4 reasons leaders are calling it quits on retirement … and why that’s a good thing

reasons leadsers are unretiring sam reese

Hi, my name is Ed Stillman and Sam Reese CEO of Vistage Worldwide posted on August 10, 2022 the below article.

I’ve been in Austin since 1989 and chairing since 2006. I’m in my 70’s remain relevant, monthly coaching and mentoring the next generation of leaders in becoming better leaders, making better decisions while solving their most pressing issues. We are making a difference in how Austin small to mid size owners and CEOs create good to great companies.

This chapter in my book called LIFE is the most meaningful chapter of them all, and it could be you?

Give Sam’s article a scan and reach out to me if you want to explore being a Vistage Chair in Austin Texas.

According to an analysis of Labor Department data, an estimated 1.5 million retirees have re-entered the U.S. labor market over the past year.

As someone who left the corporate world for retirement and then changed my mind, I have a first-hand perspective of what’s to be gained when someone “unretires.”

At Vistage, I also see the wisdom our executive coaches (many of whom are unretirees) bring to the table, both in group meetings and one-on-one conversations with CEOs who are looking for advice from those who have navigated difficult terrain before them.

Many of these Chairs are leaders who took the leap of faith to reenter the workforce because — after taking some time to recharge and explore hobbies — they just knew they still had more to offer the business world.

In conversations with colleagues, friends and Chairs throughout the years, many unretirees have expressed similar thinking behind their decision to re-enter the workforce and bring their skills, wisdom, and experience back to the table on their own terms.

Find purpose and relevance

Time and time again, retirees who choose to re-enter the workforce cite the same central reason: They want to quench their burning desire to be a part of something larger than themselves again and miss the thrill of feeling impassioned about their purpose.

By nature, humans strive for a sense of relevancy and desire to leave a lasting impact; when someone retires, that switch doesn’t automatically turn off.

Seasoned executives who are able to do inspiring and meaningful work on their own terms find the best of both worlds. They discover they can be more productive than ever before while leading balanced lives.

These days, there are so many options for what one’s definition of “work” looks like. Experienced leaders have more opportunities to do fulfilling work while catering to their lifestyle at any stage.

Wisdom is in hot demand

With the “Great Resignation,” roughly 4.3 million people quit their jobs, creating a job seeker’s market across the board. As a result, experienced leaders and employees are in high demand.

Many coming out of retirement have found they can leverage a valuable skill set: earned wisdom. After jumping back in from the sidelines, many gravitate toward roles where they can mentor, coach or consult others to success, offering up lessons learned from decades of experience in the trenches.

At Vistage, we see this up close every day, as Vistage Chairs bring decades of business experience into their discussions with CEOs. That first-hand, real-world insight is unparalleled when making critical business decisions.

Appreciating diverse perspectives

Diversity is one of the most critical elements of the workforce in 2022. Different perspectives result in better decisions, and seasoned executives provide essential intergenerational wisdom that can only come from experience.

It would be a great shame for all the wisdom that is accumulated over decades of leadership to be lost in retirement when it could be shared with the next generation.

Being and having mentors is just as important for “unretirees” as it is for rising talent. Mixing with those from different backgrounds and generations enables fresh thinking and collaboration. In these tumultuous times, it has become clear how much we have to learn (and stand to gain) from one another.

Renewing skills

Technology continues to rapidly transform our lives and subsequently, learning new skills has become a critical component for those re-entering the workforce.

But those who return to the workforce aren’t just looking to upgrade their technology skills. They are on a quest for lifelong learning.

Rather than focusing on the areas where they’ve already built a lifetime of expertise, they are also interested in finding new skills and continuing to jump into unfamiliar territory. They seek out a sense of renewal with curiosity and humility, gaining new knowledge and different expertise to round out their years of experience.

Unretirement may not be for everyone, but there are many who reach the top of the mountain only to realize that they still want to climb another peak. These executives are always trying to learn more and improve, and they’re also interested in giving back and helping others after a lifetime of success.

There has never been a better time to rethink “retirement” and leverage the opportunities presented by the flexibility to create a new, fulfilling path forward for those of retiring age.

The growing popularity of unretirement is an exciting opportunity for retirees to continue to offer their vast knowledge and experience on their own terms. Not to mention, businesses have so much to gain from the contributions of seasoned executives.

Let’s have a cup a coffee and see if we’re a good fit for you and you for us.

Ed Stillman



The Virtues of Redundancy

There’s a reason speakers and meeting facilitators repeat their most meaningful key points.

We live in a time when attention spans are short and boring your audience, even if it’s only the one person you are talking to, is to be avoided at all costs.  Leaders are urged to keep it brief to avoid people tuning out or being seen as inauthentic.

However, according to Dr. Adam Grant, new research shows that great leaders are intentionally repetitive in their communication.  In his “Adam Grant Thinks Again” blog, he shares that when it comes to how leaders communicate “it’s possible to overdo it. But research hot off the presses shows that it’s better to overcommunicate and be seen as redundant than to under communicate and miss the mark.”

To make his point, Dr. Grant shares the story of one twentieth century leader who was warned by his speech writers not to re-use a particular phrase that had he had employed on other stages.  He didn’t take their advice; his choice to repeat himself made history.  Dr. Grant’s short post will explain “Why Repeating Yourself Is a Good Thing.”

As Dr. Grant says “it’s better to overcommunicate and be seen as redundant, than to under-communicate and miss the mark. “

Any of these mistakes resonate with you and your company on-boarding practices?

Do your retention rates compare to our members?

Hiring Top Talent – 10 Mistakes to think about

Where can you improve?

Barry Deutsch Impact Hiring Solutions July 2022

  1. Inadequate Job Descriptions
    • List “success” expectations vs minimum qualifications
    • Measurable behaviors
    • When possible tie it back to company objectives
  2. Superficial Interviewing
    • Have probing questions
    • Validate candidate claims
    • When possible pay them well for a day, week or a month – trial employment
      • See if they meet & exceed expectations
      • See if they are a culture fit
  3. Inappropriate Prerequisites
    • Education level, years of experience is misleading for future success
    • Look for Humble, Hungry and Smart candidates (Patrick Lencioni’s book – The ideal Team Player, a must read)
  4. Snap Judgments
    • Possible 1st impressions may not deliver expected results
    • Negative 1st impression is not a valid way to dismiss a candidate
  5. Historical Bias
    • Basing selection on past performance or behavior interviewing
    • Focus on potential performance vs past performance
    • Gaining a commitment from candidates that I can and will do that is critical
  6. Performance Bias
    • Does the best actor get the job?
    • Prepared 20 minute presentation is not indicative of future job success
  7. Fishing in shallow waters
    • Job boards most of the time are full of the best of the worst
    • Focus in the deep end of the pool and excite candidates about your opportunity
  8. Lack of Probing Questions
    • The depth of the questioning will minimize embellishment and possible lies
    • “Tell me a time…” and “what would you do…” questions are difficult for the applicant to make up false or fake examples of performance
  9. Ignoring Candidates Needs
    • Performers want the opportunity to learn and have a strong impact
    • They want to become something greater for their time in the role
    • Working for an excellent boss and company with a strong culture and core values adds to the success factor
  10. Desperation Hiring
    • Cutting corners with the above best practice discipline will on average not yield an ideal candidate or long term employee
    • Define success and focus on selecting the right candidate

Related Resources

The CEO Pulse: Hiring Resource Center

If you are part of the Austin Business Community, we have 7 group chairs in Austin and 180 small to mid size business owners and senior executives developing their skills in becoming better leaders, making better decisions. Individual coaching sessions along with monthly meetings enables our CEOs to sharpen their ability to look around the corner before it’s too late.

In closing, after 16 years chairing in Austin Texas, it’s my belief our members have a significant advantage over their competitors that encourages me to encourage you to investigate becoming a Vistage CE member. There’s still time for you to meet and exceed your end-of-year expectations and set yourself up for greater success in the years to come.

Thanks for your time, Ed