Entrepreneurs, Are You Leveraging 10,000 Strong?

Are You Leveraging 10,000 Strong?Are You Leveraging 10,000 Strong?

What’s the biggest hard trend impacting your organizations today? One hard trend seems to have snuck up on many of my clients and partners’ teams. It’s what I call 10,000 strong! I think it may be vanity. Or maybe most great leaders are optimists. Or maybe it’s both/and.

Great leaders see and seize new opportunities. How did they miss this hard trend? 10,000 strong is blindsiding organizations with increasing regularity!

What is the 10,000 strong trend? This is the hard trend that is going to impact both are personal and professional lives. Every day, 10,000 strong baby boomers are retiring and moving on to the next stage of their lives.  In the next 12 months, 365,000 boomers will go on to next stage of their lives. It’s no longer if, but when?

This doesn’t surprise me. Many of my projects over the past year have been helping my clients craft stronger succession and exit planning strategies. Many entrepreneurs I work with have denied that they are moving towards the next stage of their lives. They are still ready to scale the next mountain for their business. Then it happens; one of the 10,000 strong announce their retirement. My clients are blindsided!

I think this is because when they look at their employees, the people they started their company with, they see someone very similar to themselves. They are still pursuing their purpose with passion. Minus a life altering event, they plan to continue. The problem is key people around them are retiring. Their best clients are retiring. The past year’s stock market run has made their retirement account healthier than it has been in years.

This has provided many boomers the confidence and courage to leave their roles to find and follow their unique gifts and purposes. How prepared are you for this? The 10,000 strong, the 365,000 people leaving their current roles over the next 12 months. Over the next 10 years that’s 3,650,000 people. I believe the number could be significantly higher than this as the economy continues to grow and roles continue to become more complex.

My 10,000 strong program comes from the recent movie, 12 Strong. We’ll talk about how fast you adopt and adapt to new situations you never planned for with new people. I’ll share more next week. Today, I’ll share three ideas that help you anticipate your future organization. These ideas help you prepare your organization for 10,000 strong retirements.

The first 10,000 strong strategy is to review and revise your succession processes and outcomes. Many entrepreneurs spend more time planning for their vacation than they do building a plan for their future. Over 60% do not have a succession plan in place for themselves or the key members of their team.  It’s hard to get senior team members to take succession seriously if you don’t.

The second 10,000 strong strategy is to evaluate your promotion policies. Many clients I work with are midmarket, privately held organizations. They are working with promotion policies that are from the 1970s.  We hear how different GenX and Millennials are in the workplace. Is your promotion process based on experience or results?

You get what you compensate for. Are you promoting the people on seniority, experience or results?  What does this mean to your younger team members?  What does it say to the people who are more focused on outcomes and growth?

The third 10,000 strategy focuses on your clients and partners. I recently helped a client retain a key strategic account. When their sales professional went on a call, he discovered his 30 year working relationship with the client’s buyer was gone.  His key contact with the client had retired and never mentioned it to him.  Imagine his surprise when he called on the client to meet the new purchasing professional he’d be working with for the first time.

When he met the younger female executive, he was condescending and cocksure, certain this was only a temporary condition.  The client executive felt disrespected, and certainly did not want to be lectured by a man old enough to be her father! She shared her agenda with the strategic account manager and her hopes to form an alliance.  It fell on deaf ears.

How often does this go on in your clients? Do you have relationships with the next generation of your clients’ leaders? How can you provide a more vibrant partnership with your clients’ executives and leaders? This should start with an account review to decide where your business might be at risk.

So now, how are you going to deal with these 10,00 strong challenges? It’s not that these things might happen. They are going to happen! Key people both inside and outside are going to retire at a rate of 10,000 people per day for the next decade. How you handle this hard trend defines if your business survives!

Next week, I’ll share several ways to create a more anticipatory and agile organization to leverage 10,000 strong.

See you next week!

Leave a comment