You have no idea how much it hurts me to write this post. I went to the Van Halen concert in Houston last week, and truth be told my expectations were low. David Lee Roth (“DLR”) is back at the helm with a new album so I wasn’t going to miss the chance to see him for likely the last time.
Let’s hope that’s the case.
I looooove Van Halen. As you read in my bio – I’ve been a fan for decades and lived through the ups and downs. (Here’s a picture of me with the clowns who still think it’s 1984 – warning kids, one of them is shooting the bird.) Watching DLR prance around like a zany circus performer and speak vs. sing most of the words to classic Van Halen tunes was – - painful and sad. It turns out the Houston show was one of the last concerts as they cancelled the last half of the tour. Ummm – those of you who think you missed out, feel blessed as long as you get your money back!
From the HR perch, how do you know when it’s time to hang it up, or go a different direction – or how DO you coach others in your org on such a sensitive subject?
If I were coaching Van Halen, I’d tell the Van Halen clan (Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang) they are still amazing. They were professional, on-point and thank goodness Wolfgang can actually sing as he saved DLR’s butt a number of times during the course of the night. I’d tell them to lose DLR and either find a “sound-a-like” (ala Journey or Chicago) OR take on an acoustic tour at smaller venues. I’d pay good money to go listen to Eddie jam on the classics. His guitar solo which played off of “Eruption” was brilliant. He still has the magic and yet DLR’s ego and “high”-kicks masked most of the awesomeness that is Van Halen.
Back to our organizational question – how do we allow the once spectacular superstar to exit gracefully or move into a new role, ego intact? With five generations in the workforce by 2020, not only will we have to deal with age diversity, but as HR pros we will have to be able to manage the transition of knowledge and experience coming from the Traditionalist and Baby Boomers along side the development of the next three generations.
“Change, nothin’ stays the same
Unchained, and ya hit the ground runnin’
Change, ain’t nothin’ stays the same
Unchained, yeah ya hit the ground runnin’”
“Unchained” happened to be Van Halen’s opening song…and certainly a prelude to what we were about to experience. I’d encourage HR to hit the ground runnin’ right now and figure out how to manage an aging and talented workforce to perform like its 1982 (a year DLR indicated was only 9 months in length due to the non-stop fun they were having).
I still love him, but its time for another change.