You certainly have heard several stories like that of John Smith, a senior executive of a large company. He has worked for over 20 years in the major market players. He had a career up and always brought good results to their employers. He is a well recognized professional by his peers in the market. Until recently, he was the Commercial Director and a person of full confidence of a business owner. He had full power in decision making and used this resource skillfully on behalf of the company.

However, time has changed. As part of a competitor´s expansion strategy, the company was acquired and John´s position was considered "redundant" by the buyer who preferred a professional of his own trust, of personal and professional knowledge to take John´s place.

And now John? You are 50, 3 children to raise and a high standard of living. Despite your enviable curriculum and extensive network, the statistics speak against you. Markets are consolidating, the number of companies that can absorb you is limited and many of your co-workers turned into your competitors overnight.

Stories like this explain the recent statistics of the Catho HR Consultancy that more than 50% of executives over 50 are unemployed. As given an unfortunate fatality, the vast majority of us will come some day into 50´s, it is now necessary to think in a career positioning that will enable one to continue contributing to the corporate world under a new and unique perspective.

The first good news is that with the advent of social networking and its growing penetration, there is already a new challenge ahead: CNO - Chief Networking Officer. In short, this professional is the Vice President of Business Networks Management, responsible for transforming all and any contact into meaningful relationship of economic capital for the company. He/she manages relationships with all stakeholders who gravitate around the organization, i.e., employees, customers, suppliers, investors, media, channels, etc...

He/she has the strategic vision of where the company wants to go to and, mainly, with whom it wants to go. He/she uses social networks as a way to communicate, interact, react, attract, retain all forms of resources needed to implement the corporate strategy effectively. He/she works fine-tuned with other departments.

The Chief Networking Officer is a leader-coach. The one that develops the team while developing the organization and him/herself in the process. However, this person acts not only with in-house staff. This is a great starting point because it is an asleep gold min. This executive operates mainly in all other relationships out of his/her control and outside the company. And that is where the true art of leadership lies.

As you might expect, John has all the key features to fill up this role. Or, at least, to survive as Commercial Director in the new organization as his peer is raised to the position of CNO. Let´s consider some of these characteristics:

1. Extensive network: because he been already in the market for so long, he knows many people. Quite surely, except for clients network, all other relationships are disorganized and without strategic structure with goals and action plan. This would be the first work to be done.
2. Deep technical knowledge of the market: This intellectual capital is extremely valuable to fall into the hands of competitors, mainly of foreigners who arrive with a usually overvalued currency compared to the national one. E também caro demais para se tornar obsoleto em 2-3 anos. And it is also too expensive to become obsolete within 2-3 years.
3. Professional maturity and interpersonal skills: usually, business executives in general have relationship skills in their DNA. They tend to be more extroverted, accessible, good communicators and naturally interested in human beings, especially over the years.

From the company standpoint, it also gets not to offer to market a golden opportunity to create its own largest competitor. Obviously, that with all the knowledge about the strengths and, mainly, weaknesses that every organization has, John could quickly exploit in his network that would be willing to invest in just one of that many projects that were shelved with the perennial excuse of "re - structuring "or" do not have enough time." The market is full of cases of former executives who have mega success stories from nothing in a very short period of time. The most recent example is Ross Brawn of Brawn GP and his team already virtual champion of F-1 constructors when the championship has not even reached its half way. Where is Ferrari, his former employer?

So John the second good news is that there are still a few companies that understand the real value and importance of having a CNO in its executive board. As the competition is almost nil in this segment, you can create your own Blue Ocean and reposition yourself CNO well before the new times come to you. Thus, you will increase the chances of securing your employability in any future scenario. And the best of all, without losing the status and standard of living with which your family is accustomed to.

If you, dear reader, have identified yourself with this article, the time to act is right. Start a business networks management project in your company by now. Assume Chief Networking Officer´s role. Start small involving only your business area of business and human resources. Communicate internally all the achievements that the implementation of this methodology will bring. Broaden your action area once you realize that other departments are ready to join this challenge. And sail on open sky in the blue ocean towards a fair and deserved retirement as the CNO of a large organization.

Amen!

Octavio Pitaluga Neto