Week of April 29, 2019

“There are two kinds of failures:

those who thought and never did,

and those who did and never thought” 

Laurence J. Peter

Author, “The Peter Principle”

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Required Reading-The Death of Retirement

During the Great Recession of 2008, many people were afraid of going broke.  Now at the height of one of the longest expansions in US history, many Boomers are starting to worry about never being able to retire. 

This short, but sobering, article from Bloomberg Business Week analyzes the financial readiness of the American worker for retirement.

It states that  “as of February, the ranks of people age 65 or older who are working or seeking paid work doubled from a low of 10 percent back in early 1985.”    In short, many Boomers will find their retirement savings will not permit a timely retirement and are already feeling compelled to continue working.  Moreover, even those who saved diligently may find they underestimated the length of time those savings must support them as life expectancies have increased.

Of particular concern to many executives is that workers in Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z cohorts may come to feel that their prospects for advancement are being delayed if the Boomers delay their departure.  The war for talent is tough enough but will be even harder if younger workers see no opportunity at your firm to move up due to Boomers who just won’t go home.

(Note: The Bloomberg article  has links to other excellent articles about this problem and retirement calculators that you may want to share.)

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A Hanging in a Fortnight

The English lexicographer Samuel Johnson once remarked,  “Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight  (i.e. in two weeks) , it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”   The former CEO of DHL, Ken Allen,  would no doubt have agreed with Dr. Johnson in the fall of 2007 when the international freight company was teetering on the abyss.

No matter how capable, it is the rare leader who does not face through bad luck or bad judgment a crisis that threatens his or her organization in a fundamental way. To prevail, you need a great strategy and great execution.  If you’d like to start getting ready for your own crisis,  check out the lessons on what the CEO of DHL did to save his company, and how he did it, in leading his company through an existential crisis.

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That Most Important Meal

Parents and nutritionists have long (nagged) claimed that breakfast was the most important meal of the day.  If you thought that was well-meaning but not important advice, think again.

This short article and video from CNN summarizes new findings that those failing to take time for that first meal of the run an 87% higher risk of cardiovascular mortality compared with those that ate breakfast daily. 

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Great Instead of Big

Most of the time, business people see growth as the primary criterion of success.   However, there are other ways to measure success,  and to that end, Forbes annually publishes a list of 25 “Small Giants” which celebrates businesses that favor greatness overgrowth through their community involvement, commitment to staff and industry excellence.

Three Vistage companies recently made the list.  Take a minute to learn more about them.  Click here for the Forbes article listing the 2018 winners.

And if you’re still focused on growth, take a look at this one-page posting  (Warning! Shameless self-promotion alert!) that shares how Vistage members over a five year period grew 2.2x fast than non-members.

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Econ Recon

We’ve had a long expansion.  Trees don’t grow to the sky. these two short articles provide some insights into when, where and how the economy turns down.

The First Domino:  If you’ve ever heard an ITR Economics presentation, you know that the firm has long held that a second Great Depression awaits us in 2029-2030.   Several factors will drive this according to ITR and the country that may lead the world into Depression is none other than Japan.   ITR’s Connor Lokar provides an executive summary of ITR’s reasoning for the Depression awaiting us and why Japan may be the “domino that ultimately tips us into the 2030s.”  

Headed for a Fall?  2029 is a decade away.  What happens before then? Economists have concerns about a looming pullback triggered by China’s slowing growth, the fragility of Europe in general and Italy in particular.  This short posting and podcast from Wharton Business School explores whether the World Economy is headed for a fall.

Now ask yourself – are you a Leader?

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