Archives for March 2013

EMERGE hits the Century Mark

With the Portland EMERGE Leadership Workshop this month, there are now more than one hundred (100) professionals that have participated in EMERGE workshops in California, Washington, and Oregon. EMERGE provides a unique leadership development experience, especially designed for individuals who are willing to work on themselves, their organizations, and within their communities to create a truly thriving sustainable built environment. Participants have ranged in age from 20-70, are balanced in gender, and represent businesses, non-profits, or governments ranging in size from one-person shops to large, multi-departmental entities with thousands of employees.

Generally, EMERGE alumni are at a cross-roads; they are attending because they’ve been assigned (by themselves or others) a task that requires a commitment or re-commitment to leadership. Captain John Hickey, Chief Commander U.S. Coast Guard Energy Program, attended the very first session of EMERGE, and is not atypical: “I was thinking of moving on to new challenges and opportunities…but with the Emerge workshop experience I feel motivated to put in the time necessary to bring our group to a higher level of performance. Our group touches over 8,000 buildings! Thank you.”

Some EMERGErs value the EMERGE experience so much they have chosen to repeat it. Brett de Santis, President of Brett de Santis Design Build, and former chair of the Tacoma Branch of the Cascadia Green Building Council, attended the first EMERGE workshop in 2011 and audited the EMERGE Leadership workshop in Portland. In her words, “EMERGE Leadership for a more sustainable society ROCKS!”
Photo: Participants in the Portland EMERGE Leadership workshop take time to reflect on and complete their personal leadership development plan. They will get a chance to review it with EMERGE Founder Kathleen O’Brien during a complimentary follow-up mentoring session.

Gratitude for Emerge

by David Eisenberg

Just wrapped up the 5th Emerge Leadership Workshop, this one in Portland, Oregon. And it was another amazing experience. I love the brilliance that emerges as people explore deeper ideas of leadership in service to a much larger purpose. What an honor to get to do this work! Deep, deep gratitude to all involved!  Thank you Kathleen O’Brien, especially for initiating this.

The next workshop is scheduled in the Fall and the workshop description is available on this web site.

I will say that it has been a wonderful opportunity to step back and reflect on my own path and experience, the lessons learned about change, about organizations, about personal capacity, and about leadership itself – and then to begin a process of putting those lessons and ideas and experiences into a useful form for others. And then to do so repeatedly, over time in the company and collaborative process of developing a workshop with others for whom I have great respect, admiration, and joyful connection. And then, to have the opportunity to spend two very full days with groups of committed, intelligent, caring and loving people focused on how we learn to lead in service to our larger and deeper purposes at the personal, organizational and community levels has been a fantastic and unique experience each time.

And the laughter that has consistently accompanied the work is more great medicine…

Editor’s Photo Caption: Lots of laughs and bright ideas with the “Building Trust” scenario. L-R (Brett de Santis, Gail Alexander, David Eisenberg, Stephen Aiguier, Howard Thurston).

SRO at EMERGE Clinic in Seattle

The Building Capacity Training Room at O’Brien & Company‘s headquarters was packed last week as 20-plus alumni from the EMERGE Leadership Islandwood residencies converged to share solutions and network. The agenda for the 1.5 hour clinic was simple: introductions, since there were folks from three separate residencies in 2011 and 2012; team “slams” on questions that had been submitted by email; and a quick report and critique on team solutions.  We then retired to Fado, the local Irish pub, for the “happiness” segment. Remember? “Happiness is not an individual matter.”

For the clinic, we focused on the following very practical questions:

  • What is the most effective way to use the internet to market ourselves?
  • How does one go about making a positive impact without over-committing or spreading oneself too thin?
  • In a world of so many great ideas…how do we as leaders decide what to focus on next?
  • How do we convince municipalities to strengthen enabling policy language (in codes or other city documents that currently includes fuzzy language such as “should” or opt-out clauses, such as “if feasible” that allows developers of major projects to do business as usual?

Each team was tasked to identify the larger purpose behind the question (if not clear from the question statement), constraints affecting achievement, and at least one actionable step to take toward achieving that purpose.

Feedback was immediate and positive. We want to do this again! Besides meeting up with fellow EMERGERs and sharing the “Whoo-hoo” call (if you attend, you’ll find out what that means), it was according to several participants, “helpful to be reminded of the EMERGE principles and to be of service to others who are dealing with similar issues to me, but at a different place in the process.” Several actionable items were identified by teams, with commitments made by individuals for accountability. Powerful, collaborative, leadership development.

EMERGE Clinics are Free, but only available to EMERGE Alumni. We’ve scheduled a clinic in San Francisco as a follow-on to the EMERGE Leadership Naturebridge workshop held this past January, and anticipate that EMERGE alumni will use this model to build community and hone their leadership skills in a supportive, creative environment.

For more information on EMERGE read the workshop description. You can also sign join the open Emerge Linked in Group.