Breaking bread at Jeanne's Cafe
The First Lady's dress, while interesting, means little in the scheme of things. Leadership is dependent on relationships and while the symbolism and cost of state dinners can get out of hand, the power of the state dinner is the opportunity to build relationships with domestic and international colleagues.
I recently had a conversation with a former prominent state senator from Kansas, who was known for his incredible knowledge of the state budget and other complicated policy issues. When asked about the key to success in politics, his reply was simple: "It's all about the relationships." He admitted that he probably spent too much time studying the policy issues and not enough time engaging with colleagues. Being a policy whiz helps little if you don't have relationships with key people.
How is this relevant to your leadership?
We can't all host or attend state dinners, but that shouldn't stop us from engaging in a relationship-building strategy to enhance our leadership. Develop your own version of a state dinner. For me, it's breakfast at Jeanne's Café in the College Hill district of Wichita. I am there often, eating with new and old colleagues. I invite them there, not because it is the most convenient way to do work (there is no place for a PowerPoint projector!), but because breaking bread together, from the beginning of time, strengthens relationships.
Posted by: Wiggan | November 25, 2009 9:35 AM
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