78 million Baby Boomers, born from 1946-1964 need to transfer responsibility, wealth, and assets over the next 12-15 years. It might be easy to lull yourself into believing that the impact of this is a ways off. But studies estimate that 10,000 to 12,000 people are retiring every day and the impact in firms (and in clients) is being felt.

Baby Boomers need leaders to transfer to -- those entrepreneurial enough to keep a practice thriving, those with the respect and trust of others and above all, those willing to step up. If you look around the profession, truly capable successors are in pretty short supply, which means they are – or will be – in high demand. Following simple economics, when demand is high and supply is short, the asking price goes up. And in this case, the asking price isn’t just financial, it’s also cultural.

Millennial and Generation X up-and-comers envision a firm of the future that is much different from the firms we see today. They want firms that:

  • Are diverse
  • Offer genuine work/life integration and flexibility
  • Have given up their attachment to mandated “office hours” and work taking place at a specified location
  • Use technology maximally and constantly implement new and smarter systems
  • Provide challenging work opportunities
  • Reward performance fairly
  • Are open to change
  • Make a difference in the community

Many mature leaders don’t want changes made until they retire – and they are working hard to defer these discussions. But firms that understand that talent trumps all other critical success factors know they have to engage in the dialogue of change with their young up-and-comers, allowing them to be meaningfully involved in pilot initiatives to improve the business model and embrace the values they hold dear.

Without these young, talented up-and-comers in our profession and in our firms, sustainability is not assured. They have many options and the demand for their talent – which comes with “change strings” attached.

Secure your firm’s future. Acknowledge this shift in power and facilitate your young people sharing and then testing their ideas for change.