Overcoming Obstacles with a Business Leadership Development Program


The vice president of a large non-profit organization called me today: “Our management council is planning a retreat for a day and a half. It’s eight people,” Dave told me. “Can you come and facilitate it?”

I checked the dates. “I can make it,” I said. “What’s the most important decision you face?”

“Our president is retiring,” Dave said. “We’ve begun to talk about leadership succession. He wants to accomplish all goals in the strategic plan before he leaves.”

“What’s the focus of the plan?”

“Well,” he said, “We are about to launch a $200 million fund-raising campaign.”

“Whew,” I said. “That’s four times what you’ve ever raised before.”

“Yes, I know. We’ll need 100% of our president’s time devoted to fund-raising if we’re to succeed.”

“That’s a big shift,” I said. “Can he make the change?”

“He’s acting as if he’s going to find new time to do it,” Dave said. “That’s not going to happen. He needs to change how he operates.”

“It sounds like the whole team might need to change their behavior,” I said. Then I posed this question: “How can you make the highest and best use of all your leadership resources?”

“That’s a good question,” Dave said.

“What are the obstacles to making the best use of your leadership time? What are the structural obstacles and the fear obstacles? How can you overcome them?”

There was a pause.

“Can you catch a plane this afternoon?” Dave asked. “I think we need to start this conversation today!”

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