Coming Together to Serve and Learn

Coming Together to Serve and Learn

1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. 2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Throughout all of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner’s writings, they talk about the importance of community and remind us frequently that “… it takes everyone working together with a common purpose, in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration, to get extraordinary things done.”  And during a recent Masters Give Back program, graciously organized by Certified Masters Renee Harness and Tom Pearce, five Certified Masters-in-Training (CMT)—Amy Savage, Bill Mugavin, Cheryl Johnson, Evans Kerrigan, and Larry Murphy—had the opportunity to experience first-hand just what this means to work together in a spirit of community. Although each of us come from different entities and backgrounds—an academic, a government employee, a consultant, and two business owners—we quickly learned that collaboration superseded any perceived differences as we teamed up to deliver a meaningful experience for our group of 16 non-profit leaders representing 10 different Indianapolis-based organizations.    
 Pictured left to right: Bill Mugavin,
Cheryl Johnson, Tom Pearce,
Evans Kerrigan,  Amy Savage,
Larry Murphy, Renee Harness
Five facilitators may sound like a challenge for a one-day The Leadership Challenge® Workshop. But with pre-planning and a focus on service, we were able to deliver a smooth, engaging experience for these members of the non-profit community. In fact, one of the benefits to having five of us participate was that we were able to embed facilitators at each table to engage in discussions and further the learning experience with the participants.   

Skye Berger, a member of the board of Peace Learning Center described her experience this way:
 Evans Kerrigan and participating
attendees. It was fun to be so 
personally involved!
“It was such a privilege to be in the midst of so many of the talented movers and shakers within the city who likely do not receive the recognition or accolades due them for all their efforts. I left empowered with a renewed sense of the changes I can make and how implementing The Five Practices can affect the organization I serve. I am forever grateful for the time these amazing facilitators invested in us.”

We were delighted that the non-profit leaders had such a meaningful experience, and also by how much we learned from each other as co-facilitators. Each of us utilizes The Leadership Challenge differently in our individual work, so it was a great opportunity for us to expand our knowledge as we watched each other deliver content in unexpected and fresh ways.  We came away so inspired by each other’s stories and examples, which reinforced for each of us the breadth and flexibility of The Leadership Challenge.  

Model the Way
Larry Murphy shared with us how he grew up watching his cousins and brothers come home from their deployments with the Marines in their dress blues. As he listened to stories of their time in the Marines and all the opportunities and responsibilities they had, he became more and more convinced that he wanted to follow their example. In the 7th grade, he quit playing football (even though he really enjoyed it and was a great player) because he knew that if he got a single broken bone he wouldn’t be able to join the Marines, and he wasn’t willing to risk it.  He joined the Marines and served for 30 years, developing the same strong work ethic, commitment and credibility that his cousins showed him. His story goes to show that Jim and Barry are right - people are always watching you. What kind of example are you setting? 

Inspire a Shared Vision
Amy Savage shared a personal example of breathing life into our visions by telling her adopted son’s story of growing up in Ethiopia drinking dirty water, losing his little brother to water-borne illness, coming to the United States with his body filled with parasites, which resulted in his passion for ending the global water crisis. Tariku now gives up his birthday to raise money for clean water initiatives in Africa and has raised close to $30,000 since coming to the United States five years ago, bringing clean water to hundreds of families who wouldn’t have had it otherwise. As a child, he is leading the way for others not to turn a blind eye to this issue. Amy and her son share the same vision that we can see an end to the dirty water crisis in their lifetimes. 

Challenge the Process
Bill Mugavin challenged a training team he was leading to transition from a traditional training model (order takers) to a true business-partnering model (trusted advisors). The business was implementing a new online process and he saw that this was the perfect time to seize the initiative and change the way the team “showed up” in the organization. The team exercised outsight by studying “best in class” training departments in their industry, researched new training design and delivery methods, and examined best practices in technology implementation. Trainers made sincere and concerted efforts to deepen their relationships with operations managers because they knew that without strong relationships they could never earn the right to be considered trusted advisors. The online process implementation was a success, and because the team continued to challenge and fine-tune their process one small win at a time, they received organization-wide recognition for the value they added to the business.
Enable Others to Act
Cheryl Johnson went to share a quiet dinner with her husband at a special restaurant when a woman working at the restaurant approached them excitedly shouting “Oh, Mr. Johnson! I just have to come say thank you!” She threw her arms around Cheryl’s husband and explained that her vision was so poor she wasn’t able to get a job since she couldn’t afford glasses. Thanks to the investment Cheryl and her husband made in Lion’s Club (an organization that helps people see and hear), she was able to get the glasses she needed and get a job. Her life was changed profoundly because Cheryl and Harry could see the possibilities that a pair of lenses opened up for people. Sometimes we enable others in ways that may seem outsized to the effort it requires of us—you never know what impact you might have as you support others!

Encourage the Heart
Evans Kerrigan shared a story of a manager who brought the Practice of Encourage the Heart back to his workplace. Eddie modeled the behavior of recognition and set up a program based on the rewards table in the workshop, allowing team members to recognize each other for outstanding work. Eddie filled a drawer with $5-$10 gift cards and items from a dollar store. His team members have stepped up to reward one another over the last several months. Even the ones who were initially reluctant have started actively remembering to recognize each other’s efforts. During a recent visit, Eddie shared that an interesting thing had happened—the more “valuable” gift cards continue to remain untouched in the drawer as staff consistently choose to reward one another with the dollar store items, tying them to a specific contribution the person made. The number of rewards being used is significantly higher than Eddie initially imagined, while the budget of the awards has remained below his expectations. Eddie’s story provides a clear picture of the creative and meaningful value of the story and personalization behind the recognition. 

The power of community and reinvigorating ourselves by collaborating with others cannot be overstated. Both of us, Evans and Amy, are Managing Partners of two different companies that in reality compete in the same space of leadership development. Yet, we were able to set that completely aside, and share ideas and stories openly and generously with each other and the group in a true spirit of fellowship. All of us are committed to seeing The Leadership Challenge change people and organizations for the better. It was enriching for each of us CMTs to grow together as we saw the collective wisdom in the room come to life during the process of working together for this Masters Give Back program. This TLC network is truly filled with unique, talented, diverse individuals who are making an impact on the world. So reach out. The ideas, support, or mentoring you need may very well be found in this fantastic community! 

Amy Savage and Evans Kerrigan are both Certified Masters-in-Training of The Leadership Challenge and co-founders of two separate Global Training Partners of The Leadership Challenge: Amy is Managing Partner at Fine Points Leadership Development, a company committed to helping leaders increase their influence through changed leadership behavior; Evans Kerrigan is Managing Partner of Integris Performance Advisors, a company dedicated to expanding the existence of healthy organizations and great places to work. Amy can be reached at and Evans at  


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