Day 3: Center for Creative Leadership

Alec Yeh - Senegal


September 22, 2009

The organization, Center for Creative Leadership visited IONS today to teach us all about creative leadership. Their focus was to help us discover what kind of leader we are and how we can improve our human connections and collaborations to become better leaders. Our facilitators were Joel Wright and Sarah Miller. Joel and Sarah have been doing this for very long, and they were very kind and easy to work with.

We did so many different activities. After each one, we discussed the values and the leadership behind each activity. To begin, we walked into the Oak View Room (our lecture room), and immediately we dove right into the activities. The first activity was called “Visual Explorer.” We had to select a picture that signifies leadership to us. There were a bunch of pictures laid out, and we picked one that resonated with us the most. Personally, I picked the picture of Lady Godiva, because to me, Lady Godiva stood up for something she believed in, on the behalf of her people. After we selected one, we split up into mini-groups to discuss our respective pictures. Then we shared as an entire group. It was a good exercise to introduce us to the idea of visual learning. After we shared, we continued with the “social identity map.” In this exercise, we had concentric circles labeled “given,” “chosen,” and “core.” We put our traits and values into each circle. It helped us decide what we valued the most. One of the more important activities we did was with the “value cards.” We each got a deck of values, and we had to decide which two values were the most important. I personally chose “friendship” and “help others.” We then listed the top 10 things we do. We wanted to see if what we believe in, coincides with how we actually operate. It was interesting to see because in my case, it really didn’t seem like I live my life the way I believe. It helped me realize that perhaps, I may actually value different things, or perhaps that I should change how I live my life.

Another important activity was the “Win as much as you can game.” In this game, we were each put into four groups. Then we had to decide whether to pick X or Y. The point of the game is, to win the most money we all had to cooperate. But one group, the yellow group, kept betraying the other group, and therefore, they won the most money while everybody else lost money. It showed us how collaboration should work. The more collaboration, the more money we would earn.

Next, we did the Big Five Personality Test. This was a very interesting test. It measures our emotions, our openness, our extroverted-ness, our agreeability, and our conscientiousness. What this showed us was how to interact with people that was way different from you. You may often be working with somebody who is very introverted, when you yourself, are extroverted. How do you work with this person? To be a good leader, one must adapt and compromise in order to get things done. The operative word is “collaboration.” When we got our results, some people were actually surprised about where they fell on the spectrum. But everybody just needed to take everything with a grain of salt. The main focus of the personality test is to show us our preference of personalities. Now what we exactly are.

And finally, the biggest activity was the collage. We wanted to create an artistic interpretation of what “leadership” meant to us. It was interesting to see what everybody else had, since leadership is a very subjective thing. You can never really define leadership. I drew a watch, but instead of having the numerals 1-12, I put the 12 core values I have. I purposely made the time around friendship and happiness. Everybody had interesting drawings and interpretations of what leadership meant to them.

Overall, the CCL experience was helpful because it help us think about different ways to be effective leaders. We all had a mindset that leaders were people who took charge. But a leader doesn’t always have to take such an aggressive and active role. Just absorbing informations, thinking outside of the box, makes you just as, perhaps more of an effective leader.

Alec Yeh