Reflections on the Origin Story of EO International Management Academy (GLA) — —

by Erick Slabaugh, a long-standing EO member in Seattle and former director on the EO International Board

“In case your actions encourage others to dream extra, be taught extra, do extra and grow to be extra, you’re a chief.” — John Quincy Adams

As a member of EO for 25 years, I’ve had the immense privilege of partaking in numerous initiatives that remodeled my very own expertise alongside the way in which. One of many highest-impact highlights of my EO journey has been collaborating within the creation of the EO Global Leadership Academy (GLA).

Whereas the function I performed in launching GLA was merely appearing as one brick within the wall of an exquisite cathedral of management, I couldn’t assist however spend a while not too long ago wanting again fondly on the great tales born out of the expertise.

Whether or not you will have attended EO’s Management Academies or nonetheless sit up for the chance, the muse upon which this exceptional programme was constructed is notable. The programmes have since developed—however the authentic spirit of management, character and shared development stays absolutely intact. It’s a spirit that has contributed to the private growth of a few of the world’s best entrepreneurs making a real affect on corporations, communities, and households throughout the globe.

The Origins

David Galbenski and I served on the EO International Board collectively in 2007. David—a really exceptional world-class chief—known as me with an thought for a “undertaking” he had: a condensed, high-impact management coaching programme for present and future EO International Board members. The idea was to create an academic occasion that would offer expertise and growth for what it took to be a greater chief of a worldwide group.

I beloved the thought and his imaginative and prescient. Nonetheless, I instructed David that when it got here to my coming aboard to assist construct the programme, I had one situation: I wished authorization to recruit the Dean of the school from outdoors the group.

I mentioned that to him with somebody particular in thoughts.

A yr earlier, as EO started fostering stronger collaborative bonds with WPO/YPO, I had attended the Public Coverage Discussion board, a YPO occasion in Washington, DC. There, I grew to become acquainted with Warren Rustand, who was main it. I vividly bear in mind sitting within the viewers and pondering:

“This man is essentially the most inspiring thinker and speaker on management that I’ve ever seen.”

Our aim grew to become clear: to recruit Warren to function the Dean of our studying programme school.

I flew to Washington, DC, and sat down with Warren, then-EO Director Bob Strade, and Ben Richter (who additionally had a programme to pitch to Warren). Warren beloved our concepts however had a situation of his personal: He wished to incorporate Dr. Gerald Bell of the College of North Carolina’s Bell Management Institute within the programme.

Dr. Bell additionally agreed to come back on board, and all collectively, we collectively constructed the programme’s technique, construction, and content material. That’s how EO’s International Management Academy (GLA) was born.

For the primary 4 years, we had Warren Rustand for your complete programme and Dr. Bell current for a full day of management coaching. It was one of the vital exceptional rooms, not to mention school rooms, I had ever discovered myself facilitating.

Within the first yr (2008), we had a meager funds, restricted employees help, and solely seven months to tug the whole lot collectively. Keith Williams, EVP of Studying; Chelsea Dennison, EO Employees lead; and I had US$50,000, which was one-tenth the funds American Categorical was spending on an identical occasion. We needed to develop a minimal viable product that might “wow” the group’s high management and show the preliminary funding worthwhile.   

We went to Andrew Sherman, EO’s authorized counsel, and requested if he would donate Jones Day’s Washington, DC, govt convention heart for 4 days. I requested three tenured EO International Board members—David Galbenski, Greg Crabtree and Jesus De La Garza—to affix me at their very own expense as facilitators of the breakouts we deliberate. They, too, have been glad to help the trigger. 

Keith bought the imaginative and prescient of what might be and requested our audio system to scale back or waive charges. All of them did. Even a few of the venues and caterers labored with us to supply tasteful but reasonably priced experiences that elevated the inaugural class’s expertise. 

The primary yr was successful.

Someplace across the second yr of the Academy, we had a sense that this programme, impactful and transformational because it was, might need the potential to serve a much bigger goal. We thought: What if we made the programme out there to different members? What if we made it out there to all EO members as a real international member profit? 

Michael Caito took over in yr 5, after which George Gan took the reins from there, enjoying a pivotal function in growing the programme on the regional degree. Just a few iterations later, it grew to become the EO Regional Leadership Academy (RLA), accessible to each area throughout 60+ international locations below EO’s international umbrella.

A Want for Management

I’ve recognized and deeply revered Warren Rustand for 15+ years now. Warren acknowledged early in his life that the world had a exceptional thirst and deep want for higher leaders. In what he calls the continual act of “people turning into,” Warren noticed the potential for extra people to grow to be the leaders the world wanted them to be.

A lot of Warren’s methodology for impressed management comes right down to information and selection. Warren believes that greatness is a selection quite than an endowment. It signifies that all people, ought to they make the selection for private greatness, may grow to be exceptional leaders. Warren’s most up-to-date guide, The Leader Within Us, echoes that perception: “We should select greatness. Folks don’t hand us greatness. We determine to be nice after which self-discipline ourselves to be nice. It’s about selection and self-discipline.”

I agreed with Warren on the time, however I hadn’t realized the extent to which he was proper. It appeared that because the years went on, almost in all places I turned, I used to be uncovered to poor management at each macro and micro ranges. From the rise of situational ethics to “scotoma” (blind spots) that so many leaders appeared to have, I felt our era of management wanted a transformative schooling.

GLA strived to arrange our membership to assist them exist because the strongest exemplars of management they might presumably be. The ripple results of GLA’s authentic imaginative and prescient for management growth prolonged far past the boardroom: members realized be high-caliber leaders inside their households, communities, and sociological environments at giant.

Warren Rustand’s model of management has all the time prolonged wholly into the civic realm. Whereas GLA by no means inspired political motion of any type, Warren and I shared a basic understanding: As folks, we stay in a city or metropolis, inside a bigger state or province, inside a bigger nation, inside a bigger world. The selection was ours. Both we may select to be a part of the management at any of these ranges, or we may select to sit down idly by and watch these ranges worsen earlier than our very eyes. No matter “degree” of management engagement speaks to you, the aim was to serve the totality of an entrepreneur. Upon doing so, leaders are outfitted and empowered to decide on to interact the place we’re most impressed to take action.

Accordingly, early GLA coaching periods created alternatives for brand spanking new information acquisition and inspired people to make the selection for private greatness past one’s conventional boundaries. Warren’s model of data, greatness and self-discipline took many kinds—together with one which many EO members won’t find out about: etiquette coaching.

Shelby Scarbrough and I labored collectively to recruit a key companion, and good pal of Shelby’s, from the Smithsonian Museum. We organized a mock State Dinner as a part of the early-day GLA expertise. It was first held on the Daughters of the American Revolution Banquet Corridor, a fully unimaginable setting that was a mockup of the White Home Eating Corridor.

The intent was to empower leaders with conventional etiquette coaching. We realized about utilizing the precise forks for the precise parts of a proper dinner; give a correct toast; the origins of the handshake and conduct an efficient one; leverage mnemonics to ship an efficient speech; and extra.  I’ll always remember George Gan’s toast to EO, which began out, “A rating and a few years in the past….” It was completely transferring and sensible.

A few of these issues have since gone away. Many people have entry to assets, teaching and coaching on etiquette components outdoors of the Management Academies.

But, having the chance to interrupt down and problem our ego, construct character, be completely uncooked and uncovered, and construct again up once more isn’t one thing we will do in our common contexts and environments. It was a singular management skillset and mindset that couldn’t be acquired wherever else—and it slowly grew to become a serious focus for GLA and RLA experiences.

Adversity exposes character. It’s exceptionally straightforward to be compassionate, loving and type when all goes nice. When all isn’t going nice, our character takes the reins on each choice, motion, and response. Character issues, and GLA continues to focus its curriculum on constructing character-driven management, which is achieved as soon as the ego will get out of our approach.

The Spirit

Whereas EO’s Global Leadership Academy has developed, the unique spirit is fully current–and it’s a spirit of Warren Rustand himself, whose fingerprints stay deeply embedded within the Academy because it stands at present.

On the time, it was the highest-rated occasion in EO historical past. International Management Academy (GLA) and Regional Management Academy (RLA) stay to today the highest-rated programmes supplied by EO. The reason being easy: The programmes are really transformational.

And so they have developed, which is an excellent factor. There are exceptional leaders throughout the globe who’ve completed an exceptional job rising the programme and cementing its future. The longer term is vivid—however the previous, and the unique spirit of GLA, are value recognizing, celebrating and sustaining.

Dave Galbenksi doesn’t obtain sufficient credit score for it, however it should unquestionably go down as one of many nice concepts of his lifetime. I’m grateful for Bob Strade, who empowered us to execute on it. I’m endlessly indebted to Warren Rustand—not just for giving me a “sure” when he agreed to come back on board, but additionally for taking GLA nicely past the place it was and for staying dedicated to constructing a legacy for EO members in all places. He has instrumentally helped us fulfill a imaginative and prescient far exceeding what I ever thought we might do.

At the moment, I stay extremely excited to see the subsequent era of imaginative and prescient that may take GLA, RLA and EO leaders to new heights. Within the act of “people turning into,” I hope that all of us make the selection to grow to be higher leaders. The world wants us.

Contributed to EO by Erick Slabaugh, a long-standing member chief of EO Seattle and former director on the EO International Board, who’s a serial entrepreneur, board member and advisor. He serves because the CEO of Absco Solutions, a 40+ yr market veteran within the facility safety and fire-life security trade, in addition to CEO of FCP Insight, a cloud-based enterprise software program resolution for electrical contracting companies. Erick not too long ago shared 5 Timeless Principles of Entrepreneurial Success on EO’s Inc.com channel.

For extra insights and inspiration from at present’s main entrepreneurs, try EO on Inc. and extra articles from the EO weblog.