Our vision is for every retiring executive to have a transition plan that leads them to a purposeful and fulfilling next season. By creating a sustainable path for executive transitions, employers model behaviors consistent with “valuing our people” at a time when younger talent is carefully observing.
Often, after long and highly productive corporate careers, it is extremely difficult for executives to imagine life after retirement, let alone plan or achieve success in transitioning to it. Most corporate management careers necessitate years of all-on dedication of time and energy. Especially toward the end of careers, there is little to no time for hobbies or non-work-related leadership commitments and relationships. Work often defines how executives think of themselves and how they are perceived by friends and family. The company affiliation anchors the executive, and their job title defines them in their own mind. After retirement, the day-to-day definition of how time is spent disappears. The structure of having assistants and departments to handle things goes away. Executives often find themselves overwhelmed at the thought of how they will fill their days, weeks, months, and years. Even the most avid golfers know they will need more.
Alongside this reality, is another: Boards and Chief Human Resource Officers need to encourage retirement of executives to retain and grow new/younger capability within the organization, while that same younger talent is watching carefully to see how this is all managed. Does senior management walk the talk of valuing people, even at the end of their careers? Or do they exit them abruptly, thereby showing no loyalty even after decades of sacrificial service. Executives transitioning well is essential for both the executives and the companies from which they are departing.