Passing the Wisdom On

Key Concept

This module addresses 2 groups of people.

  1. Those who are still employed and would like to pass their wisdom on to their successor.
  2. Those who have already retired and are starting to feel an urge to engage again with the world.

Objective

On completion of this module you will have

  • Identified the knowledge, skills and mind-set you need to pass on to others.
  • Developed the skills to Mentor and Elder others.

Why this module is important to you

A report by Ameriprise Financial on February 3, 2015 released its findings of more than 1000 Baby Boomers ages 60 to 73 years who have made the transition into the post career stage of their lives.

  • 48 percent felt that they were not emotionally prepared to retire
  • 69 percent stated that they had challenges adapting to the changes in their lives

Retirement is a major life change - the psycho-emotional change is dramatic. We carry a great deal of knowledge and experience, and it is important for our psychological well-being to pass that wisdom on.

We have an important role to play as Elders. Eldering draws on the wisdom of an older, widely experienced person who passes on life lessons and moral guidance - providing a broad picture of one’s place in the world.  The long term practical and ethical implications of today’s actions, more and more, have consequences far into the future. And the elderly have a 50 – 60 year lens with which to look from the past into that future.

One of our biggest challenges is to maintain the belief that we still have a valuable role to play in the world;  where the unspoken message about retirement and old age is that "our useful life is over".

An example of Elder Wisdom in action.

Medical technology has advanced rapidly over the last 50 years, but our “right to die” has not kept up. So as an Elder, what are your views?

Mentoring and Eldering

Mentoring may come naturally to some people, but like any intervention that involves managing the performance of other people, there are skills and pitfalls. Please read the notes on Mentoring and then, use the Mentoring Worksheet to check your understanding.

When we looked at Eldering, you were introduced to the 4 Elder archetypes. We have all developed some aspects of each of those types – and it is important that we identify what our role could be in each of them.

 If you are still employed

Why this module is important to an Employer.

Employers express serious concerns about an impending skill and experience shortage as older employees head into retirement. With them goes a wealth of interpersonal skills, institutional knowledge and contacts with customers and suppliers.

In their last year of employment, retirees are often asked to work long and hard to complete work they have been doing. Much more valuable would be to shift their responsibilities to Mentoring their colleagues - to pass on their wisdom!

Retirees can provide a supportive and guiding role. They might give up a management or supervisory position, to become a high-value, expert, team member or “senior statesman” mentor, transferring their knowledge to colleagues and younger employees. This type of arrangement costs less than normal induction and training of junior / mid-level employees.

Mentoring

If you have not already done so, please read the notes on Mentoring and then, use the Mentoring Worksheet to check your understanding.

Mentoring provides an opportunity for you to extend the value of your experience to your Employer (or to other Employers).  The expertise of a Workshop Foreman, an experienced Sales Representative or an Administrative Assistant, who all know how things really work is invaluable. Many Employers miss an opportunity by only engaging senior managers as Mentors - mentoring knows no barriers of seniority.

Expertise and experience at every level has its value. (As a young man, hitch-hiking around Europe, I was taught the “right” way to swing a shovel – it saved me many days of back-pain and discomfort.)

Eldering in the Workplace

What follows are a series of exercises that ask you to consider the future of your Workplace from the viewpoint of each of the 4 Elder Archetypes. These exercises form the background to the knowledge and skills you pass on to others.

The Architect

Their gift is their vision and their drive. Their value is their ability to see the bigger picture and to make things happen. An Architect’s Work Wisdom

The Artist

Their gift is their creativity and their courage to give things a try. Their value is to help people think outside the box and find unexpected solutions to problems. An Artist’s Work Wisdom

 The Artisan

Their gift is their skills and a “hands-on” understanding of how things work. Their value is in passing on their "how to" skills. An Artisan’s Work Wisdom

The Activist

Their gift is their moral courage and preparedness to “stand up and be counted”. Their value is to bring awareness of injustice and exploitation and to expose the “lie behind the promise”. An Activist’s Work Wisdom

The Elder’s Ultimate Gift

The other great gift that Elders bring is their Contacts and Relationships. We all know that in a crisis there are people we can turn to get us out of the sh*t. They are the people who will “make a plan” to get the numbers you remembered you need, 15 minutes before that important Management Meeting. They are the Customers who will give you a special order at the last minute, so you can meet your targets for the month. And they are the guys in Dispatch who will make a special delivery to a special Client.

These are relationships that took you years to develop – and an introduction from you to your Successor will probably do more for his/her success than anything else you do. The Elder’s Gift

Now that you have considered the role you can play as a Mentor and Elder in the workplace, please go to the section on Mentoring and Eldering for after you have retired.

If you are already retired

Why this module is important to You.

 Mentoring

There will be occasions when it is appropriate for you to advise and guide another, usually younger, person. If you did not do so before, please read the notes on Mentoring and then, use the Mentoring Worksheet to check your understanding.

Eldering

Eldering incorporates and extends the skills of mentoring and coaching. It draws on the wisdom of an older, widely experienced person who passes on life lessons and moral guidance - providing a broad picture of one’s place in the world.

When we looked at Eldering in Retirement, you were introduced to the 4 Elder archetypes. We have all developed some aspects of each of those types – and it is important that we identify what our social role could be in each of them.

 Elders in Society

What follows are a series of exercises that ask you to consider your impact on society from the viewpoint of each of the 4 Elder Archetypes.

The Architect

Their gift is their vision and their drive. Their value is their ability to see the bigger picture and to make things happen. An Architect’s Social Wisdom

The Artist

Their gift is their creativity and their courage to give things a try. Their value is to help people think outside the box and find unexpected solutions to problems. An Artist’s Social Wisdom

 The Artisan

Their gift is their skills and a “hands-on” understanding of how things work. Their value is in passing on their "how to" skills. An Artisan’s Social Wisdom

The Activist

Their gift is their moral courage and preparedness to “stand up and be counted”. Their value is to bring awareness of injustice and exploitation and to expose the “lie behind the promise”. An Activist’s Social Wisdom

The Elders Journey

In order to enjoy the vitality necessary to meet your purpose, both in your workplace and in your life in retirement, there are a number of elements that you must give attention to - without your health in all its forms, your post-retirement life will be limited and in many respects, unsatisfactory. Welcome to your Elders Journey!

Discussion Assignment – Passing the Wisdom On

Consider each of the Worksheets you have completed

  1. What insights have you gained about your role as a Mentor and Elder?
  2. How can those insights benefit others?

Discussion Forum

Next module : Beginning with an Ending

Before we can move ahead in our lives, it is necessary to look at what has to end, what is changing, what future am I moving to and what do I have to let go, in order to move?

Next Module