Flevy Blog is an online business magazine covering Business Strategies, Business Theories, & Business Stories.

The Next Great Chapter: Life after Retirement of a Senior Leader

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Business Case Development Framework (32-slide PowerPoint presentation). The Business Case is an instrumental tool in both justifying a project (requiring a capital budgeting decision), as well as measuring the project's success. The Business Case model typically takes the form of an Excel spreadsheet and quantifies the financial components of the project, [read more]

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I have consulted with people from every aspect of life. I have counseled kids going to college, individuals in life or career transition, moms changing roles from being a mom to being herself. With each of these counseling events, there is always the overarching need to get to the truth–who are you?

That quest for truth is never more needed than in the exit or retirement event of a senior leader.

What is underneath all of those years of toil, sacrifice, dedication, defeat and victory is really the kid that was there all along. He or she was simply covered in 40 plus years of battling it out in business.

But now, the battle is nearing its end and the kid that was there all along is now asking the questions you’ve been putting off easily. Now, that inner kid is demanding an answer. Now what?

It has been easy for these years to turn a deaf ear to that siren voice, but in just a short time, you’re going to push back from the desk one last time, you’re going to walk that hall, after everyone has left for the day and you’re going to recall with gratitude or regret each and every step towards that door that opened for you those many years ago.

I’ve seen it quite a few times. The one who so confidently lead all of these years is now lost.

But to find themselves once again and to chart a new path through this next place requires more than running off to a vacation, or diving into a hobby.

  1. The first step is to step back. That means going way back in time to reacquainting yourself with those things that ignited passion in you long ago. If it’s a passion for a sport or a hobby, you need to dig deeper than that and ask yourself what was it that was motivating you besides the activity itself? Is it a passion to win, a passion to serve, a passion to lead? It’s when you know that true DNA is when you can then begin to translate that into other forms of expression.
  1. The next step is to look at the pathways that are available to you. Perhaps you had a passion for sports, you were an all-star football player or a state record holder in swimming, but how does that passion articulate itself when you’re 60, 70 or more? The search for meaningful pathways that can deliver your passion for swimming might lead you to mentoring or volunteering your time and your talent at the local school, or at the golf club, or kids camp.
  1. The passion and the pathway together must deliver you–with purpose. Without purpose, we wither and die. I’ve seen it and so have you, where a once viral, purposeful human being is now just a shadow of what they once were. Don’t let that happen. Your life has purpose even more at the turning of this next page. But in order for that purpose to have true authentic meaning, it must be about giving to others, not giving to yourself.

Take the time to reflect. Take time to ask those deep and profoundly personal questions that have been waiting to be answered for all these many years.

Get reacquainted with yourself, find the person inside that you value and share you, your passion and your purpose with those who are waiting for someone–they’re waiting for you.

Need help in asking the right questions of yourself? Connect with me to rediscover what your own purpose, passion and performance can be in this next, greatest chapter.

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Recent McKinsey research surveyed a large set of global executives and suggests that many companies, these days, are in a nearly permanent state of organizational flux. A rise in efforts in Organizational Design is attributed to the accelerating pace of structural change generated by market [read more]

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About Owen Baker

Owen consults with organizations and individuals to help realize vision and to authentically articulate brand message. He is the principal of Burg Communications, where he leads as a full time marketing and brand consultant. He's an executive and organizational coach, a writer, speaker and unexpected coffee house owner.

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