At DOOR, we aim to find, attract and develop the next generation of urban leaders. But what do we do with them once they are here?
This past weekend I was in Miami. On Saturday evening, I had the opportunity to watch a DVD titled “Live from Abbey Road – Best of Season One.” Before every performance, an interview was conducted with the musician.
One interview, in particular, caught my attention. Ray Lamontagne made the following statement:
“The music industry becomes interested in you because you do your own thing.
Then, as soon as they get you involved, you have to fight to do your own
The more I thought about this the more I thought about DOOR’s desire to raise a generation of urban leaders. We look for people who are creative and energetic. We appreciate future leaders who have the Hebrews 11:1 ability. They see the world not as it is, but as it can be.
Once we have recruited these potential leaders to DOOR, the first thing we do is train them how to do things our way! Occasionally we get frustrated with these “beginners” who question everything. Why aren’t they willing to learn from our (my) experience? Before long, I find myself trying to convince these future leaders to do things my way. After all, I am the one with experience. Don’t I know what is best?
I get frustrated when they fight to do their own thing.
The last few days have caused some soul searching. Am I any different that the music industry? Do I look for innovation in people then try to remake them into something different, into my vision of who they should be?
It is not easy to listen to those who want to re-imagine how things might be, especially if they are young and inexperienced. There is a part of me that wants the future to look like the past. When emerging leaders begin to suggest that change might be needed or good for the organization, I find it hard not to hear that as criticism.
I want people to value my 15 years of experience. Somehow I have occasionally equated “valuing experience” and “keeping everything the same” as one and the same.
They are not the same.
Making space for a new generation of leaders also means making space for experimentation and change. It means holding loosely to the sacred past. I am learning that there is a place for experience, but wisdom tells me that providing freedom for re-imagination, innovation, and doing new things are necessary, good, and healthy for any organization, including DOOR.