Time, Money, Energy: Why Waste it?

IMG_9861I was recently talking to a prospective attendee for the two-day EMERGE Leadership Workshop scheduled for January 14-15, 2015 at the Southern California Gas Company’s ERC/Classroom. Fantastic guy, a highly motivated, successful entrepreneur. He had recently spent thousands of dollars at a leadership conference led by one of the nation’s famous motivational speakers. I’m sure it was energizing, but frankly, I winced to hear it. There are lots less expensive ways to pick up general leadership tips and showmanship.  Read one of the hundreds of good books on leadership. Practice what they preach. Take a leadership seminar offered by your local chamber of commerce.  Join Toastmasters to polish your own motivational speaking.

If I’m going to spend my precious time, energy, and professional development budget on leadership training, I’d want to know that it is custom designed for me. Since my interest is in accelerating sustainability in the built environment, I’d want the content to be framed with that in mind. I’d want examples to “fit,” and I’d want exercises to help me develop solutions that I can apply in my world. I’d want the connections I make at the workshop to be high value, because I live in a high-stakes world. I’m trying to save the planet. Really.

I’d also want to know that I’m not going to be lectured at, because if that’s the case, I may remember that you moved me, and maybe even informed me, but I’ll be forgetting 95% of what you tell me. I work in the world of design, construction, and planning, so I want to do some of that to really “get” what you’re telling me in words.

Next, I’d want to know that people who have taken the training have ended up doing something really good with it. Like, successfully form a coalition to support a new energy performance policy. Like, open up a design collaborative center providing green building services and training on Main Street. Like, become the “go-to” person for city staff and council for sustainability questions. Like, experiment with an “agile” design-build process on the next residential building project and share lessons learned. Like, start up a new architectural firm focused entirely on sustainable design and operated in a socially responsible manner. Like, create a succession plan for the next generation of owners, ensuring sustainability will not be lost in the transition.

Finally, I’d want the leadership approach to accommodate the fact that although I’m committed to making sustainable building practice the norm, I rarely (if ever?) have the authority to just “make it happen.” I have to collaborate with others to get results.

This is what I’d hope for. Which is why the EMERGE Leadership curriculum is designed the way it is. Come join us this winter at the Islandwood Leadership Residency or the LA Emerge Leadership Workshop.