A few weeks ago, I was involved in a program to further develop the professional skills of some of the junior staff in our organization. Our parent company, Northstar Travel Media, brought together people from a wide range of roles across different brands throughout the company for two days of meetings in our New York City offices.
On paper, the plan was to give this group a chance to network, provide them with career mentoring and engage in brainstorming sessions in order to develop new ideas. In reality, this talented, smart, savvy group of young professionals ended up teaching me as much as I could ever offer them. I left those meetings feeling very confident in the next generation of leaders in our company.
I mention this experience because, as you read this issue, summer is coming to a close and school will soon be back in session. If your agency does not have an internship or mentoring program, this is a great time to start one.
Bringing young people into your agency will not only help you manage your workload, but it can provide you with invaluable insight into the next generation of travelers. Interns can also give you a new perspective on the challenges facing your business and breathe fresh life into your agency.
As part of our company’s meetings, we were fortunate to have Dr. Lalia Rach, professor and dean emeritus at New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management. Dr. Rach is an internationally recognized expert in business management and professional development. One of the great tips Dr. Rach shared with us was the importance of gaining insight in order to see your problems in a new way. She suggested we try doing three things differently each day — taking a new route to work or spending a day listening and only asking questions, for instance — as a way to shake up our assumptions and promote out-of-the-box thinking. For example, bringing in someone with a new perspective might offer a creative solution to a long-standing problem.
If you don’t take the time to properly develop new talent in order to ensure a successful future for your business, then you are basically putting an expiration date on your livelihood. Develop talent now before it’s too late. You won’t regret it.