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“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”
-Bill Nye

We are living in an era with too much focus on what’s next, with too little attention paid to the sage advice of those who are retiring from their work lives. Knowledge and know-how are walking out the door at unprecedented rates as boomers retire. Leaders, managers and technical expertise are moving on and I’m afraid we will regret not capturing their advice and valuable perspectives.

Two articles were posted on July 31 that are well worth reading, thinking about and discussing with your team. Two leaders of major companies, PepsiCo and GE, are retiring. Indra Nooyi and Jeff Immelt are different leaders from different industries and far different backgrounds. Their advice focuses on people, management of oneself and an appreciation for the process of work.

“Leave the Crown in the Garage”: What I’ve learned from a decade of being PepsiCo’s CEO by Indra Nooyi

  • Everyone needs a vision.
  • Think hard about time.
  • Ensure that culture change sticks.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Be a student of life.
  • People are everything.
  • “Leave the crown in the garage.”

Things I Learned by Jeff Immelt

  • Set purpose with high standards.
  • Make the really tough decisions.
  • The future comes. Never apologize for investing in it.
  • Keep perception and reality in sync.
  • Act big and small, long and short; keep a lot of thoughts to yourself.
  • Deputize others.
  • We win in markets, not conference rooms.
  • Like the work more than the title.
  • Never give up.
  • Lead in the moment. Give fully of yourself…always appreciate work, workers.

I invite you to read the full text and think about how their words apply to you whether you are a CEO, a mayor or a manager, or leading from within the organization. I also invite you to make extra effort to capture the thoughts of those leaving your organization formally and informally so that we don’t look past decades of experience that may help us all meet the challenges of the future.

-Kenny McDonald

Columbus 2020 Update

  • This week, the Columbus 2020 team is hosting companies evaluating the Columbus Region.
  • Tomorrow, August 15, is the deadline for applications to pitch in front of AOL co-founder Steve Case. The Rise of the Rest 6.0 Tour will stop in Columbus on October 13, during which time companies will be judged on their bold idea, jobs, team, execution, business model and supporting documents. Learn more and apply here.