MAKE US AN OFFER WE CAN'T REFUSE
Matt: Hey – I'm confused, why are we starting this blog with a quote from a movie, as opposed to a movie title.
Rose: Well, I thought it was a good line encompassing what we're going to talk about today – that is, what corporate and civic stakeholders can do to create an environment that welcomes and includes young talent. Unfortunately, I did not know of many movies with a title about good offers.
Matt: Not bad, then. And not a bad quote, either. The Godfather. Amazing movies, it's too bad that Godfather III was…
Rose: I think I know where you're going to go with this, Matt. Back to the topic at hand. How can the current community of stakeholders create a region that welcomes and embraces young talent?
Matt: It's funny, as there are countless blogs, studies, theories and concepts featured in Metromode and other sources that articulately advocate what young talent needs to grow and prosper. Yet, despite the studies, the grassroots advocacy, the strategic planning, it appears that we still have a ways to go in creating that environment.
Rose: Talent thrives in an environment that is open, an environment that is mobile, an environment that values education, that is diverse and that is inclusive. For us to create this region, we must commit to building comprehensive regional transit. We must fund our universities and advocate for policy that creates more connections between academic research and for-profit enterprise. We must invest in the tools necessary to heal our communities racial divide. We must entertain the concept of hate crime legislation. We must fund the arts, culture and protect our resources. If we value these priorities, we will attract more talent.
Matt: Obviously, these are some pretty large asks. Moreover, they're repetitive asks – I don't think we'll take any credit for re-inventing the wheel with these. Rose, I think it's safe to say that these are asks require time and patience.
Rose: Indeed, time and patience are important.
Matt: But, it is also important to note that we live in a day and age where people are more mobile than ever. If Southeast Michigan will not provide these amenities that you and others have so eloquently described, then young talent will move to locations where these amenities exist. Every minute we waste in regional quibbling, in protecting political fiefdoms and in preserving antiquated and stale notions of self-interest is time and energy that could be spent executing strategy enabling us to create this environment that welcomes, embraces and nourishes emerging talent.
Rose: So, in making emerging talent this offer they cannot refuse, we must hold each other accountable. When a fellow business leader, political official or civic stakeholder falls in the trap of pointing fingers or making the same old stale excuses for why something cannot be done, or why it can't work on a regional level, we need to call them out.
Matt: Exactly. For us to shake off this perception of economic funk, we need to approach things a little differently. We need to embrace healthy conflict. Not the same old Detroit vs. suburbs non-sense or us vs. them garbage, but the sort of conflict that arises from new thoughts, new perspectives and new solutions – conflict that creates as opposed to conflict that divides and destroys. This conflict arises from holding each other accountable for our actions: whether it be in creating meaningful, growth oriented policy, executing strategy that will attract and retain talent, distributing increasingly limited resources and in engaging new parties and perspectives into the regional planning and decision making process.
Rose: So, I guess it can be said that "the offer we cannot refuse is accountability," as accountability is the foundation for all the good stuff – the amenities, the perspective, the attitude – that will attract and retain talent.