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LDI Fine Tuning the Leaders in Memphis • • •

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The high-level training program was conceived by Goals for Memphis, a nonprofit looking to make positive changes in Memphis. GFM would later become the Leadership Academy, then New Memphis Institute and now is known simply as New Memphis, which has been led by Nancy Coffee for the past 12 years. The program came into being from a desire to provide top quality leadership training. GFM officials found that the North Carolina-based Center for Creative Leadership was the right partner to pull this effort off. For 20 years, it’s been a fruitful partnership. “There’s no other city in the country or the world that has this world-class leadership training developed and delivered to a local cohort of peer execs,” Coffee says. The idea is that LDI is designed to work with executives at the top of their game. The session is a threeand-a-half-day residential experience held at the Madison Hotel. There are about two dozen participants in each session and what they get is essentially a detailed, personalized critique. Each provides a self-assessment with a thorough 360-degree inventory, interactions and case studies, and one-on-one feedback from expert coaches. Participants find that they come out of the course with greater insight into themselves, the work they do, and a picture of how to take things to the next level. Nancy Coffee

Owner of Royal Studio

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For 20 years, the best in Memphis have been getting schooled in how to be even better. In 1997, the first Leadership Development Intensive brought together some of Memphis’ most dynamic leaders with an eye to super-charge their effectiveness at work and in the community. 58 |

FULL DISCLOSURE

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ne aspect that’s essential to the success of the intensive is for participants to bare their souls. Executives at this level tend to have considerable egos and to admit to weaknesses can be difficult. But for it to work, they have to be straightforward about the pluses as well as the minuses. “LDI is based on this notion that great leaders are those who know that in order to remain excellent, they need to continue to grow,” Coffee says. “They need to

PHOTOGRAPH BY JON W. SPARKS

T A L E N T

Nancy Coffee (right) chats with New Memphis staffers Chutney Young (left) and Frankie Dakin.

take time to invest in themselves, to really set aside this space for self-ref lection and exploration. And what they get in return for that is definitely greater effectiveness, but also greater ease in their work life and frankly in their life overall.” There are compelling incentives to be vulnerable, she says. “It can be lonely at the top and I think the value of feedback is something that those leaders up top yearn for. They want that fresh perspective. LDI is that chance to get feedback in a safe space and really act on it.” Beyond that are the distinct benefits of an approach that provides specific and relevant information. “People don’t describe the LDI as life changing for nothing,” Coffee says. “It is not, however, a hand-holding, Kumbaya-singing experience. This is a research-based program that is extraordinarily intentional and I think that is part of what provides the safe space for senior executives to come and be changed. It’s not about stress balls. It’s an informed design that draws on the experience of tens of thousands of leaders who have participated in the CCL’s program. There’s a lot of reassurance in that.” Team training within a company is good, she says, “but for senior executives, the opportunity to get outside of one’s company into the safe space that’s really free of direct workplace relationships, that is, I think, the catalyst for the exploration that will help them to grow beyond who they are already. This is a chance to be with people who are their peers, but in different sectors and different companies from around the city.” Since these leaders are already performing at a high level, Coffee

PHOTOGRAPH BY AMIE VANDERFORD

C U L T I V A T I N G

INSIDE MEMPHIS BUSINESS.COM | OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2017

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9/8/17 3:34 PM

Inside Memphis Business, October/November 2017  

This issue: Our 2017 Innovation Awards, in which we spotlight the Memphians making new things happen in every sector of public life.

Inside Memphis Business, October/November 2017  

This issue: Our 2017 Innovation Awards, in which we spotlight the Memphians making new things happen in every sector of public life.