- April 12th, 2009 4:18 AM
I’m always stunned by spring in Baltimore, and not just by all the trees that break into a riot of blooms at this time of year. For 23 years in April I’ve been going back to facilitate the annual Visioning Retreat for the Leadership, a program run by the Greater Baltimore Committee. Fifty five leaders from public, private, and community organizations participate in this one year program, one of the most evolved in the country for people who are still full time employed. It’s a cross gender, cross race, maximum diversity group. If you’ve ever watched The Wire (on HBO for five seasons) you’ll appreciate just how tough things are for many in this city. But there is another side, which is the incredible resourcefulness of local leadership as they struggle to deal with problems. It is these “buddings” that inspire me the very most. I can’t share the confidential stories, but I’d like to share the format for this retreat. It is a time-tested success model.
We begin the retreat with an introductory exercise on a big bird’s eye mural of Baltimore that I create the evening before. We ask “what would you support or change” and everyone introduces themselves with their offering. I record it all, and this is the result. It hangs up the rest of the retreat as everyone focuses on what is being called for from his or her as leaders.