A few leadership lessons I was reminded of during an afternoon with Outward Bound

Leadership development and team building programs are full of small-scale physical challenges that require collaboration. Though they’re mostly just simple puzzles that follow similar models, having just participated in another a few weeks ago, I can say there are many lessons worth being reminded of.

Outdoor education nonprofit Outward Bound is one of those groups best known for these corporate training affairs, and LEADERSHIP Philadelphia, one of the older local civic training nonprofits in the country, had me again take part in an afternoon of such activities as part of a program of theirs I’m in. I want to share some of what I left the event thinking about back  on Sept. 18.

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Great leaders sit in the audience

There’s a feeling that persists that at some point in your career, you’re successful enough that you get to the stage.

You’re handed a microphone and you begin to share what you have learned, all that you have accomplished. You move from the crowd to the curated. And once you get there, the goal is to never go back.

Continue reading Great leaders sit in the audience

Leadership Philadelphia called me one of 55 young ‘keepers’

The half-century old Leadership Philadelphia civic service nonprofit named me recently one of 55 young leaders in the region worth “keeping.” I’m among more than a dozen local tech leaders included.

Those of us named are said to be future leaders of Philadelphia that should be connected with more established leaders to ensure we remain invested here. It’s the same group that organizes the 10-month long leadership fellowship I proudly completed in 2013.

True to form of Leadership Philadelphia, led by a mentor of mine Liz Dow, this is not just a vanity list. Over the course of six monthly networking events, we’ll be paired with more established leaders to foster mentorship relationships outside of our existing communities. The series started last week with an event at the historic Union League.

It’s both a true honor and an incredible opportunity to meet people I will work with for years to come.

Ideas are easy, execution is hard

Stop taking credit for ideas you didn’t execute on. We’ve all had those moments.  When you find out about a new project or initiative and can recall with great clarity having had that very idea before.

It’s natural to want to allow ourselves that moment of validation. It’s as if a thought of yours has sprung fully formed, so it’s rewarding to take some ownership over it. But’ it’s hardly fair and certainly not accurate.

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My experience taking the 10-month LEADERSHIP Philadelphia core class

LEADERSHIP Philadelphia is a more than 50 year old civic society development nonprofit that has been the model for similar groups around the country. Among its programs, its furthest reaching is the annual Core Class, which selectively takes 110 mostly mid-career candidates from corporate, philanthropic, institutional and community groups and takes them through a 10-month program about Philadelphia, leadership and civil society.

Since 1993, Liz Dow, the well-connected, well-regarded, clear leader has been the nonprofit’s executive director, and I was blessed to come to know her in the past three years. It’s through that very meaningful relationship, with someone whom I have come to consider a confidant, that I was offered the chance to apply for and be accepted into the 2013 Core Class.

As the next class gets settled, I wanted to digest what I learned from the experience.

Continue reading My experience taking the 10-month LEADERSHIP Philadelphia core class

Lead with that iron fist

The best way to get things done is to rule authoritatively. Demand and conquer.

The best way to save money is to cut back, cut back, cut back. Always do more with less.

You can create a trim, powerful, successful, lean and mean and impactful organization.

But what happens when no one wants to work there anymore?

After writing this, I came across a somewhat similar post from Seth Godin, in which he calls for leaders to ask for ‘better’ not for ‘more.’