Turbo Leadership Systems

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Issue 32 To our clients and friends March 22, 2005
Becoming President That Works
Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Getting in over your head will help you grow to new heights

Tom, sales representative for a National office supply company, told Session 4 of the Leadership Development Lab™:

“It was November of 1992 and I was tapped to become the 50th President of the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce. Here I was just a lowly sales rep for Willamette Industries and now was headed towards a position that only 49 people had held before me!

So many things ran through my mind as I contemplated the task ahead. I would be helping to manage a budget of over $750,000 and a staff of six. I would need to know parliamentary procedure, how to give a speech in front of hundreds, and would be interfacing with mayors, school superintendents, and local politicians. It was expected that I would be an advocate for hundreds of area businesses; responsible for developing action plans to move the Chamber forward, and write a column for the Chamber newsletter each month.

Some issues were on the horizon for 1993 and the Chamber, Measure 5 was just beginning to have an effect on local schools and cities, the City of Beaverton would be celebrating its’ 100th anniversary, the current Chamber Executive Director who had been instrumental to the success of the Chamber for the past ten years was going to retire. This was the most troubling aspect of my tenure and I knew it

would define my success or failure.

My first order of business was to find a suitable replacement for our Executive Director.

As it turned out this was a four month process and led me into so many areas I’d never before traveled! Just the politics of finding someone worthy of replacing the previous director was daunting.

I took the challenge and we went through the year with great success including the retirement of some Chamber debt, increasing the membership, improving the Chambers’ relationship with the City of Beaverton, the Beaverton School District, and the Police and Fire Departments.

The lesson I learned from the experience is that I don’t have to be “ready” before I take on a huge task. I don’t always need to be an expert at something in order to try and accomplish it.

The action I call you to take is become involved in voluntary community activity. Engage yourself and you will expand your comfort zone. The only way you will ever grow is when you try something you may feel could get you 'in over your head'.

The benefit you will gain is a kind of personal confidence and sense of self worth. You will have a confidence you didn’t have before to take on tasks that are larger than you may initially believed you can handle.”