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Catalytic Leadership Starts Here

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Catalytic Leadership Starts Here
Kyle Hannon, President/CEO, Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce
 
While we can’t say for certain what the future holds, we know who is going to control it. The business environment, the government, our social fabric, will be guided by leaders.
 
Some leaders are elected. Some are promoted to their positions of authority. Others become leaders because nobody else is willing to step up.  Who are these leaders?  You know them. You might be one. Our leaders come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
 
The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) is the national source for professionals in our industry. They recently embarked on an important study of the future of Chambers of Commerce. They compiled their findings in a study called Horizon Initiative: Chambers 2025. This study contains eight major influences on the future health of Chambers and the community.
 
One of the key influences is called “Catalytic Leadership.” For communities to be successful in the future, they must have strong leaders in place, cooperating with each other. The top-down style of leadership is likely to fade, replaced with leaders of government, not-for-profits, and businesses working together to drive the community forward.
 
I think I just described what our Chamber of Commerce does every day.  We bring together the leaders from all the sectors of society to address problems and work on solutions.
 
Furthermore, we help leaders become leaders.
 
In this issue of Leading Business, you will learn more about our Leadership Academy. This program has been going on for almost 30 years. Not only does the Academy help people develop leadership skills, but it also sends them out to serve.
 
Look at the Board of Directors of the not-for-profits in town. You will see Leadership Academy graduates serving. Look at the Chamber Board of Directors and you will see that nearly half the members are Leadership Academy Graduates. Look at the businesses and employers in town. Many of the top managers graduated from our Leadership Academy. Some of the top companies regularly send one or two of their employees to participate each year.
 
Local companies are always trying to find good employees. It is a true struggle to find qualified people to fill the jobs that are available. As hard as it is to find competent, basic employees, imagine how difficult it is to find leaders to manage projects and people and set a direction for the company.
 
It is a challenge to find a leader. It is a challenge to BE a leader. I looked up leadership books on Amazon. There are 186,428 titles. If leadership were easy, we wouldn’t need the help of that many authors.
 
In some academic circles, we hear about natural born leaders. That is possible. But more likely, true leaders require a lot of time, training, and practice. In fact, I believe if you had an honest discussion with a “natural born” leader you would find they acquired their leadership skills through hard work.
 
And you might find that they were a graduate of our Leadership Academy.
 
If the success of our community depends on strong leaders, I’m proud our Chamber, and its Leadership Academy, is training outstanding servant leaders for our future.
 

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