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Ed O'Malley

Ed O'Malley

A former state legislator and gubernatorial aide, Ed O’Malley is President and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center, a first-of-its-kind training center charged with fostering large-scale civic leadership for healthier communities. He tweets at eomalley.

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.

By Ed O'Malley

 |  November 24, 2009; 5:09 AM ET
Category:  Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The relationship bone is connected to, the crony bone, the crony bone is connected to the czar bone, the czar bone is connected to the ACORN bone, the ACORN bone is connected to the scandal bone...

Posted by: Wiggan | November 25, 2009 9:35 AM
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