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Leadership Long Beach

Celebrate All The Good In Long Beach

By John Glaza
Executive Director, Arts Council for Long Beach

Proud 2006 Leadership Long Beach Graduate

Julie LarkinsOctober 8th, 2013 – In the nearly 40 years I’ve spent working in service to the community there are two foundational principles I strive to incorporate in my leadership practice: servant leadership and Appreciative Inquiry (AI) practices.

The servant leadership literature uses the acronym SERVE as a way to help us remember the five simple principles for success used by servant leaders. The S stands for See the Future. A compelling vision is what it’s all about – it builds trust, collaboration, enthusiasm and passion. It helps us make smart choices. The E is for Engage and Develop People. Once the vision and direction are fully articulated and understood, it’s essential that others are engaged and encouraged to take action.

This is where “modeling the way” has great value. R stands for Reinvent Continuously. Most of us inherit an organizational culture that has likely been in place for several years if not decades. That culture often comes with a set of processes and practices that people may assume are permanent. It’s critical as a leader to be mindful of what is working in an organization and do more of it. V is for Value Results and Relationships. Leaders – those who lead at a higher level – value both results and relationships. It’s not one or the other, it’s both. My expectation in my service to community – this great place called Long Beach – is to have both high expectations for results and relationships. E stands for Embody the Values. Simply put, build trust and walk your talk.

Appreciative Inquiry practices focus on what’s working in an organization and designing the structure and processes in order to do more of it. AI deliberately seeks to discover people’s exceptionality – their unique gifts, strengths and qualities. I was trained in the traditional problem solving model – the basic assumption is that an organization/individual is a problem to be solved. In this traditional model, we identify the problem, analyze the causes, then the possible solutions, then we create a plan for treatment. By paying attention to problems, we emphasize and amplify them. AI makes more sense to me because Appreciative recognizes the best in people, organizations and the community. And, Inquiry is about exploration and discovery. It asks us to be open to seeing new potentials and possibilities.

I’d like to encourage all of us, especially as we enter a new municipal election cycle, to appreciate all that’s working well in Long Beach. We have so much to be thankful for – our list of community assets is endless. Let’s discovery the best in people and explore all that’s possible.

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(Founded in 1989, Leadership Long Beach offers principled leadership programs by educating and engaging adult and youth leaders on issues important to the city’s future and sustainability.

For more information, check us out at www.leadershiplb.org or www.facebook.com/leadershiplongbeach.)