For those who have not heard of the phenomenon that is beginning to drastically alter the business landscape, allow me to briefly set the stage…

Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, once said, “The only thing you can predict with absolute certainty is demographics.” Today, there are 78 million Baby Boomers in the workforce, 60 million Gen Xers and 84 million Millennials. Of the 78 million Baby Boomers in today’s workforce, 10,000 retire each day. In fact, a Baby Boomer retires every 8 seconds. This silver tsunami is causing an evitable workforce gap.

Herein lies the problem: there simply aren’t enough Gen Xers to fill this void (revisit demographic breakdown above). The rough math tells the story: if every single Gen Xer could replace the 78 million Baby Boomers who are retiring, there will still be an 18-million-person gap.

So where will these “replacements” come from?

Answer: The Millennial generation.

That’s right. Millennials. The technology natives who are arguably the most educated generation of our time and the largest cohort in the world. Millennials. The folks who will be given the opportunity to fill the roles vacated by Boomers. Millennials. The folks who will undoubtedly lack the muscle memory and repetitions to move into these roles with fluidity and ease.

Now that this mass exodus of Boomers has been reaffirmed and the silver tsunami defined, allow me to walk you through the common mistakes that business leaders make when attempting to solve this alarming demographic shift.


Traditionally speaking, organizations have offered training to the masses. This typically occurs through technical skills training within the industry vertical. While there is value in this type of training, developing and preparing your high-potential Millennials to fill leadership positions is not something you can (or should) offer to everyone. This type of development must be intentional, purposeful, and customized to your organization. And it is not corrective action.

Read that sentence again.

It is NOT corrective action. Your organization’s future leaders should be the folks who have demonstrated to you and your executive team that they have (or desire to obtain) the skills that you want to leverage and build upon – not break down and build back up.


Most people use the word training and development in the same breath. When we created our leadership development program at Solutions 21, we knew we needed to address the gap created by the silver tsunami.

Next generation leaders must be developed in order to navigate the leadership landscape with more than their individual contributor skills. They need to be immersed in practical application situations. They need to develop an entirely new skill set. They need Next Leader Now.

Our Next Leader Now program is focused on fast-forwarding the ability of high-potential next leaders to tackle real-world business challenges. This proven development approach for next generation leaders prepares candidates to transition from individual contributor to demonstrating the skills to be an executive-level decision maker.


It takes time to become a leader. Unfortunately, time is a luxury we simply don’t have right now. Businesses are evolving, and competition is at an all-time high. We need to be proactive about developing our future leaders because they will be thrust into key decision-making roles. It is our responsibility to arm them with the skills needed to succeed.

We have spent years researching and refining our Next Leader Now program. Through a combination of our research-based curriculum, self-paced, self-directed study, and individual, customized coaching, participants have the ability to own their development.

We are entering unprecedented demographic territory and the continued success and growth of your organization will harmoniously sync with the folks you develop to take on leadership roles. And while investing in people is never an exact science, preparation is crucial.

This silver tsunami will drastically affect your business. That’s a promise.

Are you prepared for the storm?