This week’s focus: As the US presidential race gets into gear, I see that many people are bemoaning the fact that all the leading candidates – Trump, Sanders and Biden – are white men in their 70s. The ‘pale, male and stale’ accusations are coming thick and fast.

Putting aside the ‘pale and male’ issues, I take issue with the ‘stale’ criticisms. Regardless of their politics, the three emerging contenders all display high levels of energy and stamina. After all, in a world where more and more of us will live into our nineties and beyond, isn’t 70 the new 50?

I’ve just read the book ‘Extra Time: 10 Lessons for an Ageing World’ by Camilla Cavendish. It is a fascinating, well-researched and entertainingly-written investigation into how we – both as individuals and societies – need to take a more positive approach to the second half of our prolonged lives. And that approach must incorporate the world of work.

Cavendish reports that Lee Iacocca, the legendary CEO of Chrysler, once commented, “I had people at Chrysler who were 40 but acted 80, and 80-year-olds who could do everything a 40-year-old can. Age gives experience. Besides, it takes you until about 50 to know what the hell is going on in the world.”

In other words, as long as the individual still has the necessary drive, energy and enthusiasm, there can be some clear benefits to older rather than younger workers. According to Cavendish, only 64% of the UK’s 55- to 64-year-olds are currently in work, compared to 78% in New Zealand. If the UK achieved New Zealand’s level of participation, GDP would grow by 9%!

What about your organization? Do you see the over-50s as ‘stale’ and over-the-hill, or are you maximising the results and benefits of employing 60-, 70- and 80-year-olds?

Off The Record: Old Red Wine by The Who

Old red wine, well past its prime

Gonna have to drink it with you some other time

Just let it breathe, oh let it breathe

Breathe life, breathe life, let it breathe.

How You Can Support SportsAid – And Get A Free Strategy Day With Me

This year I’m offering six small businesses a free day’s strategy session with me. All I ask of you is that you support one of SportsAid’s highly promising young athletes for a year. The costs is just £1,000 and you might find that you’ve helped a future Olympic champion reach the next level of performance – Jess Ennis-Hill, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Steve Redgrave and Daley Thompson are all SportsAid alumni!

So, if you own or run a business with annual revenues of £5 million or less and want to find out more, just click here 

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