The Best of: Summarizing the 2014 ILA Conference

My first participation in the International Leadership Association conference was a very enjoyable experience. Three full days of presentations (with too many options to count)  would appeal to any individual with interest in the broad field of leadership. The presentations were a good mix of practitioners speaking about real-life application of leadership as well those who research and provide insights about emerging leadership issues.

Thoughout the weekend I tweeted and blogged my favorite quotes from the sessions I attended. Here is a summary of my top 15:

  1. The crisis of US congress is an issue of followership and not an issue of leadership. Barbara Kellerman
  2. Followers are the gem cutters of leadership, coaxing out its full brilliance. Ira Chaleff @followercourage
  3. Leadership studies and leadership programs are not necessarily leadership development. Susan Komives @SusanKomives
  4. Vitamins are to people as values are to organizations. Bernie Jaworski
  5. We live in an era of organized irresponsibility.  Otto Scharmer @ottoscharmer1
  6. What happens at the beginning of any creative process? Nothing! Creativity requires that we create space and wait for something to emerge. Otto Scharmer
  7. We need to move beyond seeing people as hired hands to seeing them as hired hearts. Kathleen Patterson
  8. The lines between organizational culture and organizational brand are merging. Steve Trainor
  9. Its time to legitimize the term follower. Ronald Riggio @ronriggio
  10. The success of an intervention depends on the inner condition of the intervener. Bill O’Brien
  11. It is easier to recognize the quality of leadership in the behavior of their followers than it is in the behavior of the leader.  Kevin Lowe [Read this again – this is an amazing quote]
  12. Effective leaders of change must serve equally as agents of change and protectors of continuity. Samuel Wilson
  13. Our society must move from ego-system to eco-system economics. This requires that we shift from ego-system silos to eco-system awareness that  considers others and includes the whole. Otto Scharmer
  14. Succession planning often results in the selection of a weaker representation of yourself. Peter Drucker
  15. Courageous followership is the courage to stand up for leaders when they are right and stand up to them when they are wrong. Ira Chaleff

While the event is titled ‘International’, the actual content had a much more North American slant than I would have preferred. This event will be held in Europe next year so I’m sure this will improve. My conference highlight was the attention given to the importance of effective followership (my blog the week of ILA happened to focus on this – What if Everything Rises & Falls on Followership?). I believe that followership is a topic that will dominate leadership literature for the next decade or two. While I have very few negative comments about the conference, one would be related to the extremely heavy emphasis on the concept of mindful leadership (a somewhat self-evident concept to me). I had to laugh at the amount of conversations that I had where people used the phrase, “in my dissertation/book…”. It appears that the practices of servant leadership are still emerging. Or perhaps I’m just insecure because I haven’t written a book 😉

Details about next years conference in Barcelona, Spain can be found here (October 14 – 17, 2015). Those who wish to submit presentation proposals can do so here by February 1, 2015. #ILABarcelona

More detailed overviews of each of the days can be found here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3.


Head Shot

Jeff Suderman is a professor and consultant who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and their FutureReadiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman


13 Leadership Lessons: Quotes from day 1 of the International Leadership Conference – San Diego

As a first-time attendee at the International Leadership Conference, I really enjoyed my first day of sessions. Here are 13 lessons I learned about leadership on spooky October 31!

  1. The crisis of US congress is an issue of followership and not an issue of leadership. Barbara Kellerman
  2. In Japan, middle executives have been to more followership programs than leadership program (on average, they have attended four). In America it is the opposite.  Robert Kelley
  3. Followership is becoming the evolution of leadership. Ira Chaleff
  4. Followers need to speak with greater courage and authenticity Leaders need to reduce followers fear of speaking with greater fear and authenticity. Ira Chaleff
  5. All around the world, followers are getting stronger and leaders are getting weaker. Barbara Kellerman
  6. Followers must be able to utilize intelligent disobedience. We need to raise the next generation to appropriately question authority as well as willingly follow good leadership.
  7. The future of leadership studies will focus on leadership without leaders, without followers and without causality. Richard Cuoto
  8. Leadership is receding and others things are coming forefront.  Barbara Kellerman
  9. Leadership is not about individuals. Barbara Kellerman
  10. Leaders should bridge the gap between what ought to be and what is. Susan Komives
  11. Leadership studies and leadership programs are not necessarily leadership development. Susan Komives
  12. Leadership focuses too much on event making people and not eventful people.  Richard Cuoto
  13. The west possesses a leader-centric culture (that places far to much emphasis on the role of a leader). Ronald Riggio

Stay tuned for an update of day 2!