Change is quickly becoming an overused buzzword. But it’s a word Idaho has to think about because change is real and it’s accelerating at speeds we’ve never seen before.
Everyone paying attention knows that organizations that adapt and embrace inevitable change are the ones that win. Those that don’t get left behind. But ignoring change doesn’t mean coming in second place; it means becoming irrelevant.
It’s time for us to think ahead, invest in change and become leaders.
We can start by listening to those already thinking ahead and investing in our future. Recent studies from Idaho Business for Education, the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, BSU, Tommy Ahlquist and Idaho 2020 are great examples of the heavy lifting being donated for our future.
Another important group that’s thinking ahead: young professionals in Idaho. For example, Boise Young Professionals (BYP) is designed to connect, empower and engage young leaders. They are the largest young professional group in the state, with more than 1,200 members. Their committees and programs are already a key influence in the city’s growth.
I spoke at a BYP luncheon recently. It launched BYP|10 — 10 months of events celebrating the organization’s 10-year anniversary. These events are designed to prove how young professionals are a valuable resource in the community. My task: inspire the audience to launch a year of change. At the end, I was the one who walked away inspired and had a new level of hope for Idaho.
My friends, pay close attention to the next generation. They carry the same passion many of us felt when we realized we were ready to make a difference because we knew we had to. These young leaders are impressive — they’re smart, professional and ready to engage. Most importantly, they represent the exact workforce we desperately need to attract. And BYP is leading the way.
To state and city leaders — listen carefully to young professionals. If you don’t have a group in your area, encourage one to get organized. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter knows the asset he has in BYP and is embracing 10 months of great ideas from Boise’s future leaders.
To business leaders who know your future relies on recruiting the finest talent — pay close attention to the young professionals in your area. If you want talent, sponsor events and send in your scouts. I assure you, these young leaders epitomize who you want to carry your organization forward.
To established business leaders — I challenge you to connect with the next generation. They are thirsty to build careers and want to learn from mentors. Your time could shape fresh talent into their full potential and affect generations.
Idaho is stacked with awe-inspiring business leaders who’ve cut their paths and built lasting legacies. The next generation of leaders are among us and they are inspiring. If retaining young people is one of Idaho’s biggest challenges, let’s get them involved. We can benefit from their energy and vision. Let’s make sure we listen carefully.
Jeff Sayer is the former director of the Idaho Department of Commerce and founding partner of Rectify Horizons, a business consultancy serving the Intermountain West.