When is the last time you learned something new?
That may sound trivial, but it is an important question.
I first decided to ask it because of some concerns I have about people who have been in positions for a long time.
Then, I started thinking about the number of times I have had a conversation with a young person who obviously thought they knew everything they needed to know.
I guess we all have some learning to do.
For those of us who have been around awhile, our greatest pitfall is our comfort zone. We have been doing something the same way successfully for a long time, so why change, right? Wrong.
I see the problem with a lot of the organizations and offices we have here. For instance, we just keep rotating the same people on boards. It’s not that these people are not of value, they absolutely are. Our downfall is that we don’t actively seek new, fresh minds to add to the mix.
Those seasoned, experienced board members should be sitting beside the new, young minds and showing them the ropes.
We don’t reach out beyond the same small groups, and we suffer because of it.
I see the same problem with job openings, whether it be organizations or local government.
Rarely is anything put out beyond the small clique that’s already involved in some way. Positions are filled with “the next one in line,” without regards to qualifications or checking to see who else is out there who might be perfect for the job.
I challenge every organization and every government body with hiring capabilities to reach out beyond a small circle and just see who might be interested and what talent they might have to offer.
Who knows, there might be someone who has retired from a field that has just the background we need to move us forward (I didn’t say we only need young people, I’m saying we just need to go beyond the comfort zone).
There might be someone who is in a job who has always wanted the career that is now available and has great ideas to take us to the next level.
We don’t know, because we don’t ask. We don’t seek them out.
We sit around the same table with the same people and say, “Do you know of anyone who...”
Let’s do better.
Now, to back up to the earlier comment about young people who think they know everything...it’s okay, most of us came out of college pretty sure we knew more than the people who had actually been doing what we had just been learning about.
I’m pretty sure there is a great measure of brainwashing that goes on in college – it’s job security for the college. “Teach those younguns they are gonna leave here prepared to fix the world.”
Most of us, however, figure it out soon enough, usually when the first big screw-up happens that we caused. Oh, how I remember those days! But, with that said, those young minds have some wonderful ideas and great passion. We need to nurture that, encourage that, and give them room to take what they know and move us forward.
A table surrounded by the perfect combination of experience and wisdom, joined with youthful passion and fresh ideas, will meet any challenge set before them.
We need that. Mentoring, leadership, the skills of a generation raised with technology, and a view of the direction we need to take for their future....it’s the perfect combination.
Let’s start putting it together.
By Sharon Burton
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