Growing Our Next Generation of Leaders

As I think about where we stand as a profession and as an organization I think we’re at a place where our various events are doing a great job of growing technical thought leaders. We’ve had an explosion in the number of active speakers in the last few years, and it’s having a real impact on our members. I believe that trend will continue and will have a tremendous impact on our profession over the next five to ten years.

As I think about growing leaders I don’t think we’re doing as good a job, and that is natural. We’ve been doing the nuts and bolts work of reaching our members and giving them reasons to meet and collaborate, the next step is to formalize and deepen our efforts to deliberately grow leaders. It’s not that we don’t have leaders, we do. More than 200 leaders head up PASS chapters, 30 or so leaders drive a SQLSaturday each year, and we have a dozen or so leaders on the Board of Directors. They all put in of effort and together make all the good stuff happen.

I don’t think that’s enough leaders for our profession or even for PASS, and I don’t think we’re doing nearly enough to train them, to find the next generation, or  to build a system that makes becoming a leader as cool as being a speaker.
So what do we need to do? I’ve got a few ideas:

•    Set term limits for chapter leaders, make sure that the next generation of leaders has a chance to get in the game
•    Move chapter leaders up to lead committees that report to the Board
•    Provide training for those that want to become leaders before they move up.

Leadership goes far beyond just positions with PASS. We can and should be growing our members to move up to lead roles within their organizations. Start thinking about what we can do to build an eco-system of leads as rich as the one we have for speakers and send us your ideas.