I first became connected to Thunderbird Leadership through the Annual Leadership Summit. Unlike most leadership learning opportunities, it is not focused on developing skills, but rather developing our sense of leadership self. It is a unique leadership experience that asks us to consider who we are as leaders from wherever we sit in our organizations and our world. It is about leadership as a way of being.
I have to admit that I am much more at ease talking strategy and tactics and getting things done. For me, the Summit is a day-long retreat from doing. I am required to reflect and look inside. I know it is good for me and appreciate the sometimes-uncomfortable challenge to think and see differently. Every Summit I learn new things about myself that allow me to be more effective in my work and life.
The Summit is designed by a volunteer planning group. After my second Summit I asked how I could be involved. Members of the team talk about what they are seeing in their world and how it impacts leaders and leadership. A theme emerges from local, national and international trends and the discussions give us a chance to hear from different disciplines, geographic regions and generations.
This year, our theme is Reconstructing Leadership: Owning our Power. Our conversations touched on the teachings of Brene Brown, showing up, being enough and daring greatly, Peter Block who speaks about change not being about magicians but about us and the concept of Communityship, and Kevin Cashman who speaks of leading from the inside out.
We talked about research on effective leadership and why it is so hard to shake old paradigms and ultimately asked ourselves, why reconstructing leadership is so important. We believe that when we are not bound by old paradigms and constructs of leadership, we are free to contribute fully and freely to create a better world. We move from a powerless question of “why don’t they…” to an empowering challenge of “what can we…” And this allows us to lead from wherever we are, to claim our power and influence.
At this year’s Summit, we will be exploring how we deconstruct the messages that limit us and embrace new ways of being and doing, reconstructing leadership. In the process, we’ll meet a wonderful cadre of people from across the country and make new connections to inspire us to be our whole, capable and courageous selves.
The Summit was conceived thirteen years ago by a group of colleagues and friends who discovered the joy of being together, supporting each other and challenging each other to grow as leaders. Each of this dynamic group knew a few more people who would enjoy the conversation, and a few more after that until the Summit grew to some 75 – 100 people annually through personal contacts and connections.
So, if you have found your way to this blog, you’ve made a connection to the Thunderbird Leadership world. If you are interested in the Summit, please follow the link to the 13th Annual Leadership Summit and join us for a day that has been described as “a spa day for the soul.”
November 15, 2019 Phoenix Art Museum