Host, Nina Woodard, Immediate Past President, San Diego Society for Human Resource Management

Guest, Ed Cohen, Author, Lecturer and Leadership Guru, Nelson Cohen Global Consulting

1 The Perfect Storm
Host Nina Woodard introduces guest, Ed Cohen, with a story about her time in India and meeting him during a Human Resource conference. The pair segue into this week’s subject of Leadership Talent Development. Ed gives a brief overview of his background in learning and development which shifts into this week’s conversation. According to Ed, the Human Resources world is gearing up for the “Perfect Storm,” of issues. One of the biggest is that between 2009 and 2016, the developed world is poised to have fewer students entering into university education than ever before due to declining populations and rising education costs. Furthermore, in the East, professors do not stay connected to the trends and changes in business so there is no cross over between the business and educational sectors like we have in the West.
2 The Baby Boomer Transition
Nina and Ed continue their discussion of the perfect storm. In this segment, the conversation turns away from the entry level and towards the other end of the career path. According to Ed, ten thousand men and women will turn 65 every day. This will inevitably create a large gap in leadership in a large number of companies. Much of the Baby Boomer generation are what Ed refers to as “digital immigrants,” who learned how to use new technology as it was rapidly introduced into the work force. This can be accompanied by issues such as a misunderstanding of new technology or even an aversion to new concepts like cloud computing.
3 Succession Planning
Nina and Ed discuss how to set up a transition between old and new leadership. Ed stresses the importance of having the two parties work together so that the incoming party can understand how the job functions and for others to adjust to the new leader. Furthermore, established leadership should have plans lined up before leaving the position so that there is less emotional strain. They discuss making the leadership’s retirement matter and the importance of having them leave behind the knowledge that they’ve accumulated while in the position.
4 Relationships, Coaching, and Budgets
Nina and Ed continue their discussion about transitioning leadership, this time focusing on the incoming leadership. The most important rule is to build relationships. He shares his golden rules of taking over leadership and how individuals can identify those behaviors and activities that will enhance the new leader’s ability to be successful. Ed suggests that three plans be made: one for the individual leaving, one for the individual coming into the position and one for the rest of the team so that they can adapt to the change in the workplace. This makes the important 90-100 days vastly easier to manage. For more on this topic, contact Ed Cohen at