I’ve just returned from Lexington, Kentucky where I spent a week speaking for and working with the students and teachers of Lexington Christian Academy, a large private school in Blue Grass country. The week was filled with lectures and classes that ran the gamut from personality profiling and leadership philosophy to cultural shifts and geopolitical issues. It was a great week with special people. As I reflect on the event, I thought I’d share some highlights of the week:
At the heart of leadership is understanding others and learning to meet people’s emotional needs, thus increasing one’s ability to influence those around them. While people are complex and unique, I’ve always found it pretty easy to divide them into four primary categories. Inside complexity, you will often find hints of simplicity – and predictability. At least enough to hang on to – at least enough to make an influential connection with another human. While the idea of four personality types is as old as the ancient Greeks, here are my four categories – inspired from the characteristics of man’s best friend:
- Pit Bulls – Those who run, fight, win and steamroll.
- Beagles – Those who connect, laugh, love people and don’t finish what they start.
- Golden Retrievers – Those who are loyal, harmonious, sarcastic and indecisive.
- Dalmatians – Those who think, analyze, organize and hold grudges.
To learn how to manage those “dogs,” and scratch them where they itch, you’ll have to take our course!
We also discussed cultural shifts – the constantly changing values of our world. Part of leadership development is tracking how the world’s thinking changes and how those shifts impact individuals. Then leaders need to decide what they personally value, how they’ll articulate those and how they’ll live out the values of their life. Among a number of issues that we covered was the trend of “chasing all that is average.” Yes, we tend to reward non-achievements as if they were spectacular accomplishments. In the attempt to spare fragile self-esteems, our culture supports the idea that “trying” is as good as “succeeding.” Unfortunately, this is producing a generation that pursues mediocrity where effort becomes expertise and contributing an idea is equal to a developed skill. Participation ribbons are handed out as if they were Nobel Prizes. Leaders need to resist the lowered expectations of society, set ambitious goals and recognize the difference between “doing their best” and actually reaching aspirations. I could go on…
Egypt, Libya, Syria, Israel, Iran, the US, Russia – we covered it all. We discussed too much to review it all in this brief blog, but let me just say this: Once upon a time our world was big and we were all separated from each other by vast oceans and continents. People could live their entire lives without needing to understand much outside of their families, communities and nations. But the world is no longer big – we can see each other, we can connect with people in far off places and we need to understand and consider other perspectives. (Considering doesn’t mean agreeing with!) The next generation of leaders will need to engage an increasingly connected and complicated world more profoundly than ever before. And while good people will often disagree on issues, it’s never too early to join the conversation.
Finally, I’d like to thank those at LCA who made this week of leadership and personal development possible, including Bryon Ethington, Beth Groves, Robin Hampton and Steven Small. It’s always a pleasure to partner with people who want to invest in things bigger than themselves and greater than the moment.
If you’re interested in learning more about Global Next’s leadership training topics and programs (domestic and international) feel free to contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our website at: www.globalnext.org.