Eve of Disruption: New Tricks from Old Dogs

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Elizabeth Streb at work. Photgraph by loulex.

Old dogs can – often and effectively – teach new dogs even newer tricks.

Some of the most (Re)volutionary Ideas, Concepts and Actions may take decades to germinate.

I had an entirely different post written; then came across this article on Elizabeth Streb   and am compelled to set that aside in the interest of sharing this article, this brilliant woman and this perspective on value, creativity and vintage.

Here is a woman of Sixty-Seven years who is breaking ground, shaking up, challenging and evolving an Art and Experience form as she continues to challenge, startle and scare even herself…bringing decades of experience to the table (or, in this case, stage). Her company respects her, her colleagues respect her, she is watched and heard in her Community and beyond (and probably not always with agreement…though that isn’t necessarily a negative).

As I read this article and watched the video (WATCH this short video! http://video.newyorker.com/watch/action-hero-choreography ), I kept thinking of my own gig and job-market experience since returning to the States and the immense value of experience, experimental leadership and mentorship potential I see being lost and overlooked in this MBA spreadsheet- and, it would seem, myopically ageist-driven, culture here at home.

After about four years, I returned home to San Francisco from an eminently well-paying final gig in Dubai at the end of 2016; planning to continue project work in different parts of the world and figuring on extensive contract work in and from San Francisco.

Not to be so. The experience represented by the silver hair that is so valued in other parts of the world seems seen as a sign of irrelevance (or “unnecessary” expense), stateside.

As continues to be discussed in threads that run through such sites as LinkedIn and Medium, there seems a prevalent prejudice against Experienced Skill and Talent virtually inherent in US-based business; especially and in my experience those of SF and Silicon Valley.

Silver-haired, “Vintage” (my preferred term) pros seem dismissed and rejected out of hand without exploratory conversations that could prove transformational and enlightening; this, a trend or syndrome it would seem is based on assumptions made by…well, who knows?

We Vintage People (there are many of us out here, and we talk to one another) can still rely on our vestigial, applicable networks to gain entree to some arenas of opportunity; though are regularly stymied by this wall of unresponsive silence encountered at younger companies (some of which are actually already decades old.

These institutions might perhaps find significant value in some new thought and approaches ( “Opportunities for Storytellers…”) by a silver head or two…

The real losers, though, are the legions of brilliant, articulate, aspirational young professionals entering and rising through the work force with sights set on leadership and groundbreaking evolution of their own.

As brilliant as these Millennials, X’s, Y’s, Z’s and Beyonds are; what is missing in their development is practical experience and healthy, respectful, collaborative relationships with these potential Vanguards of Practical Experience.

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Offering enlightened experience to the leadership mix – those who embrace change and are adept at resolution of the unstructured problem, those who can ramp up the inspiration among the New Professionals – can only add value and productivity.

Sourcing, gathering and recruiting individuals who’ve broken ground in their own fields, iconoclasts who made change before and have maintained their edge, placing these people in key positions to affect the valuable resources coming on board, now…this is protecting and enhancing your investment with “Collaborative Leadership” .

The request, then, this “alert” to the current CEO, COO, HR Professional is read this article and check-out this video through the filter of the needs and vision of your own institutions and companies; then, re-examine the recruitment policies and processes in place.

Go out on a limb. The atmosphere is fresher and opportunity flourishes.

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Elizabeth Streb is amazing; there is an army out here of folkx ready and willing – indeed, excited and nurtured – to be part of passing the torch of inspiration manifestation to new generations so’s they can blow the top off their respective arenas as they come into their own.

This can significantly expand the ROI of every hire made. IMHO.

Still popular throughout the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies, “IMHO : Creating Compelling Experience” remains a free download from the Apple bookstore and iTunes. Seriously: Free. IKR?! Read it. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/imho/id555219645?mt=11 ]