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The Leader’s Challenge

The Leader’s Challenge addresses the subject of Servant Leadership and the ‘Five Ways of Being’ identified by author-consultant James Autrey to be its core concepts. According to Autrey, being authentic, vulnerable, present, accepting, and useful in the workplace are the first steps in becoming a successful servant leader, speaking not only to a person’s professional development but also to his or her personal values, perceptions and beliefs.

The Leader’s Challenge looks thoughtfully at relation between the public roles we play as leaders and the nature of our authentic, personal selves. What is the relationship between vulnerability and success? How can we handle incoming negativity with grace and integrity? What does full acceptance of others actually require of us? What does it mean to be fully present with one’s employees and peers…and how can this enhance workplace relationships and leadership skills? The performing and consulting artists of Creative Leaps address these and other questions from multiple perspectives and through their multiple forms of art.

On Being Useful

“ The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise to the occasion. As our case is new, so must we think anew and act anew. No amount of personal significance or insignificance will spare one or another of us.”
-- Abraham Lincoln

Realizing new visions requires inventive thinking and a letting go of past ways: embracing the future and working with it, not against it. Acclaimed tenor Paul Adkins plays with this idea…and proves in a musical fashion that “the dogmas of the quiet past” just Ain’t Necessarily So.

On Being Present

“ In music”, explains pianist Jon Klibonoff, “we have a form called Rhapsody. Rhapsody is all about ‘living in the moment’. Music can be improvised and it’s that passionate being in present time that guides that wonderful spontaneous improvisation. In layman’s terms, we can call it ‘winging it’. How many of you have ‘wung it’? In music, sometimes we have a legal license to ‘wing it’. One of the most inspired versions of a rhapsody was written many years ago by George Gershwin”. Klibonoff plays “Rhapsody in Blue” and shares the amazing story of its composition.

On Being Authentic

In his original composition, “The Hero’s Journey,” percussionist Richard Albagli leads us on a rhythmical odyssey which speaks powerfully to the issues of authenticity and self-discovery. He tells the classic story of the mythic folk hero: his journey into the wilderness; his nearly overwhelming encounter with his newly discovered powers and his authentic self; and, finally, his character-defining decision to return home and dedicate his powers to the service of his community or to hoard his powers selfishly and be overtaken and controlled by them. “The Hero’s Journey”, says Albagli, “is one of empowerment, transformation, and decision. Without the decision to serve, the hero can never be a true leader.”


The Leader’s Challenge
was originally conceived and designed for the Starbucks Coffee Company and featured as the keynote in a series of regional conferences introducing Servant Leadership to the company’s more than 5000 partners nationwide. Content for this Concert of Ideas was developed with the generous guidance and support of Richard Smith, senior educator and consultant on Servant Leadership.

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