Part III: Your Next, Next
Now that we have reviewed the current state of leadership for today’s C-Suite and highlighted the exciting options that may be available to clients, I share some of my favorite questions and strategies for helping clients figure out what is to come.
Key to this process is that while so many clients are focused on what he or she is going to next, not enough attention is paid to what is going to happen after that. We call this your next, next.
While the portfolio lifestyle is gaining momentum with a number of our clients, we coach many others who want to engage in one more corporate gig before slowing down a bit. As a 52-year-old executive, the odds are you will continue in the structured corporate world for more than a few years, but what are you going to do when you’re 59 or when this job goes away for whatever reason? Planning for that time before it arrives will allow for a seamless and smooth transition into whatever it is you are going to do when the time comes.
Traditional retirement does not mean the end of the road. In fact, with life expectancies increasing we tell our clients to anticipate doing their next, next for as many as 25 years. Planning for that time sooner than later is advisable.
One of my favorite questions to ask our clients is whether or not they have accomplished their greatest feat yet. Some of society’s greatest accomplishments have come by women and men who were older than 60. Your next, next can also include the greatest thing that you’re going to do and your legacy on the planet.
If you look back at your career and you say “yup, I’ve done my greatest thing,” and you’re going to coast the rest of the way, that might not be the greatest outcome. Playing golf or reading by the fire everyday for the next 30 years really is not that great of an option when you really think about it. Instead, we urge our clients to consider other pathways. For instance, you may want to take all of that institutional knowledge and experience you have earned during your career and teach it to other people, put it down in writing or speak about it. Rather than running a company, perhaps you can find joy and passion in guiding a company as a member of its board.
Let’s Do This
If you know exactly what you want to do next and you’re talking with one of us at Shields Meneley Partners, we will take a disciplined approach to expanding your mind in thinking about other options. I’ll say to the CEO that’s come in that wants to do another CEO role, “humor me for one hour and let’s talk about your dreams and what you could do that would actually fulfill that desire.” After an hour or two, if that person still wants to do the next CEO role, we’ll help him or her find it. If you want a portfolio life or want to do something else, we will help get you there as well.
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