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Boomers, Escape From Your Bubble!

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4.    Use leverage in your professional development.

There are many ways you can leverage your wisdom, talents and experience to create a flexible business that benefits from virtual alliances and risk-free experiments.  Here are some approaches that work well for Boomers:

Shift from one-dimensional thinking to a matrix of ideas and professional relationships. This transformation involves expanding  your thinking to incorporate multi-dimensional approaches such as cause and effect, leverage, strength in numbers, a whole greater than the sum of its parts, and synergy. Understand these concepts and how to apply them.
Technology is today’s version of  the very long lever…the technology we use to run global businesses from virtual offices, build alliances with people from around the world, and reach markets everywhere.  Now, that’s leverage!

Shift from in-person as often as possible and add as virtual as possible. You can draw on the best resources, minds, ideas, products, services, and more–regardless of where they’re located around the globe. In-person appearances are one of the most expensive ways to conduct business because they cost you twice:  the implicit value of your time and the opportunity cost of not being able to use that time to accomplish something else that would bring a higher return.

Value your time as a precious commodity! Don’t fall into the attitudes: “Well, all I spent was my own time” or “At least, it cost me nothing to find that out”.  Even if you spent no out-of-pocket money, you spent precious time, and that translates into money.

5.    Harness the power of numbers–and employ your technology tools.

From time to time I find myself in a conversation with an older Boomer who insists that it is “too late” or “too annoying” to learn, understand, jump into, and profit from social media. These same people may believe having their own website or blog is out of their reach.   In my observation this self-imposed generation gap is a huge barrier to entrepreneurial success and one of the most detrimental aspects of the “Boomer-bubble.” These are not the Boomers who will thrive in an “encore career” or a new business launch.  These are not the Boomers who are my coaching clients.  This topic deserves a book of its own (many have been written) but for the purposes of this article one quoted example, from Fast Company Magazine, will illustrate this point.  Cali Williams Yost wrote “How I Hailed Cab and Learned to Help Older Workers Find a Job.”  Here’s a pertinent excerpt:

“A couple of months ago I hailed a cab, and behind the wheel was a well-dressed man who looked to be in his mid 50’s…. I was on my way to give a speech. Overhearing this, the driver politely asked, ‘What is the topic of your speech?’ I responded ‘How to manage your work+life fit.’ He laughed and said, ‘Do you have any advice for me?’   He proceeded to explain that he had started driving a cab a couple of months earlier after his 18 months of severance ran out. He had two Masters Degrees and for eight years he had been a project manager for a major online retailer. When the layoffs started, he thought another equally good job would eventually turn up. But after countless promising interviews and not one call back, he had no choice to start driving the cab to make extra money. He sighed, ‘Any advice for me, lady expert?’ We were about 10 blocks from my stop so all I could think of saying was, ‘Are you networking with employers on Linkedin?’ His confused eyes stared at me in the rearview mirror, ‘What’s Linkedin?’ What’s LinkedIn? Here’s an experienced technology project manager and he doesn’t know about LinkedIn. It was beginning to make sense. Perhaps the companies that had expressed interest but never followed up were concerned about how current his expertise would be if he wasn’t on LinkedIn? He dropped me at my stop, and as he pulled away, I could see he was smiling. All I’d done was tell him about LinkedIn but it was enough to give him hope. LinkedIn. So simple. But he didn’t know.”

A question to pose to Boomers:  Are you driving your own career bus…or are you just looking out the back window while the rest of the world speeds by?  Are you linked?  Do you know your options?  In our book, SmartMatch Alliances we include an “Alliance-Ability Checklist.” We recently updated the following question, under “Communications”:

Do you communicate effectively with others–verbally, in writing, through E-mail?  On LinkedIn? Other social media?

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