It is simply not enough to focus solely on having a great business sector. If we only have great companies, we will merely have a prosperous society, not a great one. – Jim Collins
As I looked around the community of Southwest Michigan several years ago, this quote from Jim Collin’s book Good to Great stuck out in my mind. I was worried about the future of our community with three things becoming top concerns:
1) Due to all of the mergers and acquisitions, shrinking companies and change in the way we do commerce, we could no longer only rely upon our companies to make the community great.
2) With the aging Baby Boomers, we were facing a potentially huge leadership void from that retiring generation over the next 10 years. Was anyone prepared to step up?
3) Because of the economic downturn in the late 2000’s, organizations did not have the same resources or capacity to send people away to get training that would help make them great.
We had to come up with a solution. How do we lift the whole community and make sure Southwest Michigan is going to be not just good, but great? Out of a great effort to answer this question and address the above concerns, Catalyst University was born.
When we first started brainstorming Catalyst University, we knew we needed a mixing pot; a place where leaders of all industries could come together and realize they share common needs with common lessons to be learned, including not-for-profit, education, government, faith-based and business entities. Each industry may require specific knowledge, but leadership is leadership. Great leaders share the same skills.
Next, we had to address the issue of developing emerging and existing leaders to build up leadership in Southwest Michigan. In today’s world, we have leaders on a local level making decisions effecting companies on a global perspective. Fewer leaders are expected to make higher level decisions and lead teams at a faster pace. If current organizational leaders want to know the futures of our organizations are sound, we need to invest in young leaders now; it is the greatest investment we can make.
Finally, we decided to bring global leaders to Southwest Michigan to make this type of world-class leadership training far more affordable to organizations than sending their teams out of town for development. And instead of focusing on famous athletes or celebrities, we bring enlightened leaders to the community who are leading in the realm of young leadership or thought leadership. We seek to have both global and local stories of greatness translate into the lives of audience members.
This year, we will have 900 leaders in the room at Catalyst University. We want to impact as many lives and leaders as possible. We want the community to grow and thrive. We are doing this to build great leaders so they build great organizations that create jobs and economic vitality. By exposing people to thoughts, ideas, strategies and capacities, we are able to impact hundreds of organizations and thousands of leaders now and for the future.
If your organization is looking for a world-class leadership conference, Catalyst University is a great place to start. Companies interested in sending team members to Catalyst University 2014 can register or learn more via this website: www.catalystuniversity2014.com.