The clock keeps on ticking as many Baby Boomers consider retirement. If many retire, it will leave a huge void in leadership for most organizations. With the rocky rollercoaster ride of the stock market, Baby Boomers don’t enjoy life as much because of the decrease in their disposable income. Some individuals have the extra burden of caring for parents, children, and even grandparents.
These realities of life keep Baby Boomers working well beyond their anticipated retirement. Andy Hines, the director of Customer Projects at the Social Technologies, predicts that Baby Boomers will refine the meaning of retirement and notes, “U.S. Baby Boomers are choosing post-work lifestyles that don’t resemble the stereotype of the quaint, restful senior citizen.” In fact, Baby Boomers are the top leaders of most organizations and will find it difficult to separate themselves from their positions of power and influence.
Other observers believe that Baby Boomers will leave graciously and pass the baton to the next generation of leaders. I have my own doubts about the outcome. Columnist Daniel Kadlec wrote a USA Today article, “‘Me Generation’” becomes ‘We Generation,’” about the virtue of this Baby Boomer transformation. A Department of Labor report, “Futurework: Trends and Challenges for the Work in the 21st Century,” reveals that this rapid demographic shift will impact the future dynamics of organizations.
Yet, many seasoned experts, who are primarily Baby Boomers, downplay the impact of the younger generation. This observation goes to the heart of the “Me Generation.” Based on my past career experience, many of these individuals will struggle to relinquish power and influence over their organizations. Therefore, we must wait to see if this generation follows through on these claims.
Are Baby Boomers now transformed into “We Generation” leaders? Clearly, the storyline is incomplete because we do not understand how Baby Boomers will respond to these future changes. Unlike hard science, futurism provides a window of many possibilities. Some people paint a smooth transition of power for the Baby Boomer generation. Others don’t! What if Baby Boom managers refuse to relinquish their positions and neglect the development of future leaders? Therefore, many different scenarios will continue to play out in various settings and industries.
Will organizations be able to cope with a massive exodus of Baby Boomers? Can Baby Boomers leave authority and title behind since these things so easily defined many of them?
© 2011 by Daryl D. Green