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Post Time with Dan Gall

Post Time


I read an interesting tweet from someone in our industry several weeks ago

asking the question "Where are all the young leaders?"

Upon reading this I thought to myself that's a very good question. Where are they?

In order for our industry to survive we need visionaries. We need influence. We need people that are ok with asking the question "how else can we do this" rather than stating "well, that's how we have always done it."

We need youth.

We need today's young champions and lovers of the sport to rise up and help reset this business by taking a lead role, by getting involved to set the industry straight with today's way of thinking, and helping us understand what the sport needs to grow and most importantly, to strive to survive.

Some of us (me included) need to understand that at some point the torch must be passed, and that we have younger, hungrier, stronger people in the industry that can and will take us to the next level.

Through my limited time observing and understanding the industry, nothing is more apparent than the old battleaxe cries of "that won't work" or "that's not how it's done" or "that's not fair" or "we are owed this" or "I am entitled to that…" is falling on deaf ears. And, frankly I think it's scaring our young away.

Cutting to the quick, I think this sport eats its young - by being close-minded, self righteous and all too full of ourselves.

We have to understand that there are bigger and better ideas on how our sport and business can work, and we need to take the time to identify our young ladies and gentlemen who are doing their best to make a go of it in this business, and ask for their assistance, insight and opinion.

Now, for that to happen we have to stop operating the way we have. The constant bickering and yipping and nipping at each other's heels is not only getting old, but is a detriment to any newcomer and young person that wants to thrive and survive in this industry.

Our young leaders don't care about yesterday's war stories or how it used to be back in the day.

They want and need to make a go of it now… today.

So if we can agree that we need to step aside to make room for the young, we also need to note that it is a changed world from when I got into business. I need to adapt, you need to adapt, and we have to move with the times.

To attract the young leaders, for goodness sake, let's think young, fresh and new.

Let's understand that we are busier than ever before. Our calendars are packed and our schedules full.

And we also need to note that we have five living generations represented in our society. Four generations which are working together in the workplace, side-by-side, for the first time.

Our young leaders are technically savvy and are always multitasking. They are checking their handhelds while working, participating in meetings, and even (dare I say) when visiting grandma and grandpa. The point is that our young leaders are busy. They are moving forward, fast. So how can we help and convince them to move forward as leaders within an industry that's perceived to be slow to change?

We can help by accommodating their busy schedules and looking at new ways to seek their input and ideas; via videoconferencing, skyping, zooming, etc. And take advantage of their at-the-ready handhelds. We shouldn't expect them to have to meet in a boardroom during their workday or work night. We are all very busy people. So, we need to tap into today's technology and get their engagement and their insights in bite-sized information, either through the internet, email or text.

Our young leaders want to lead and become involved. But they want to do it on their terms rather than Robert's Rules of Order. So, let's think out-of-the-box as to how we can get our young leaders at the cyber-table and begin helping move our sport forward.

For those young leaders who are trying to adapt to our old way of thinking. Thank you, but what we really need you to do is stand up and be counted, and tell us what we need to do to recruit young blood into our business.

This is not intended to be a rant about pointing the finger at our young and asking them, 'Where are you in our need?'

This is a rant to you and I about, "Isn't it time to work with our young leaders by giving them opportunity and the keys to move this sulky forward?'

Our young leaders will accept this challenge if we create an environment, step aside, and let our young drive us into the future. It's a succession plan that is needed in most industries, but none more apparent than ours.

Dan Gall, President & CEO, Standardbred Canada
[email protected]

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