25 Feb Lead, follow or get out of the way
What happens in your community when power stands still?
A. Things stall; nothing gets done.
B. Fingers begin to wag; it’s always someone else’s fault.
C. Young professionals shake their heads and start their own initiative.
If you answered “C,” you might be living in a Next Generation Community. Last year for the first time in our company’s seven year history, a Young Professionals Organization hired us. Unwilling to wait for their community’s traditional leadership to “get it,” the Charlotte City Committee raised their own money, designed a dynamic scope of work, and are making headlines.
In another community, the Chamber of Commerce had the first right of refusal to start and incubate a Young Professionals Organization (YPO). But the Chamber balked, and in their place, a thirty-something entrepreneur launched a web page and invited other young professionals to help make his city a better place to live and work. Today, the organization has over 450 members. And I just received their newly branded e-zine. Spiffy.
The lesson? If you’re a member of a community’s established power base (i.e. Chambers, Economic Development Corps, Workforce Development Boards, or Community Development organizations), you have three choices when it comes to engaging young professionals: lead, follow, or get out of the way.
YPO’s are popping up across the US like freckles on a red head. And in communities where the traditional power structure isn’t paying attention to what the next generation wants from its communities, young professionals are inventing new rules of engagement. Read the Worthwhile Magazine article (PDF).
To support the growth of YPOs, this month, NGC will launch a new website dedicated to the pioneers of YPOs: YPcommons.org. Come see what all the fuss is about.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.