CEO of the New Zealand Institute of Management and Leadership.
If we have learnt anything from the recent government elections, it is that credibility and experience matter.
Even when you think you are doing and saying the right things, you will be challenged at the first hurdle to prove that you are credible.
A similar ‘credibility dilemma’ is faced by many young people as they enter the workforce.
To be successful, we are asking our young people to prove themselves: to be seen as credible by behaving as if they have experience, long before they have had the opportunity to build expertise in their field.
We often ask our experienced leaders to prove their credibility and ‘hit the ground running’, but should we be asking the same of our fledglings?
Taking the recent election as an example (and without making a judgment on any political party), we have seen a ‘fledgling’ asked to prove their credibility far beyond other party leaders, simply because of years in the job. (Maybe in politics there are no other measures?)
If, as experienced current leaders it is our job to encourage and lead the next generation, and if we ever wish to retire,we must inevitably hand over the reins to others who have yet to prove themselves.
Given our present showing in this area, we may have to demonstrate greater commitment, and even include youth succession in our plans for diversity, along with other goals such as ethnicity.
There is a great initiative from a Strategic Insights Panel, sponsored by ASB and KPMG, which identified our shortage of skilled workers and a rapidly changing employment environment, and is prompting New Zealand businesses to take action and declare that they are willing to recruit people with no formal qualifications.
To date, more than 100 companies have stepped up and signed an open letter saying that tertiary qualifications are not required for a range of skilled roles in their workplaces.
They are focusing on assessing the skills, attitudes, motivation and adaptability of candidates.
Proving you are credible and have a work ethic that responds to the demands of a pressured environment may get our youth leaders in roles that would not have been an option in recent years.
Being involved in the community, playing sport or joining the drama club could be a pathway to demonstrating your capability when it comes to sticking at a task and supporting others in your team, so when a future employer asks about your credibility, you have the means to prove it.