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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


Lessons I Learned at the National Leadership Forum

Over the last three days of June, our team hosted a packed house of educators and organizational leaders at our National Leadership Forum, and a Habitudes One-Day Intensive both held in Atlanta. Our theme was: Growing Leaders Not Just Graduates. We talked about building leaders at every level—staff, faculty and student.

National Leadership Forum

I’ve been musing about my greatest “take aways” from the National Leadership Forum. Here they are…

1. Kwame Griffith (Teach For America) – Teachers are responsible for creating the culture in the school, and they create it through their expectations. Students live up to or down to our expectations. This is why we must continue to ask ourselves the key questions: Why do I do what I do? What is the desired outcome I hope for?

2. Mark Miller (Chick-fil-A) – Great leaders SERVE: See & shape the future; engage and develop others; re-invent continuously; value relationships and results; embody the values. This not only impacts culture but naturally influences team members.

3. Erin Gruwell (Freedom Writers Foundation) – At-risk students or impoverished communities possess just as much potential as suburbia, they just don’t see it. When teachers make their subjects relevant for students, enabling kids to see how history informs the future, they’ll be amazed at the resolve and innovation students possess.

4. Mike Rutherford (Rutherford Foundation) – Educators and administrators will release the potential in themselves and their teams when they ask them to improve in the areas of their strength. We can improve only 15% in our weak areas; we have the potential to grow another 50% in our strengths areas. Choose your investment.

Our current educational system, and for that matter, many of our non-profits, church youth groups and companies continue to struggle with building healthy, effective leaders. We must be intentional about equipping potential leaders and implementing a succession plan. Again, we are responsible for our own culture.

I wish you could have been there if you weren’t. The good news is, it isn’t too late to capture the sessions. For a nominal cost, you can download the talks on our website. Click here for more information.  Additionally, make plans to join us next year where our National Leadership Forum theme will be: “Marching Off the Map.” We will examine where education and student development is heading. For more information, visit:

What best practices do you see people using to grow leaders, not just graduates?

1 Comment

  1. Richard Kopp on July 14, 2012 at 5:31 am

    Thoroughly enjoyed the Habitudes One Day Intensive in Atlanta on June 30th! Thanks to Dr. Elmore, Holly, and the entire Growing Leaders team! Looking forward to implementing Habitudes into some leadership courses at Drexel University this coming academic year. Just finished reading “Habitudes for Communicators” which I picked up at the One Day Intensive! Great book, great advice for communicators! Thanks again gang – keep up the great work!

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Lessons I Learned at the National Leadership Forum