In 2004, I was asked to lead a one-day retreat for participants in the 2004 Leadership Vancouver Program on Bowen Island. The retreat was focused on exploring how we create the Leadership Vancouver Story. I opened the conversation with three questions
- What are the common interests of the people in this room?
- What ideas do we have in common about good leadership and good leaders?
- What is the story of our enterprise?
The following are the talking notes I prepared to begin the conversation
What are the common interests of the people in this room?
Our interests are to learn how to become more successful leaders, – to collaborate around some ideas about leadership and related to leadership to see how they might relate to our interests, and how they might guide us in what we choose to do and how we choose to do things.
Ideas about leadership
Leadership is a choice. We can all be leaders if we choose to be. Choosing to be a leader works in our personal interests. Good leadership works in our personal interests, in the interests of the people we serve and have relationships with, and in our common interests. The common element in leadership is interests.
- Take personal responsibility for the interests of others
- Are the custodians of the interests of others.
- Care about the interests of others.
- Demonstrate they care about the interests of others, – do things that really serve the interests of others, – do the right thing
- Operate with integrity, – do what they say they do, be who they say they are, treat people honestly and fairly
- Are entrepreneurs, – continuously striving to become more successful in pursuing their interests and the interests of their enterprise
- Are the custodian of the interests of the enterprise, the interests of those served by the enterprise, the interests of those engaged in the enterprise, and the interests of those impacted by the enterprise.
Our ability to be a successful leader lies in our ability to communicate.
- We communicate to connect with others, create relationships with others, and collaborate with others
- We connect through our common interests, common ideas, and common feelings.
- We create relationships by caring about the interests of the other
- We create relationships by exploring our common interests, ideas and feelings, – what we care about.
- We create relationships by serving the interests of others
- We connect with others when we communicate our interests.
- We communicate in what we say and do and how we say and do things
- We become known by others by what we say and do and how we say and do things.
- Trust and caring create successful relationships and collaborations.
- Integrity creates trust.
Leaders show how to do things and demonstrate how it works.
- A successful leader is an active learner, – exploring, discovering, observing, relating, concluding and acting.
- Leaders define their relationship with others.
- Good leaders find a place for those who care to contribute and are able, help those who care to contribute to become more able, and help others learn if they care, and what they care about, and help them engage in their interests, – what they really care about
- A good leader is the custodian of the interests of the enterprise and the process that engages people in the interests of the enterprise.
- Good leaders leave ideology behind, – what others say and may think, – and create their personal culture.
- Good leaders leave imitation behind, – what others do and how they behave.
- Good leaders create an environment that encourages exploration and creative thinking.
- Good leaders create an environment that encourages and rewards personal responsibility, personal leadership and personal excellence.
- Good leaders create an environment where people feel free and are encouraged and rewarded for exploring, creating and performing
Our Interests in creating our story
- articulates our interests as an enterprise, the interests we serve, who we are and who we like to be, how we see things, what we do and how we do things.
- allows us to know ourselves and for others to know us
- guides our choices and our behavior, – what we say and do and how we say and do things.
- lets others know who we are and what they can expect of us.
- helps us live our story with integrity.
- helps ensure we perform in our interests and in the interests of the people we serve.
- defines our relationship with others.
- helps us to be more successful in delivering on our commitment
- creates connections with the common interests, common ideas and common feelings or opinions of others
- creates relationships as we contribute to one another’s interests and collaborate around our common interests.
- helps create more successful enterprise, – personal enterprise and collaborative enterprise.
- is an honest communication.
- helps create the most focused, most efficient and most effective use of our capital resources, our intellectual and creative resources, and our time and energy
Living our story creates trust.
- Good leaders create leadership stories for their enterprise, for the enterprise they are engaged in, and the enterprise they serve.
- Good leaders engage people in conversation and collaboration around the interests of the enterprise
- Good communication creates good leadership.
- The essence of leadership is to accept we are human, to treat people fairly and respectfully, and to care for and help others learn how to have integrity for themselves, have humanity for others, and perform with excellence.
- We are social creatures. We are caring. We care about the interests of others.
What we can do
The only things we can manage are how we choose to see things, what we choose to do, and how we choose to do things.
The things we can explore are what are we doing, why are we doing what we are doing, how well are we doing things, and how well is what we are doing contributing to our interests.
What is the story of our enterprise