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Cutting Edge Continuing Education
by Barbara Garro

In our constantly progressing work world you have little chance of survival without keeping ahead of the curve about the current global and local business climates, especially what’s happening in your specific industry.

In Grow Yourself a Life You’ll Love, I speak of the importance of ongoing continuing education with a bold reality: “When you’re green, you’re growing; when you’re ripe, you rot.”

Wondering how you do this effectively and efficiently with all you already have on your plate? Like you, me, too. Fast answer? Here are some of the ways I invest my time to keep current:

• Read National Newspapers, Business Magazines & Online News Feeds

• Subscribe to free International News Blog LBNElert (www.lbnelert.com)

• Read Breaking Business Book Best-Sellers

• Read Trade Journals and Periodicals in Your Field

• Join & Attend Local Business Groups

• Attend All-Day Fred Pryor-CareerTrack Seminars/Training (www.pryor.com or 1-800-780-8476)

• Attend the Dale Carnegie Training Course (www.dalecarnegie.com or 1-800-231-5800) When I told my 85-year-old adopted Godmother I signed up for the Dale Carnegie 12-Week Training Course, she said, “Good for you! I took that course when I was in my twenties and it has served me well.”

• Attend at Least Three Business Seminars/Workshops Annually

• Social Media: the Linked-In Online Business Community, Twitter & Facebook

Full-day world-wide leadership conferences I believe are exciting opportunities. When I attend, I write columns on them, because they give my readers cutting-edge concepts with a remarkable immediacy.

For example, in 1996, through the phenomena of teleconferencing, 221,000 participants from 40 countries at over 336 sites simultaneously watched the first session of the “Worldwide Lessons in Leadership Series,” presented on behalf of Marist College Center for Corporate and Professional Education in cooperation with Fortune magazine. Authors/speakers Drs. Tom Peters, Steven Covey, and Peter Senge spoke about where leadership must travel into the future. This conference challenged assumptions and gave incentives for businesses to make the paradigm shift to bring about the team-driven global marketplace we do business in today.

A few soundbites from the three speakers:

• Dr. Senge focused on interdependency and spoke of the difficulty American companies have with team-building and team effectiveness.

• Dr. Covey focused on synergy and the importance of understanding communication, speaking to the evolutionary stages of listening: Ignoring…Pretending to Listen…Selectively Listening…Attentive Listening…Empathetic Listening.

• Dr. Peters asked the question “Where does success come from?” Peters stated the only sustainable advantage comes from out-creating the competition. Again and again, Peters mentioned the “premature arrival of the future.” Focusing on forward thinking and acting, he asked another question “What can you grow while you’re busy fixing existing systems?” Peters said it is like watering one flower and expecting another flower to grow. “Strategy,” he said, “is revolution, and everything else is tactics.”

Nearly 20 years ago, the first “Worldwide Lessons in Leadership Series,” accurately predicted today’s current business environment. Research showed it held a second conference in 1997.

In May 2015, I, along with 100,000 attendees, participated in GiANT Impact’s Leadercast Live 2015 (www.Leadercast.com 1-877-255-3311) “The Brave Ones” all-day single-subject online conference at my local host site at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, sponsored by Roohan Realty (www.roohanrealty.com 518-587-4500) also of Saratoga Springs, New York. Perhaps you attended at your local host site, as well, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. watched nine brave leaders from dissimilar professions give coaching talks to share successful leadership methods that worked for them.

Leadercast Live 2015 focused on bravery, what it means to lead with a posture of unrelenting boldness, and hand-picked leaders who've exhibited bold bravery in their leadership roles.

These Nine Leaders Shared Their Leadership Success Stories:

1. Andy Stanley, Author, Leadership Communicator and founder of Atlanta-based North Point Ministries – “Bold leaders refuse to be cowed by how.” Stanley stressed clarity, focus, stubbornness and resourcefulness as serving leaders well. He quoted Starbucks founders, “Coffee is about community and experience, not about coffee.”

2. Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP AE, World’s Largest Business Software Company, and Author of Winners Dream – “The best part of YOU is you, embrace the wonder of you and come out winning each time, every time.” Book’s lead thesis question: “Can you trust me, because I trust you?” “No trust, no progress.” “Lead in customer service. Do things better than anyone else.” “The customer determines whether I win or lose.” 3. Rorke T. Denver, Navy Seal Commander and Author – Denver spoke of bravery as dealing with your unique fear, responding to the fear, facing it, immersing yourself into the fear until your weakness becomes your strength. “Lean into the pain and that is where bravery lives.” Denver spoke of the advantages of making bravery a team experience.

4. Malala Yousafzai, 17-Year-Old Nobel Laureate, Founder of The Malala Fund, and Named As One of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2013 by TIME Magazine – Yousafzai considers it “our duty to speak out for what’s right and what is just.” She described weakness as fear and hopelessness and strength as power and courage. Yousafzai described three kinds of people: Doesn’t Care As Much; Care Deeply But Mostly Silently And Few Speak Out; and Those Bold And Brave Who Do Speak Out. In closing, she said, “Think of our world as our home and all people as brothers and sisters who all live in our world together.”

5. Peyton Manning, Super Bowl Winning Quarterback, 5-time NFL MVP, Recipient of the Byron “Whizzer” White Humanitarian Award, and NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2005, Owns Papa John's Pizza Shops – Manning strives to keep raising the bar, "face monumental decisions before you are ready for them, set your jaw, make up your mind and move forward.” “Game-Changer Rules: Learn to Thrive on Being Uncomfortable; Devote Yourself to Intense Preparation; Invest in a Coach; Find a Way to Instill Trust in Others; Bravely Adjust to Realities, Good or Bad; Work at Becoming a Master Observer; and Understand the Sustained Power and Influence That Flows from Other People.”

6. Seth Godin, Innovative Thinker and Author of 17 Books, Founder of Squidoo.com, Inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame in 2013 – “Do some work that matters. Be brave. You have to care enough to be brave enough to succeed.” “Change has a twin sister and her name is ‘tension,’ something we avoid.” He speaks of the difference between “I feel sorry for you” or “I see you.” “When you see the worlds needy, they will no longer need." “Dreams don’t take bravery; dreams don't take guts.” “Treat everyone like they are the last one, that every opportunity is the last one.”

7. Ed Catmull, President of Pixar & Disney Animation Studios, Author of Creativity, Inc. with Amy Wallace and Honored with Five Academy Awards – “Fail often, fail early, learn from it. Challenge the status quo even when it is working. The ‘we’ is absolutely smarter than the ‘I’.” Catmull advises asking, “What am I learning?” frequently. “Trust rules.” “Failure is a powerful learning tool. If you give a good idea to a poor team, they will fail. If you give a bad idea to a good team, they will either fix it or restart”

8. Aja Brown, youngest, at 31, Mayor of Compton, California, recipient of the University of Southern California 2014 Young Alumni Merit Award and the National Action Network Martin Luther King Award – Under her leadership, violent crime declined 78% in one year with gang violence down, murder rate down 40%, and a peace treaty among gangs which is still in effect today. “Peace is one of the most powerful things that cannot be bought.” “Bravery allows us to live instead of exist.” “If not me, then who? Brave leaders are never quiet.” “How do we stop the bullets from leaving the guns?"

9. Rudi Giuliani, 107th Mayor of New York City (1993-2001), Named “Person of the Year” by TIME Magazine, Knighted by the Queen of England, Presented with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Freedom Award – “Leadership is something you learn. Leaders are made.” “Leaders have to have strong beliefs, goals, and big ideas.” “You have to be an optimist, think positively with discernment and make yourself a problem-solver.” “You have to have bravery, courage, and put fear in the right place to motivate you to do a better job.” “With relentless preparation, you prepare to take the fear out of it (one hour in court, four hours preparation).” “Teamwork is key: Never believe it is about you. You need to inspire others.” “You have to be able to communicate your ideas to other people, what you are trying to accomplish.” “What makes you a happy person is when you find your place and make a difference with your work.”

While all speakers were riveting, I sat astonished and amazed in admiration as I listened to Rudy Giuliani, Mayor of New York City during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. Listening to all three featured speakers during the Worldwide Lessons in Leadership Series conference in 1996 also amazed as I heard of a work world not yet in place that has since become reality. Tom Peters’ “premature arrival of the future.”

I urge you to do whatever you need to do to make all-day experiences like “Leadercast” presentations part of your cutting-edge continuing education. Investing in any of the other cutting edge continuing education suggestions can also broaden your knowledge and alert you to changes that could greatly impact you in your field of expertise.