Cliff Kipp, Class of 2020, Kalispell
Session 2 for the Leadership Montana Class of 2020 offered a full slate of content spanning three northwestern communities and touching on topics like first nations’ cultural preservation, resource management, health/wellness, effective communication of (sometimes extreme) ideas/positions, and infrastructure development in one of the fastest-growing areas of our state. Initially, terrible road conditions and a major power outage did not stem the flow of conversation.
Words matter. We considered how language is inextricably tied to preservation of identity and ways of being for First Nations, and the next day we considered how extremist groups seek to gain social traction by normalizing language once considered inflammatory and degrading. We also considered the subtle but important difference between seeking to prove oneself and seeking simply to improve oneself. Read that again.
Intention Matters. We discussed the Seven Seismic Shifts capable leaders demonstrate as they move beyond management. We considered strengths and gaps associated with each of our representative personality types. We discussed the importance of Spirit and Setting as they relate to achieving meeting objectives, and being able to really act on feedback in the vein of Gracious Space.
Access Matters. We heard from professionals tackling concerns like providing adequate mental health support services in a time and place where death by suicide is alarmingly frequent. We heard about opportunities to improve local transportation infrastructure to better serve residents and visitors alike. We walked through a state-of-the-art medical facility banking on the notion that if it’s available, those in need will come.
Humans Matter. We discussed adapting to the needs of the emerging workforce while maintaining industry standards and professional expectations. We heard eight more classmates tell their introductory stories, put themselves out there, and open themselves to questions. We also heard from Montana’s Troubador, Jack Gladstone; I saw all y’all making bears ears on your heads and howling like wolves on cue.
I hope you all returned to your homes with increased awareness and appreciation for my corner of the state. I know I was brimming with pride as my friends/mentors addressed the group, and we toured the place I happily call home.