In With the Old

I received a bunch of mail this week about our chats with older guys being called back to work.

69-year-old former Chrysler dynamo Bob Lutz saddling up again, this time as the new number two at General Motors.

70-year-old John Guttfreund working his old Salomon Brothers magic at a nutrition company, no less.

I say, gentlemen, have at it.

We could learn from our elders. As Guttfreund told me, "I have nothing to prove, Neil." And that's the point. A lot of these guys have climbed their mountains, run their victory laps and secured their big deals.

They don't have to do this. But they are. They don't really need this. But they're open to it. And it's high time we younger folk consider this: it’s time to consider them — because we need them.

In our increasingly youth-obsessed culture, we all too often dismiss them — clearly to our detriment.

But some smart companies are discovering that's pretty dumb. Beneath those grey, if not balding heads, lies some wisdom — a lot of wisdom. They are tested, dedicated and they are decent.

So, the favor isn't ours to ask, it's theirs to answer.

Who cares if they're not the right demo. Only that they do know. They've got the battle scares to prove it.

We should try damn hard to learn from it.

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