It’s Almost Over!!

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December 1 hit with a bang, reminding me that it was one year ago already I had my application material submitted to try and take part in the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) here at the East West Center. At that time I couldn’t conceive taking a leave of absence from Smiling Albino, a travel company I co-founded and have been fully involved in since moving to Thailand in 1999, or being in Hawaii.

Well, I got accepted, my business partner and Board graciously supported my studies and now it’s a year later and almost time to head back to Thailand and my regular life running one of the world’s great travel companies. Where has and does the time go!!?? I remember my mother telling me when I was about 15-years-old, not to wish my life away and that time will go faster with age. I had no idea what she was talking about but I got it a few years ago. Time really does pass far too quickly, not only is my APLP experience almost over but I’m creeping up on 40 and realize that I truly must make every day and moment count.

Part of making the most of the APLP experience for me is reviewing what we’ve covered over the last 16 weeks. It’s tough to verbally list what we’ve done as each week has been so different from the last and we’ve touched on a huge range of topics, but I’ve started the process. There’s a long way to go but I hope to complete it in the next few weeks. I’m seeing this experience as not just something to work on while here but review the material over the coming months and think of the concepts touched-on when back at my job and home in Thailand. I want to make sure I don’t let some of the ideas fade into the background and keep items that resonated with me for a long time.

While reviewing the first two weeks in the program there are a couple interesting bits which I’ll share. Here are the Learning Outcomes of the APLP as listed by the facilitators of the program:

Upon successful completion of the APLP, G11 fellows will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast various leadership styles and approaches
  • Define and apply leadership skills and competencies
  • Assess personal leadership style, including strengths and weaknesses
  • Identify personal, work, and lifestyle values, and explain how they influence decision making
  • Envision and plan preferred futures
  • Articulate the advantages and challenges of diversity, and demonstrate ways to lead diverse groups
  • Work collaboratively and build effective teams
  • Demonstrate ways to enhance group performance through attention to process, consensus decision making, and articulation of purpose and desired outcomes
  • Identify common leadership challenges, and articulate ways to overcome adversity and build resilience
  • Navigate change

At the East West Center

Another interesting bit I came upon  is a document that outlines Leadership Principals. I talked with one of my professors about it today and he suggested a good exercise is to list my own points on what leadership is. Here are their’s:

  • Leadership makes a difference
  • Leadership encompasses all aspects of life, from personal to professional
  • Leadership can be learned and should be taught
  • All human beings, regardless of background, have leadership potential
  • Leadership is a choice
  • You lead out of who you are
  • Excellent leaders are excellent learners
  • Leadership is contextual and culturally nuanced
  • Leadership is situational. Different leaders should emerge based on situational needs
  • Leadership takes many forms. There is no best style of leadership.
  • Leadership is a relational process
  • Leadership is conferred not claimed. Leadership is more than a title or position of authority
  • Leadership is about influence no control
  • Leadership involves mobilizing people
  • Progress (positive change) lies at the heart of leadership
  • Leadership is never mastered. New learning is always required
  • To lead others you must first learn to lead yourself

After reading this list it seems like a tall order to fill and quite a person to aspire to be. I hope I can retain much of what I’ve learned here at the East West Center but one thing’s for sure, I’m a much better person for having come.

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