By Caroline Hall
As an executive coach, I recommend to my clients that they not signal their plans to retire more than a month or two in advance for fear of losing responsibility and influence when relegated to a “lame duck” role. Over time, though, I’ve come to realize that a swift exit is good for neither the executive nor her/his organization. What’s lost for the business is a firmed-up succession plan, deep mentoring opportunities, and the transfer of institutional knowledge and wisdom. What’s lost for the executive is the time and space to dream about what’s next and make a thoughtful, gradual transition to the next chapter of life. The Life Reinspired Program was designed to add value to both sides of the equation.
Here’s some context: It’s not especially comfortable to broach the subject of retiring with executives in their 60s or early 70s who might be—even should be—thinking about creating a transition plan. And there are legal considerations, too—God forbid HR be accused of “ageism.” Yet Baby Boomer senior executives are not going to stay on the payroll forever. That said, it’s the rare leader who creates enough bandwidth while still working to envision a compelling, fulfilling future post-career. And in the absence of a vision, the prospect of retirement can loom as a daunting series of losses: loss of responsibility and influence, loss of identity, loss of reputation for success, loss of work community, loss of structure, and loss of purpose.
Positioned as a progressive executive perk, the Life Reinspired Program is like voluntary “Outplacement to Retirement,” a.k.a., a compassionate off-ramp from organizational life. Life Reinspired retreats and coaching services provide a structure and thought partners (fellow executives of a certain age or time or career stage) to think through succession planning, who and how to mentor, and the transfer of institutional knowledge. In the program, they’ll also revisit their own values and purpose; begin to redesign relationships with family and friends and identify new relationships to fill the gaps left by losing work associates; envision the next areas of learning, contribution, and influence to explore; and identify Bucket List adventures, experiences, and challenges.
Here’s how the Life Reinspired Program can help HR directors open the conversation about what’s next and offer needed resources for senior leaders. Instead of wondering when 60-something leaders are planning to pull up stakes, HR directors can actively offer this progressive new executive perk–Life Reinspired—as one of a number of enticing executive benefits. In fact, providing an outplacement-like off-ramp to the next chapter of life is one of those factors that gets companies labelled “a best place to work.”
At Life Reinspired, our dream is to create a win/win dynamic for organizations and individuals alike by changing the way Baby Boomer executives leave their careers and the way they arrive in their Encore phase of life. Find out more about our programs.