2018 Servant Leadership Reflections

As the owner and leader of two companies that provide leadership development and executive coaching, I spent time over the holidays reflecting on 2018 accomplishments and setting goals for 2019.  While 2018 was a great year for both Groove Management and LeaderSurf from productivity, growth and financial standpoint, our greatest achievement was in the impact we made.

When measuring the impact, I began by looking at the number of client engagements and the number of people we helped in fulfilling or mission of “helping individuals and organizations to maximize performance by focusing on their strengths”.  Groove Management worked with large enterprises like Charter Communications, Circle K and Munich RE, mid size companies like Daramic, Electrolux, and the CRVA as well as smaller companies including Adaptive Insights, AccruePartners, and Toast.  The variety of clients and work was very rewarding.  LeaderSurf hosted two very successful experiential leadership development programs.  One in Nicaragua and one in Costa Rica.  Given the political unrest in Nicaragua we had to literally catch a new wave in Costa Rica. It turned out to be a great move for the program.  LeaderSurf hosted participants from the USA, South Africa and India expanding our reach and developing leaders from around the globe.

While we are proud of the core work we performed in 2018, our proudest accomplishment lies in the people in need that we helped through our servant leadership charitable work.  I am a firm believer that leadership should be a selfless act and that the best leaders are servant leaders.  At Groove Management and LeaderSurf, we teach leaders the importance of being servant leaders and we like to model that behavior as well.  We helped people in need in the USA, Canada, Nicaragua and Costa Rica through our aid work. Below is an infographic showcasing our impact on those in need in 2018. 

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In addition to impacting hundreds of people in need, we helped business leaders, teachers and corporate employees to recognize the power of servant leadership through our initiatives.  Groove Management conducted several corporate and school system focused Charity Bike Build Challenge workshops in 2018.  We even had the opportunity to lead one for Circle K’s executive team in Montreal, Canada.  The Charity Bike Build Challenge is a favorite team building activity of ours because it teaches the power of collaboration in teams, the importance of balancing quality and speed and the critical importance of focusing on the customer.  Experiential learning has the highest level of learning retention and this activity creates indelible memories and team work lessons that are hard to articulate.

As part of the LeaderSurf experiential leadership development program, we dedicate a day of the program to our humanitarian aid work.  We call the aid day project LeaderServe because we spend the day as leaders serving those less fortunate than us.  The LeaderSurf program is hosted in beautiful beach-side paradise settings in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. However, there are significant poverty issues not far from the beaches in both countries.  During the February 2018 LeaderSurf program in Nicaragua, participants traveled to a village outside Nadame, Nicaragua where we met at a local school.  We installed 20 Sawyer water filters which each provide up to 100 gallons of clean drinking water per day and can last up to five years.  The villagers cannot drink the local water because it is contaminated from the farming run off.  Instead they have to buy water at the local store, but water and soda cost the same, so they buy soda instead.  This has led to obesity issues, tooth decay and other health issues.  The simple filter that we install change lives of these families.  We have installed over 60 filters since the LeaderServe initiative began.  In addition to the filters, LeaderSurf participants bring clothing, school supplies and backpacks to donate to local children.  The children and teachers do not have adequate learning materials, so these supplies make a big difference.

During the November 2018 LeaderSurf program in Nosara, Costa Rica the participants visited a local village that had storm damage from flooding rains.  We spent the day making repairs to home and installing an A-Frame swing set for the community.  The swing set project was a great team activity that required team work and coordination.  I was very impressed with the collaborative spirit and speed with which the participants installed the swing set.  The best part was to watch the local children hop on the swings and the giant smiles on their faces when we were done.

2018 was a great year of giving back and teaching clients to be servant leaders.  I take great pride in the impact that my two organizations have made and I look forward to having an even larger impact in 2019.  It is my hope that I can expose more employees from more organizations to the power of servant leadership.

Brian Signature