It is time that boomers serve as mentors and guide the next generation of professionals by sharing their insights and providing valuable feedback. After all, a large number of successful business leaders of the country, like Richard Ghilarducci, have been mentored by their bosses. Ghilarducci considers Rich Lewis, his predecessor, to be his mentor. Ghilarducci today is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Humboldt Creamery Association, a California Dairy Cooperative that manufactures Organic Fluid Milk, Ice Cream and Powered Milk Products. He was the past President of the California Creamery Operators Association.
Richard Ghilarducci marks why boomers need to groom the next generation of business leaders
As the baby boomer generation prepares for retirement, a major leadership gap looms over large enterprises. With many baby boomers occupying top-level management positions, the torch has to be passed to the next generation. However, not many organizations are adequately prepared to promote young leaders. As per research conducted by Development Dimensions International, a global workforce and leadership training, staffing and assessment firm, a large percentage of the U.S.’s large, older companies would see many of their executives leave in the next few years, with not enough people prepared to replace them. This research was published in a 1999 article of HR Magazine. Since then, many other studies have also addressed this nationwide workforce challenge.
There are many factors contributing to the leadership gap in the market today, the Boomer psyche being among the major ones. The Baby Boomer generation was not only one of the largest, but also among the most idealistic generations that ever entered this world. Many boomers have always been confident that they were going to change the world, by cleaning up the environment, solving poverty, ending wars, and so on. This idealism is a major driver behind their work ethics. However, due to their idealism and passion, boomers also face difficulties in imagining that anyone else can manage business, government and community service organizations as competently as them. But with time, boomers need to retire and hence it is critical for them to identify and groom the generation of business leaders. Even though the boomers have made significant contributions to make this world a better place, the inconvenient truth is, the environment is in worse shape than ever, and issues of poverty, war, and social injustice are still widely prevalent. It is time that boomers apply their time, energy, resources and passion toward grooming the next generation for leadership, much like Rich Ghilarducci’s predecessor did.
Richard Ghilarducci had spoken about how Rich Lewis, his predecessor and mentor, gave him the room to grow and the latitude to make mistakes and to learn from them. He taught that in business, at times even the best laid plans do not work out. Hence, to achieve success, one needs to have the ability to quickly identify the challenges and make appropriate adjustments.
To groom the generation of business leaders, companies must be proactive about creating individually tailored development program for each high-potential individual. This program would include training, job rotation, special assignments and time with senior executives.