Giants for the next generation

No two breakfast conversations are ever the same at our SHR get-togethers at Roast in Borough Market. This week there was real talk of transformation, of leadership and of the future. Specifically what kind of person can effect transformation? What makes a good leader? And are we preparing young people for work?

All-male boards versus female CEO and 50% female board. Is the latter better because it has more women? It’s an issue of leadership, not gender. Our breakfast guests worked under differing management structures. Looking at the Partnership model, who do you influence? Who do you pin yourself to? Who has the ambitions that align with your own? Understanding that and being smart enough to help them can in turn feed your ambitions. Where is the balance of power? Finding that can be key.

Talking about today’s leaders led us to pondering tomorrow’s leaders. Where will they come from? There simply aren’t the jobs that today’s leaders were in several years back that offered progression, development and opportunity. It’s a question of being challenged in order to grow, rather than just being fed. Around the table was the sense that people are not being prepared for the jobs that will exist in a few years time. It is very much about flexibility and adaptability. If people are challenged, so they will learn and adapt. Is there appetite for such a future from those entering the workforce now? Where will we find the “Giants for the next generation”? Personality is so important. Is enough done to highlight this? Can you even teach it?

It wasn’t just talking about the people of the future, but also information in years to come. One of our guests remarked that their management team thinks digitisation is just taking lovely pictures. It is so important to make people’s heritage available, functional and accessible. Digital preservation is vital. As is continuity and preservation in relation to social collaboration tools such as Twitter/Yammer which are heartily adopted and encouraged by IT and by information professionals. But how will the data be accessed in the future? Is risk fully explored? Should reputational risk govern policy?

There was so much more but I fear this post is becoming too long already! It was a delight to welcome new people to the breakfast table and once again to listen to such rich and impassioned conversation.

– Suzanne

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