If you have a leadership program idea and you're not certain what to do next -
or if an existing program needs refreshing -
you've come to the right place.
But first, I have one question:
What do you want your leaders to do with what they learn?
In the leadership programs I worked with leaders to develop, they all had two things in common:
1) They began with a conversation. In one case, a casual lunch meeting in Orlando turned into a complaint session about the lack of business-experienced political leaders, which led to an idea that was outlined on the back of a napkin to develop a nonpartisan program for business leaders who wanted to explore their options and opportunities in public leadership.
Now, 12 years later, the program has exceeded every expectation and definition we had of success, training over 700 competitively-selected leaders through locally-guided and tailored programs in diverse large and small markets.
2) They answered this question: what do you want your leaders to do with what they learn?
This is the "what does success look like" question. It's about knowing our destination before we travel. Defining success at the beginning, allows us to focus on those to-do items that will help accomplish our goals and edit out the rest.
With our public leadership programs, the answer was our North Star in the creation of a unique and exclusive curriculum that teaches transition strategies for engagement.
In San Diego, when I was invited to meet with local leaders about whether our public leadership template would work in their community, the answer to the question led us to include a learning track for leaders who had no intention of running for office but instead wanted to land appointments to influential boards and commissions that had decision-making authority.
That single addition - that one answer - has made a tremendous difference in San Diego and, for our program, opened up new opportunities in other markets.
In the nation of Belize, the answer to the question became the foundation for preparing emerging entrepreneurs for non-political civic engagement. The focus allowed us to exceed every success benchmark that had been established early on.
When I was asked to present to a prominent leadership summit of women leaders in Florida on the topic of successful strategies for civic engagement, the answer to the question led us to weave the lessons into a simulated scenario in small groups, involving a local (fictitious) leader who wanted to lead a community conversation on the issue of affordable housing but didn't know how to start and what to expect.
If you have a leadership idea and you're not quite certain where to go with it - or if you're already involved in a leadership program that needs a little kick or a new perspective - let's have that conversation without obligation.
And please be ready to answer the one question that matters.
I'm already excited by the possibilities.
From a lunch napkin to a multi-market success of preparing future public leaders...
...where will your leadership idea lead?
(Why Mark now travels with napkins)
What began as a conversation over lunch and an outline on the back of a napkin has become a leadership template responsible for preparing over 700 competitively-selected business-minded exploring and aspiring future elected leaders, appointees and policy advocates in diverse large and small markets, including Orlando, San Diego and other regions.
Civic engagement and leadership are universal.
In the developing nation of Belize, business leaders wanted to pass along to the next generation of entrepreneurs a rich legacy of business engagement in social issues.
For a first-time program, every benchmark for success was surpassed and more women business leaders participated than men. Learn more or connect to see how your civic engagement idea can succeed.