Work Above the Bull: Capturing Wisdom

talent-shortageby Brenda Gevertz

In last month’s blog, which also appeared in JCSA’s monthly newsletter, I asked your help in creating a bucket list for success in working in the Jewish community. Your responses were heartfelt and thoughtful. Repeatedly, you voiced the need for a commitment to the mission, a sense of purpose, and invaluable self-respect. Leadership qualities were enunciated. Not surprisingly, collaborative spirit, transparency, passion and honesty were frequently on your lists. And then, an interesting side commentary emerged…

As colleagues wrote about these attributes, they also commented on the transfer of leadership now taking place across our field as Boomers retire and new talent takes the helm. There were expressions of anticipation and excitement as we await the new ideas and perceptions that should come with new leadership. And, there was also a sense of sadness and concern for older colleagues being “pushed aside.”

There needs to be a way to capture the wisdom that has been acquired over decades of community building. How can we insure that the knowledge and experiences of a retiring generation are passed on to its successors? Will we reinvent the wheel or repeat mistakes over and again? Are we only concerned about youth? Does a creative person lose that attribute as they age? Is new better?

These are questions that are on your mind as you think about success. Boomers retiring today will likely live for 20 or 30 more years beyond retirement. They are seeking Encore Careers and exciting volunteer opportunities. They are ready to relinquish the responsibilities of leadership and still want to contribute and live productive lives. There are so many challenges facing our Jewish community and society, in general, that there is more than enough room for a diversity of talent. How will we capture this wisdom in transition?