In today’s fast-paced world, we are constantly having to adapt, adjust, and redirect based on the speed and frequency that situations occur. Needless to say, evolution has introduced unchartered territory and unprecedented business challenges. And while there are timeless principles that are established and ingrained in any successful business, family, or team, we are currently experiencing one of the biggest, unprecedented shifts in the history of our country’s workforce.

Every day, 10,000 Baby Boomers reach retirement age, creating a silver tsunami that will strip organizations of invaluable institutional knowledge and experience. And with the 18-million-person gap between Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, there are not enough experienced professionals to step into the leadership roles being vacated by retiring Baby Boomers.

With this statistical certainty looming, Millennials, who are 84-million deep in the United States, will be thrust into leadership roles that they are nowhere near prepared to efficiently fulfill.

While one strategy would be to throw them into the deep end and see if they sink or swim, why would any organization want to take the risk? We are in such a competitive landscape that the room for error is miniscule. Situations mishandled by inexperienced leaders can have much more of an impact than a training opportunity. 

Here’s the question: if we know there is a gap in key leadership skills and we know high-potential, Millennial employees are going to move into leadership positions quicker than ever before, why do we continue to think these challenges will fix themselves? Or worse: believe that outdated, 20th-century development tactics – like cookie-cutter training solutions – will prepare emerging employees for the next 20 years in business?

I can tell you this: enrolling your future leaders in a two-day, off-site leadership seminar is not going to prepare them to be a leader in today’s business climate that is fast, global, tech-enabled, and talent-competitive.

Read that sentence again.

I understand how one can fall victim to this train of thought. If this strategy worked 20 years ago and you can draw a line from a past experience that was successful to an offering that is similar why not do it again? Right?

Here’s the challenge: evolution.

We have evolved in so many ways but are still stuck in the past when it comes to developing our future leaders. Building leadership bench strength and preparing future leaders is of high priority for almost every organization. The time is now to set yourself apart from your competitors. Be proactive in your approach. Build your leaders. Invest in them and intentionally develop them. 

The workforce is demanding dynamic prepared future leaders! We need to adjust our preparation to make sure we are preparing for 2030 – not 1980!