by Tom Hastings
Recently I was invited to attend a Columbus Partnership leadership retreat at Harvard. My experience was eye opening and encouraging! The Columbus Partnership is a civic organization of community leaders whose goal is to improve the economic vitality of Central Ohio. Although The Partnership has many guiding principles & initiatives, their current focus is with economic development in Central Ohio-which is being executed. through the Columbus 2020! Plan.
I had an amazing surprise right off the bat – I was invited to fly on Les Wexner’s private jet with Partnership members. I definitely count this as a top five business experience! We flew to Cambridge and met for two days with Harvard Fellows and Professors who talked about business development, leadership and many other important topics. The conference provided a great opportunity for me to grow professionally and personally.
My initial take away from the leadership retreat is the humility of this group of leaders. The prevailing attitude was, “We’re here to learn because we believe that leadership is a journey and not a destination.” Their concise focus and mission is to develop Columbus & Central Ohio into the greatest community in the US to both work and live.
The Partnership retreat started with a roundtable discussion about the generations from Baby Boomers to Generation X and Generation Y and the differences on how people think based on their generations. We dovetailed into how each generation works and what they expect from the companies where they work. I found it fascinating: We are all the same and yet we are not-based on the generational timeframethat each of us was raised. Generational leadership is blossoming in Columbus, and to have this conversation with Harvard Fellows about what makes each of us tick is applicable to Columbus and our workforce.
Three successful city leaders led another discussion on where government and business work well together and where they don’t. The Partnership can take this information and knowledge and apply it to Columbus. When city government and business community leaders work together, long-term goals can be realized more effectively.
The Partnership believes – and I agree – that community involvement is good business. The biggest gift you can give and the biggest difference you can make is your time. Whether it’s reading to a second grade class or meeting with juniors and seniors who are contemplating college, the time and experience you share with students is invaluable.
I learned much at this leadership retreat-the value of trans-generational communication, the importance of humility & the positive impact and outcomes of community involvement.
CSC is already drawing up a plan to participate in Columbus education programs and expects to become more proactive and impactful in the daily business objectives of Columbus – I hope that you do too!