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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, August 05, 2018 1:00 am

Successes show way to growth

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Leaders who want to ensure their teams are capable of conquering the next challenge should evaluate the steps and structure that led to the last success.

If you just keep tabs on the failures and faults of the system without giving proper scrutiny to the system, it's hard to improve or make progress.

That was just one insight Dave Johnson, a licensed marriage and family therapist and licensed clinical social worker, shared with about 65 people Thursday during an awards luncheon that was part of the Indiana Leadership Association's annual meeting.

The association met at the Lincoln Financial Event Center at Parkview Field.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry said it's tough to discover leadership, although that is not just “what people want, but what they need.”

Still, the mayor told the association he sometimes struggles to find people for the boards he has to make appointments to.

“You are a rare breed, and we need more of you,” Henry said.

Johnson, Thursday's keynote speaker, is also a board-certified psychiatric clinical nurse specialist, a professor of nursing at the University of Saint Francis, a regional consultant and EAP specialist with Parkview Health.

“Creating Resilient Teams” was the focus of Johnson's presentation. He talked about AI – Appreciative Inquiry, which includes recognizing the best in people and affirming potential. It also includes exploring the known and unknown and being open to change.

Many organizations say they empower people, but are pressed to provide examples, Johnson said.

Good leaders trust employees and team members to do the right thing at the right time. The confidence and comfort level is clear enough that employees and team members know when they can break the rules.

Most people are familiar with the saying 'It takes a village to raise a child,' ” Johnson said, adding that it also “takes a team to move a system.”

Leaders can't do it alone; And they're only as good as their “weakest links.”

Today's norms include being able to communicate in the speed of seconds and at the speed of thought, Johnson said. It's possible to be in Fort Wayne and connect simultaneously with people across the globe through technology.

He called Thursday's lunch “a luxury,” where leaders were in the same room. “Breaking bread” together is important for teams. 

So is great storytelling. Johnson called it a powerful way to connect and coach. People may not remember what's on a series of PowerPoint slides, but they will remember a compelling story.

“A good story always animates the senses,” Johnson said, adding that most people know some stories that have been passed generation to generation.

Leadership awards

Two of the awards the state association presented during Thursday's lunch went to Fort Wayne-area leaders.

Ahmed Abdelmageed, described as an activist who has helped encourage community conversation on important issues, received the Distinguished Community Leader Award. A Leadership Fort Wayne Class of 2015 graduate, he is employed by Manchester University's College of Pharmacy.

Cheri Becker, a vice president with Greater Fort Wayne Inc., received the Marjorie Klinck Outstanding Leadership Award. She was credited with community and organizational leadership including with Leadership Fort Wayne, a training program that last year had a record 63 people in its graduating class.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at