Here's the scenario.
My company is in the dumper. Poor image, poor quality, poor sales (and getting worse), yet I want to develop product that will attract everyone from Gen Y to Baby Boomers. So I think I should hire some young, hip design guru who can make it happen.
Not if you are General Motors. GM in 2001 hired Bob Lutz when he was 68 years old, to rebuild the image and quality of the company's brands. This past week he announced his retirement at the youngish age of 78!
In an era where ageism does not exist (read on when you have stopped laughing) baby boomers can learn from the likes of Bob Lutz. Corporate GM has not been a commercial success while Lutz has been with the company, but he did succeed in his goals of bringing a sense of style and impactful design to a very staid product line up.
''I, along with many other men and women in GM and throughout the industry, have greatly benefited from his passion, wisdom and guidance,'' GM CEO Ed Whitacre said in a statement.
Remember those three words.
Passion. Wisdom. Guidance.
That is what you can bring to your next job.
Passion. Wisdom. Guidance.
That is what you should bring to your next interview.
Passion. Wisdom. Guidance.
How do you project it? Do you project it?
You know what Bob Lutz's nickname is? "Maximum Bob." You gotta love it!
Warren Buffett is 79.
T Boone Pickens is 81.
Leonard Cohen is 74.
Don't believe Ageism is a barrier. Sorry, I'll write this in a more realistic manner. Don't believe you can't beat Ageism.
Following is an excerpt from SHEIFGAB the World: 8 Building Blocks to Successful Job Transition on this topic.
“Right! What age is Bruce Springsteen?”
“THE Boss?” said Bill with enthusiasm. “Going on sixty and still playing like a sixteen year old. He played in Chicago two months ago. The man was on stage for three hours and three encores. Just amazing!”
“OK. Give me one word to describe his show.”
“Powerful, Energetic, Fun, Uplifting, Unstoppable, Infectious, Out of this world, Rockin ‘n’ ROLLIN’ ”
“I’m glad you stuck to one word,” Finbarr chided him. “What age did you say he is?”
“Hitting the big 6 – 0.”
“OK. My elder brother in Ireland was in job search for a few months. He made the same comments about Ageism that you guys made. He was not confident about his job search, and of course, that lack of confidence impacted his ability to present himself positively and to walk into the interview room 12-feet tall and Bulletproof. So we analyzed what was needed to win the mind game and beat his concerns about Ageism.”
“Hey, hey, Finbarr, how did we move off Springsteen?”
“You mean the Powerful, Energetic, Fun, Uplifting, Out of this world Rock ‘n’ Roller?”
“Yes, that’s THE Boss.”
“You mean the rocker who is hitting sixty years, who just did the best gig Glastonbury UK has seen in years—Glastonbury is a bit like a modern Woodstock, gang—and the rocker who is in global demand. You mean that Boss? Think about it Bill, think about it.”
“Hmmm! Very clever, Irish, very clever. I get it. It’s not just about age, it’s how you present yourself and what you do with your skill set. Good point, Finbarr. Good point.”
Finbarr let Bill think about the energetic New Jersey rocker who entertains and energizes thousands of people every year – even if he is about to hit sixty.
“OK, back to Methuselah – my brother! I suggested he concentrate on three areas to improve his job search and overcome Ageism. Let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist. So, if it does exist, let’s find ways to beat it and win this mind game. So! Three areas to concentrate on.
1) KNOWLEDGE: If you are an experienced executive, you should have knowledge about the industry and product. That is a given. Indeed, you may well have more knowledge than most others applying for the job. That knowledge hopefully translates to Capability and the Ability to get results which is the reason employers will hire you. So, in your sales pitch for the job, you must convince the employer that you have the best skill set, based on work and life experience for this job. But to do that, you must Improve your interview and presentation skills. It won’t just happen, because you want it to happen.
2) CONTEMPORARY: This is an area that trips up some seasoned job seekers and—by the way—do NOT use the word ‘seasoned’ in your resume. Right! You may well have great skill sets and knowledge, but employers also want someone who can work with others in their Environment and relate well to them. Many of your work colleagues will be Gen X and Gen Y. Understand their thinking and views on life and work. No. You do not have to pretend to be one of them. There’s no need to come in wearing a Greenpeace cap and a Beyoncé or Kings of Leon tattoo, listening to your iPod, saying ‘Wazup’ to everyone. That won’t help, but what will help is understanding what is happening in the Gen X, Gen Y space.
“As for social media. If you have no idea what Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and social media is, you are doing yourself a disservice and you will present as a fuddy-duddy to a thirty-year-old recruiting manager. Set yourself a number of S-HAGs. Develop a list of Small Highly Achievable Goals to improve your social media skills and capabilities. Understand ‘Green’ and the impact it can have on your industry and your career.
3) ENERGY: You MUST, you MUST walk into that interview room 12-feet tall AND Bulletproof. You MUST convey a sense of Energy to your prospective employer. It does not have to be physical Energy, although that will help. But there should be… how do I put it, how do I put it?... Yes, there should be an aura, that’s right, an aura – an aura of energy. If it is not physical Energy, it needs to be intellectual Energy, a sense of proactivity, a sense of ‘Can Do It,’ a sense of ‘WILL Do It.’
“When you can convey that sense of energy to your interviewer, it will help you secure that well-paying job.”
“Give me a bit of help on this ‘non-physical’ energy Finbarr. What do you mean?”
“Good question, Dick. Let’s go back to the music scene. Anyone know what age Leonard Cohen is?”
“I don’t know, but he was old when Sally and I were dating.”
“Leonard Cohen is seventy-four. Even at that age, he plays three-hour concerts which garner rave reviews from critics in London, New York, Chicago – anywhere he has played. Cohen doesn’t jump around the stage like Springsteen does, but there is an energy in his performance, a connection with the audience that really makes an impact. Non-physical energy is showing you are curious, interested, inquisitive, empathetic, a good listener and being proactive. It is about Positive IN, Positive OUT.
“There is no perfect answer to Ageism, but when you walk into the interview 12-feet tall AND Bulletproof AND… present with Energy AND… show that you are Contemporary AND Knowledgeable it will make a real difference.
“For those of you worried about this Ageism thing, consider the people much older than you who are doing—or have done—amazing things. People like Warren Buffet, Nelson Mandela, T Boone Pickens. Do you know what age Churchill was when he became Prime Minister in 1940?
“Sixty-five,” said Nicole.
“Rock ‘n’ Roll, lady. Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
Finbarr burrowed into his brief case and brought out a folder emblazoned with SHEIFGAB the World: 8 Building Blocks to Successful Job Transition. He flicked through it quickly.
“Right! Here’s a little exercise for you guys when you get home. Check the age of these people. Tina Turner, Billy Joel, actress Betty White, Elton John, Clint Eastwood, Cloris Leachman, Neil Young, Mick Jagger, Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bob Dylan, Glen Frey from The Eagles, Gene Simmons, Rod Stewart. William Shatner. And what about golfer Tom Watson? Nearly winning the Open at 59! None of them are spring chickens, yet they convey a ‘Can Do’ Attitude and a sense of Energy. People want to buy their services because they remain Contemporary, have Knowledge for their respective markets and have Energy. You can achieve the same, but it doesn’t just happen. They look after themselves.”
“Well, most of them!! And when they walk out on stage, they walk out 12-feet tall AND Bulletproof. You can also.”
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