Cashing in on the Baby Boomer generation has been the buzz lately. There is a lot of talk about who will care for them when they retire, the growth in the healthcare industry and the resulting new jobs that will supposedly be created in the coming decade.

On the flip side is a topic that has not only been glossed over but in fact some have treated with a sort of mild denial. The possibility of a labor shortage and the care and feeding of Corporate America after the boomers step down. With unemployment hovering around 9% nationally, it’s hard to imagine a time coming where jobs cannot be filled. But the evidence is mounting;

 In his book, “The Next 100 Years, A Forecast for the 21st Century”, George Friedman proposes that by 2030 there will be a major labor shortage in the United States. The key reasons being twofold; the decrease in birth rates in the US and the departure of the Baby Boomer generation from the workforce.

The link below is from an article on MSN Careers posted on 04/27/10 that estimates the shortage to kick in closer to 2018. Notice what is in the top 5 positions of demand….management, operations and general leadership.

If you do the math, it’s not hard to calculate that there is a changing of the guard on the horizon. As the seasoned professionals of the Baby Boomer generation step down, there will be a vacuum of leadership to fill in their place. The unemployment rate will stabilize and shrink, but the vacuum will continue. The Baby Boomers out number Generation-X by three to one and the Millenials by two to one. At some point in the next decade, experienced leadership will become a highly sought commodity. The real question, however, is will you be ready when the shift comes? Will you have paid the price and developed the real skills to be part of that highly sought commodity?

There have always been people who have moved forward to positions of leadership through good politicking skills, feel good psychology and even some creative accounting. What the last few years have clearly demonstrated, however, is that those are not real business skills. Anyone can misrepresent the product and make a sale, but that is not real sales skill and it always catches up with you. Coach John Wooden summarizes best in a famous quote;

“Regardless of the profession, a leader who lacks full knowledge will soon be exposed. It’s difficult to get people to follow you if you do not know what you are doing.”

 That quote goes deeper than just technical knowledge or operational skills, here are four areas of professional development that continue to come up in career advancement forums and professional networks;

 Internal Mastery – Communication skills, initiative, professional ethic & discipline, reasoning & analytics, enthusiasm. These are all skills that are often grouped together and called, “Intangibles”. Ultimately, they involve the person in the mirror.

 Professional Skills Mastery – Sales, Marketing, Employee Development, Customer Service, Profitability, etc. These fall into the ‘Core disciplines’ that are universal to almost every business.

 Team Mastery – The skills involving knowing the difference between, coaching, training, teaching and preaching. They are the leadership skills and the ability to apply them to build a knowledgeable, motivated and effective team.

Organizational Mastery – The higher leadership skills that involve moving the one teams success, to many. The ability to create direction and cultures and have those cultures become institutional and perpetuated.

 More to come on these topics…..BN

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