I’ve written before about my son, Jeremy’s, experience on Up with People and my involvement with and dedication to the program, not only as a parent of a participant, but as a member of UWP’s Board of Directors.
Established in 1965, Up with People has been flying under the radar in recent years, and most of the very people who should be in the program (age range of 18 – 29 years old) don’t even know it exists.
That’s all about to change.
The UWP cast will be performing in both the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade, and our hope is that by their stepping on to the world stage we’ll generate a nice buzz about this inspiring leadership development program.
This past August in Tucson, Arizona, Tommy Spaulding, the program’s president and CEO, delivered his vision for the future of the program at the opening session of the Up with People alumni reunion.
And it was one hell of a speech.
I know; I was there. (Not as an alumnus, but as a Board member).
But here’s the thing: it wasn’t just a great speech about one organization’s future, it’s a lesson for any leader about how to communicate an inspiring vision and enlist others in making it happen.
So let’s turn this into a lesson for the rest of us. Here’s the plan:
1. Put Yourself in the Role of Audience Member: assume you’re an alumnus of the program, and you’ve been frustrated with the organization because, in recent years, it hasn’t lived up to your expectations. At one point it even temporarily closed its doors, and you were afraid that it was going to stay closed forever. You’ve come to this reunion to re-connect with old friends, and now the new CEO steps up to the stage to give his vision of the re-launched program’s future. You want to believe him, but you’re more than a little bit skeptical. Cynical, even.
2. Understand the CEO’s (Tommy’s) Challenge: He needs the audience to believe in the new strategy and direction. He needs their good will, their support, and, sometimes, their money. He has to re-energize the optimists, and convert the cynics.
3. Take specific notes on what Tommy does and how he does it.
4. Make a list of the principles you could use in communicating your next leadership/vision message.
5. Write your observations in the comments section below.