My favorite “meetings” of my entire life!

And, that is saying something because I’ve attend a lot of meetings!

Seriously, I’m just back from five days in Cincinnati and a stop in NYC and wow, what an incredible time.

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First off, we started last Thursday night with 23 ROC leaders, 4 national staff and 6 CTAPs at Nicholson’s Restaurant for dinner and the official opening of the national Community Leadership Institute. It was a little rocky with stormy weather interrupting flights coming from the Northeast but everyone arrived safely and nearly on time. Dinner was great.

I was happy to welcome everyone and start off the many “meetings” with the BIG PICTURE on what all of next five days meant.

I titled my talk, “The Power of Positive Leadership.”

At the core of what informs our training is Positive Leadership. Fundamentally, I agree with author and speaker Brian Tracy who says, “Leaders think and talk about the solutions.”

Leaders don’t just talk about problems – they lead with solutions. That’s what people want, grounded positive leadership. That’s what people respect. Now, a leader doesn’t need to know firsthand all of the solutions – you can lead a group to find solutions – but bottom-line, you better use your leadership to find solutions.

From there, the CTAPs – Kaia from Montana, Diane and Eric from Washington, Maureen from Mass., Kelli from NH, and Jessica from Maine – and the national team – Mary and Cathy – took over. Mike on the national team was photographer and driver and manager of many things.

Everyone participated in several workshops, including:

  • Facilitating Group Decision-Making
  • Emotional Intelligence and Conflict Resolution: “Keep cool, get results!”
  • ROCs Got Talent!

And, we had fun on the Riverboat Cruise, and were inspired by the Awardees at the Dorothy Richardson Awards Dinner.

We ended Saturday night with a five-year visioning exercise called “knitting an ideal yarn” wherein people expressed their vision for ROC USA and ROCs. I was personally moved to hear five of 23 leaders say they saw themselves running for the ROC USA Board of Directors!

I think this probably followed having the three ROC Association Directors – Colleen, Liz and Natividad – speak earlier in the day about their roles on the ROC USA Board. It’s real. It connects the whole organization to what matters most – successful ROCs that are Better Together!

This year we held everyone over an extra day to accomplish something really important.

The ROC USA Board of Directors and the entire national staff joined the CLI crew for work together on Sunday night and Monday morning as a part of the ROC USA strategic planning process. We wanted to know:

  • What does success look like to you?
  • What do ROC leaders and ROCs need to be successful?
  • How can ROC USA (that’s ROC USA generally whether it is ultimately a priority for a CTAP, ROC USA, ROC USA Network, or ROC USA Capital) help meet these needs?
  • What are your top three priorities for ROC USA?

The answers to these questions were just what we needed to continue to improve how we serve ROCs. A lot of people then left for their flights home while many of us stayed for a two-hour Board of Directors meeting.

We then took that very fresh ROC leader input and for one hour discussed what we had just heard from ROC leaders. That input will now be a central part of our 2015-18 Strategic Plan!

My analysis is that the very practical input from ROC leaders fit into three basic categories:

  1. Access to fully integrated local, regional and national training and peer linkage programs both online and in person.
  2. Access to high-quality property management and financial management services.
  3. Access to low-cost resources for infrastructure improvements.

Doing these things – and many things underneath each one – will help everyone accomplish their goals, which included:

  • Improving our community
  • Safe community
  • Financially stable community and financially successful cooperative
  • People are happy, enjoy living there
  • People feel pride
  • Housing is accessible and affordable to residents
  • We live in a place people want to come to
  • We have community involvement (not just board members)
  • Shared responsibility, engagement, camaraderie

What a great five days! I’ll bring more of the planning discussion back to you in future blogs. I’m excited about where this takes us. Thank you ROC Pack leaders for leading the way!

ROC on! Paul