Here's a little water cooler talk to start your day. On the 6th July 1885, Louis Pasteur successfully tested his vaccine against rabies on Joseph Meister, a boy who was bitten by a rabid dog. While you think, wow, 1885, the true fascination to me is that immunisation had in fact been presaged by Edward Jenner almost 100 years earlier. Leadership, innovation, passion and purpose at its finest.
It does make you wonder in 2085, what big reflections will there be for the 21st Century and will the next generation be able to draw learning from our leadership, did we act with passion and purpose? If not on the grand scale of Louis Pasteur, I am hopeful that within their community or family, there are examples of such leaders.
I can tell you something for free, it won't be contribution from anyone over the age of 50. I am being very tongue in cheek when I say that. This week I saw an advertisement for a recruiter who is specialising in Recruitment for Seniors, great I thought to myself. We are in the middle of a labour crisis and it may encourage those retirees with skills back into a little part-time work. Oh how wrong I was, this ad was targeting those 50 and over. Really, 50! Come on, what is wrong with the world? I don't think I am being sensitive when I say that 50 and senior should never be used in the same sentence.
Even if you are set on a retirement age of 65, 50 is middle-aged and given that we cascade into new careers over our working life, 50 is not, under any circumstances, senior. Louis Pasture was 63 when he experienced his groundbreaking medical advancement. Last time I checked, productivity was based on presenteeism, a sense of belonging, ability to connect, and ultimately the capability of the individual to complete the task. Surely if we are moving into a phase where 50 is the new 65 there is a massive potential untapped workforce.
How about considering a few of these measures that have nothing to do with age:
*Measuring social currency and belonging to a team
*Correlating rates of output to ease of staff retention
*Benchmarking human capital costs against losing customers
*Calculating the impact of leadership style changes on culture
*Innovating and creating new knowledge based on shared experiences
If we have moved into a phase where 50 is considered senior, then you've not seen the worst of our labour crisis. 85% of our team at NZIM range in age from 50 to 82 and there is nothing you could tell me that would make meshift my thinking on this. Experience, a steady mindset, flexible life stage, endless knowledge, commitment, encouragement, willingness, purpose and empathy.
Given the complexity of life, can we please just let the dust settle on ageism. Young or mature, we all add value given the right environment.
Have a positive week, stay well and stay open to new ideas.