdom and experience as coaches and mentors?
Yes, someone who has been in the same job for years and advancing into the later years can seem like a liability. Only because we fail to recognize the new set of strengths they are acquiring as they age. These strengths position them to be great coaches and mentors.
- First, let’s realize that an elder is simply the oldest person in the room.
- Some elders have tamed their egos. That’s a big plus when you’re surrounded by raging egos clawing their way to the top, trying to making their mark in the world.
- Some elders are more concerned with their legacy virtues than they are with their resume virtues.
- Some elders are still curious and want to learn. The best elder coaches are those who want to learn from the youngers instead of lecturing to them.
- Some elders want to teach others.
- Some elders can see patterns and connect the dots better than the youngers.
- All elders want to be useful.
Look at the elders in your company as they could be, not as they are. You might see a coach who could break down those silos and build bridges in your organization.
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