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June 17, 2010 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2010-06-17

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32 June 17 • 2010

Business & Professional


recently had the honor to participate

We learned the critical importance of
in the American Express NonProfit
personal, rather than positional, leader-
Leadership Academy in New York
ship; and we learned why true leadership
City. The concept behind it seems a
is defined only by the former, not the
simple one. We invest tre-
mendous amounts of time
We learned techniques of
and effort in the training and
influence and dialogue, and
development of future CEOs
the dangers of using nothing
so why not invest the same
but pressure as our only form
way in those destined to be
of influence.
the next generation of non-
We met with community
profit CEOs? I am still a little
leaders, including Vernon
dazed by the honor of being
Jordan, former White House
chosen for this amazing and
counsel and a previous head
eye-opening program.
of the NAACP. He spoke
Shai ndle
The bottom line?
about the influences in
Brau nstein
On a Tuesday at 7:30 a.m., I
his life that had led him to
Gu est
found myself in a conference
choose a career path in the
Co I u mnist
suite high atop the World
nonprofit sector.
Financial Center in down-
Mr. Jordan reminded us
town Manhattan with 23 of my nonprofit that "it is not a crime to not know some-
colleagues. What was especially intimi-
thing, but it is a crime not to ask some-
dating is that not one of these people
one." This is vital because sometimes,
chose this field because they couldn't
as we grow within an organization, we
— as others often presume — "make it
become arrogant and assume that we
in the real world." On the contrary, they
know all there is to know. This will inevi-
were educated at some of the top schools tably doom us to failure.
in the country. All were younger than 40,
We spent an hour and a half with
passionate, talented and committed to
Ken Chennault, CEO and chairman of
the goal of waking up every day to make
American Express. We listened as he
this world a better place.
recounted both the successes and fail-
Our education began with the direc-
ures he experienced during the course
tive to turn off our BlackBerrys. (You can of his career, and shared the defin-
imagine the shock in a room full of type- ing moments that made him a leader.
A personalities!). After all, we were told,
Among the many important lessons
your staff and colleagues know where
he shared with us was that EQ does
you are; and if you are focused only
not equal IQ. What is EQ? "You are all
partially on this process and partially on
smart': he explained. "If you weren't,
your phone, you're not really participat-
you wouldn't be in this room. What will
set you apart — what will make some
That was our first important lesson:
of you rise to the top — will be your
sometimes, you have to turn off outside
execution quotient, your ability to follow
noises and truly listen to the problem
through and deliver"
at hand (okay, there was a little bit of
We met with Andrew Zolli, a futur-
frantic texting going on in the restroom
ist, who cautioned us on the dangers of
during breaks).
simply assuming that, because there is
Our week was spent with coaches and X amount of something today, by defini-
trainers from the Center for Creative
tion (using growth trends), there will
Leadership. We dissected our 360 bench- be a proportionate amount tomorrow.
marks, Myers Briggs profiles and Firo B
The example he used was comical but
numbers. We learned the characteristics
of leadership, influence and managing
In 1974, he told us, there were
those around us while keeping in mind
four members of the Elvis Presley
that the way we perceive ourselves is not
Impersonators Union. Today, there are
necessarily the way those around us do.
35,000 members. Thus, if we simply

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