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Being Right vs Getting It Right

I like being right. I’ve always liked being right. In school I prided myself on reading all the books. I was the kid who kept asking teachers questions while everyone else wanted to go to recess.

It feels good to be “right.” It’s reassuring and self-validating.  It can also isolate us from other people. It’s a temptation which leads to limitation. If we’re always focused on what we know, we miss what we can learn.

Eventually I realized that a good question is worth far more than a good answer.

Always Knowing or Always Learning?

Brené Brown addresses this in her book “Dare to Lead”.  She suggests that daring leaders are more interested in getting it right than being right.

Having to be “the ‘knower’ or always being right is heavy armor. It’s defensiveness, it’s posturing, and worst of all, it’s a huge driver of bullshit. It’s also very common – most of us have some degree of knower in usit leads to distrust, bad decisions, unnecessary rumbles, and unproductive conflict.”

So how do we avoid this trap?

Brown calls us to “transform always knowing into always learning.” 

She recommends three steps:

  • Name the issue by participating in clear, if not tough, conversations.
  • Make curiosity a priority
  • Acknowledge and reward asking great questions as a daring leadership behavior

Ask Good Questions and Listen

So how does this apply to George Floyd?

For me it means that I still do not know the answers but if I listen, I may better understand the problem.

I still do not understand the experience of African Americans. Or those who feel marginalized every day. Or police officers. I could focus on sharing my experience and perspective but what would that teach me?

So, I’m going to listen more. I’m going to ask questions when I don’t understand, even if that means I risk looking foolish when I do so. 

And I hope you do the same. There is so much we don’t understand about each other’s experiences. There is so much pain and anger in the world that it’s easy to feel powerless in the face of it.

I encourage you to follow Dr. Brown’s advice. Instead of focusing on what you know, focus on what you can learn. How can you understand someone else’s perspective? What are the questions you need answered, not as an interrogation, but as a path to understanding? What do you need to do to really listen to those responses?

It Is OK to Be Afraid

For some of us its natural to worry about saying the wrong thing in these situations. I felt fear writing this and even more than a little fear sharing it with you. It is easy to focus on that fear of being wrong.

Push past that.  As Dr. Brown says it is more important to be always learning than always knowing. The search for understanding is a journey, not a destination, and there will be bumps along the way. You will get some things wrong and that is OK.

Because in the end, we do not have to be right – but we can get it right.

 


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways. 


5 Tips to Strengthen Team Trust

Without doing a trust fall or other silly trust building activities


The following is part of a series of guest posts by local leaders. This post is authored by Lauralee Hites. Lauralee is the Sr. Organization Consultant & Principal Owner at Stratavize Consulting Inc. in Richmond, Indiana.

 


 

Do you remember the song “You’re Going Miss Me When I’m Gone”?  Well, here’s the YouTube video if you need a refresher.  Go head, watch it, I’ll be here when you get back.  I love that song, it’s such a catchy tune but, I digress.  It happens way too often in life; we don’t realize how great something is until we no longer have it.   Then we start searching for what we had or trying to re-create it.  I had this experience then, spent years trying to find what I had or trying to re-create it. Finally, after realizing I couldn’t crack the code, I spent years researching why I couldn’t just simply recreate it.  

In the mid-2000’s, I knew my work team was special but, I didn’t realize how unique my experience was or how much I would miss them until I was on a new team.  It was the feeling of losing something great and the frustration with other teams that drove me to spend 5 years studying how the strongest and most high performing teams get that way.  There were many reasons the team I was on for 8 years, my Dream Team, was high performing.  However, for this article I want to focus on just one of the reasons. 

Researching What It Takes To Be A Dream Team 

As part of my research, I read about the team dynamics of the first cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live.  As a super fan of SNL’s early years, I was engrossed in what made the original cast so successful.  Much of the story resonated with me and my experience with my old team.  

As the story goes, Loren Michaels, the fearless leader, personally selected each member of the original cast. Even after hundreds of auditions, he chose people he had connection with and knew in some capacity. Many of us know some of the comedic greats that were in the first season; Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, John Belushi among others.  While reading about the stories, of what some consider the funniest group of people to have ever come together, so much of their story reminded me of my old team.  There was drama, fighting, inner-team conflict, but there was also, pulling pranks on each other, fanatically funny comedy, producing high quality work, and truly caring for each other.  As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in 2002, “In the early days of SNL, everyone knew everyone and everyone was always in everyone else’s business, and that fact goes a long way toward explaining the extraordinary chemistry among the show’s cast.” 

After several books, interviews, and research of the original cast – one thing stood out as the linchpin to making this first cast one of the most successful comedic groups of all time.  The linchpin was Psychological Safety.   Harvard Professor Dr. Amy Edmundson, first coined this term in 1999 while conducting research on teams in the healthcare industry.  It wasn’t until years later that the term went more mainstream after appearing in Google’s research published in 2015.  

Dr. Edmundson’s definition of Psychological Safety is “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.”  If you boil down the definition of, it means you feel comfortable being you and you can say exactly what you’re thinking or feeling without the fear of retribution.   According to Dr. Edmundson’s research it’s more than TRUST.  It’s strengthening trust and taking it to the next level.

After leaving the Dream Team, I realized finding a team with psychology safety was harder than one may expect.  Let me be clear, the teams that followed were made up of good people.  My following managers were good managers, my teammates were easy to get along with but, there was something missing.  Something that made being on the Dream Team different than the others.  That something was psychological safety.  There was a team trust that we could truly be who we are, say what we want to say, without fear we would “hurt” other teammate’s feelings.  We knew we genuinely cared about each other and trusted one another.  We were confident in one another’s reliability and dependability. As a result, we had a deep-seated loyalty to the team. 

The foundation for a high performing team is psychological safety, to achieve that leaders must strengthen team trust. 

How You Can Strengthen Team Trust to Create Psychological Safety:

  1. Curiosity Culture – create a team where everyone is comfortable to explore, discover, ask questions and try new things without fear of rejection.  I’m not talking about “innovation” – a term thrown around a lot lately.  I’m talking about small things, questioning authority or the team leader or just asking many questions about a project, initiative, or status quo.  
  2. True Transparency of Thought – Another buzz word – transparency.  I worked with a person that used this term almost daily to describe themselves.  They wanted people to be transparent if it was “nice” but, transparency does not work like that.  Being transparent about your feelings of disappointment of a person on your team is critical to ending the “behind the back talk”.  If you get defensive when someone is giving you feedback – you do not value real transparency. 
  3. Embrace Humility –  As leaders and team members, we have to have the humility to accept that another person’s idea or solution may be better.  
  4. Voices Are Heard – The loudest voice is often heard but, what about others?  As leaders, we must make space for all voices.  We must remind our team that speaking up is important to the greater good of the team and the organization.  Too many times, great ideas go unspoken and concerns go unheard.  
  5. Know Each Other – Every GREAT team I have been on, whether it was the Dream Team or another team, we carved out time to truly know each other.  The teams that lacked trust and collaboration, we didn’t spend any time together.  We worked together and that was it.  Don’t get me wrong, personality tests are helpful but, to know each other you have to spend time with each other in a nonwork setting. 

Studying, writing about, and helping teams is now my life’s work.   High functioning teams is what will carry the work forward for every company.  No team, no company.  With increasing polarizing politics and the widening of generational personality gaps – there is no better time to improve and strengthen team dynamics.  

Have you ever been on a Dream Team?  Tell us about it!  What was it like? What made it a dream team?

 


About the Author: Lauralee Hites

After almost two decades Lauralee left corporate America to open her own boutique consulting firm, Stratavize Consulting Inc.  Lauralee was recently considered a Top 5 Speaker at Conference in 2019. Want to work with Laura? Contact Mitch Isaacs to learn more.


The Local Leader in Virtual Learning

When the world changed in mid-March, so did Shafer Leadership Academy. Two weeks after our board of directors made the necessary decision to halt in person classes, we launched our first virtual series. 

Since March 26th, Shafer Leadership Academy has conducted:

  • 6 virtual community programs with 478 participants
  • from 63 different organizations while maintaining a 97% satisfaction rating.
  • Organizations with the highest number of attendees were: Ball State University, Ivy Tech, Ontario Systems, Muncie Power Products and Open Door Health Services.

Here are a few notes from attendees:

“I enjoyed being able to interact with the activities and seeing everyone’s different responses. It was very informative and gave me good ideas that will help me through this hard time”.

 

“I appreciate the friendly presentation style of the facilitator. She was engaging and kept me interested in the material”.

 

“We are all in this together. I’m excited that we are learning from great leaders here in our very own community. Thank you Shafer Leadership Academy”

 

These virtual programs are free for SLA members and for a limited time this offer is being extended to the entire community at no cost.

In addition to our community programs, Shafer Leadership Academy has continued to offer custom programming to organizations virtually. For years Shafer Leadership Academy has provided tailored programs for organizations across East Central Indiana. We made the transition this spring to virtual custom programming.

Here is what our virtual custom programming clients have to say:

“I enjoyed being able to interact with the activities and seeing everyone’s different responses. It was very informative and gave me good ideas that will help me through this hard time. Even virtually, Shafer Leadership Academy was able to engage with our students. Through these challenging times, it was great to be able to still provide leadership development to our students.”

– Abby Haworth, Associate Director of Student Life, Ball State University

 

“Shafer Leadership Academy has been instrumental in helping us provide programming that is relevant, engaging, and student focused. Our virtual Student Leadership Series has been one of our best attended programs throughout this transition and students have enjoyed each session and topic. Mitch and his team do a fabulous job of engaging students and reaching them at their level to keep them interested and wanting more. I am impressed but not surprised as SLA has been a valued partner to help provide quality professional development opportunities to our students in the past.  Thank you for your desire to serve our students and the Muncie community during this unprecedented time.”

– Terri Sanders, Student Life Coordinator, Ivy Tech

 

How could virtual programming from the Shafer Leadership Academy help your organization?

Virtual is here to stay. As the world begins to consider new ways to work, organizations are increasingly looking for virtual solutions.  Shafer Leadership Academy is here with world class leadership training, close to home. 

Learn more about how Shafer Leadership Academy can help your organization provide inclusive leadership development opportunities. 

Check out our upcoming virtual community programs:
https://www.shaferleadership.com/virtual/

Ask about a custom virtual program for your team:
https://www.shaferleadership.com/contact/


Nonprofits are (Like) Businesses Too

The following is part of a series of guest posts by local leaders. This post is authored by Jenna Wachtmann, vice president of Ball Brothers Foundation.  Ball Brothers Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to the stewardship legacy of the Ball brothers and to the pursuit of improving the quality of life in Muncie, Delaware County, East Central Indiana, and Indiana through philanthropy and leadership.


 

Prior to joining the staff of Ball Brothers Foundation, I was a fundraiser for a neighborhood-based social service agency serving families impacted by deep inner-city poverty. I spent my days juggling grant deadlines, meeting with donors, developing new programs with staff, and, generally, running around like my hair was on fire. I started my job in 2007, not long before the world economy began to collapse. We raced to meet the needs of neighbors impacted by the “great recession” and unemployment, hunger, utility disconnects, and more as the demand for services skyrocketed.

As trying as those times were, they taught me many lessons that have helped shape my beliefs about nonprofit management and philanthropy. I had the great fortune of working with a team of smart, dedicated, innovative colleagues who worked tirelessly to re-imagine our traditional models of service delivery. We were also led by an Executive Director who had vision, who empowered his employees to excel, and who ran our organization with deep care for our neighbors and a very sharp business sense.

The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly different in many ways than the economic collapse a decade ago. But what’s not different? Just like a decade ago, we desperately need our local nonprofit organizations to carry-on their vital services and be creative in re-imagining the ways they serve our communities.

Just like small businesses—which have been in the news a lot lately—nonprofits are under incredible pressure right now. Having a sharp business sense is crucial. So whether you work for a nonprofit or serve on a nonprofit board, here are a few things to think about:

  1. Is our leadership and board asking the hard questions that need to be asked? Is there anyone missing from our board?

There’s no such thing as a “business-as-usual” approach during times like this. It is critical for nonprofit board members to be stepping up, asking hard questions and working together to support staff in finding answers. Will our insurance policy cover losses related to COVID? What’s our estimated loss of event revenue for X and what steps can we take now to offset this loss? Should we be pursuing funding via the new federal emergency and stimulus programs? What does our organization’s condition look like 3 months or 6 months from now? This is also a great time to look at the make-up of your board. Do you have bankers, healthcare workers, accountants, lawyers, marketing/public relations experts, other experienced nonprofit leaders, remote technology pros, or small business owners on your board that can lend their expertise?  

  1. How can we better serve our clients/constituents/neighbors?

The best nonprofits—and businesses—are those who never get comfortable. They are deeply in-tune with the needs of their customers/constituents, and they seek constant feedback to inform continuous improvement. Every Friday during our staff meeting, BBF staff discuss these questions: What can we do to better serve our grantees? How can we better communicate? Is there anything we need to do differently next week? This has become a regular agenda item since the COVID crisis began….and it’s something I expect we’ll continue for a long time.     

  1. What is our cash flow situation? How many days of cash do we have on hand? What are our fixed costs versus variable costs?

As the old saying goes, “cash is king.” It’s absolutely critical for nonprofit leaders and board members to have a strong understanding of cash flow and cash position, especially now. Can you clearly articulate exactly how many days of cash your organization has on hand? Does your organization have a sense of which costs are fairly fixed (can’t do much to change in short term) or variable (may be optional or adjustable)? Does your organization have reserves or a line of credit? If not, now’s the time to ensure that everyone at the management and governance levels is crystal clear about where your organization stands financially. You can’t plan for the future without a strong sense of exactly where you stand right now.

  1. What’s our Plan A, B, and C?What outside help can we get to think through the next 3-6-12-24 months?

If there’s one thing that is certain about the COVID-19 pandemic, its uncertainty. But that shouldn’t stop you from thinking about the future. The “recovery” phase of COVID is likely to be long and challenging—things aren’t going back to normal anytime soon. Remember, this is a marathon—not a sprint. Creating flexible plans and scenarios are extremely important. Having an outside advisor to help you think through finances, HR, fundraising strategies, service delivery models, and more may be crucial. Any good entrepreneur knows the limits of his/her knowledge and seeks outside help. Nonprofits can—and should—do the same. Reach out to the team at the Innovation Connector. Check out the low-cost services of Indiana Youth Institute. And reach out to your local funders to keep us in the loop on how your organization is doing right now and what’s on your mind as you look to the future.

Remember, as nonprofits, we know how to work together in good times and challenging times. Today, nonprofits are needed to be extra strong for our communities. Keep in contact with your colleagues and keep taking care of yourself too.


Jenna Wachtmann, vice president, joined the Ball Brothers Foundation staff in 2014 after working in fundraising and program development for social service agencies in St. Louis and Indianapolis. She also completed an internship with the U.S. Department of State, Office of Innovation. She is a graduate of Abilene Christian University and holds both a certificate in nonprofit management from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI and an executive master of arts degree in philanthropic studies from the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. As vice president, Jenna supports the foundation’s president and COO in strategy development, communications, and day-to-day management of operations. She also works directly with the foundation’s grantees. Learn more about BBF at: https://www.ballfdn.org/


Five Tips for Crisis Communication

The following is part of a series of guest posts by local leaders. This post is authored by Jessica Shrout, owner of Circle Three Branding. She recently facilitated an SLA Lunch & Learn titled “Too Nice to Lead”. 


 

As a brand or a leader (you have a personal “brand” that your leadership promotes – even if you didn’t intend it that way), every move you make impacts marketing – from the things you say on the phone to the suppliers you choose to use. Everything you do sends a message to customers or followers about who you are, what you stand for, and how you do business. How you choose to react during tumultuous times is being watched by your target audience who will then choose which brands and leaders they trust and where to go for service in the future.

The potential crises that may arise and affect your marketing include everything from a national or regional crisis to a weather- or facilities-related disaster—or even a company or personal embarrassment. You may do your best to avoid conflict, but the most seasoned leaders know that these things happen – take COVID-19, for instance. Your best chance for survival is to have a crisis communication plan that is just as thoughtfully prepared as any physical emergency plan your company has in place.

The exact course of action will vary based on your brand, your customers, the platforms you use, and the extent of the crisis (and this can change so quickly), but there are some steps you can take that will provide clarity and help you choose a course of action.

Make sure your crisis communication plan includes these steps:

  • Pause all upcoming posts, events and promotions. Automated social media posting services are a wonderful tool, but autopilot can be a curse when your tongue-in-cheek pre-planned post about “Taco Tuesday” launches right after the news breaks about a somber event or a company crisis.
  • Take a breath. Don’t act until you have taken a moment to consider your options. There is a callous rush to be among the first to respond to an event with #thoughtsandprayers. Unless you are a news agency rushing to inform the public, this is an unnecessary risk. Take a break. Feel your emotions but keep them separate from the brand’s needs.
  • Review your brand guidelines and company policies. Is there a policy in place about responding to an event like this? How would your brand voice speak about it if your brand was a person? Talk to management and the legal team. Listen to how your co-workers are handling it. Explore what your brand demographic is saying.
  • Choose a course of action. You can always opt not to comment – and that may be the wisest option for your brand. Evaluate the potential response from your fan base for all your options. Ensure you have your team’s approval (and company alignment) on whatever course you choose and always act with sincerity. Your options include:
    “Going Dark”—No messaging at all. This would be a day with no posts or comments from you or the company.
    “Ops Normal”—Posting like normal, no acknowledgement of the issue. It’s a risky but sometimes good choice when there is an issue like a celebrity death that has little effect on your brand but may cause a disturbance if you post about it. Sometimes it’s best to ignore it and continue like normal.
    Acknowledgement—Posting or releasing some statement and otherwise going dark out of respect or company protocol.
    Hybrid schedule—An acknowledgment of the issue followed by your normal posting schedule. This is a good option when your brand has to say something, but you don’t need to close operations – and you want to avoid the overkill phenomenon where all your followers see is similar crisis messaging from all the brands they follow. It get’s boring. If it’s acceptable for your brand to send out posts, do so: we’re hungry for fresh, unrelated-to-the-crisis content.
  • Plan to fail. Even the sincerest post can trigger offense in someone: let’s call this a “micro crisis.” Not posting at all can also be a problem for some brand fans—”Hey, aren’t you guys going to say anything about this?!” Decide how you’ll handle the potential positive and negative responses and inform your team so that everyone is prepared, and emotions remain under control. When a micro crisis occurs and things get heated in the comments of your well-meant post, stop and step away from the computer. Go back to the beginning of this list and go through the steps again to formulate a plan to resolve this micro crisis.

That Said: Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks
Some of the best marketing has come from someone brave enough to take lemons and make lemonade. Do you remember the Super Bowl XLVII blackout? Nabisco “won the Internet” with an incredibly well-timed tweet about how you can still dunk your Oreo cookies in the dark. Their marketing staff was well-versed in the brand’s guidelines and positioning and were prepared to respond to any Super Bowl-related events—and you can bet they had a disaster plan in place just in case that tweet did not go over well with fans. A “crisis” is a marketer’s time to shine. 

In marketing and communications, you need to take every opportunity as a serious chance to promote the brand and its values even if it’s something as simple as the messages that go out during a pandemic. Providing fresh, interesting content could catapult your brand to stardom, but be careful: your customers are watching.


Jessica Shrout is the owner of Circle Three Branding – a national marketing agency dedicated to the waste and recycling industry. She also takes on select clients in other industries including agriculture, education, heavy equipment, and tourism. Jessica’s work in marketing and brand development have won first-place awards at the national level in 2018 and 2019. She is also a columnist on marketing strategy.

 

 


It’s Time For Your Time

by: Dr. Joe Misiewicz

Emeritus Chair of the Department of Telecommunications at Ball State University and                                      Facilitator for Shafer Leadership Academy

Well another day pondering what to do, what needs to get done what I want to do and yes, what I have to do.

Managing one’s time is often challenging and given the current situation we are facing there appears to be friends contacting me about time management tips. Before tossing out some tips allow me to say ‘thanks’ to the Shafer Leadership Academy team for not hunkering down at home but for keeping their various leadership tips alive via digital media.

One Calendar

Take a moment and open your calendar whether it be paper or on a digital device. By the way there should only be ‘one’ calendar. In your calendar should be the following:

At least once during a day your name should appear as “Your Time” and you should use that 30 minutes (minimum) 45 (maximum) for you. You need to write your name in the calendar and set the timer 15 or 30 minutes prior to remind you of your time. Go read, plug in music, look out the window, take a short walk, set up a hobby but simply make sure this is your time. Write a poem, tinker with a board game knowing you don’t have to finish, do a cross-word, This applies to those working from home as well as those continuing to go to the office or work environment. We all need ‘our time’.

It is also possible one day a week to share ‘your’ time with a good friend and both of you note that in the calendar so rather than say ‘we’ll keep in touch’ you actually will keep in touch.

Check Routines

Check ‘routines’ carefully. We tend to save ‘chores’ for weekends. Weekends should be for family, friends and us not for chores. Do laundry first thing in the morning and fold it while watching a show you enjoy or chatting with a friend via the phone. Try to end phrases like “Wednesdays are for cleaning floors”, “Saturdays are laundry days” and “Friday nights are for grocery shopping”. Flip these days around.

For work, carefully check what is absolutely due Monday and maybe Tuesday morning. Try to get it wrapped up by mid to late afternoon Friday so your weekend is your weekend. Given the current situation it appears many are absorbing themselves in work simply because they are not sure what else to do. It is clear that working from home consumes time but many note it does not seem to take as much time as actually being in an office. Adjust accordingly.

It is time to load your calendar with ‘your time’ and make it a different time daily!  

Still Juggling?

For those still juggling, here is a short version of managing one’s time:

  1. What has to be done in 48 hours? Focus and do it.
  2. What would be nice to tidy up and get it done? Do these in stages knowing they’ll get done during the week. Check projects ‘you’ve’ thought about but never quite got to doing it and do it in segments knowing by week’s end it will be done.
  3. Oh look! This looks interesting and I think I’ll drift and….NO…go back to number 1 and 2 above.

Shafer Leadership Academy is committed to providing you inclusive leadership development opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are currently offering free virtual sessions to the community. 

Click here to learn more about our virtual sessions.

Questions? Email Shafer Leadership Academy or call the office at 765-748-0403.

 


SLA Offers Free Virtual Programs During COVID-19

Muncie, Ind. — Muncie Nonprofit Shafer Leadership Academy is offering free virtual leadership development programs to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, More Than Ever

“We need leadership now, more than ever” said SLA Executive Director Mitch Isaacs. “In uncertain times people look to their leaders to provide calm, clear, and competent guidance.” Isaacs explained that many leaders have found themselves operating without a road map. It is his hope to provide local leaders an opportunity to discuss how to best serve their communities and organizations.

“Leaders need a place to gather in order learn from each other. This is one of our core services at Shafer Leadership Academy.  Gathering provides people with reinforcement and comfort.  We need to deliver that to our community, even when we can’t gather in the same room.”

Experiment and Innovate

Virtual programming is new for Shafer Leadership Academy. Although they have provided limited virtual offerings for select companies and organizations in the past, this is the first time SLA has offered a virtual lineup to the community.

“We see these circumstances as a chance to experiment and innovate. In took us about two weeks from the time we decided to cancel in person classes until we announced our virtual lineup.”  The virtual lineup, according to Isaacs, is a result of a survey Shafer Leadership Academy sent its membership not long after businesses and organizations began closing. “We thought it was important to listen first” Isaacs explained, “before acting. We were pleasantly surprised by the number of responses we received in just a few days’ time.  I think it speaks to people’s need to connect.”

Virtual Lineup

The virtual line up kicks off Thursday, March 26th with a “Screenside Chat” about leadership lessons.  According to Isaacs, “FDR’s fireside chats provided hope, comfort, and inspiration to the public during the Depression, and later World War 2.  Just as radio connected us then, the internet connects us now. Hopefully we can recreate a little bit of that same magic.” 

The next session, “Adapting to a Virtual World: Ideas for Extroverts and Introverts” provides guidance on how both personality types can adapt in the emerging world of virtual work. “I’ve noticed memes lately about checking on your extrovert friends” Isaacs offered. “It’s funny and kind of true. We wanted to explore that.”

The third session, “How to Talk to Your Team” returns to the Screenside Chat format. “We invited our CFO Consultant, Pam Messiner from Cathedral Capital, to facilitate this session. Pam has guided business of all sizes, from small to global, through a variety of critical decisions. Pam is levelheaded and data oriented. She’s got great insight into how leaders can stay calm and help their teams make strategic decisions” Isaacs reported.

The virtual lineup concludes with a webinar on “How to Inspire a Shared Vision.”  According to Isaacs this is one of the sessions SLA has offered virtually. “Our Program Director, Tisha Gierhart, facilitated this as a hybrid class for Ontario Systems last year and their team provided us with some great feedback.”

Shafer Leadership Academy’s virtual lineup is free and open to the public, although registration is required. Learn more about Shafer Leadership Academy and the current program opportunities at www.shaferleadership.com/virtual.

 


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Shafer Leadership Academy (SLA) is carefully monitoring news related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. The health and well-being of our participants, as well as the safety of our employees and facilitators, is a top priority.

On Thursday, March 12, 2020, the SLA Board of Directors voted to postpone face-to-face group training events through April 30, 2020 as a precautionary measure. This will impact our scheduled community programs as well as our 8-week signature Emergence program. We are currently looking at a variety of virtual and digital delivery options for our services and will be rescheduling disrupted face-to-face programs for this fall.

Our host facility, the Innovation Connnector, is taking additional safety measures and will remain open for business at this time. The Shafer Leadership Academy will remain in close communication with the I.C. leadership as our staff continues to work and serve our members. We will communicate directly with our members and registered participants regarding reschedule dates and other developments.

Please check this page of our website (https://www.shaferleadership.com/coronavirus/) for live updates or contact us by phone or email with questions.

Lead On,

Mitch Isaacs
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


Anyone Can be a Leader and Everyone Deserves to be Heard.

by: Megan Orbin – Woof Boom

I graduated from Ball State University and found full time employment at Woof Boom. I was excited to work for my company but that required staying in Muncie. I was a reluctant resident.  Emergence helped change that for me. Suddenly I was spending hours with community members from diverse backgrounds with different opinions, talking and sharing ideas, all the while becoming more and more confident to speak up.

Emergence gave me the confidence to step deeper into the community that I once avoided.

As an introvert and the low man on the totem pole, I initially sat down & kept quiet.  The environment that Tisha, Mitch, and the other facilitators worked hard to cultivate allowed me to feel comfortable to share my thoughts.

Emergence gave me the confidence to step deeper into the community that I once avoided.  When the opportunity to join Altrusa International of Muncie was offered to me, I agreed immediately.  I haven’t been a member for an entire year yet, but that didn’t stop me from agreeing to Co-Chair a Committee with the eventual plan of Chairing said committee next year.  I am lucky to have found something similar to Emergence in Altrusa as the club is another supportive group of community members.

To steal one of Tisha’s favorite phrases. I feel like my toolbox is full of techniques and skills to lead within my community and workplace. I am grateful to my company, Woof Boom Radio, for sending me to Emergence and I will forever be grateful to Shafer Leadership Academy, who helped me begin this journey.

 


 

Emergence is Shafer Leadership Academy’s core leadership program. Topics during the interactive sessions, include learning and leadership styles, effective communication, consensus building, conflict management, civic leadership and personal mission.

Emergence is built for busy professionals, who want the depth of an extended retreat but don’t have the time. This year’s class will begin with a full day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 7, and continue each Tuesday from 5-8 p.m. through Tuesday, May 19. On Tuesday May 26, will conclude the program with another full day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Scholarships are available, and participants from SLA Member Organizations receive discounts.

 


 

Learn more and register for Emergence and other SLA programs.

Questions? Email Shafer Leadership Academy or call the office at 765-748-0403.

 


A More Confident Sue

Sue Godfrey dropped out of the workforce to raise children. She had left a management position and re-entered office life through an entry-level role. Sue enrolled in Shafer Leadership’s Emergence program, and there, she regained her confidence.

Now the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Indiana, Godfrey is an advocate for the eight-week, highly interactive Emergence program. It outfits participants with confidence and a command of their leadership style, she said. Registration for the 2019 Emergence Class — which kicks off Tuesday, April 2 — is open through Friday, March 29.  

I see ‘aha’ moments in the people I lead as they go through the program,” said Godfrey, who joined the Shafer Leadership Academy Board in 2018. It works to serve everyone who both aspires to be a leader and those who may not see their own leadership skills, but others around them do.

Emergence is Shafer Leadership Academy’s core leadership program. Topics during the interactive sessions, include learning and leadership styles, effective communication, consensus building, conflict management, civic leadership and personal mission.

Emergence is built for busy professionals, who want the depth of an extended retreat but don’t have the time. This year’s class will begin with a full day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 2, and continue each Tuesday from 5-8 p.m. through Tuesday, May 21.

Scholarships are available, and participants from SLA Member Organizations receive discounts.

It’s worth it,” Godfrey said. Emergence graduates get to know each other well and continue to support one another beyond the program — especially those, she adds, in close quarters.

My husband, Stuart Godfrey, is also an Emergence graduate. He and I often discuss issues of leadership, and a frequent conversation is around the idea that ‘you aren’t leading if no one is following,’” she said. “If no one is following, then you’re just taking a walk.


Learn more and register for Emergence and other SLA programs.

Questions? Email Shafer Leadership Academy or call the office at 765-748-0403. 

 


Meet Our New Team Member

Shafer Leadership Academy served 3,000 more participants in 2019 than in 2015. That’s a 900% growth in the people, organizations and communities it empowers with personal and professional leadership skills.

“Growth without direction, however, is unwise,” said SLA Executive Director Mitch Isaacs. To support the organization’s expansion, SLA hired Jeff Robinson as its first director of development. The Muncie native — responsible for growing SLA’s partner base across East Central Indiana — will start January 6th.

“Jeff brings a powerful blend of skills, experiences and connections to this role, and we are confident he will sustain and deepen meaningful partnerships with corporate and public partners,” said Isaacs, who transitioned from board membership to executive director in 2015.

The addition to SLA’s lean, two-person team, Isaacs said, allows him to focus on strategic priorities and program director Tisha Gierhart to build a robust calendar of inclusive leadership development options.

“It’s an exciting time SLA and our bold dreams and hopes for this great region. With Jeff on board, we feel poised to deepen and enhance the region’s leadership capacity and expand our rewarding, productive partnerships.”

Memberships Exceed Expectations

In 2019, SLA transitioned to an annual membership model. In one packaged price, members access the nonprofit’s diverse blend of coffee talks, lunch & learns, signature programs, monthly coaching sessions and more. Robinson said he is eager to support SLA’s existing 25 member organizations — including Ball State, Ivy Tech, Muncie Power Products and Ontario Systems — while reaching out to find new partners across Delaware County.

“I’ve watched Shafer Leadership Academy grow into one of the most well-respected organization in our community, and I have seen the transformational change its programming has had on many friends, colleagues and organizations,” Robinson said. “SLA is making a difference in our community, and that is the driving force behind everything I do. I enjoy seeing others succeed, and that’s what Shafer Leadership Academy is all about — helping others realize their full potential.”

An Active Member of the Muncie Community

Robinson has spent much of his career in roles that elevate Muncie. In November, he won the District 2 seat on Muncie’s City Council. Prior to joining SLA, he served Cornerstone Center for the Arts as associate executive director since 2014. Before that, he worked at the Muncie Visitors Bureau as a special projects director and project coordinator. The 2006 graduate of Ball State University also worked as a sales manager for Horizon Convention Center.

Robinson is on the Muncie/Delaware County Chamber of Commerce’s Image Committee and is a member of Muncie’s Bridge Dinner Planning Committee. He served on The Star Press Editorial Board from 2014-16, and M Magazine named the avid volunteer one of Muncie’s Top 20 Under 40 in 2016.

Learn more about Robinson and Shafer Leadership Academy’s blend of leadership programs for all ages, backgrounds and interests at shaferleadership.com.

Click here to learn more about our membership options. 

Current members contact Mitch to renew your membership.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways. 


Humans Can’t Help It

From the dawn of time, human beings have organized themselves into tribes. Anthropologists tell us that early humans formed bands of 30 – 40 people all hunting, gathering, and living together.  While early groups varied according to environmental and cultural practices, the concept of tribe is a near universal. 

For as long as we’ve existed we’ve relied on each other to survive.

More recently, psychologist Abraham Maslow described belonging as fundamental to the human hierarchy of needs. According to Maslow intimate relationships and friendships are foundational human psychological needs.  

Human beings can’t help it: we need to belong.

Tribes

Technology and civilization haven’t eliminated the tribe. If anything, tribes are more important than ever.  In his book Tribes: Why You Need Us to Lead, Seth Godin, explains how tribes are something more than bands of people looking to survive.  According to Godin a tribe is “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”  Godin emphasizes that tribes are grounded in a shared interest and supported by a common way to communicate. Most importantly, Godin tells us that tribes need leadership. It is the leader’s responsibility to provide “connection and growth and something new.”

Tribe SLA

Shafer Leadership Academy introduced our membership option this year. We were a little uncertain about how our supporters, participants, and stakeholders would respond. It took an act of courage by our board to change our model in hopes of providing people a way to connect and grow. It turns out that we were on to something as our membership model outperformed projections by nearly 80%. 

I think that’s because an SLA membership taps into our ancient need for a tribe.

By providing our members a place to gather 2 – 3 times a month to think about leadership, we are providing community leaders a place to gather in service of a shared interest.

The people, and organizations, who attend our programs come together because they are passionate about improvement. They seek to improve themselves, their workplaces, and our community.  .

Our members are forming a tribe. It is a tribe of like minded people who passionately believe that quality leadership can impact every corner and quarter of community.  It is a tribe of people who understand that how we think about ourselves, and how we treat others, truly matters.  It is a tribe of people who realize that as President Kennedy once said, “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Our is an unsettled tribe. Our is a tribe that is constantly seeking to connect with others. Our is a tribe who seeks to promote growth within themselves, their organizations, and their community.  

We invite you to join our tribe.

Now is the time to think about a 2020 membership in Shafer Leadership Academy.  Now is the time to consider what tribe you will join next year. Now is the time to find other people, and organizations, who share your values. Now is the time to gain new tools. Now is the time to grow and connect. 

Click here to learn more about our membership options. 

Current members contact Mitch to renew your membership.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways. 


The Right Room

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Harvard University to complete a course through their School of Extended Education. I signed up for the class because I keep finding myself in a role I never expected to play – consultant. Shafer Leadership Academy’s public classes in leadership have opened doors to providing those same classes privately to interested organizations. As our reputation for offering content both publicly and privately has grown, organizations have come to us asking us to help them solve specific problems.

And as a nonprofit organization we like to help.

As result, when funding became available through the Ball Brothers Foundation, I jumped at the opportunity to take the “Consultant’s Toolkit” last month in Cambridge. I know enough about consulting to realize that there is so much more to learn, and what better place to go than Harvard to learn it?

From Greens Fork to Cambridge

To be honest, I was as intimidated as I was excited to attend. As a first-generation college student from Greens Fork, Indiana there was a part of me that didn’t feel qualified to even step on campus. Harvard, after all, is a world renown haven for stunning intelligence, deep history, and rich tradition. I was concerned that it would be too esoteric and inaccessible for my Midwestern tastes.

Another part of me was concerned that I couldn’t keep up. How would I handle myself in a classroom full of bright, motivated people from across the world? What could I possibly have to contribute to the conversation? Would I able to follow along? Would I be able to learn, or would I be lost?

Opportunity Over Insecurity

Then I remembered this quote: “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

People who know everything have nothing to learn. There is no opportunity for growth, if there is no room for growth.  When you find yourself in a space where you are unquestionably among intelligent, high performers, then you are presented with an incredible opportunity – the opportunity to grow.

I found myself in the right room at Harvard.

In two short days I learned helpful techniques to improve my consulting practice. I met brilliant people, working in diverse industries. I participated in activities which connected the classroom concepts with everyday experience. I even had the satisfaction of learning that my consulting process is generally “right” even if it needs some tweaks.

Most importantly, I was reminded to not let insecurity keep me from opportunity.

Rooms where we feel smart are safe rooms. They are comfortable rooms, but they are not rooms where we grow. Challenge creates change. Discomfort can encourage expansion.  

And at the very least, there’s nothing like drinking coffee at Harvard Square.

Contact me if you’d like to learn more about our consulting services.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways. 


A Book From Branam

As many of you know our community lost a giant in March, when Dr. George Branam passed away.

You may not know, however, that George was a founding board member of Shafer Leadership Academy.

Coffees with George

In fact, George was a part of the board who hired me. Over the years George and I would meet regularly to discuss leadership, talk about the community, and engage in spirited debate about politics. He would often tell me that if you aren’t a liberal when you are young then you don’t have a heart and if you aren’t a conservative when you’re old you don’t have a brain. I usually responded by saying I wanted to have both.

No matter what we discussed, or when we agreed, I always looked forward to my coffees with George. George had a passion for leadership. He said, more than once, that leadership is everything. He felt that future of our community hinged on the quality of its leadership, and on that point, we always agreed.

At some point in our conversations George would recommend a book or article for further exploration. George was a voracious reader and a lifelong learner. He wanted others to continue learning as well.  George valued self-improvement.

A Book from Branam

So, I was delighted when his wife, Linda, reached out to me a few weeks after his passing to offer books from his leadership library.  I visited their home, had a lovely conversation with Linda which felt a little like the conversations I used to have with George, and left with a trunk full of books.

It took a while to figure out what to do with them.

Eventually, I realized I should do what George always did with his knowledge– I should share it.

So, in honor of George’s spirit, and memory, we offer you a Book from Branam.  We invite you to follow in George’s footstep by contributing to his legacy of leadership. 

We gave many of these books away at our Annual Meeting on Monday but we have a limited number still available at our offices. Many of the books have handwritten notes from George in them, along with underlines and highlights. George didn’t just own these books, he consumed them.

 

We invite you to visit our offices, take a book, read it, and then pass it on.  Just as George always passed his knowledge on to all of us.

George may be gone, but his legacy lives on.

Contact me if you’d like to schedule a time to select a book.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways. 


A Ruler for Your Emotions

People sometimes come to Shafer Leadership Academy with the hope we will help them control others. First, we talk with them about controlling themselves. 

It’s not always the message they want to hear, but it’s usually the one they need to hear.

We can’t lead others until we lead ourselves or, as my uncle often asked me:

What are you doing to keep your side of the street clean?”

A Simple Tool

Emotional Intelligence is defined as “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”  

David Neidert, author and facilitator for Shafer Leadership Academy, shares this helpful tool during our upcoming Emotional Intelligence session on April 25th from 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM.

It’s called the “RULER Reminder,” and it’s useful when we find ourselves in emotional situations.

RULER stands for:

 


Recognize emotions in self and others by examining face, body, voice tones, and feelings;

Understand how these emotions influence us;

Label the emotions by expanding our vocabulary as precisely as possible;

Express appropriate behaviors in the context and culture; within cultural rules;

Regulate by developing strategies for how you might respond (e.g., positive self-talk, exercise,  visualizations, walking, journaling, etc.)


Keep Your Side of the Street Clean

The RULER Reminder represents four basic dimensions of Emotional Intelligence:

1) Self Awareness;

2) Self-Management;

3) Social Awareness and;

4) Relationship Management.  

Self-Awareness is the first step toward better Emotional Intelligence. It’s how we keep our side of the street clean.

Enhance your Emotional Intelligence 

Emotional Intelligence is a challenging topic. It requires a mixture of thinking, self-reflection and intentional action. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this work alone. We, at Shafer Leadership Academy, are ready to walk alongside you. (or: are ready to pick up a broom. Let’s go clean some streets!

Click here to learn how you can attend Emotional Intelligence: Discovering You on April 25th.

Scholarships are available!


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Leadership is Service

You can learn a lot about leaders by the way they talk. Some leaders believe their position entitles them to demand respect and command others. These leaders talk about “being in charge,” refer to “directing others,” or “setting people straight.” They don’t seek input from those they lead. They cast a vision rooted in personal greatness, rather than shared aspirations. 

That’s not the kind of approach we teach at Shafer Leadership Academy.

We believe in change, not the status quo. We believe in the strength of community, not the isolation of individuals. We believe in the wisdom of teams, not in the greatness of a single person. We believe that all voices have something to contribute. 

We Empower and Equip Servant Leaders

“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?”  

-Robert Greenleaf, father of servant leadership

 

We believe that servant leadership transforms our businesses, organizations and communities. We believe that servant leaders are on a constant journey of self-discovery, while simultaneously striving to better serve those around them. We believe leaders don’t have all the answers, nor do they need to. We believe leaders understand how to tap into the strengths of those around them to solve common problems by creating a shared vision. We believe leaders see themselves as responsible to those they serve. And by doing this, we believe we can control our destiny.

An Introduction to Servant Leadership

For 12 years, Shafer Leadership Academy has offered the Emergence class as an introduction to servant leadership and an exercise in self discovery.

Emergence is Shafer Leadership Academy’s core leadership program. Topics during the interactive sessions, include learning and leadership styles, effective communication, consensus building, conflict management, civic leadership and personal mission.

Among our nearly 450 graduates, 75 percent have assumed a leadership role in the community, 50 percent are serving on nonprofit boards and 40 percent have experienced a job promotion, all within five years of completing the program.

Every year, Emergence brings the best of our community together: leaders from places of worship, from nonprofits, from elected offices, from industries, and from schools. Participants seek to better understand themselves and to serve others.


Learn more and register for Emergence and other SLA programs.

Questions? Email Shafer Leadership Academy or call the office at 765-748-0403. 

 


Inspire a Shared Vision

Imagine a clear eyed, motivated leader traveling down a path towards a better future. Fueled by certainty they move swiftly, taking long strides and feeling more confident with each step, until eventually, they turn around and realize no one is there.

Vision is essential to leadership. Leaders need a clear picture of the future they hope to create. But what happens when a leader has a vision and can’t get others to share in it?

A leader without followers is just a person taking a walk.

Envision and Elicit

According to Kouzes and Posner, the authors of The Leadership Challenge:

“Leaders who Inspire a Shared Vision passionately believe that they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become. Through their magnetism and quiet persuasion, leaders enlist others in their dreams. They breathe life into their visions and get people to see exciting possibilities for the future.”

Leaders are thirsty for a better future. Their vision emanates from a desire to make the world a better place. A vision, at its core, is a dream. A dream of a stronger community, a more effective workplace, or a better family.  When we clearly envision the future, we can describe it in rich detail. In fact, we can’t help but talk about our vision. Eventually we are inhabited by it. A true vision fuels the best parts of our soul and stirs us to action.

But a great vision can’t just stir us, we have to enlist others to the cause.

We must inspire a shared vision. Nothing is accomplished alone. No matter how great it is, without others, a vision is simply an unrealized dream. And while dreams are nice, change requires action. We have to create space for others; we have to listen; we have to truly share our vision if we ever want it to be a reality.

Let’s Create a Shared Vision

Imagine a community of people interested in creating a shared vision. What would happen if we tackled problems together, rather than wait for unsatisfying solutions to be forced upon us?

What would happen if we all learned to Inspire a Shared Vision?

Click here to learn more about how you can Inspire a Shared Vision.

Inspire a Shared Vision, along with Model the Way, Enable Others to Act, Challenge the Process and Encourage the Heart are the Five Exemplary Practices first outlined by Kouzes and Posner over 30 years ago in their landmark book “The Leadership Challenge.”

Shafer Leadership Academy will offer a one day Leadership Challenge course on Tuesday, September 18th at the Innovation Connector.

Scholarships are available.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


You’re Not A Superhero

It’s easy to believe that leaders are superheroes — people with special powers who can swoop in to solve any problem quickly and with few consequences.

The problem is, you’re not a superhero.  

Capes Don’t Fit

I’ve tried on the cape. It doesn’t fit. As a younger man, I thought leading meant having to solve everyone’s problems. Or, even worse, when a problem developed, I pressured myself to tackle it all on my own.

Eventually, I realized that leaders solve problems by building great teams. I had to reframe my concept of a hero.

Enable Others to Act

Real superheroes don’t have super strength, they gather strength from creating strong teams. Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, suggest that real superheroes enable others to act.

“Leaders foster collaboration and build spirited teams,” the book states. “They actively involve others. Leaders understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts; they strive to create an atmosphere of trust and human dignity. They strengthen others, making each person feel capable and powerful.”

Fonder of the Servant Leadership movement, Robert Greenleaf said the test of a good leader is whether those served “grow as persons.” “Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?” he wrote. 

Take Your Leadership to New Heights

Our upcoming program, The Leadership Challenge, will empower you to embrace the five practices of exemplary leadership: Inspire a Shared Vision, Model the Way, Enable Others to Act, Challenge the Process and Encourage the Heart.

Scholarships are available for this program, from 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Muncie’s Innovation Connector.

REGISTER TODAY  


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


A Lesson in Local Governnment

As a young professional, one of my mentors would ask, “Is this the hill you want to die on?” When something appears to be unjust or unfair, I speak up. Now that I’m older, I’ve realized unbridled idealism isn’t always practical.  At times it is easier to swim with the current than against it. Quiet acceptance seems to make life easier and you tend to end up with more friends, because you’re less controversial.   Everyone wins, right?

Not always. 

Last year, I witnessed what I believe to be inappropriate behavior that challenging publicly might qualify me as “dying on a hill,” and I feel the need to speak out, to start climbing that hill.  The behavior demonstrated in my presence is challenging to put words around. As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said when the Court struggled to define obscenity, he “knew it when he saw it.”  In this incident, I too know what I saw.

I’ve recounted the experience with a few of my trusted advisors, many of whom have community influence, respect & positional power representing different backgrounds and walks of life. One of those advisors, simply looked at me said, “So what are you going to do? No one says anything because everyone is too afraid to speak up.”

I sat with that question for a while.

The Battle Over Our Silence

I’m not going to share in this blog the details of what happened.  The details don’t really matter and it’s not always about what you know, it’s what you know you can prove. There’s a process in place and people that have their point of view to protect. That’s not a battle, for me to fight or likely win. I have however, found my voice.

But I think there is a more important battle that we can all win: the battle over our silence.

Winston Churchill famously said, “Democracy is the worst form of government possible, except all the others.”

Democracy isn’t perfect, but it’s our best option, but it only works when we participate. It calls us to wake up, pay attention and engage. Democracy means you have a voice but only if you use it. When the framers said for the people and by the people they were talking about YOU.

You are the people.

Maybe you’re like me, maybe you’re skeptical about the questionable practices in your community. Or perhaps, you’ve seen or heard something but you are too scared to speak up. Perhaps you’ve decided it was a hill you didn’t want to climb or die on.  Maybe you’ve stayed silent because you just don’t think that speaking up will ever truly matter. I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve felt any of those things. I know I’ve felt them all.

Yet our silence only contributes to a culture where complaints go ignored, accountability lacks and vocal opposition remains intimidating. If we remain silent, then we are complicit. We become accomplices in a system where those in power act without concern or accountability.

We get the representation we deserve.

Use Your Voice

The next time you witness someone with power & influence abusing their power, or the next time you feel ignored or intimidated for using your voice, then I encourage you to lead with your internal strength and use it anyway. Hiking up a hill is much more enjoyable with others. Let’s challenge each other to live and work more authentically as we work to advance our great city and improve lives in the community.

And if you are a person of influence, I ask that you listen to those who speak their voice.  Conduct the due diligence to look into their claims and when you find the truth, seek the appropriate and just outcome.

And if we die on the hills we chose to climb, so be it. After all, hills are where our heroes are buried.   We all have opportunities to lean in, take the chance and be one of those heroes.

Summit on Transparency in Local Government

Shafer Leadership Academy is proud to partner with Muncie Action Plan and the Bowen Center at Ball State University on the upcoming Citizen Summit on Transparency in Local Government

The Summit, which is sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College, will be hosted at the recently renovated John and Janice Fisher Building on Saturday, September 14th. The purpose of the summit is to explore solution-focused, and nonpartisan, opportunities to foster transparency in local government. 

The Summit is free and open to the public. You can learn more here.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Our Time with MCS

Shafer Leadership Academy recently participated in the orientation for the newly installed Muncie Community Schools Board. Long-time Emergence facilitator, Pat Heiny, and I were invited to bookend the day’s activities with teambuilding exercises and leadership training to promote effective communication and positive, productive relationships.

Some of you may know Pat Heiny. She is a partner with Contemporary Consulting, based in Richmond, and is a lead facilitator for Shafer Leadership Academy’s Emergence program. In addition to her nearly 30 years of leadership development experience, Pat spent 12 years on the Richmond Community School Board, which included a term as board president. In 2010, the Indiana School Boards Association recognized Pat’s dedication to Richmond schools with the Outstanding Boardsman Ship Award. She was the perfect facilitator for our time with the Muncie Community Schools Board.

Committed, Collaborative, and Value-Oriented

But this post isn’t about Pat or Shafer Leadership Academy. This post is about the Muncie Community Schools Board.

Each member of the board came across as bright, committed, collaborative and value-oriented. It was immediately clear to me that they bring different perspectives but share highly complementary skill sets. Their conversation and comments focused on all the right things and demonstrated they understand their purpose and appreciate the challenges ahead. They spoke honestly about their hopes and fears, and they honored each other’s perspectives and expertise.

Most importantly, without a doubt, it was clear they are here for our kids.

What Ball State Brings

I should add that this orientation took place at Ball State and was planned by a team of Ball State staff members. Every part of the orientation was professional and on-point. The facility was well suited for the occasion, the materials were clear and accurate, and the schedule was perfectly paced. The team soaked up guidance from top-notch facilitators who engaged them in a variety of topics.

I have friends and colleagues who have thoughtful concerns about the new relationship between Ball State University and Muncie Community Schools. I’m not here to discount them or those fears, but I do want to share how encouraging it was to see — first hand — Ball State’s tremendous resources (of staff, facilities and expertise) focused on improving our schools. Watching the relationship in action helped me understand just how much Ball State brings to Muncie Community Schools.

A Bright Future

Speaking of action, I finished the day watching the new board get to work. In their very first public meeting, and under tremendous public scrutiny, they efficiently elected officers, heard a detailed financial report, asked questions, recognized new staff members, intently listened to community feedback, and responded to questions from the media in public. They also voted to move their meetings from monthly to bi-weekly, and to add public comments at the first of the agenda so they could hear the public’s remarks before making decisions.

Everything I saw from this board demonstrated that this is a new era, full of potential for Muncie Community Schools. I have decided they deserve Shafer Leadership Academy’s support, and we stand ready to help however needed.

I hope you take the time to attend a school board meeting to experience their passion and expertise with your own eyes. I think you’ll see what I see: a bright future for Muncie Community Schools and Ball State — a community that is better together.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Are You MindFULL or Mindful?

My name is Mitch Isaacs, and I am overcommitted.

I am the executive director of a nonprofit and serve as an officer for three of the five board of directors on which I sit. I volunteer as a Big Brother, a Project Leadership Mentor, and the president of my neighborhood association. More importantly, I am a husband, a father, a son, and a friend. 

I love being involved (and wouldn’t have it any other way), but at times, I feel like a browser with too many tabs open. Can you relate? Do you struggle to balance your personal and professional aspirations? 

When our mind is full of things we have to do, there is no space to be the things we are. 

How Mindfulness Helps

So, what’s the answer? We could all use a refresher on time management best practices, sure. And sometimes, you have to make some difficult choices to cut out or reduce your commitments, but among all the solutions lies the ancient practice of meditation and mindfulness.

For thousands of years, people across the globe have used meditation and mindfulness to manage stress and seek clarity, and modern science has started to embrace these practices as part of a healthy, well-balanced life. Recent studies suggest mediation can:

1) Boost your immune system (see here)

2) Decrease your stress (see here)

3) Reduce distractions (see here)

4) Lower your heart rate and blood pressure (see here)

5) Provide clarity (see here)

Proven Results In My Life

If you would have said “meditation” around me a year ago, I would have pictured a person sitting crossed legged, wearing robes, sporting unkempt hair and repeating “oommmmm….” But then I tried it and opened myself up to learning more, after which I realized there are forms of meditation and approaches to mindfulness for everyone (so, not all poses and mantras).

Since incorporating meditation into my daily routine, my resting heart rate has gone down (ask my Apple Watch), I better manage disagreements with loved ones, and it’s easier for me to find clarity in the middle of a busy day at Shafer Leadership Academy. 

To help others see the benefits of mindfulness in their own lives, I reached Ball State University Counselors Amanda McErlean and Timothy Hess to lead an engaging and interactive mindfulness session during a free lunch and learn from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, July 16, at the Innovation Connector. I had planned to plug the session in this blog post, but two days after posting it in an email, it was full. This reinforced we need to make more of these types of sessions available to our leaders in East Central Indiana.

Maybe It Can Help You Too

Meditation is not limited to mystical yogis, and a basic understanding of the practice just scratches the surface. As I said, learning more about meditation and mindfulness reveal there is an approach for people of all ages, backgrounds, personality types, and schedules.

There’s no magic pill to fix “over-committed,” but creating the space to better understand ourselves, our goals, and our tendencies is a start. It’s worked for me, and it can work for you.

Please reach out with ideas or hopes for future Shafer Leadership Academy programming related to mindfulness and meditation. I’m excited to hear your ideas!

Namaste.

Click here to learn how you can bring mindfulness to your organization!


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Eye Contact At The Community Pool

I’m the president of my neighborhood association. It’s sounds like an honor but its little like being the subdivision RA. 

Our neighborhood is known for our garage sale. Every spring we host one of the largest garage sales in the county.  Our neighborhood also operates a community pool.  A few weeks ago we decided to use the garage sale to promote the community pool. 

Standing in the Street

Using the garage sale to promote the pool was my idea – mostly because everyone else was smart enough to stay away from it.  I had decided that while our neighborhood was hosting a 1,000 guests that I would stand in the street, outside our pool entrance, and try to entice passerbys to visit the pool. My goal was to convince these strangers to stop their rummaging long enough to tour our pool, and maybe purchase a pool membership. 

There I stood, flyers in hand, next to a large sign reading “Pool Open House” greeting people as they walked by. I’m naturally friendly. I consider myself warm, gregarious, and nonthreatening, but a funny thing happens when you stand in a public space and try to talk to strangers –  people start looking uncomfortable. 

Don’t Look at Me!

How did I know they looked uncomfortable? Well first, some people refused to make eye contact. They’d see me. They’d see the sign and they’d look anywhere but my face.  I suppose this is a by-product of our consumer culture, people are so afraid of being “sold” that they don’t want to engage anyone who looks like they may be trying to sell them something. I found this a bit ironic at a garage sale, which is entirely about buying, selling, and negotiating, but then again, I was promoting pool memberships, not second hand baby clothes and furniture.  It’s important to know your audience’s priorities. 

Of course even when people did make eye contact there were other signs of disinterest – immediately looking away, speeding up as they walked passed me, the subtle wave of a hand as if saying “no thanks”, or the rare person who actually said “no thanks.”  

What Yes Looks Like

Like most sales situations I heard “no” more than I heard yes, but “yes” did happen. I could see a yes almost as clearly as a no. My yes-people would always make eye contact. They would slow their pace, and orient their bodies to face me. They’d usually come closer and smile.  I often opened with a friendly joke or warm welcome as a way to gauge their receptiveness. Their reaction to my first few words were usually enough to tell me if they’d be willing to take the time to tour the pool.

Yes looked open.  Body language is a physical reflection of our subconscious reality. If you can learn to read the cluster of cues, body language can provide insight into someone’s state of mind.  There are many cues to consider, but fundamentally, body language can be broken down into two types of gestures: open and closed.  

Open body language indicates comfort, honesty, and relaxation. These gestures emerge when we feel comfortable, engaged, and safe. Closed gestures indicate insecurity, discomfort, and deception. These gestures present themselves when we feel unsafe. 

Look for the Clusters

It is important to note that you can’t look for just one gesture when interpreting body language. Body language works a little like words in a sentence, an indvidual word can be powerful but it makes more sense when placed in context with other words. Just as we need a few words to make a complete sentence, we must look for at least 2 – 3 cues working in conjunction to provide us a clearer understanding body language.

Would you like to learn more about open and closed gestures? Are you curious about how to identify clusters? Are you interested in learning how to better understand the cues others are giving?

Click here to learn more about our Body Language program from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 7th, at Muncie’s Innovation Connector

If you want to learn more about body language, check out “What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed Reading People“,  by Joe Navarro.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Avoiding Mount Stupid

Working at a leadership academy doesn’t mean I know everything about leadership. If anything, it means I know how much I don’t know about guiding others and advancing community.

Living in this world often forces me to question how good I am at practicing what I preach. I spend my days thinking about how to lead people, accomplish goals, build better relationships and improve the community. In fact, I spend so much time thinking and reading about these concepts, that I’m often acutely aware of when I fall short. Whether I’m reading a leadership book, leading a class or running my own organization, I have moments when I think, “Huh, you missed the mark.” 

But then I stop to remind myself that those feelings mean I’m constantly striving to be better, to learn more — both traits of effective leaders. You’re never “done” when it comes to leadership. It’s a lifelong journey of self-exploration, lessons and perseverance.

The Dunning Kruger Effect

Have you heard of the Dunning Kruger Effect? Its a cognitive bias that accounts for when people who are incompetent are unable to recognize their own incompetence. Often, they feel overconfident in their abilities.

In other words, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. Or as Socrates said, “the wisest man realizes he knows nothing at all.” It’s a fascinating psychological phenomenon that explores the relationship between confidence, knowledge and expertise.

Why Your Kid Thinks They Can Fly

Consider 3-year-old child in a cape and boots preparing to fly from the top of a playground structure. Unless an adult steps in, that sweet soul is destined for a hard lesson because of his overconfidence. He doesn’t have enough life experience to realize we cannot fly like our cartoon heroes.

As adults, we may approach life sans cape, but we may continue to overestimate our abilities where we have limited experience. If we’ve never led before, then we might think it’s easy because we don’t have enough experience to know how difficult it is.  

As we embark on new experiences, there’s an inverse relationship between confidence and experience. We start on “Mount Stupid,” where we’re crowned with a dangerous combination of confidence and little experience. Over time, however, we gain experience, and confidence diminishes as we set up residence at the “Reality Resort.” Experience erodes our confidence as we begin to learn what we didn’t previously know. 

 

As you can see there is  in inverse relationship between confidence and experience, for awhile. At the top is “Mount Stupid” where we have a lot of confidence, and little experience, a dangerous combination as we are prone to vastly overrate our abilities. Over time, however, as we gain experience, confidence diminishes. Experience erodes our confidence as we begin to learn what didn’t know when we started. 

Eventually You Can Fly

The good news, of course, is that with enough experience our confidence returns. Rather than confidence born from ignorance, we acquire a truer confidence informed by experience, and at that point we begin to approach expertise. Hello, “Planet Progress.”

Look at the chart one more time. Although confidence returns as we reach expert status, it’s never as high as it was when we lived on “Mount Stupid.” Learning is never done. Wil Davis (author, celebrated community leader and the co-founder of Ontario Systems) is one of the best thinkers I know, and he often states he is still learning about leadership. That humble perspective empowers me to lean into the fact we are never “done.” I’ve now celebrate leadership as a journey, rather than a destination.

This is why I say Shafer Leadership Academy helps people learn to lead. Our job is to help people start their own journey through this arch, to consider they things they may not know and to work towards a truer confidence. We want to help you develop a greater self-awareness to improve how you interact with the world, and thus, how the world perceives and interacts with you. 

Self-awareness is the first step toward emotional intelligence. Click here to learn more about SLA’s Emotional Intelligence program from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, at Muncie’s Innovation Connector

If you want to learn more about the Dunning Kruger Effect, check out this Forbes article, “Why Some People Think They’re Great Even When Their Work Is Terrible.”


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Measuring Messy People

I love the Gallup Organization. As far as pollsters go, they have a long history of providing credible information, but that’s not what I love about them.

I love Gallup because they like to measure one of the most interesting, messy, complicated subjects any organization can tackle: people.

Let’s face it, people are a wonderful mix of contradictory emotions, impulses, and motivations. As professionals in a people driven economy, we must understand our clients, our co-workers, and our neighbors if we want our business and communities to thrive.

This is where Gallup has made our lives a little easier. Drawing from a massive in depth study of great managers across a wide variety of organizations, Gallup developed twelve simple questions to ask employees about their experiences. The way that team members answer these question is highly predictive of their satisfaction and productivity.

The Top Five

Here are the top five of the twelve:

  1.       Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2.       Do I have the materials and equipment to do my work right?
  3.       Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4.       Have I received recognition (or praise) in the last seven days for doing good work?
  5.       Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?

With these five simple questions you can begin measuring your team’s engagement.

Dealing with the Results

Of course once you ask these questions, you have to be prepared to deal with the results. After all, the only thing worse than not asking for people’s opinions is asking and then ignoring what they have to tell you.

So, are you the kind of person who is interested in creating a more engaged workplace? Do you want to maximize your team? Are you concerned with improving your Emotional Intelligence? Are you interested in decoding the secrets of body language?

These are challenging topics. They require a mixture of thinking, self-reflection and intentional action. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this work alone.  At Shafer Leadership Academy we Create Great Local Leaders. 

Shafer Leadership Academy wants to help you with your messy people. 

Click here to see our upcoming opportunities. 


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Your Leaders Will Fail

My 11 year old occasionally gets frustrated by his homework.

He’s a bright kid, and that’s the problem. For as long as he’s been in school, school has come easy to him. He can usually look at a problem and immediately see the solution. It often requires very little effort on his part.  Of course, not every problem is easy and that’s when things get difficult. The relaxed, often quiet, homework time turns to tears and frustration. This is usually when I tell him that not everything will come easy, and that effort is sometimes more important than talent.

Struggle is a Part of Success

You see, he’s learning that struggle is a part of success. It’s an important, yet painful, lesson.

It’s also a lesson that we discuss at Shafer Leadership Academy. Often those who strive towards leadership lean towards perfectionism. The kind of people who want to take charge in the office, improve their community, or better the world, are typically the kind of people who believe that with enough grit, preparation, and control, the world can be bent to their will. They sometimes fall to the seductive notion that all problems can be prevented with enough foresight, and that any mistake reflects a lack of preparation, intelligence, or control.   

If only the world truly worked that way.

Good Plans are Disposable

Some of the best advice I ever received was to make a plan but be prepared to throw that plan away at a moment’s notice.  This is not easy for me, as I am a planner. I like schedules, timelines, calendars, and creating Facebook events just to hang out with friends. I’ve had goals since I was five. Yet, my life has been full of surprising, and often rewarding, curveballs.  Some of those curveballs have resulted in my swinging and missing (usually big!). Others I hit out of the park. You win some, you lose some.

The implication for leadership is that our leaders, being human, are not perfect. They will error in judgement, intention, evaluation, and implementation. They will do these things, because they are more like us than we care to admit. We want leaders who are exceptional in every way, when the truth is that even the best leaders are fortunate to be exceptional in even a handful of ways.

This is not a call for a mediocrity, nor is a philosophy that asks us to unquestioningly accept every flaw a leader may have. It simply means that when we consider our leaders, or ourselves, we acknowledge that failure will be a part of success. It calls us to recognize that in the act of striving we stumble, and that we should seek leaders who are the kind of people who rise after the fall. It is the plain recognition that we are human, and the glory of humanity lies not in our perfection but in the indomitable spirit of persistence.

A More Perfect You

The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States refers to forming “a more perfect union.” The Declaration of Independence states that we all have the right to pursue happiness. Each of these phrases are aspirational, and each of these phrases imply that both forming a union, and achieving happiness, are pursuits, not necessarily destinations. The point isn’t that our union, or community, will ever be perfect, nor that our happiness will ever be complete, but that we endeavor to accomplish these things.

Some homework problems are harder to solve than others, including the ones plaguing our community. We need value-oriented leaders who are not only unafraid to tackle these problems, but also expect to fail as they do so. We also need communities who recognize that sometimes a better measure of leadership is overcoming adversity, rather than avoiding failure. Rather than looking for the right answers maybe we should ask ourselves if we are moving in the right direction. We may be surprised at what we find once we get there.

Shafer Leadership Academy wants to help you become a “more perfect” you.

Click here to see our upcoming opportunities. 


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Label Before Responding

I get angry sometimes. I have very specific opinions on how people should drive. I get upset when the Indianapolis Colts lose, or when the New England Patriots win. I get frustrated with my family, my friends and my colleagues, sometimes for no good reason at all.  

I think of it as an occupational hazard that comes with the title: Human. Emotions are a fundamental part of the human experience. As my friend Peggy Cenova once told me: Every decision is an emotional decision.  Our emotions are powerful. They can overwhelm us.

But our emotions don’t have to rule us.

This is important to me because I’m not great at it. I spend time thinking, and writing, about this topic because managing emotions is challenging. Yet, it is one of the most important ingredients to success.  In fact, in a 2011 national survey approximately 75% of employers said they would be more likely to promote employees with a higher EQ.

Does Your EQ Match Your IQ?

EQ is shorthand for Emotional Quotient, or Emotional Intelligence.  Emotional Intelligence has four basic dimensions: 1) Self Awareness; 2) Self-Management; 3) Social Awareness and; 4) Relationship Management.  Self-Awareness is the first step towards better Emotional Intelligence.

Self-Awareness begins by labeling our emotions, without judgement, when an emotional event occurs. It is a mindful action by which we identify the emotion we are experiencing “aka our reaction”, before we respond. It can be as simple as saying:

“I’m angry that Henry keeps talking in meetings because I’m afraid I’ll never get a chance to speak, and if I can’t speak how I can ever gain respect?”

When we pause and put a label on a reaction, our brain shifts from the limbic system, which governs our instinct and mood, towards the neocortex where language and logic live.

It is this shift from the limbic system to the neocortex which allows us to separate our conscious response from our unconscious reaction.  This change in perspective often leads to better, and more satisfying, decisions.

4 Steps in Less Than 5 Minutes

So the next time your find yourself in an emotionally charged situation, take five minutes to:

1) Pause (don’t let your reaction be your response!)

2) Breathe

3) Assign language to what you are feeling

4) Investigate why you feel the way you do

Once you do, you may find you’re better equipped for a more helpful response. 

Learn About EQ on May 24th 

Emotional Intelligence is a challenging topic. It requires a mixture of thinking, self-reflection, and intentional action. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this work alone.  At Shafer Leadership Academy we Create Great Local Leaders. 

Click here to learn how you can attend Emotional Intelligence: Discovering You at the Innovation Connector on May 24th. Scholarships are available!


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Up to 30 SHRM PDCs Available

The mission of Shafer Leadership Academy is to ensure that individuals who have  the desire to demonstrate leadership have access to world class leadership training close to home.

Now we can ensure that HR Professionals  have access to their Professional Development Credits close to home.

The following programs have been approved for 5 PDCs each:

 


 

HEADER

Thursday, April 26th, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

(5 PDCs)

The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team is designed to guide individuals through a series of powerful exercises that help team members improve in each of five key fundamentals: trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results. We provide practical information and strategies that participants can put to use immediately and apply on an ongoing basis.

   Learn More


Thursday, May 24th, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

(5 PDCs)

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Discovering You is a venture of personal growth. This session begins with the opportunity for personal reflection to gain a greater understanding of your ideal self – the person you would like to be. By examining the concepts and the tools that will guide you further down the path of self-awareness we will identify your real self through self-assessment and feedback from others.

Learn More


Screenshot 2017-04-20 15.32.24

 Thursday, June 7th, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

(5 PDCs)

Just like any good magician, we can learn to shape what others see. When communicating there at two conversations going on and the nonverbal components can mesmerize or destroy the show. This interactive program exposes the secrets of effective nonverbal communication and teaches you the skills to implement those tricks to improve your leadership.

Learn More


TLC

Tuesday, September 18th,  8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

(5 PDCs)

The Leadership Challenge explores the five practices common to personal-best leadership experiences. Leaders who get extraordinary things done Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart.

Learn More


Tuesday, October 16th,  8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

(5 PDCs)

Based on the world renown book, this one day workshop provides practical insight, intentional activities, and targeted conversation around Covey’s now timeless habits.

A habit is defined as the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire.  Knowledge is understanding what to do and why to do it; skill is knowing how to do it; desire is motivation or wanting to do it.  With each one of the seven habits, we will explore all four levels of leadership: personal, interpersonal, managerial and organizational.

Learn More


Tuesday, November 13th,  8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

(5 PDCs)

Fusion: Leading Multi-Generational Teams is a four-hour hands on journey to a better understanding of people and what makes them think and act the way they do, especially as it relates to their generational background. This workshop will equip participants to be more effective leaders through understanding the challenges, opportunities and best practices in leading multi-generational teams.

Learn More


 

 

 


From Discussion to Decision

Have you ever been a part of meeting where there was a lot of discussion but no decision? You came together, you talked through options, and it feels like a decision was made but…you’re still not sure what the course of action is. 

People Want to Be Heard

Waiting for everyone on a team to agree on a decision is a good recipe for mediocrity, delay, and frustration. Ironically, commitment is something of the opposite. It’s about a group of intelligent individuals buying in to a decision precisely when they don’t naturally agree. In other words, it’s the ability to defy a lack of consensus. And that’s directly related to the group’s ability to engage in conflict.

When a group of people know that their colleagues have no reservations about disagreeing with one another and that every available opinion and perspective has been unapologetically aired, they will have the confidence to embrace a decision and abandon whatever their initial opinions might have been. Most of us don’t really need to have our ideas adopted-to get our way-in order to buy in to a decision. We just want to have our ideas heard, understood, considered, and explained within the context of the ultimate decision.

In this environment your job is to make sure everyone is heard, that opinions are respectfully considered, and then to push the team for closure. Don’t let a fear of failure stop the group from making a decision. Hearing everyone, considering the facts, and then making a decision helps create buy-in.

So What Did We Decide Today?

Of course buy-in doesn’t help if people aren’t clear on what they’ve bought into.  So when it seems like a path has been set, a good leader asks “so what did we decide?”  Once that question is posed, someone needs to write the decision down, and confirm everyone is on the same page. If the decision results in some form of action, then record who is responsible for what and by when. If the decision needs to be communicated out beyond your team then make sure a plan exists for communicating it to other stakeholders. 

It may feel a little unnatural but repeating the decision aloud ensures that everyone is on the same page. You may be surprised how often someone speaks up because what you thought they said, isn’t what they meant. 

For example, a recap from a neighborhood association meeting may sound like this:

“Great, so it looks like we are all meeting at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday for the neighborhood cleanup. Chris is bringing the rakes, Sally is coordinating with Muncie Sanitary, Ira is getting the trash bags, and Samantha is working with the Ball State volunteers. Derick will make sure this is sent out in a community wide email. OK, next on the agenda…”

There’s No Accountability Without Clarity

Committing to clear decisions are vital to accountability. Without a clear path forward, people are confused about expectations and teams struggle to hold each other accountable. Many leaders have experienced great frustration, and surprise, when they learn the goal they were holding their team accountable for, is not the goal the team was pursing. 

One Day Investing in You

Fortunately, we’re here to help. At Shafer Leadership Academy we Create Great Local Leaders.  Achieving Commitment is the third step in creating an cohesive team, and one of the topics in our Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team program. The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team is a one day workshop where you learn how teams: Trust, Confront, Decide, Account, and Achieve.

Click here to learn how you can attend The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team on April 26th at the Innovation Connector. Scholarships are available!


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Character and Competence

Everyone knows trust matters. We talk about it in politics. We talk about it in communities. We talk about it at work, and we talk it about at home.  

Trust is Foundational

We all want to be trusted. After all, trust sits at the heart of all relationships. Without trust, there are no meaningful personal relationships and no effective professional relationships. Trust is the glue that holds all teams together. Trust is always the first step in creating a cohesive team.

We talk about how to inspire trust in the workplace during The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, coming up on April 26 at the Innovation Connector. Below, I share some of the themes we cover during this daylong workshop: 

The Two Types of Trust

Have you ever worked with someone who you liked personally but was an ineffective professional?  You knew they cared, they were honest about their intentions, they were fair and they were authentic.  You could trust their character, but what about their competence?

Now ask yourself, have you ever worked with someone who was very good at their job but you didn’t “trust” them any farther than you can throw them?

This person was probably very capable. They had the skills, knowledge, and experience to do the job. They had a reputation for doing good work. They were credible when they spoke and they produced results.  But you avoided them, because you did not trust their intentions.

Establishing Trust

You can’t trust a person’s character if you don’t know it. One of the first steps in establishing trust is taking the time to get to know each other as people. It may sound simple but conversations or activities that help you learn more about the background and personal history of your teammates can give you great insight into how they tick. Activities like team builders and personality inventories provide opportunities for understanding, and appreciating, differences in perspectives and approaches.  Being vulnerable, by owning our mistakes and insecurities, creates space for others to be honest about their own struggles.  Saying “that’s on me” is powerful because it gives team members permission to do the same. Facades give way to acting in good faith. 

Trusting competence is about demonstrating results.  Simple actions like doing what you say you’re going to do and following through generate trust. It’s also easier to trust competence when a person’s skill set is in alignment with the task at hand. Sometimes people look lazy or ineffective when they are simply out of place. 

Trust Then Confront

Teams that don’t trust, fail at conflict. There simply isn’t the space to talk honestly about issues of feel confident that work will get done.  However, once trust is established, team members feel safe enough to tackle issues honestly and directly. They begin to trust their colleagues will share the load. This is why we start our Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team program with establishing trust, before we address conflict. 

Does your team need help with trust? Do you want to work through all the steps in creating a cohesive team? At Shafer Leadership Academy we Create Great Local Leaders.

Click here to learn how you can attend The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team on April 26th at the Innovation Connector.

About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


GREAT TEAMS ARE INTENTIONAL

Great teams are intentional, not accidental. As supervisors, managers, and employers we can get so caught up in the day to day that we forget how important it is to cultivate a culture of teamwork. Time is at a premium, so we often hire employees to fill a role, and then expect them to perform. The modern workplace, however, runs on people. So no matter how many employees you have, odds are that their performance is at least somewhat dependent on how someone else does their job – coworkers often need each other to reach peak performance.

Your Leadership Matters

This is where your leadership matters. If you want to achieve your goals, you are going to need a strong team to get there. Unfortunately, very few of us are ever taught how to build teams. We usually look towards others, often supervisors, industry leaders, friends or family, to model the way. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we have someone take us under their wing and impart valuable lessons on leadership, and if we’re really lucky that person may even know what they’re talking about.

So how do you create a top performing team? Well, if you accept the idea that great teams are intentional, not accidental, then you can take control in creating a results oriented environment.

The Five Behaviors

There are many models of intentional team development, but one of our favorites at Shafer Leadership Academy is theFive Behaviors of a Cohesive Team.”

“The Five Behaviors” is an intentional, developmental model, which draws from the work of best-selling author Patrick Lencioni. If you think of a team as a pyramid, then each of the five behaviors serves as a building block towards optimal performance. First, leaders must build a trusting work environment where colleagues can take ownership of their mistakes. Next the leader helps the team engage in conflict around ideas in order to make the best possible decisions for the organization. Once a team understands how to engage in purposeful conflict, the manager helps the group commit to decisions. Afterwards, the manger holds employees accountable for those decisions and helps the employees hold each other accountable as well.

Finally, the leader is ready to help the group focus on achieving collect results. In short: Trust; Conflict; Commitment; Accountability; then Results.

Working Through the Process Together

It is a simple approach, but it isn’t easy. The leader must understand the process, have the patience to work through the steps, and the skill to implement the ideas. It takes time and commitment. Like most valuable things in life, there is no short cut. The work needs to be done.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do this work alone, we can work on this process together. At Shafer Leadership Academy we Create Great Local Leaders.

Click here to learn how you can attend The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team on April 26th at the Innovation Connector.

About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Lunch is on Us!

Lunch is on Us!

Leaders invited to free Shafer Leadership Lunch and Learn Series

 

MUNCIE, Ind. —Professionals of all fields and community leaders are invited to a Leadership Lunch & Learn Series, sponsored by Shafer Leadership Academy, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering people of all ages, backgrounds and interests to achieve their leadership potential. The free sessions, which include a boxed lunch, are held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursdays at Muncie’s Innovation Connector, 1208 W. White River Blvd.

 

Mitch Isaacs, SLA’s executive director, said the lunches are ideal for busy professionals and emerging community leaders eager to sharpen their leadership skills and network within a focused timeframe in a casual setting.

 

“These sessions are designed to be informative, yet informal—not your average bump-on-a-log PowerPoint presentations,” Isaacs said. “You’ll engage with peers as you gain insight and inspiration from experts. We’ll also share what Shafer Leadership Academy has to offer to build upon these discussion, in case you want to take your leadership or your team’s productivity to the next level.”

 

Join fellow leaders at the upcoming lunch and learns:

 

Agile Project Management

Facilitator: Stephen Hunter, agile project manager with Ontario Systems

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 15

 

Learn to engage and empower project teams during this interactive that explores the differences between agile and traditional waterfall project management. We will also explore the advantages of the empirical process in agile project management, and its three pillars.

Myers Briggs Type Inventory: What’s Your Preference?

Facilitator: Dr. Joe Misiewicz, emeritus chair of Ball State’s Department of Telecommunications and former president and CEO of the Indiana Broadcasters Association.

 

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 22

 

Explore personality types and how to leverage the strengths of your approach to achieve and work well with others.  You’ll leave with a greater appreciation and understanding of yourself and others, able to work efficiently and effectively across teams.

*Participants will need to complete a free MBTI assessment before attending.

 

Are You the Alpha?

Facilitator: Trainers from the American PineAcre Kennels

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thursday, March 1

 

Gain insight from the dog world to become a better leader. In each pack, natural born leaders and followers both play a significant role in survival. Dogs are more than companions, they have a lot to teach us about more productive, satisfying work and play.

 

For more information and to register for these and other SLA events, go to shaferleadership.com/leadership-lunch-learn/, email Shafer Leadership Academy at info@shaferleadership.com or call the office at 765-748-0403. 


Preparing Future Candidates

Preparing Future Candidates

35 engaged community leaders recently attended the inaugural “Candidates of the Future” program. 

Facilitated by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University, and co-sponsored by Shafer Leadership Academy and Muncie Action Plan, this workshop was rooted in the belief that everyday citizens can lead. This six-hour workshop was open to anyone, regardless of political experience, who has an interest in running for local office and wants to learn more about the campaign process. 

Program registration filled in less than a week. 


Let's Celebrate!

Let’s Celebrate!

We are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of our signature leadership program.

Emergence: Personal Foundations of Effective Leadership is SLA’s core leadership program. It is an eight-week highly interactive and engaging training opportunity ideal for emerging or experienced leaders seeking to enhance their leadership capabilities. At the end of the program, participants can expect to be better equipped to lead the change they want to see in the businesses, not-for-profits, civic groups, and communities they represent.  

Over the last 10 years nearly 400 local leaders have completed the Emergence program.  Within five years of completing the program, 75% of graduates go on to take a leadership role in the community, 50% have served on a nonprofit board of directors, and 39% have had a promotion. 

“We are inviting our friends, graduates, and stakeholders to celebrate a decade of developing local leadership.” said Mitch Isaacs, SLA’s Executive Director. 

The 10 Year Anniversary Celebration event is scheduled for Wednesday, August 30th from 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at The Innovation Connector.  The program will feature stories of graduates over the last 10 years along, with evidence of Shafer Leadership Academy’s impact.  “This is truly a celebration event,” Isaacs offered. “Our guests will enjoy complimentary food, drinks, and of course fellowship. While the event last 90 minutes, only about 20 minutes will be spent in a formal ‘program’. We want our guests focused on interacting with each other, and most importantly, celebrating the amazing accomplishments of our graduates.”

For additional information about the event visit www.shaferleadership.com/10years.


Introducing Movement

Introducing Movement

Cornerstone Center for the Arts, Shafer Leadership Academy, and Harmony Dance Group will partner this spring for a unique leadership workshop through tango dancing. The workshop titled, Movement: Exploring leadership through the art of tango, will be on Tuesday, February 21 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Cornerstone Center for the Arts in the Grand Hall.

This three-hour long program is designed to increase an individual’s understanding of leadership, following, and two way communications through the use of tango dancing as a metaphor and teaching tool. The workshop is not a dance class but a lesson in leadership through the fundamentals of the art form. Participants will leave with a better concept of leadership which they can apply to their business and personal lives.

In addition, participants will walk away with a clear understanding of the difference between management and leadership, a recognition of the two-way nature of communication in all forms of leader and follower connections, tools to diagnose breakdowns in communication between leaders and followers, and active advice on how to re-establish trust and confidence in team members and to build up communication within a group.

This workshop is open to anyone seeking to improve their personal and business relationships. The workshop is $25 per person to attend and is limited to 20 participants. Registration is available online at shaferleadership.com/movement/. For more information or questions about the workshop call Shafer Leadership Academy at 765-748-0403.

Learn More

 


Emergence Grad Launches Adult Literacy Group

Emergence 2016_2671

Marissa Coon Rose is solving a problem.

She’s helping adults learn to read.

The mission of The Community Reading Project is to improve the quality of life for adults in Delaware County by improving their reading skills. Marissa’s vision is that every adult in Delaware County will become empowered, engaged, and will experience better outcomes in their interactions with the world as a result of reading fluently.

The Reading Project is currently looking for volunteers.

The Volunteer Tutor Orientations will be held on September 27 from 6-9pm at the Ross Community Center and also on October 11 from 6-9pm, again at the Ross Center. Interested volunteers can register online by visit The Community Read Project calendar and clicking on the event.

Marissa can also be reached at 765-734-7519 for more info.


Introducing The Leadership Challenge

Introducing The Leadership Challenge

Beginning September 8, 2016

The Leadership Challenge has over 30 years of proven effectiveness as a clear, evidence-based path to achieving the extraordinary—for individuals, teams, organizations, and communities.

It turns the abstract concept of leadership into easy-to-grasp Practices that can be learned by anyone willing to step up and accept the challenge to lead.  Shafer Leadership Academy is excited to bring this proven leadership program to East Central Indiana.

Learn More

 


All Aboard

Fifty two community leaders gathered at the Innovation Connector on Tuesday March 29 for All Aboard: Board Leadership in Motion. All Aboard is a three-hour workshop ideal for individuals who have a desire to serve on a not-for-profit board but want to learn more about what serving as a board member entails, and how to find the potential board opportunity that suits their interests and skill sets.

The program was provided free of charge by Shafer Leadership Academy, United Way of Delaware County, and the Indiana Nonprofit Resource Network.  Sponsors included Ball State University’s Office of Community Engagement, Star Bank, and Stallings Wealth Management.

Dave Sternberg, Senior Partner of the Indianapolis and Ft. Lauderdale based firm of Loring, Sternberg & Associates, facilitated the dynamic and highly informative session. He is a member of the faculty at The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University’s Fund Raising School and a Governance Consultant for BoardSource. He is the only person in America to hold a position with both organizations.

Muncie Y.W.C.A. Executive Director, Nance Buchert, found the information helpful in her role as a nonprofit professional. “Dave Sternberg’s dynamic, solid presentation provided valuable information and ideas I can easily put into place as the executive of a non-profit (or as Dave said, Social Benefit Organization).  Board development is always taken seriously, and now I have better tools to further develop our board.  Kudos to Shafer, and all those who had a hand in bringing this program to our community!”

Participants came from over 25 organizations, including higher education, manufacturing, finance and small business owners. Andrew Gillette, Graduate Assistant at Ball State University, had this to say about his experience: “All Aboard introduced me to the basics of how a nonprofit (social benefit) organization works. It laid the foundation of knowledge which I’m sure will be helpful in my future professional endeavors.”

Shafer Leadership Academy Executive Director, Mitch Isaacs, credits the event’s success to strategic parnterships. “We were thrilled with the turnout. Clearly there is a strong interest in nonprofit board service. Our partners at Ball State University, United Way of Delaware County, and the Indiana Nonprofit Resource Network did a phenomenal job getting the word out. All Aboard participation has doubled since we engaged these parnters.”

Shafer Leadership Academy is currently following up with program participants to connect with them with nonprofit board opportunities.


SLA Cosponsors Nonprofit Executives Retreat

22 nonprofit leaders met at Camp Adventure on Friday October 9th for networking, professional development, and intentional conversation.  The retreat lasted 6 hours.  The retreat was sponsored by Shafer Leadership Academy, Muncie Civic, the YWCA of Muncie, and the United Way of Delaware County.  Ball Brothers Foundation provided funding.

As a result of the retreat, the group decided to meet quarterly to discuss common challenges and identify opportunities for collaboration.  The next meeting will occur in January 2016. The agenda will be determined by prioritizing the topics raised at the retreat.

If you are a Delaware County nonprofit executive, and wish to attend meetings, contact Mitch Isaacs at 765-717-1217 or misaacs@shaferleadership.com.


Board Member Honored By Ivy Tech

Ivy Tech recently recognized Cindy Cash, longtime Shafer Leadership Academy Board of Directors member, with its Alumni Achievement Award. Established in 1998, the award is Ivy Tech’s Alumni Association’s highest honor. The profile pic purpleaward is reserved solely for its alumni, recognizing outstanding personal and professional achievements.

Mitch Isaacs, Executive Director for Shafer Leadership Academy, commented “We are proud to call Cindy a member of the SLA family.  We congratulate her on her hard work and service.”

Cindy Cash is an Instructional Designer at Ball State University. She serves as Secretary of the Shafer Leadership Academy Board of Directors and is also active with the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech since 1999.


Now Accepting Ambassador Applications

Shafer Leadership Academy Ambassadors are program graduates who volunteer their skills in service of the organization.  We offer two volunteer positions designed to help graduates utilize their unique talents, in return Ambassadors receive specialized training and exciting incentives.

Learn more


Shafer Leadership Academy Takes “Action”

On Thursday September 3rd, Shafer Leadership Academy joined staff from Muncie Power Products for community service at Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity.

Together they repaired a wheelchair ramp, cleaned gutters, and performed landscaping for Habitat’s Muncie office, all as a part of the United Way of Delaware County’s Day of Action.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to serve our community, while also supporting some of our nonprofit colleagues,” remarked Mitch Isaacs, Executive Director of Shafer Leadership Academy. He later added: “It was also a great workout.”

 


Alumni Named 20 Under 40

 

Seven Emergence Alumni were recently recognized in M Magazine’s Fall 2015 20 under 40 list!

Kristen Bitzegaio Executive Director of the Back to School Teacher’s Store – Emergence Class 9
Jake Brown Branch Manager and Financial Consultant at Raymond James –  Emergence Class 9
T.J. Bush Whitinger & Company – Emergence Class 8
Micah Maxwell Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club – Emergence Class 1
Kristen McConnell Executive Director of Yorktown YMCA – Emergence Class 9
Angie Rogers-Howell           Founder and Owner of Farmhouse Creative – Emergence Class 15
Chris Wilson Assistant Vice President and Commercial Relationship Manager at Old National Bank –   Emergence Class 5

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We are proud to call these incredible individuals Shafer Leadership Academy graduates!

 

 

 

 


Shafer Leadership Academy Announces Next Level Leadership Program

July 10, 2015 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy is excited to launch a new leadership program this fall entitled Allegiance: Next Level Leadership. This five-week program is perfect for Emergence alumni or experienced leaders who want to take their leadership skills to the next level especially in relation to leading others. This program will be added to the academy’s Core Program lineup and will be held at the Innovation Connector in Muncie, Indiana.


Shafer Leadership Academy Partners with John Jay Center for Learning to offer Leadership Program in Jay County

June 9, 2015, Muncie IN – Shafer Leadership Academy is excited to announce they have partnered with the John Jay Center for Learning in Portland, Indiana to present the Jay County Leadership Program.  This program will provide participants with the leadership principles and applicable skills needed to be more effective leaders in all areas of influence.


Shafer Leadership Academy Announces Graduates from 15th Emergence Leadership Program

May 21, 2015 – Muncie IN – Shafer Leadership Academy has announced the graduation of twenty-five East Central Indiana community leaders from its fifteenth class of Emergence: Personal Foundations of Effective Leadership. The eight-week program began earlier this spring on April 1st and concluded on May 20th, 2015.


Shafer Leadership Academy Names New Executive Director

May 5, 2015, Muncie IN – Shafer Leadership Academy would like to announce that Mitch Isaacs has been named Executive Director for the regional leadership academy. Isaacs succeeds Richard Crist, who announced earlier this year that he was stepping down from the position he has held since 2009. He will focus more time on his role as COO with Whitinger & Company and leading the firm’s business consulting division, Whitinger Strategic Services. 


Shafer Leadership Academy Presents Workshop on Creativity & Innovation for Leaders

April 29, 2015, Muncie IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s leadership development institute, will present Ingenuity: Creativity & Innovation for Leaders on Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.  The event will be held at the Innovation Connector at 1208 W. White River Blvd. in Muncie, Indiana.


Shafer Leadership Academy Board President Receives the Spirit of Muncie Award

April 16, 2015, Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy would like to congratulate Board President Steve Smith for receiving the prestigious Al Rent Spirit of Muncie Award at the Chamber Champions Luncheon recently. The event was presented by the Muncie Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.


Search Underway for next Shafer Leadership Academy Executive Director

March 2, 2015, Muncie, IN – A search committee has been formed to identify candidates for the position of Shafer Leadership Academy Executive Director, the organization announced today.


Shafer Leadership Academy Accepting Applications for Fifteenth Emergence Leadership Course

February 23, 2015 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s premier leadership institute, is now accepting registrations for Class #15 of the organization’s core program, Emergence: Personal Foundations of Effective Leadership.  More than 350 individuals have graduated from this program since its inception in 2007.


Registration Now Open for SLA’s Workshop on Leading Multi-Generational Teams

February 11, 2015 – Muncie, IN –East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership development institute, Shafer Leadership Academy will present the leadership program Fusion: Leading Multi-Generational Teams on Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 from 8:00am to 12:00pm at the Innovation Connector in Muncie, Indiana.   


Shafer Leadership Academy Announces 2015 Board Officers and Members

January 15, 2015, Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership development institute, recently announced its officers and board members for 2015.


Shafer Leadership Academy Announces Graduates from 14th Emergence Leadership Program

November 20, 2014 – Muncie IN – Shafer Leadership Academy has announced the graduation of twenty-five East Central Indiana community leaders from its fourteenth class of Emergence: Personal Foundations of Effective Leadership. Sessions began earlier this fall on October 2nd and concluded on November 19th, 2014.


SLA Board Member Leads Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity to Award for Leadership

October 31, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy would like to recognize board member Lindsey Arthur and Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity on receiving the 2014 Athena Organizational Leadership Award. This award honors an organization that actively supports and celebrates the ATHENA mission of supporting, developing, and honoring women leaders, inspiring women to achieve their full potential—creating balance in leadership worldwide.


Shafer Leadership Academy Well Represented at ATHENA Awards

October 21, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy board member Joann McKinney and Emergence alumna Kristen Bitzegaio were recently selected as finalists for the 2014 ATHENA Awards, which celebrates the potential of all women as valued members and leaders of our community and recognizes those who support them. The Catalyst for Empowering Women & ATHENA Awards Luncheon was held on October 15th at the Horizon Convention Center.


Registration Now Open for Shafer Leadership Academy’s Fourteenth Emergence Leadership Course

September 12, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit community leadership institute, is now accepting registrations for the organization’s core program Emergence: Personal Foundations of Effective Leadership. This course marks the fourteenth offering of Emergence since 2007. To this point, over 300 individual have graduated from the program.


Shafer Leadership Academy Presents Workshop on Leading Teams

August 21, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership development institute, will present the leadership program Propel: Leading a Group from Vision to Action on September 10, 2014 from 8:00am to 4:30pm at the Innovation Connector in Muncie, Indiana.


CONVERGE 2014 Volunteer Recruitment Fair Returns for Fifth Consecutive Year

August 1, 2014, Muncie IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s Leadership Development Institute, hasannounced that CONVERGE 2014 will be back for the fifth consecutive year. This region-wide volunteer recruitment event will takeplace on September 4th from 4-7 PM at the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie. This year’s event will cap off a full day of community service including United Way of Delaware County’s Campaign Kickoff and “Day of Caring” activities.


Shafer Leadership Academy Delivers Custom Leadership Programming for PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union

July 31, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership development institute, recently hosted a custom leadership program for members of PrimeTrust Federal Credit Union’s management team.  


Shafer Leadership Academy Delivers Custom Leadership Programming for LifeStream Services

July 10, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership development institute, recently hosted a custom leadership program for members of LifeStream Services management team.


Shafer Leadership Academy Hosts Leadership Series for AITP

July 1, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership development institute, is hosting a quarterly leadership series for the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) at the Innovation Connector in Muncie, Indiana.


Shafer Leadership Academy Presents Workshop on Leading Multi-Generational Teams

July 1, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership development institute, will present the leadership program Fusion: Leading Multi-Generational Teams on Thursday, July 31st, 2014. The workshop will be from 8:00am to 12:00pm at the Innovation Connector in Muncie, Indiana.


Shafer Leadership Academy Announces Graduates from 13th Emergence Leadership Program

June 5, 2014 – Muncie IN – Shafer Leadership Academy has announced the graduation of nineteen East Central Indiana community leaders from its most recent class of Emergence: Personal Foundations of Effective Leadership. Sessions began earlier this spring on April 16th and concluded on June 4th, 2014.


Shafer Leadership Academy Offers Board Leadership Workshop

May 30, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership institute, announced that it will once again offer the board member training workshop entitled All Aboard: Board Leadership in Motion. The session will be held on June 18, 2014 at the Innovation Connector in Muncie from 8:00am to 11:00am. Thanks to the generosity and support of our sponsors, All Aboard will be offered free of charge.


Emergence Spring 2013

Registration Now Open for Emergence Leadership Spring Course

March 18, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit community leadership institute, is now accepting registrations for the organization’s core program Emergence: Personal Foundations of Effective Leadership. This course marks the thirteenth offering of Emergence since 2007. To this point, nearly 300 individual have graduated from the program.


Shafer Leadership Academy Presents at Statewide Conference

February 18, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership development institute, was invited to present at the Indiana Chamber Executives Association (ICEA) 2014 Winter Conference & Awards Luncheon on February 12, 2014. The conference was held at the Indiana Chamber Conference Center in downtown Indianapolis.


Registrations now being accepted for Shafer Leadership Academy’s workshop on Creativity & Innovation

February 4, 2014, Muncie IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership development institute, will present Ingenuity: Creativity & Innovation for Leaders on Tuesday March 18th, 2014 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. This one-day workshop provides 21st Century leaders with an understanding of how to facilitate and enhance creative thinking and innovation in the workplace to create effective organizational change.


SLA Presents Workshop on Leading Multi-Generational Teams

January 20, 2014 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership development institute, will present the leadership program Fusion: Leading Multi-Generational Teams on two occasions in 2014. The first offering will be on Wednesday, May 7th and the second offering will be held Thursday, July 31st. Both workshops will be from 8:00am to 12:00pm at the Innovation Connector in Muncie, Indiana.


Shafer Leadership Academy Announces 2014 Board Officers

January 13, 2014, Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership development institute, recently elected board officers for 2014 at their January 9th board meeting.


Shafer Leadership Academy Welcomes Program Director

December 20, 2013, Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s premiere leadership development institute, recently announced the hiring of Tisha Gierhart for the newly created position of Program Director. She is primarily responsible for all activities related to the development, delivery, and assessment of leadership programs presented by Shafer Leadership Academy. Her responsibilities also include assisting the organization with financial sustainability primarily through attracting participants to various class offerings and through the delivery of custom programming.


Shafer Leadership Academy Welcomes New Board Members

December 6, 2013, Muncie, IN – The Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s premiere leadership development academy, recently announced the addition of two new board members. Jill Lehman and Mitchell Isaacs are the newest members of the SLA Board of Directors that are dedicated to the success and sustainability of the organization. Through leadership development, they will help to see vibrant communities and workplaces developed within East Central Indiana supported by skilled, collaborative, and engaged leaders.


Shafer Leadership Academy Announces Graduates from 12th Emergence Leadership Program

November 21, 2013, Muncie IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s Premier Leadership Academy, has announced the graduation of twenty-five East Central Indiana community leaders from its most recent class of Emergence: Personal Foundations of Effective Leadership. Sessions began earlier this fall on September 25th and concluded on November 13th, 2013.


Shafer Leadership Academy Presents Workshop on Leading Teams

October 14, 2013 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership training institute, will present the leadership program Propel: Leading a Group from Vision to Actionon November 21, 2013 from 8:00am to 4:30pm at the Innovation Connector in Muncie, Indiana.


Shafer Leadership Academy Offers Board Leadership Workshop

October 14, 2013 – Muncie, IN – Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s nonprofit leadership institute, recently announced that it will once again offer the board member training workshop entitled All Aboard: Board Leadership in Motion. The program will take place November 19, 2013 from 8:30am to 11:30am at the Innovation Connector in Muncie, Indiana.


Nearly Fifty Organizations Registered for 4th Annual CONVERGE Volunteer Fair

August 12, 2013, Muncie IN –  Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s Leadership Development Institute, has announced that CONVERGE 2013 will be back for the fourth consecutive year. This region-wide volunteer recruitment event will take place on September 5th from 4-7 PM at the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie.


SLA Welcomes New Board Members

July 11, 2013, Muncie IN – The Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s Community Leadership Academy, recently announced the addition of two new board members. Eric Lindley and Joann McKinney are the newest board members to help SLA see vibrant communities and workplaces developed within East Central Indiana supported by skilled, collaborative and engaged leaders.


SLA Announces Date for Converge 2013 Volunteer Fair

July 8, 2013, Muncie IN –  Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s Leadership Development Institute, has announced that CONVERGE 2013 will be back for the fourth consecutive year. This region-wide event will take place on September 5th from 4-7 PM at the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie.


SLA and United Way Team Up to Engage Community Volunteers

June 3, 2013, Muncie IN – The Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s Community Leadership Academy, recently announced a new community partnership with the United Way of Delaware County (UWDC). The partnership will focus specifically on volunteer recruitment and engagement in Delaware County.


SLA and Indiana Public Radio Team Up to Spotlight ECI Nonprofit Organizations

May 28, 2013, Muncie IN – The Shafer Leadership Academy (SLA), East Central Indiana’s community leadership institute, recently announced its collaborative partnership with Indiana Public Radio (IPR). This collaboration will focus specifically on nonprofit organizations, volunteerism and community involvement throughout the East Central Indiana region.


Shafer Leadership Academy Announces Graduates of Emergence, Class #11

May 22, 2013, Muncie IN – The Shafer Leadership Academy, East Central Indiana’s Community Leadership Academy, has announced the graduation of its 11th class of East Central Indiana community leaders from its spring 2013 class of Emergence: Personal Foundations of Effective Leadership.  This is the first graduating class from the Academy since the renaming of LEAD-ECI to The Shafer Leadership Academy.


Shafer Leadership Academy announces Board Leadership Workshop

May 21, 2013, Muncie IN – The Shafer Leadership Academy (SLA), East Central Indiana’s Community Leadership Academy, has recently announced that this June it will offer its leadership training workshop entitled All Aboard: Board Leadership in Motion. This three-hour workshop is intended for both aspiring and current board members and will provide insights regarding the responsibilities of a typical not-for-profit board member, how individuals can find the right board to serve on, questions to ask when considering board service, and common traits that effective board members share.


Registrations now being accepted for SLA’s workshop on Creativity & Innovation for Leaders

 May 21, 2013, Muncie IN – The Shafer Leadership Academy (SLA), East Central Indiana’s Community Leadership Academy, is now taking applications for Ingenuity: Creativity & Innovation for Leaders. This one-day workshop provides 21st Century leaders with an understanding of how to facilitate and enhance creative thinking and innovation in the workplace to create effective organizational change.


LEAD-ECI Announces Strategic Partnership with The Shafer Foundation

March 19, 2013, Muncie, Indiana – LEAD-ECI Board President, Ray Chambers, announced the establishment of a long-term partnership with the Hamer D. & Phyllis C. Shafer Foundation today at a news conference and celebration at the Innovation Connector in Muncie. This partnership results in the transformation and renaming of LEAD-ECI to The Shafer Leadership Academy. The announcement was made to a gathering of more than 100 community leaders, members of the Shafer Foundation Board of Directors, members of the LEAD-ECI Board of Directors, and numerous LEAD-ECI Alumni.


Emergence Leadership Course Refreshed for 2013

February 21, 2013, Muncie, IN – East Central Indiana’s leadership academy, LEAD-ECI, is now accepting applications for the organization’s core program; Emergence: Personal Foundations of Effective Leadership.  Having offered this program since 2007, LEAD-ECI will present the next Emergence workshop experience with a newly refreshed schedule, maximizing the program’s highly interactive format. This will be the eleventh class to participate in Emergence and with its conclusion more than 300 individuals will have graduated from the program.


LEAD-ECI Announces 2013 Programming Lineup

January 28, 2013, Muncie IN – LEAD-ECI, East Central Indiana’s Community Leadership Academy, recently announced its leadership training schedule for 2013. Each program in the lineup was developed in response to input from organizations throughout East Central Indiana and address specific areas of leadership development and other skills needed for effective personal and collective growth.


LEAD-ECI Announces New Leadership with 2013 Board Officers

January 15, 2013, Muncie, Indiana – LEAD-ECI, East Central Indiana’s community leadership academy, recently announced their Board Officers for 2013 at their January 10th board meeting. Among the LEAD-ECI Officers named are: Ray Chambers – President, Wil Davis – Treasurer, and Jaime Faulkner – Secretary. 2012 Board President, Jeannine Harrold was also recognized for her outstanding leadership of the organization over the past year. She will continue to serve on the board.