We often think of new and innovative being the purview of the young, but if you want to see innovation and change on a grand scale, look at the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson

Nelson is 94, and his counselors, Dallin H. Oakes, 86, and Henry B. Eyring, 85, have made massive changes in the past year. 

A huge change, announced Saturday in the LDS Church's semi-annual General Conference, was moving from three hours of Sunday meetings to two hours. That's a huge change.

Other changes in the past year include changes in programs where members visit each other, reorganizing church groups, announcing a new hymn book, changing the emphasis on the church name from the well-known nickname, Mormon, to the full use of the Church's name--the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Even the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir is now the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it's enough to make your head spin. And this is coming from a bunch of old guys in an organization that is huge and has a pretty large bureaucracy that can sometimes make getting a new whiteboard a challenge. But, under President Nelson's leadership, things turn on a dime.

One of the criticisms the LDS Church faces is the age of its leadership, which varies from mature to old. While the missionary programs focus on the young (18 and 19-year-olds), the leadership is seasoned.

In business, we talk a lot about age bias and age discrimination for the over 40 crowd is illegal. But, ask any 50-something about job hunting and they'll tell you that it's difficult to find a job when you're that age. Companies want new and innovative and they think that means young.

Apparently, new and innovative can take place at any point in life. The difference is being willing to take a leap of faith, and work for the betterment of the organization. 

So, the next time you think, "We need change, so let's look for a Millennial or Gen-Z," maybe you should think "Hey, Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers still have some great ideas." 

You probably won't have too many 94-year-olds applying for jobs in your organization, but if you do, don't make the assumption that he won't be innovative. For all you know, it's Russell M. Nelson's cousin, who has the same level of energy and ideas bursting to come forth.

Published on: Oct 6, 2018