What do the C’s do when they retire? The CEOs, COOs, CTOs, CIOs, CFOs, CSOs, CMOs and their other brethren missed out here. If the C is worth his or her salt, approaching retirement the C will already have done fairly well for himself or herself. Kids put through the best universities, even married off into socially and financially compatible families, a beautiful house built in an up market area, possibly another property or two secured and earning rent somewhere else, a 7 digit bank balance steadily fattening with interest, a few (or more than a few!) million committed to blue chip stocks and safe bonds, 4 cars in the garage, a fortune in gold, diamonds and assorted jewelry in a bank locker, priceless paintings adorning the walls and not to forget, a million or more air miles accumulated while on company travel, now to be used at will for all those vacations for which there is now plenty of time!
Having thus assured a comfortable and at least financially stress free rest-of-the-life, what does the Chief do? Golf of course ranks as a front runner post-retirement activity. Then there is contract bridge or poker, lunches at the club and soirees, some reading but not too much, much drawing room discussion on politics and high finance and then the occasional foreign trip to visit overseas based children and grandchildren.
This at least seems to be the most common pattern for the recently retired Chief. And isn’t it a sad existence at the existentialist level, beyond materialism? Is this then the meaning of life? The end all before it all ends? Cuban cigars and designer suits?
While still in office, the Chief will almost certainly have had a brush with CSR in one respect or another. These days it is virtually impossible for any Chief to completely stay away from it! Whether it is understood or not, what is understood is that CSR-Speak is in the order of things if you will; it can be, pardon the cliché, ‘leveraged’. The best case scenario? The Chief paid more than lip service to CSR, moved beyond philanthropy and strategized CSR as a business function throughout all operations in the organization. Did I hear someone say the CSR Purist speaks? Be it so but the change is coming. CSR is coming of age. But this musing is not about CSR. It is about the recently ‘RETD.’ Chief and PSR – Personal Social Responsibility.
So, as the Chief you had believed that the corporate sector has a social responsibility. It has to give back to the planet and to people, in a way that ensures the future of both, while strengthening the company in return, in a fashion that makes the giving back or CSR sustainable into the long run. Perhaps you even made it happen in your
company. Perhaps you even personally led by example by forging a behaviour that clearly exhibited your personal commitment to issues like conservation or climate change.
The simple question that begs to be asked is that now that you are retired, should your social responsibility also be put into the closet with the company tie? Cease to exist, buried by the blight of personal material well-being? Come on, do justice to yourself. This is the time when you can really outdo yourself. Your triple bottom line has just become a double bottom line. For by retirement you have already assured the profits – a comfortable, even luxurious life for yourself and your family. Probably also for the next few generations! So what’s left Chief, are the people and the planet.
This for you is the start of your own Age of Aquarius. You cannot shut out the pain and the suffering and the wrongs and the abuse going on all around. In this age of globalization that you so firmly believed in while sitting in that leather chair as the Chief, you need to look at the sadness in this world too on a global basis and beyond your own bubble or even country. Life has given you more than your fair share and it is time to think beyond your golf handicap.
You have high education, a world of experience, a certain repute and standing, a huge network of influential friends and acquaintances, hopefully good health and let’s be honest, enough spare moolah of your own to seed-capital a good idea. So in between the golf and the final whistle (for it will come for all), take out a little time and discover the spiritual uplift that Personal Social Responsibility offers.
Want a specific direction? A tip from Praetor? With your background Chief, you can do most by capacity building future leaders educated young men and women about to enter the real world. This is the greatest contribution that you can make without over-taxing yourself. How you do it is for you to decide. Why not start with a personal SWOT and take it from there?
Can you do it? Can you be a source of guidance? A direction finder for a youth that really has had no time to absorb the lessons of history? Can you be the Chief who is going to pursue the triple bottom line until the match is over and the lights go out?