Continuing Education

Clinton, other speakers inspire LEAD2015 participants

April 01, 2015 by Cindy O'Dell

LEAD2015 came to Brandman University Tuesday in the form of streaming video, pre-recorded video, moderated discussions and more than 60 enthusiastic participants who spent the day learning about leadership from a variety of viewpoints.

What are the pressing issues for businesses today?
• Retaining millennials who “want it all now”
• Turnover, especially among high performers
• Coping with “multiple hats” syndrome
• Lack of creativity and “thinking” time
• Being too comfortable
• Not enough caring as part of leadership
• Lack of trust in leaders who are suspected of having their own agenda
• The challenge of developing good leaders
The highlight of the day was a keynote address from former President Bill Clinton. Despite confessing to a little jet lag – he just returned from a 24-hour turnaround trip to Singapore to represent the United States at the funeral of Singapore’s first prime minister Lee Kwan Yew – Clinton talked for about an hour and then answered questions for another half hour about how to be a leader.

“There is no one style that works for everybody,” said Clinton, adding leaders need to be able to do four things: envision, explain, include and execute.

Drawing from his experiences as president to his recent work with the Clinton Foundation, Clinton offered up examples of all four areas, mentioning everything from peace negotiations with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat to welfare reform and Bob Dole to Franklin Pierce’s personal tragedy and the effect it might have had on his presidency to Franklin Roosevelt’s pre-polio golf swing and post-polio struggles.

“Leadership is defined by no small measure by how you keep score … Are people better off when you quit than what you started? When it’s all said and done, it needs to be a people-centered scorecard,” he said.

Asked to choose one word to keep in mind for leadership, Clinton responded, “Serve.”

The service side of leadership was a prominent theme throughout the day. Business consultant and author Ken Blanchard discussed “Becoming a Servant Leader,” saying the top-down pyramid needs to be upended so that leaders see themselves as there to serve those closest to the customers.

50: Percentage of attendees who raised their hands when moderator Scott Hamilton asked how many expected to hire five or more people in the next year
50: Percentage of attendees who raised their hands when Hamilton asked how many planned to reorganize or upgrade their systems in the next year.
Nancy Castenholz, CEO of Oría Consulting, said the conference reinforced ideas she already tries to put in practice. “People will say, ‘we did it ourselves,’ but we all need to remember that success comes on the shoulders of the many.”

Orange County Sheriff’s Department captain and Brandman University Ed.D. candidate Toni Bland said a speaker’s comments about multitasking and productivity rang particularly true. “You think you’re being productive when you’re doing a lot of things at once, but you’re not. That’s the nugget that hit home for me. I need to remember to do one thing at a time.”

The final speaker of the day, Lance Secretan, circled back to the idea of inclusion. “Diversity has us looking at the differences. Inclusion teaches us not to notice the difference but to treat everyone as if they made a difference.”

Making a difference is one of the reasons Extended Education chose to co-sponsor the event.

“Bringing LEAD2015 to Brandman is a perfect fit for Extended Education with our emphasis on working with area businesses to help people develop their leadership skills. Programs such as this connect Brandman University to people who share our values of life-long learning,” said Nancy Salzman, dean of Extended Education.

Brandman University School of Extended Education was also listed among the winners of Leadership 500 Excellence Awards 2015, where they ranked fourth.

LEAD2015, a two-day event held in Dallas, was condensed to one day of live and pre-recorded sessions for the Irvine event and was co-sponsored by HR.com, Professionals in Human Resources Association, Executive Next Practices Institute and Brandman University.

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