One of the responsibilities we have as learning leaders is the role of psychic. We are asked to look into our crystal balls and predict those trends and happenings that could end up influencing the success of the organization.
So what does your crystal ball say about the potential for a leadership gap?
Here’s what mine says: Beginning in 2011 and for the next 19 years, about 10,000 baby boomers per day will turn 65, according to The Pew Research Center. A small amount of calculating results in a BIG number. We are looking at close to 33 million retirements in the U.S. alone by 2020. Canada, Japan and most of Europe have even older populations.
Maybe your crystal ball is saying, “Go to Asia to recruit your leaders.” Too late! China and India have been recruiting leaders from the West for more than a decade in large numbers.
So what do you think? Is there a leadership gap looming? There sure is, and you don’t need a crystal ball to predict this one. So what are you doing about it? According to my friend and colleague, CoachLogix CEO Alex Pascal, “Companies are not going to have the luxury of sending their newly anointed leaders to training because organizations will not be able to spare the time away from the business. Focused executive coaching that concentrates on helping the new leader land quickly is the only real way to go.”
At the Fall CLO Symposium in sunny Southern California, I led a session, “Transitioning Leadership: What Happens When the Leader Retires,”where I spoke about transition coaching. Coaching participants need to include all of the stakeholders, exiting leaders, new leaders, and the team. The exiting leaders will be much more willing to participate actively and emotionally if they have decided “what’s next.” Coaching should focus on helping the leader to discover and plan for this before the transition begins. The coaching can involve the both the existing and new leader to facilitate a smooth transition. The team benefits from group coaching to prepare them to say goodbye to the retiring leader and hello to their new leader.
So, what’s this have to do with your career as a learning leader? It’s simple: Statistically, many of you are likely to be one of the leaders who will retire by 2020. If you are not in the retirement window, then you will be dealing with the leadership shortage that will ensue and continue for at least the next decade. This means you really need to start learning and developing new ways to manage your own career now because you will be wearing more hats with less resources. You also need to develop your capabilities a coach, especially if you are in small to medium-sized businesses that won’t be able to afford external coaches.
Recently, I had lunch with the CEO of a 3,000-person company with offices in the U.S. and China. During lunch, he told me his greatest concern is the turnover in leadership that he is about to experience. I asked him how many leaders from his team he expected to exit. He told me that seven out of nine planned to retire by 2020.
The leadership gap dialogue should start today if you have not started talking about it already. It’s the greatest and best opportunity I have seen in my almost 40 years in the profession to gain that coveted seat at the table.