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Friday, Jun 2, 2023

Honing Leadership in the Valley

Regardless of what the job situation ends up being in the next decade, most sectors are going to face a leadership crisis, if they have not already. When businesses cut staff and funding, there are fewer opportunities to train current or future employees in the skills essential to leading in that specific workplace as well as necessary skills to lead in general. The Center for Creative Leadership says the four most important skills — leading people, strategic planning, inspiring commitment and managing change — are severely lacking in businesses and organizations now. It’s not just in the private sector, however. Sixty-eight percent of adults under the age of 35 feel “disconnected” to their government and do not desire participating through commissions, public hearings or even voting. Many researchers attribute this to an increasing distrust in government and the public sector. Young adults do not want to be a part of something they do not respect. Unfortunately, this entire landscape is going to create huge problems: Roughly 10,000 baby boomers will retire from the private and public sector every single day for the next 20 years but we are not seeing 10,000 fully trained men and women prepared to take their place. It’s not for a lack of education, as Generations X and Y have more college degrees than any other demographic. They may come out of college with the skill set for a certain industry but they are not absorbing broader leadership skills that will be necessary as a supervisor or CEO. Additionally, it’s these broad leadership skills that are important when filling non-profit board and city commissions – the ability to look long-term and solve some critical issues facing an organization or municipality. The Valley is home to large corporations and mom-and-pop shops; niche charities and national non-profits; and small local governments and Los Angeles City Council seats. We’re facing a severe shortage of adults that will have a handle on all these aspects in the next few decades. Businesses, non-profit and government offices are all understaffed and underfunded, and it can be difficult to justify training and mentoring that may not produce specific results now – but will, instead, help groom men and women to take those leadership opportunities in future years, when we face a shortage and need people to step up. This is why the Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA) has reinstated its leadership program, with the new name LeadershipSFV. This year-long program will take a holistic approach at training a group of San Fernando Valley residents and employees to be leaders in the region’s private, non-profit and public sectors. Participants will tour key parts of the Valley’s government, public safety, transportation, education and non-profit sectors and have the opportunity to meet with the area’s top business leaders and elected officials. As a result, they will be introduced to the Valley’s public, private and non-profit leadership opportunities available. Many businesses and non-profits are just trying to get through the next year and are not thinking about who will head their local neighborhood council or chair their favorite non-profit in 15 years. But we need Valley employers and residents to nominate and sponsor people who have the potential to be those leaders. VICA and its partners – the San Fernando Valley Jaycees and Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce – will do the training that companies don’t have the time for. If we are able to train and empower 20 people each year— if we can connect them to each other and the leaders in all sectors now — then we will be on the right track to close this leadership gap in the Valley. We encourage all Valley businesses to nominate a passionate, talented man or woman with the potential for future leadership roles at www.leadershipsfv.com. Sponsoring an applicant is a small investment in the future of this region. Stuart Waldman is president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, a Sherman Oaks business advocacy organization that represents employers throughout the Los Angeles County region at the local, state and federal levels of government.

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