They’ve been around the block

“Back in My Day”—What Older Executives Can Offer the Team

It’s no secret Millennials have been set loose on the work force. Since 2015, they are the largest generation making up the current work force, bringing with them flatter hierarchies and digital know-how. Therefore what can the set of older executives contribute to a more democratic organisational landscape and a digitised era?

ancient executives

For one, they still score high in “leadership, detail-oriented tasks, organisation, listening, writing skills, and problem solving”—aka they still are inarguably a top resource for companies.

Peter Cappelli, a Professor at Wharton School of Business, has studied the older workforce in the workplace and confirms the generation’s ability to wow. And what’s more, senior-level executives possess a certain wisdom that only time and experience can harvest.

Deep Industry Knowledge

After competing and working within an industry for decades, a senior-level executive is well acquainted with market changes and deep contextual interplays which the industry is structured upon. A study conducted at North Carolina State University reveals older workers outrank their younger counterparts in nearly every category including variety and depth of topics.

Knowing an industry translates how their company operates within its context. Working within a team, an executive to detect intersectional trends and threats before a less-seasoned colleague would. They fundamentally understand how their organisation does or needs to improve on delivering value to the wider industry.

They Understand “Trimming the Fat”

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon that startups and even larger companies to provide incredible amenities to their employees. It’s a strategic investment to retain competitive talent and build morale. But when companies are on a financial downturn, it’s understandable when certain perks have to be removed, even if temporarily.

Older executives remember the days when provisions such as free food, in-house dry cleaning and Pilates classes were not part of working at a company. They understand that the health of the organisation comes first—even when it comes at the cost of closing down the company gym.


When things go wrong, the problem needs to be handled with a cool head and experienced hands. This attitude usually comes with years of putting out fires, working with challenging colleagues and clients, and pivoting when issues arise.

When problems occur, the more experienced senior will likely respond with a deep exhale and a “How are we going to solve this?” instead of panicking. They can reach back into their stores of past positions and synthsize whether they have faced something similar. If not, who can help or what might aid in creating a solution.

Eye on the Essentials

They don’t get over hyped about new technology—reminding people not to get caught up about the latest technology, but instead focus on the essentials. It’s not necessarily about being stuck in the past, but rather allowing the past’s best essentials to come and remind a deluged world of instant services what the dead-simple and basic wants and needs are.

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