Life after Leadership
You're a leader forever. You have no choice. You own it.
There isn't life AFTER leadership; there's life WITH leadership.
My formal organizational career passed 14 years ago when I was relatively young, after a 30 year career as an executive leader.
My corporate afterlife has been an interesting ride; I smothered myself in leisure activity and explored many potential opportunities to consume my new freedom.
I have been in my "post-real job" era long enough now to understand just how significantly my leadership tenure has influenced my entire life.
- Leadership traits become ingrained; involuntary.You can't escape them. They own you despite your desire to find new bearings and a different direction.Deep down, you will always be that leadership person.In your career afterlife your leadership genes can be a good thing or not.
- Iplan things well in advance. Vacations and other significant events are booked well in advance, with an execution plan laid out in terms of what specifically has to be done, by whom and when. And, I always have a backup planready when things go awry.I place a great deal of emphasis on getting stuff done. I get extremely frustrated with protracted conversations about possibilities. I need to pick a path and DO IT. Wandering through dreamland is not an activity that gives me any satisfaction whatsoever.
- I am a problem solver. If an issue comes up, I need to resolve it; not talk about it, but find a solution. Now; not next week. Sense of urgency continues to run through my veins.
- I keep a journal in my calendar on my electronic device.I have a "record of proceedings" of my life; experiences and memories. It seems the proclivity to have a record of achievement and observation never wanes.
- I value honest people who approach their lives in a simple way.I avoid people who thrive on - and love to talk about - the many things they are able to juggle and achieve in their daily busy lives.I can spot insincerity a mile away from people who "grin" at me and who try to impress others and standout with no platform. I walk away.
- I would rather take the initiative than follow the lead of another. WOW! This has produced some interesting conversations with our friends. It's something I must do; it's gravity.I schedule every personal and family event on my calendar even though my dance card is replete with unclaimed territory.I have a strong opinion on most issues and voice it perhaps too frequently and with an excess of passion. Casual conversations can easily morph into debates.I have not mellowed out much over the years and continue to see little value in a "milk toast" persona. I continue to resist yoga and meditation even though I recognize their merits. Maybe someday.
- I practise my art of BE DIFFERENT with everyone in my personal community, including my family.I will likely never be known as someone who is the SAME as everyone else, but one who goes beyond limits to standout from the crowd.I place an exceedingly high priority on creating experiences for my family that hopefully will be remembered by my grandchildren, in particular, as cool things we all did together.
- I am intolerant of "dumb rules" in organizations that I deal with as a customer.Policies that make no customer sense fuel my fire to say something about it. And I do.I wonder why business problems haven't really changed, and am frustrated that what I believe to be simple axioms of success aren't practised far and wide today; people complicate organizations needlessly. The education system lags behind.
Practising the art of leadership doesn't end after your formal career has ended, and retirement, whatever the hell that means, takes over.
For better or for worse, you own it.
It's yours forever.