What Happens When Careers Last 20 Years Longer?

by Avivah Wittenberg-Cox

Like many of my peers, I had thought that I could gently start thinking about retirement in my mid-fifties. But as my mid-fifties arrived, and as the debate about the human lifespan rages on, I’ve been confronting a new question: what if I live to 100?

For more, I looked to a book by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, two London Business School professors, called The 100 Year Life. Half the children born today, they say, have a 50% chance of living to 105. That’s up from only 1% a century ago.

We used to have a few simple phases to existence: childhood, education, work, and retirement. Now, entirely new phases of adulthood have emerged. My son, who is in his mid-20s, is pretty typical. After graduating from college, he moved abroad to work for a start-up, first in Haiti, now in Senegal. He is at the very beginning of his career: exploring the world, delaying any kind of emotional or physical settling down that, a generation ago, would have been the norm at his age. This whole decade is an entirely new phase, referred to as ”emerging adulthood,” and it’s something experts are suggesting may be a normal extension of learning and experimentation for a species living in an ever more complex world.

I am also experiencing an entirely new phase of adult development. Like my son, I’m exploring the world and have moved to a new country. I am recently remarried and developing ideas for new businesses. A generation ago, someone my age would have been gently slowing down, while I, and many of my cohort, feel like we’re at the very beginning of the second half of life. My children are grown and gone. I am as free as my son, with a bit more savings on the side.

Our decades strangely resemble each other – and have big implications for how individuals and companies may want to rethink a whole host of issues, from career management and pensions to mobility and leadership criteria.

For individuals, longer lives will mean that we are likely to reinvent ourselves many times over. We will want to learn to re-learn and be open to repetitive re-training. Lifelong learning will become an essential part of adult development.

Gratton and Scott also propose managing a range of assets that go well beyond the financial, although underfunded pensions will be a key challenge for almost everyone, everywhere. They group these into three areas and argue that over time, you want to review that you are investing enough to balance out your portfolio for a lifetime:

•Productive assets: Knowledge, skills, professional social capital, reputation

•Vitality assets: Health, relationships, love, regenerative friendships, balance

•Transformational assets: Self-knowledge, diverse networks, openness to experience

How will companies manage longer lives and postponed retirements? When careers become 50 or 60 years long, they will want to move away from the current, linear career model that puts so much emphasis on the 30s and 40s. This should help parents, and especially women, who have been held back by the business world’s emphasis on the 30s as a make-or-break career decade.

Workers now in their 20s are eager for experience and are more mobile than they may be again for decades. The rise of assortative mating means that more and more people marry someone just as educated and ambitious as they are. This makes many people less internationally mobile than they were in the days of single-earner couples. International companies could start building cross-cultural skills much earlier (and/or much later).

Yesterday, companies were reluctant to employ both halves of a couple, fearing issues of nepotism. Tomorrow, they may shift to managing “family” careers by strategically choosing to hire both people. It may prove a lot easier to manage dual career couples when they both work for you. For many of the larger multinationals with big graduate training programs, a lot of people end up marrying a colleague anyway. Embracing this fact, and working with it, rather than ignoring or discouraging it, could optimize and encourage the skills of two people, rather than enmeshing them in today’s often painful tradeoffs and choices between whose career should ‘take the lead’ and who should “follow.”

The intensity of parenthood peaks between 30 and 35, on average; this period clashes directly with companies’ high potential identification and development policies. For decades, this has eliminated too many women from leadership pipelines. Longer life spans will render this short period of time even less significant than it currently is. Companies will want to manage careers with several talent identification periods, at different ages and stages, rather than just the one currently most common.

As people age more healthily and work longer, the 50s and 60s will emerge as creative new decades of renewal, mobility and wisdom. Aging societies may not be the sad and boring future everyone fears. They may be an innovative and promising reinvention of human potential. Smart companies are already working to make their talent management approaches more flexible, shifting away from the “ladder” and allowing individuals more say in crafting alternative paths along a “lattice.”

Finally, companies will want to integrate the consequences of much longer lives into all their products and services. There are huge new opportunities in analyzing and serving the needs of humans are discovering that life hold entirely new chapters. Moving away from quickly outdating stereotypes of aging, retirement, and recreation, to dynamic new images of re-creation and innovations in lifestyle choices is fertile territory. For example, the over-60s entrepreneur is the fastest-growing segment in the UK and people aged 55-64 started 23.4% of all new businesses in the U.S. in 2012, up from 14.3% in 1996.

 Longer lives will also challenge companies that are already struggling to manage and adapt to the modern workforce – whether it’s adopting policies that work for two-career couples, protecting employees from burnout, or offering the training and development opportunities that 60-year careers will require. Companies have long wanted to ignore people’s personal lives, and compartmentalize between “work” and “life,” but smart companies may want to recognize the connections and support employees through a variety of transitions, both personal and professional. Not doing so may cost more in the long run.

The only thing that you can be sure of about the consequences of longer and healthier lives is that transitions will become routine. We will all need to become skilled transitionists, able to learn, grow and reinvent ourselves. Repeatedly.


Case Study in Customer Ratings

by Uri Neren

customer service

In 2011 Avaya had a major likability problem, and the according market performance you would expect. Reeling from the growing pains of a $475 million merger with Nortel, the business communications company faced lingering customer disillusionment and falling profits.

Avaya’s 2011 Net Promoter Score (NPS) was in the 20s (on a scale of -100 to +100), suggesting that it would have a hard time keeping the customers it had, let alone grow on word of mouth.

NPS is actually much more than a likability score: It’s a measure of potential. Yes, a customer who gives a low rating doesn’t like you. But when a customer is eager to tell a friend, it means they love you. And that means gross margin, because people are willing to pay extra for the things they love. For reference, an NPS of +50 is considered very good.

Today, Avaya’s NPS score stands at 65, which is a leap of 40 NPS points in only five years. Most big companies are happy to bump their score up by just a few points in that amount of time.

When facing a reputation problem, most organizations simply rebrand. This is the safe route: stick with what you know but tell the public you are innovating, hoping they won’t notice you’re doing nothing of the sort. But Avaya CEO Kevin Kennedy saw the deeper problem behind Avaya’s NPS score and knew radical change was necessary. (Disclosure: Although Avaya currently has no ties with Innovators International, my interest in Avaya’s remarkable turnaround was initially kindled by the dozens of conversations I had with many people at Avaya when the company was a partner with our organization.)

For Avaya, its lackluster NPS score reflected a simple truth: Innovation was the key to survival because it is the growth engine. In particular, I’d like to focus on three things Avaya did that other companies can learn from:

Treat Innovation as a Risk-Management Exercise

The most-innovative CEOs and the companies that perform at the highest levels are not merely risk tolerant — they manage their company’s diverse risks like an investment portfolio. They understand that the status quo is at least as risky as making some new bets.

Even though the transformation Avaya underwent was risky, Kennedy saw an even bigger risk in that unfortunate NPS score. If customers didn’t like Avaya’s services, it was a bigger risk to stick to the game plan than it was to roll the dice on some new approaches.

Avaya embraced innovation as a risk management exercise. It experimented with new ways of doing things, certain that some of them wouldn’t work. I’ll describe some of Avaya’s specific innovation techniques and strategies below, but again, it’s worth slowing down to emphasize how unusual this attitude adjustment toward risk is. It takes a major cultural shift in the company. You can’t just designate a budget for a few innovators and let the rest of the corporation conduct business as usual. The willingness to experiment has to permeate the whole organization.

Embrace Agile Methods for Responding to Customers

A big part of the problem behind Avaya’s low NPS score was the lag time between a customer communicating a need and Avaya fulfilling the request. Too often, when Avaya delivered tailor-designed products and services for customers, the customer was not satisfied.

When Kennedy and his innovation team redesigned Avaya’s workflow, they cut lag times from six months to three weeks. Now customers were not only getting exactly what they wanted — they were helping Avaya’s design teams tailor communication solutions to their unique needs.

The key to this transformation was an innovation approach common in the software industry: agile invention methodology. In an agile methodology, engineers create multiple versions and iterations of prototypes in a concentrated timeframe to put potential solutions in the hands of users as quickly as possible. The design teams can then use the feedback from their customers to quickly and efficiently improve the products.

With an agile methodology, Avaya didn’t just speed up its workflow — it communicated better with its customers.

Agile invention methodology is one of the 152 innovation methods found in Innovation International’s study of 2000-plus corporations. It’s exciting and it works well, and it cannot be contemplated without believing innovation is a risk-management exercise.

Avaya tried a lot of things that didn’t work. But when the customers were happy with the pace and precision of the solutions they received, no one at Avaya gave those failed attempts a second thought. The risk had been managed well. That’s what agility is: the ability to reposition yourself quickly and gracefully when you take a wrong step.

Tie Your Goals to Hard Numbers

Of course, you can’t embrace risk and ask your middle managers to become agile innovators unless you can explain to them what you want. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve met with business leaders who cannot actually describe their company’s goals.

For Kennedy, merely describing hoped-for success was not enough. He and his innovation team calculated the hard numbers necessary to determine exactly what Avaya’s goals should be. That meant every step Avaya took could be mathematically measured against the long-term goals of the company.

This is one of the most powerful ways to unshackle middle managers from the day-to-day grind of incremental progress. Setting numerical goals for every activity in the corporation means giving people the room they need to try things out, instead of measuring every day’s work against the previous days. And adding input and throughput metrics to the measurement of output means team leaders can see where they are in relation to the efforts of other parts of the company.

In innovation terms, talent management is usually described simply: get the right people in the right place, and then get the hell out of their way. And you do need to give a good team room to do their best. But getting out the way doesn’t mean leaving people at sea; clear goals and usable structures are a must.

In Avaya’s case, the agile invention methodology was one way its employees were empowered, but there were many others. Greater communication across the company contributed, as did adhering to hard metrics that allowed everyone to understand whether they were succeeding or failing.

Any large company should be able to do what Avaya did. But unless you understand the risks you face and empower your people to innovate, you will be steering straight for the biggest danger of all: staying the same while the world changes around you.

Not all corporations need an agile methodology or this approach to metrics. Our research suggests that nearly any combination of several innovative approaches can create an internal growth engine that leads to leaps in growth. However, as Avaya’s example shows, embracing innovation may necessitate a major cultural shift and the casting overboard of supposedly tried-and-true ways of doing business.

Avaya’s leap in NPS was accompanied by a 5% gross margin increase, which is unheard of in an industry that, as many experts will tell you, is on the verge of a major disruption. Here’s another way to look at it. Avaya’s main competitor has long been a larger, better-known corporation: Cisco. Last month Cisco laid off 5,000 people. Meanwhile, Avaya is hiring.

Uri Neren is the CEO of Innovators International, a collaboration of 30+ multinationals who work together to help each other excel at innovation management and creating future top line growth. He has worked in energy technology R&D and founded The World Database of Innovation initiative in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic.

Good Cybersecurity Doesn’t Try to Prevent Every Attack

by Greg Bell

I discuss cybersecurity with hundreds of executives every year. The biggest mistake I see is companies treating cybersecurity solely as a technology matter for IT departments to solve. But it’s not. It’s an enterprise-wide opportunity that’s critically important.

If the end game is preventing something bad from happening, companies typically waste time and money on futile attempts to build an impenetrable wall of systems. Even if it were possible to build a wall that’s 100% secure, it wouldn’t begin to protect the rapidly growing amount of sensitive data that flows outside the firewall through devices and systems beyond the company’s direct control.

It’s far more important to focus on two things: identifying and protecting the company’s strategically important cyber assets and figuring out in advance how to mitigate damage when attacks occur.

Choose Which Areas to Protect

We live in a world where more and more products are connected to the internet — not just computers and phones, but home appliances, alarm systems, and garage door openers. Whether they know it or not, customers are sharing vast amounts of device usage and personal data whenever they turn on a product or use a service.

The companies entrusted with this data must recognize that cybersecurity and data protection are no longer just IT risks; they’re strategic business risks of the highest order. Reputations, brands, and revenue are all at stake. On some level, CEOs know this. According to our “CEO Outlook” study, cybersecurity is the most important risk concern on chief executives’ minds right now. But although executives seem to understand that strategy itself is a series of choices — about what your company will excel at and where competing doesn’t make sense — they take a peanut butter approach to cybersecurity, spreading it evenly across the entire business.

That’s why I stress the value of a cyber risk management framework that begins by focusing on the business factors driving growth and profitability and ends with the technology infrastructure. This is the opposite of the traditional approach, but it’s much more effective. Cybersecurity investments cannot be treated equally; some are simply more important than others.

For example, I recently learned that the chief security officer (CSO) of a large insurance company was spending much of his time, and millions of dollars, securing the company’s dealer network, a disparate group of thousands of brokers who have a direct relationship with policy holders. The brokers are not employees of the insurance company, and the systems these brokers use are not controlled by the company, even though they collect and process customer data. This is a real dilemma faced by many IT security specialists: How do I protect something that’s not in my environment but could impact the brand and the trust that our customers have in us?

What the CSO did not know at the time was that his company was planning to change its business model and expected to dismantle its dealer network within the next couple of years, meaning much of what he had been doing could soon be irrelevant. Companies that can talk about upcoming changes and plan for them in advance can build adaptive, agile, and effective cybersecurity strategies.

Although nearly one in five CEOs reported in KPMG’s survey that they’re uncomfortable with the degree to which mitigating cyber risk has become part of their responsibilities, one of their top priorities should be driving greater alignment between their business units and IT than typically exists today.

As in any risk management strategy, executives must look across the entire organization and assess the company’s cybersecurity assets, including investments in technology systems and highly skilled professionals to run them. Make sure these investments are aligned with both the company’s needs today and how its business model may evolve in the next three to five years.

Prepare to Be Breachedlaptop-2

Once the key risks to the organization’s “crown jewels” and business processes are identified, it’s important to make informed, fiscally responsible judgments about which can be fixed and which can be monitored closely on a continuous basis. While it’s painful to think about, chances are your defenses will be breached at some point, and it’s best to have a plan in place for when such breaches are discovered.

Cybersecurity training that continuously evolves based on changing circumstances and evolving personnel roles is absolutely essential. Every employee should be informed about cybersecurity best practices and how to identify malicious software or phishing attempts. Too many companies have failed to recognize the importance of ongoing employee training.

Conduct regular cyber risk assessments, focusing on the most-important corporate data and business priorities, and conduct controlled breach scenarios to see how the company and its employees respond. What is the corporate chain of command in the event of a cybersecurity attack? How will you communicate with the news media and your customers?

A survey we recently conducted suggests that this kind of contingency planning is not taking place in many companies. In fact, it’s not even being funded: Nearly one-third (31%) of the executives reported that their companies had no designated leader whose sole focus is on cybersecurity, while 49% reported that they had not invested funds in information security during the past year.

The fact that we see so many companies not investing in cyber protections and not designating a cybersecurity leader suggests that even though cybersecurity concerns are top of mind, in many instances they aren’t being addressed appropriately.

Consumers see value in companies providing more transparency, education, and communication about their cybersecurity efforts and their effectiveness. Companies that do this successfully not only are more likely to win in the marketplace but also are able to withstand a security breach if it occurs.


How Successful People Network with Each Other

by Dorie Clark

As you advance in your career, you have more experience and more connections to draw on for networking. But chances are you’ve also become a lot busier — as have the really successful people you’re now trying to meet. How do you get the attention of people who get dozens of invitations per week and hundreds of emails per day? And how do you find time to network with potential new clients or to recruit new employees when your calendar is packed?

The typical advice that’s given to entry-level employees — Invite people to coffee! Connect with them on LinkedIn! — simply doesn’t work for people at the top of their careers. Instead, you need to leverage an entirely different strategy, something I call “inbound networking.”

In the online world, “inbound marketing” is a term that was popularized about a decade ago by HubSpot cofounders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. It refers to the practice of creating valuable content, such as articles or podcasts, that draws customers to you directly (as opposed to spending a lot of time on cold calls or paying for advertising to lure them in).

Networking is facing a similar inflection point. Most professionals are constantly bombarded with Facebook and LinkedIn connection requests, not to mention endless requests to “pick their brain.” Trying to stand out in the midst of that noise is a losing battle, and you probably don’t have time to send a bunch of cold emails anyway.

Instead, you can successfully network with the most prominent people by doing something very different from everyone else: attracting them to you with inbound networking. In other words, make yourself interesting enough that they choose to seek you out. Here are three ways to do it.

professionalsIdentify what sets you apart. One of the fastest ways to build a connection with someone is to find a commonality you share with them (your alma mater, a love of dogs, a passion for clean tech). That’s table stakes. But the way to genuinely capture their interest is to share something that seems exotic to them. It will often vary by context: In a roomful of political operatives, the fact that I was a former presidential campaign spokesperson is nice but not very interesting. But at a political fundraiser populated by lawyers and financiers, that background would make me a very desirable conversation partner.

The more interesting you seem, the more that powerful people will want to seek you out. And yet it can be hard for us to identify what’s most interesting about ourselves; over time, even the coolest things can come to seem banal. Ask your friends to identify the most fascinating elements of your biography, your interests, or your experiences — then do the same for them. At one recent workshop I led, we discovered that one executive had been a ball boy for the U.S. Open tennis tournament in his youth, and one attorney is an avid and regular surfer in the waters of New York City. Both are intriguing enough to spark a great conversation.

Become a connoisseur. Almost nothing elicits more interest than genuine expertise. If someone is drawn to a topic that you’re knowledgeable about, you’ll move to the top of their list. Since publishing my books, I’ve had innumerable colleagues seek me out to get advice about finding an agent or fine-tuning their manuscripts.

But sometimes it’s even better when your expertise is outside the fold of your profession. Richard, a financial journalist I profiled in my book Reinventing You, was able to build better and deeper relationships with his sources after he started to write part-time about food and wine. He discovered that his Wall Street contacts would proactively call him up to get information about hot new restaurants or the best places to entertain their clients.

You can also use nontraditional expertise to build multidimensional connections. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett could certainly have a decent conversation about business. But it’s their expert-level seriousness about the card game bridge that cemented their bond, eventually leading to Buffett’s decision to entrust billions to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

When you’re an expert in a given niche, you can often connect on a level playing field with people who, under other circumstances, might be out of reach. One friend of mine, a corporate executive who produces jazz records on the side, recently got invited to the home of an internationally famous rock star as Grammy campaign season heated up.

If you know a lot about wine, or nutrition, or salsa dancing, or email marketing, or any of a million other subjects, people who care about that topic are sure to be interested in what you have to say.

Become the center of the network. It’s not easy to build a high-powered network if you’re not already powerful. But New York City resident Jon Levy took the position that the best way to get invited to the party is to host the party. Nearly six years ago, he started hosting twice-monthly “Influencers” dinner gatherings, featuring luminaries in different fields. Levy’s gatherings now attract a guest roster of Nobel laureates and Olympic athletes. But he certainly didn’t start there.

Begin by inviting the most interesting professionals you know and asking them to recommend the most interesting people they know, and over time you can build a substantial network. At a certain point you’ll gain enough momentum that professionals who have heard about the dinners will even reach out to ask for an invitation. As Levy joked to one publication, “One day, I hope to accomplish something worthy of an invite to my own dinner.” When you’re the host, pulling together a great event liberates you to invite successful people who you might not normally consider your peers but who embrace the chance to network with other high-quality professionals.

I’ve also hosted more than two dozen dinner parties to broaden my network and meet interesting people. But that’s certainly not the only way to connect. These days, any professional who makes the effort to start a Meetup or Facebook group that brings people together could accomplish something similar.

The world is competing for the attention of the most successful people. If you want to meet them — and break through and build a lasting connection — the best strategy is to make them come to you. Identifying what’s uniquely interesting about you and becoming a connoisseur and a hub are techniques that will ensure you’re sought after by the people you’d most like to know.


Dorie Clark is a marketing strategist and professional speaker who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She is the author of Reinventing You and Stand Out. You can receive her free Stand Out Self-Assessment Workbook.

CAM History

Posted by athomenet

A community manager is tasked with keeping the community flowing smoothly. However, this isn’t a new position. The role of a community manager actually traces back to before the Great Depression, but the role has vastly changed due to the needs to the people and economy.

Prior to the Great Depression

Before the Great Depression, more people started to move into big cities, so they could be close to factories and other places of employment. The demand quickly increased, but there were few options for housing. As a result, property owners could get away with providing little in regards to improving housing conditions. Instead, they focused on collecting rent and only making crucial repairs.

During the Great Depression

During the Great Depression, things changed. People couldn’t afford their homes or even their rental properties. They started living with family members to save money, and many people’s homes went into foreclosure. This led to the development of the real estate management business. The Institute of Real Estate Management was founded, and people generally realized that community managers needed to have the right skills to do the job.

During Suburbanization

When the 1950s hit, people stopped wanting to live in big, noisy cities. Thus began the exodus to the suburbs, which lasted through the 1970s. Thanks to a better economy and more automobiles, people could commute more easily. More and more people also began renting apartments. The Baby Boomers, now graduating from college, didn’t want to live back home with their parents, so they turned to apartments instead. Divorce rates also climbed during these years, forcing divorced people to turn to apartments instead of buying homes.

The 1980s and Beyond

In the 1980s, the role of the community manager became more relevant. The economy saw a lot of ups and downs, so the community manager had to learn about sales and marketing to attract potential renters. By the 1990s, however, their role had changed again to meet demands. Now, the community manager had to focus on preserving and maximizing assets.

Community managers must have a lot of training, and their role in the community has evolved over time. Originally, they only needed to worry about collecting rent, but now their job requires many skills such as bookkeeping, sales, construction knowledge, law and many more.


Escape Work Stress at Home

by Jackie Coleman and John Coleman

  • Confine your work to particular times and locations.


Leave your work at the office. Make a rule to work from home only in exceptional circumstances, and keep work folders, computers, and notebooks at your desk. If you work at home, don’t bring your laptop to bed or use it on your couch. Work in an office or a specified workspace. Doing this will mentally help you shut off work when you leave the room, giving you an incentive to work as efficiently as possible rather than lingering over tasks.

  • Develop good mobile device habits


Keep two separate mobile phones — one for work and one for personal use — and leave the work phone in an out-of-the-way place (or turned off) on nights and weekends. And never check your work email in the hour or two prior to bed. When on vacation, lock work-related mobile devices in the hotel safe and check them only at predetermined times.Zebra-Lossing-Strips2

  • Establish a good support network


Develop a support network of friends and mentors who can help you manage your professional stress so that it isn’t the burden solely of your significant other.

  • Have an end-of-work habit


Think about what helps you unwind, and find space in your schedule for this habit — particularly at the end of a long day at work — so that when you return home you’re free of the baggage that’s built up throughout the day.

  • Create a third space


These spaces are different for everyone — quiet cafes, book clubs, trout streams, karate classes, poker nights — but they are important for maintaining our identities and our sense of peace. Third spaces mean no person runs from responsibility to responsibility without having time to breathe.

Just in!

CAMICB just received our anniversary pins for 10, 15 and 20 years.  We will begin sending them in the new year.  Congratulations to those of you who have reached these incredible milestones!  We appreciate your commitment to the community association management profession and the CMCA credential.