It’s so hard to understand, Why the world is your oyster, But you’re future’s a clam!

Thirty years ago Paul Weller was singing these lyrics with The Jam on their great song, When You’re Young. Earlier this week Paul just missed out on the prestigious Mercury Music Prize for his latest album Wake Up The Nation.

Now in his fifties, Weller has lost none of his passion, creativity or work ethic. And yet many successful forty-something and fifty-something executives I meet are simply clock-watching their careers in anticipation of their retirement.

They are disillusioned with the constant criticism they receive, the lack of recognition and use of their talents, and their inability to accomplish their once-cherished career goals.

They have had enough.

What, as business leaders, are we doing to our senior managers so that they feel like the frustrated teenagers depicted in When You’re Young? Most of us will live into our 80s and beyond. We need to rethink how we build and sustain the energy and enthusiasm of our most talented executives, not eat away at their ambition and self-belief.

As with Paul Weller, we need more people to be doing their best work in their fifties and beyond.

© Stuart Cross 2010. All rights reserved.