Welcome to 60-year-old managers and their great “enthousiasmos”

There are so many 60-year-old managers who don’t feel like stepping down, sit on the couch and watch TV at home; there are still so many who want to give their all and pass down their know-how, helping companies to solve the most pressing and complex issues. They may be “seasoned” all right, but they are still full of energy and with a large, well checked baggage of skills.

Surely, not all of them have a desire to keep working. Some would rather enjoy retirement and pick up sports, cultural activities or dedicate themselves to their family; but what are the distinguishing traits of those who still want to play their part?

To quote Robert M. Pirsig, author of the famous book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, they are people who are full of Enthousiasmos:
People full of Enthousiasmos do not sit and brood. They are fully aware of themselves and know their quality: they know what to expect and they can face anything.”

It’s not true that seasoned managers are less quick and less efficient. Experience allows them to be more selective and intuitive, more effective in spotting problems, causes, connections and in coming up with solutions. They can quickly assess situations and people, with whom they deal in a more straightforward and empathetic way.

A century ago, it was hard to find a fully healthy 60-year-old, but nowadays health deteriorates after 70; aging has changed a lot over the past twenty years.
60-year-old managers full of Enthousiasmos are first of all in good health and shape, and they usually practice regular physical activity. They have neither family nor financial issues. Fully independent, they are fine with working far from home the whole week.

These managers full of Enthousiasmos are willing to work hard and are often tireless. They are curios and committed to giving their contribution and helping the companies solve their problems. They accept what may look like impossible missions with enthusiasm. They are often the first ones to arrive at work in the morning and the last ones to leave, late in the evening.

I remember a 60-year-old manager assigned on a project by Contract Manager, who engaged in a challenge with the company’s president about who would be the first to arrive in the morning. The challenge ended a foggy winter morning when both showed up at 6.30 am but couldn’t get in: the janitor hadn’t arrived yet.

These 60-year-olds often have been lucky enough to have worked in large companies that stand out as best practice in Management, companies that had people attend their own management schools, such as ISVOR-FIAT, or prestigious schools like Harvard Business School, Insead, London Business School, MIT, SDA Bocconi, MIP Politecnico.

Usually, seasoned managers have gained significant experience in few companies, in Italy or abroad. Given their skills and their experience in management, they are active within a short notice, and this means they can bring tangible results in a brief time.

Seasoned managers mostly share values like loyalty, honesty, sense of duty, dedication to the company but also humility and respect, which means they remain humble in front of the new situations they face, they respect people and are not arrogant. This allows them to be reliable and win the trust of their coworkers, especially younger ones. They are often an example for others.

These features make 60-year-old managers extremely suited to work as interim or temporary managers in companies of all sizes, managing changes and management gaps and restructuring. They are ready to work and usually glad to change their usual routine.

Because they work only ad interim, they are usually well received in the companies, as they don’t pose any threats for young, ambitious people. On the contrary, they are perceived as great means for a fast growth.

Welcome, then, to the seasoned managers, those who are between 55 and 69 years of age and full of Enthousiasmos: a resource for companies, both Italian and foreign, and also for Italy as a country.

Angelo Vergani