I thought if I hadn’t made it by the time I was 50 then I wasn’t going to make it. The thrusting, ambitious and going places 40 somethings seemed to dominate the top posts. Even words like “ambitious “, “ enthusiastic” and “ energetic” seemed to be code for young and when combined with “experience” meant the interview panel was seeking to appoint a forty year old, high flyer from the fast stream.
Plenty of organisations do go for the new, younger, hungrier model, some times it works out but they cannot hold on to them and some times it doesn’t work out, they leave having turned the place upside down.
There are advantages to appointing managers with a bit more substance/ depth to their experience. Its not just that having been around long enough to experience the inevitable ups and downs, they bring a resilience that means they know how to bounce back, its the fact that they don’t play the young managers game. They don’t have the pressure of having to prove themselves or build a career, they can manage more freely. It’s is a great feeling to know whatever challenge or adversity gets thrown at the organisation there is nothing that is radically different to that which you have dealt with in the past.
Expectations placed on managers are ridiculously high, often boards/cabinets set over ambitious aims and push for unrealistic targets when the resources to deliver are simply not there. All managers take their work home in their heads but older managers are better at compartmentalising it. And of course as an older manager if they do decide to get rid of you well early retirement is a lot more palatable that unemployment.
Blair McPherson former director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk