So if “All the world’s a stage…” what about Age Discrimination?

26 07 2010

All the world’s a Stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages…”

As You Like It – 2/7

So if  “All the world’s a stage” what about Age Discrimination?

This question is one I’ve been mulling over a lot recently and particularly when talking to my coaching clients in the work I do.

It’s a fact**, and despite what a multitude of HR professionals/business leaders might tell you, we are all affected by the different stages that we’re at in life and the issues and challenges we face.

Here are some basics:

Figure 1. Adult Life Stages
Stage Key Issues Self-Image Goal Focus Relationships Community
Autonomy / Tentative Choices

(18 – 26)

Autonomy vs. Dependence

Tentative vs. Lasting Choices

Developing sense of personhood as separate from parents and childhood peer groups Defining self as an individual and establishing an initial life style Testing out new relationships (e.g., love interests, peer groups, and friends) Realigning focus from family of origin to new peers and groups
Young Adult


Turmoil vs. Certainty

Settling Down vs. Keeping Things Open

Questioning sense of self and who/what we want to become Re-assessing initial life style and making more permanent choices/ commitments Sorting out and deciding which relationships will become more permanent Re-thinking and evaluating commitments and connections
Making Commitments


Master vs. Apprentice

Permanent vs. Tentative Choices

Firming up/establishing a more permanent sense of self and who/what we want to become Deciding a life direction and defining/ aggressively pursuing a dream of what we want to accomplish in life Making more permanent commitments to love relationships, friends, and peers Establishing more permanent connections and community ties/ responsibilities
Mid-Life Transition


Resolving Key Polarities

Immortality vs. Mortality

Constructive vs. Destructive

Nurturing vs. Aggressive

Re-examining realities of projected ego and image vs. true self and struggling to define/accept true self Questioning the dream whether or not it was achieved and developing a more mature sense of what is really important Recognizing/ acknowledging one’s own negative, as well as positive, impact on relationships and correcting course for deeper, more authentic connections Disengaging from group and cultural pressures/norms to re-evaluate and restructure priorities
Leaving a


Contribution vs. Personal Benefit

Other vs. Self Centered

Social vs. Independent Accomplishments

Letting go of earlier inaccurate ego images and accepting oneself as a worthwhile being with weaknesses as well as strengths Making the best of the time one has left to help others and leave a positive legacy Settling into more realistic and rewarding relationships based on recognizing/ forgiving each other’s imperfections as human and helping each other grow Re-engagement on a deeper, more objective, less driven and more productive, level with family, friends, and society
Spiritual Denouement

(66 and beyond)

Hope vs. Despair

Survival of Spirit vs. Mortality

Surrender vs. Control

Accepting self as dependent on a wisdom greater than one’s own, recognizing that wisdom as benevolent, and submitting one’s self and life to that wisdom’s will Tying things up and completing the development of the person/spiritual being we want to become Accepting others and recognizing/ respecting humankind’s diversity as part of a greater wisdom’s plan Recognizing that life is only part of a larger, more enduring spiritual community and helping others understand that

Click here if you can’t view the above which was taken from

Of course, we are complex animals and often we weave our way through this path moving backwards and forwards between “ages”. Sometimes meandering back and re-working earlier stages and the choices we made, as we face unpredictable situations, achievements, traumas, and fluctuating career, family, or interpersonal situations.  But generally, it’s fair to say that we all recognise these stages.  We’ve all been through them.

And my point is this, to be better leaders and managers of your people.  In order to really understand them, it’s key to understand where they are in life, what’s driving them and what they are facing in their different life stages.  It’s about kicking the concept of Age Discrimination into touch – or at least putting it into some perspective.

So where are you right now in your life?  What challenges are you facing in or out of work that you’ve reflected on differently by thinking about your life in stages?  This is powerful stuff and something that so many of us put to one side.  I look forward to your your views.

Using this for Coaching Work

Some of you may like to consider using this in your own coaching or coaching work.  Here’s an idea of how:

  • Consider which Life Stage best outlines where you are today – pick the closest one for each column or more than one if that’s appropriate
  • What does that tell you about the choices you have in your life?
  • What values or beliefs do you have that are helping you stay where you are?
  • What values or beliefs do you have that will help you with your next stage?
  • How does thinking about your life like this help you?
  • What three (or more) things will you do now?

**For a more in-depth understanding of this area of social research, try googling the writings of Erikson, Levinson, Groeschel, Fowler to name a few…


An Inspirational thought for the day

26 05 2010

We all need a little bit of inspiration and I was sent some yesterday when a close relative emailed a wonderful slideshow.  It’s too good to keep myself so I invite you to grab a cup of tea, click on the link, download the file  and take a read.

Inspirational Thoughts

I particularly liked the message  “The most important thing in this life is to help others to win. Even if that means slowing down and changing our own race.” and would love to hear your thoughts on what you take from the link too.


My thoughts on the Recruitment Unconference

22 02 2010

So last week saw The Recruitment Unconference AKA TRU London 2 come to town on Thursday and Friday.   This was an event dedicated to Social Resourcing and other related topics and brought like-minded people together, many of whom have only ever connected online.

Bill Boorman Introducing TRU London

I loved the day I attended (Thursday) for the people I met, the tracks I led, discussions I had and also the opportunity to be part of the wider discussion around this new media.  The world is changing and that much was vividly apparent from the number of people blogging or tweeting about TRU and indeed the live twitter stream of the tracks that took place in real-time behind some of the tracks.

The Talent Wars trackled by Jon Ingham, Peter Gold and me (check out the Twitter stream behind us)

Compared to the first TRU London in November 09, it was a much more social affair which you can see clearly from some of the many pictures that have already been uploaded (see some on our facebook page here).  Bill Boorman and Geoff Webb have created a strong community and that is also very evident from the chatter that’s been going on Twitter (find a summary here).

To some it seemed that Unconferences was  a little bit disorganised and yes it was a shame that some of the tracks were delayed where rooms weren’t booked.  But to me this added to the spirit of the Unconference.  I mean the organisers even arranged for us to have an UN-lunch!   That said people soon seemed to warm to the theme of participation and flexibility and conversation both on and offline was plain to see.

There was much that I took away from the event and I thought I’d outline a few of my observations/reflections:

  • There’s a lot of people talking about Recruitment and Social Media, but what they’re talking about isn’t new. Some of the strategies discussed I’ve observed in businesses and teams I’ve managed for years – for instance engaging with marketing if you run a recruitment team in-house, considering talent pipelines for possible future jobs etc.  That said, I was particularly interested in The Red Recruiter ‘s outline of his project with Rackspace in the Employer Branding track I co-led with Sarah White and Nick Price.
  • Common sense strategies work and always have – apply the same logic to Social Media.  Use it to communicate about things people want to hear about.
  • Social Media consumers are human beings with human needs – we live to breathe, eat and all that other good stuff… That sounds rather obvious but this basic fact seems to have been forgotten by many. The UN-Lunch was a good example – if it doesn’t arrive, go hunt-and-gather, go get a sandwich from Pret!
  • This leads on to perhaps one of my more controversial moments at TRU when I made the observation that FACT (or is that twact) a human isn’t by nature monogomous yet why in recruitment advertising and HR Management do so many take a short term view on how too hook the person.  Look to a longterm strategy to truly engage the person.  Just because they leave you at some point, doesn’t mean they won’t return.
  • People like to see, feel and hear about things to engage with them. On Twitter we follow, on a blog we engage and on Facebook we become friends with someone (thanks for that one Bill), generally because we like what they have to say.
  • We’re not robots yet we’ve designed the world in which we live to be highly automated – help people engage with the experience that they’re involved in – it is a reflection of the world you have created in your business.
  • Recruitment is one facet of a business’s overall business ambition yet most of the discussions I observed seemed to refer to recruitment as a tactic rather than aligned strategy.

Presenting Bill Boorman with his prize

At the Unconference I was also able to present Bill with his prize, voucher for a bottle of champagne, for contributing to the Social Media & Recruitment Report which we published recently.

Sadly I could only make it to Thursday’s session as I had to be back in time for Love Balls, the event we ran in aid of Orchid – the Male Cancer Charity on Friday night.  From what I saw of the Twitter chat though, the rest of the event inspired further debate and I’m still trying to catch up now!

Thanks again Bill Boorman, Geoff Webb and the rest of the TRU team for organising the Unconference.  Can’t wait for TRU London 3!

Bluetooth & Proximity Recruitment Marketing

12 01 2010

Did you know there’s a new recruiting technique migrating from the Direct Marketing world which is being used increasingly to attract potential new recruits? It’s called Proximity Marketing and you can expect it to be used more and more in an attempt to attract new talent and cut recruitment advertising costs.

Recruiters (both company and agency alike) are using bluetooth technology to send messages to potential new recruits. They do this by virtue of a handheld device, obtained for a fixed cost for from the likes of Echo Blue or Ad Pods, which interacts with your mobile phone.

There are huge potential benefits to the recruiter – no ongoing costs, no licenses and the opportunity to send a range of messages to a target audience. Unnervingly however it appears that there is little in the way of legislation in a field that could also be criticised for being little more than spamming or phishing.

Creative Leadership would love to hear from you if you’re using proximity marketing to recruit and find out how successful this has been for you and your business.

Are you thinking about what comes next for you or your business in 2010?

16 12 2009

My brilliant coach and mentor Bev Hamilton of One Step Further passed on this presentation today that I thought you’d like too.  It has some wisdom and insights from people such as Seth Godin, Daniel Pink and Tom Peters and is presented in a really easy to understand way.

  • If you’re wondering about what to focus on next and considering the key themes for 2010, this presentation will inform you.
  • If you’re interested in thematic approaches to strategic planning, this presentation will enrich your thinking.
  • If you like bite sized chunks of information presented informally and with humour, this presentation will make you smile.

Click on What-Matters-Now and enjoy the read.

I took particular pleasure in reading the slide titled “Enough”.

Thanks for sharing this Bev.  I hope others do the same.

Best wishes


Twenty Years…

9 09 2009

I read a rather poignant quote today which I thought might resonate for many of us:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor.” (attrib Mark Twain)

This leads me to ask myself:

What’s stopping me from doing what I want to do?
Is that really stopping me or is it something else?
How’s that helpful?
What’s really possible here?
How can I achieve my dreams?

I’ll leave you to fill in your own gaps and remembering that you’re a long time regretting the things you didn’t do…