The second annual Leadership Summit in Sudbury, Ontario centered on innovation, collaboration and trust. Hosted by Laurentian University, in collaboration with Canadian Government Executive, the conference drew over 220 delegates from academia, government and industry.
Place matters, and having a facility such as the Science North Vale Cavern to kick things off was inspirational. Over 1.8 billion years ago a meteor hit the area, resulting in a unique geological feature: the Sudbury Basin yielding over $250 billion of mineral wealth for the country.
Commodities such as nickel, copper and gold have a price, but leadership skills are priceless. Participants assembled to hear renowned author Stephen M.R. Covey speak on the subject of “Managing at the Speed of Trust.” Trust in government institutions in various sectors of the economy seems to cycle in good times and in bad.
Covey pointed out the cost of mistrust: reduced productivity, increased costs, more lead-time for negotiating deals. He made the case that leadership and trust go hand-in-hand: “The first job of a leader is to inspire trust. The second job is to extend it. When trust goes up in a relationship, everyone’s energy and joy goes up. This generates passion, creativity and innovation.” His story was met with a standing ovation from the audience.
The next morning, Dr. Jennifer Deal, senior research scientist from California’s Centre for Creative Leadership, challenged participants. There is a generational difference in how workers and leaders behave and how they might wish to be treated. Social marketing using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are ordinary tools of the trade for millennials (1981-2000), while baby boomers (1955-1963) struggle with what a hashtag is and how it might market a product, an idea, an organization. (Check out the conference Twitter hashtag: #Leadershiplul.)
Deal addressed assumptions and prejudices between generations such as the values that drive them. Research shows all generations have similar values (family, love, need for respect, spirituality), but they express them differently. All generations think older generations have the greatest problem with change; the research indicates that only 12 people in 2,500 said they actually liked change. More unites the generations than divides them.
Laurentian University Chancellor and author Steve Paikin moderated a panel on leadership development. Panelist Kerry Pond, ADM at the Ontario Public Service Centre for Leadership and Learning, reviewed the TRIC to Leadership in the OPS: the ability to Transform, deliver Results, Inspire and Connect across boundaries.
Dr. Rosie Steeves, president of Executive Works, spoke of the generic nature of leadership across all sectors of the economy and the dramatic lack of leadership in some sectors that is affecting the performance of major corporations and governments. Where is the next generation of leaders coming from and how are we developing them? In co-operation with the Canadian Institute for Mining and Metallurgy, she has cohorts of mining executives and managers from across the country developing their skills to take charge once the retirement tsunami kicks in.
Experiential leadership is the most effective and team learning provides a safe environment to practice leadership skills. An energized discussion engaged participants – some new and emerging leaders, some seasoned experienced leaders – which led to a lively afternoon session addressing key questions arising out of the ideas and perspectives of speakers, storytellers and participants.
Dominic Giroux, president of Laurentian University, surprised the assembled by announcing an external advisory board to work on establishing a Leadership Institute at the university within two years. Uniquely situated in the North, it will help develop the next generation of leaders in government, industry and society.
Join the leadership development journey with a northern flavour. The 3rd Leadership Summit will be held on October 15-16, 2015 in Sudbury. Speaker presentations, videos and visuals from this year’s event can be found at www.Laurentian.canadiangovernmentexecutive.ca