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Leadership, Part 1: Gathering the band

An energy surge. That's exactly what propelled me for several days following my company's recent annual Leadership Symposium. Held for executive and staff leaders throughout our regions in Iowa and Illinois, there is something about being in a room full of bright-minded, forward-thinking leaders that naturally provides a lift.

Even though it may seem to be outside of your 2012_june20_marchingband_LS1core daily mission, setting aside some time to get every leader together to focus on the big picture is a good way to spur collaboration and execute strategy. It provides the opportunity to grasp the tools necessary to succeed in an environment of change. After all, even the greatest conductor, with the most memorable musical score, won't make a sound without first gathering the necessary people and instruments to make a marching band!

In a constantly evolving environment with ever-updated regulations and demands for better results and lower costs, taking the time to break routine and bring an organization’s leaders together can refocus energy and give direction to what may seem like a chaotic phase.

At the 2012 Leadership Symposium, one of things we discussed at length were the changing tides in our industry and how much of the future is unknown. The time we spent on that one day, disconnected from those tides and instead connecting to each other, helped everyone to see that, even in a time of great uncertainty, we can still exercise control. In fact, it seems as if those who maintain their bearings during times of change are the ones who find themselves exercising even more control than they did when times were more placid.

Instead of reacting to outside change, the need to be internally prepared to seek a shared vision of coordination is great. Getting your organization’s leaders on the ‘same page,’ so to speak, will make it much easier to maneuver through tides of change.

Improving Coordination

Every organization has limited employees and resources; coordinating them is critical. Executing coordination does not happen on its own. Leaders must actively and constantly encourage coordination by having mechanisms in place to ensure that not only are the best people in the right place in the organization, but that they have the tools necessary to satisfy both the organizational objectives and their personal ones. Bringing those into alignment is the ongoing effort of coordination.  Organizing a leader's summit may seem like a lot of work for a one-day conference, but I believe that if you do it right, it won't be "just a one-day conference." It will be an investment in coordination. 

Leadership development and strategic planning are two pillars for every organization, large and small; taking the time to forge, acknowledge and inspire leaders will produce results.

In my next post, I'll write about the important steps necessary to develop an effective leadership conference.

If you could inspire the people of your organization to do one thing well, what would that be? How would you measure it?

-Bill Leaver


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