Come join us in a unique learning community where you can share, learn, and grow with a select group of leaders. These leaders come from a variety of companies and industries around the country. The thing they all have in common is that they in some way influence the process of producing software or systems. Leaders’ Forum is held each summer in late June at the charming Nordic Inn in spectacular Mt. Crested Butte.
This will be a break from the usual conferences, seminars, and vendor shows where someone is selling the one right answer. The people we invite are real leaders, like you, with something special to contribute – their experience and a passion for learning.
Who is invited? Were inviting selected leaders from a variety of hardware and software companies and internal I.S. organizations whom we know personally. If you get one of these, you are among the finest leaders we know. Making up our invitation list, we consider people who are:
line or staff managers who make decisions about hardware, software, staffing, project approval, etc.
project managers and technical leaders
seeking to practice and extend what they learn in Weinberg & Weinberg PSL, Change Shop, and SEM
life long learners, especially interested in learning about themselves
interested in connecting with other people who want to be competent and human at the same time
We limit the Forum to 12 participants.
Leaders’ Forum attendees have come from Allen-Bradley, Charles Schwab, Corning, EDS, Itron, L.L. Bean, Marco Consulting, Microsoft, Monsanto, Norand, Norwest Corporation, Object Space, PBC Communications, PCS Scanning, Inc., Petersen Plumbing, Ralston Purina, Rockwell Software, Sapiens, Tandem Computers, Utilicorps, and State of Texas Dept. of Human Resources.
Here is a short list of sessions participants have created for themselves during the past five Leaders’ Forums: See Sessions below for how sessions are created.
The Z Problem Solving Approach Using MBTI Dominant Function
Taming Your Shoulds
What Does Commitment Mean?
Effects Of Bad Leadership (unethical, dictatorial, etc.)
Diffusion of Innovation
Recipe For Doing The Impossible
Blended Family – work and family
The Essence Of Leadership
Dealing With Difficult People [reframed …People I Have Difficulty With]
Leading Change in Software Organizations
Identifying And Transforming Rules
practical ideas that really work and lessons learned from managers dealing with current issues
contact with peers in other companies that will continue long after the Forum is concluded
enhanced self esteem through sharing your experience in a professional, growth-oriented environment
rejuvenation by taking a break from fragmented time schedules and constant decision making
Heres what some participants have said about Leaders’ Forum:
I found the Forum to be confidence-building, energizing, inspiring and motivating. Thank you so very much for being the people you are in that you care enough to wish for success in all of us..
Deborah Norris, Norwest Corporation, Principal Systems Consultant
Leaders’ Forum gave me an opportunity to take a break from the chaos of my work environment. Wayne and Eileen provided an environment of acceptance and well being. I understand more about my skills as a leader. I know some ways that I can be more personally effective at work and at home. It was a very enjoyable experience.
Geoff Robles, Pacific Telesis Shared Services, Director – Customer Care Solutions
The 1997 Leaders’ Forum created an environment where I was very comfortable discussing a number of issues that concern me as a manager of software engineers. Every session was valuable, and every attendee warm and intelligent in helping me learn more about myself and about managing people. Thanks to Wayne and Eileen for creating this valuable environment each year.
Kit Bradley, New Products Software Engineering Manager, PSC, Inc.
Leaders’ Forum was a great opportunity to take time out to talk with and learn from technical leaders from a variety of industries and geographic locations. Wayne and Eileen provide an open, flexible structure and a supportive atmosphere which encourages sharing of experience, ideas, problems and possible solutions. I’m already looking forward to next year.
Mary Lavine, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., Director of Information Technology
Bryan Bajema, Software Development Manager, Tandem Computers, has written an article about LF98. To see the article (below), click here.
Sessions: Forum participants share their knowledge, experience, ideas, and concerns with each other during informal sessions. Each Forum participant is expected to lead at least one session. Sessions are typically two hours. A session may be a discussion group, an exercise or simulation, a presentation, or some other format that encourages group participation and sharing of ideas. A session topic may be one that a participant wants to learn more about, or one that he/she has some expertise to share with others. It is not necessary to be an expert on a topic to lead a session. Prior to arriving at Forum there will be an information sharing via the Forum Directory. The Forum Directory will provide information in a common format about each participant and in what topics he/she is interested. During our first evening together at Forum we will schedule the weeks sessions based upon those interests.
A typical day at Leaders’ Forum: A typical day at the Forum will start with breakfast together (perhaps after a morning hike), followed by a morning of lively discussion on such topics as listed above and/or others you are interested in. The afternoon will be open for arranging whatever seems best for you, with whomever you can convince to share it. You will be with the most interesting bunch of leaders you could ever hope to find. For supper, you can tackle one of many outstanding restaurants in Crested Butte or take a loaf of bread and some fresh fruit underneath a bough in a mountain meadow. After supper there will be more and/or continued lively discussions on topics of common interest for as long as our energy lasts.
Fee: For current fee information please contact Wayne Strider. Your Forum fee includes breakfast, every morning during Forum – no hot foods, but lots of good fruit, cereal, yogurt, home-baked breads, and the usual beverages. Other than breakfast, youll pay for your own meals, transportation, and lodging.
Location: We selected Crested Butte because it is an inspirational place. It is 200 miles southwest of Denver and 30 miles north of Gunnison County Airport. We are familiar with it. We chose the Nordic Inn because we know it is the kind of place that supports this type of activity. During this particular time of the summer there is no rush of skiers and the rates are very reasonable.
How do I get invited? Attendance at Leaders’ Forum is by invitation only. Invitations typically are mailed each year in January or February. If you would like to receive an invitation, please contact Wayne Strider or Eileen Strider.
A Personal Experience
Excitement, apprehension, elation, fear, fulfillment. I went through them all and more at LF98. It all started with getting a mail message from Wayne Strider advertising Leader’s Forum. I remembered getting the notice the previous year and being uninterested then, but this year was different. I was ready to build on my learnings from PSL. I hadn’t been able to go to Change Shop, but wanted more learning. The lure of Mt. Crested Butte, seeing Wayne and Eileen again, and having a chance to refresh what I learned from PSL added up to a commitment to go.
I received the enrollment package which described LF in a bit more detail, asked for a brief biography, and asked what kind of sessions I wanted to see offered at LF, as well as what kind of sessions I wanted to lead. This is when apprehension set in. What? Me lead a session? I thought I was going to learn more about leadership, not teach others about it. After a brief bit of rethinking I realized that leading sessions was part of leadership, and I do consider myself a leader (why else would I be going to such a workshop) so it shouldn’t be too bad.
Elation hit me about a day before I left for Colorado. I was really going back to such a beautiful setting. There had been dozens of e-mail messages between participants as our addresses had been shared earlier. It was obvious that there was a real mix of people, some who were very involved in Myers-Briggs, Satir Change models, Change Shop etc., and others like me who could barely remember their type preferences. It was still a bit intimidating, I felt like a lightweight. But just knowing that I would be back in a “safe” place like I knew Eileen and Wayne could create, combined with the location had me flying high. Then the airline was 4 hours late and I arrived after dinner and the opening session had already started. Whoops!!! Fortunately everyone made me feel welcome, and helped me catch up with the details I had missed. The bulk of the first evening was primarily comprised of administrative details (where do we meet, how do I find extra flip charts, etc.) followed by a schedule creation exercise. Everyone volunteered to lead sessions (and a few excursions) and then we signed up for sessions.
There were sessions scheduled every day at 8:30, 10:45, and 7:30 p.m. There were also a few sessions at 2:00 p.m. and a few excursions. This layout of the schedule was perfect because there was enough time available for everyone to lead at least one session, some led more than one. There was time in the middle of the day to recover from the abundance of information available in the morning, and we all got to get together again in the evening for more.
The sessions were many and varied. “When you choose change, or it chooses you”, “Plain Vanilla, a tasting session and discussion of metaphors”, “Neurolinguistic Programming”, “Critical Thinking”, “Your 5 freedoms”, “Violence in the schools”, Myers Briggs 4th function, Parts Party, Humanity/Spirituality at work, Diffusion of Innovation, Blended Family (home and work), Leading Change, Life Change, Professional Writing, Centering, Satir Tools, Poetry Reading, and Temperature Reading. The first official session started on Monday morning. Things took off from there and by the end of the day my brain hurt from all of the information. Each successive day built on the previous day, either directly or indirectly. The sessions never seemed to end on time, a symptom of how involved everyone was, but the length felt right
Some of the sessions were well planned in advance, they included handouts, or even props. The vanilla tasting consisted of us tasting 5 different vanillas from fake, to high end. Other sessions were led as round table discussions, often the leader of these sessions had a framework, and the participants contributed a wealth of information. . During the first few sessions people often opened with a statement about being nervous or scared. This resonated with me. I had scheduled my session later in the week because I was a bit intimidated, especially by some of the topics. Hearing that others were uncomfortable gave me some courage, and as it turned out I didn’t really need to worry. It went off very well, as did all of the sessions I attended.
We didn’t only attend sessions, we also had a chance to nourish ourselves in a beautiful environment. I was lucky enough to get in some good hiking during the week. I went on 4 hikes during the forum, and one the day after. Other people participated in more or less strenuous activities. (Hiking at 9500 feet can be a strain). Some people went picnicking, others went 4-wheeling and fishing, yet others just went window shopping in town. Everyone seemed to enjoy the setting as well as the workshop itself.
I have touched on excitement and apprehension, elation and fear. The fulfillment part started each morning with the camaraderie which developed almost overnight on Sunday. People felt at ease talking about their fears, family problems, emotional issues, work situations, personal growth opportunities and everything else. The immediate bonding between the participants was uncanny, and everyone noticed it. Somehow we all clicked. There were some very emotional moments when people related stories from their childhood, divorces, and other personal events, but the tone was always respectful and helpful. Fulfillment built each day with attending the sessions and learning all there was to learn, and being able to talk with people who were frank, open but supportive. Work and personal situations became more clear for me.
The fulfillment continued on after the workshop was over. Most everyone left on Friday afternoon. A few left on Saturday morning and I was the only one left in Mount Crested Butte on Sunday. Somehow even though everyone had left, I didn’t feel alone there. I was able to continue digesting all of the information before returning home.
Returning to work was actually the hardest part of the whole thing. I had to return to a whole host of problems demanding my immediate attention. I was trying to figure out how to apply what I had learned without coming back a “changed man.” Similar to my experience with PSL really. And the outcome is the same. As a friend from PSL said to me one day, “Little bombs keep going off in my head,” more ways to apply what I learned.
Interestingly enough about 2 weeks after I returned from Leaders’ Forum and was still immersed in change theory, communication models, relationship analysis etc. I had to attend a 3 day Leadership class. It involved a three hundred sixty degree feedback instrument. The feedback I got was very good and fit right in with what I had learned at LF98. The class itself felt mediocre and insufficient by contrast.
When I think back to the reasons LF98 was better it is because LF98 built on PSL. In some ways it was better than PSL (though it depended on PSL). Although not as intense and scripted, it allowed us to reflect on PSL, to discuss, dissect, and make the experience of PSL more known and thought through. LF98 was also presented from the viewpoints of all of the participants. They all had their own way of sharing information, making points clear, bringing their issues to the fore for all to witness. It was truly a group of leaders coming together to teach and learn from each other. And that we did, with GUSTO.