Ignite! Shifting the Face of Inclusion with General Martin Dempsey

General Martin E. Dempsey’s official government photo.

NOTE: At the bottom of this blog, please see links to my previous blogs about past Ignite sessions.

For the past few years, the Levin Jewish Community Center in Durham, North Carolina has offered a unique innovative series called the “Ignite Talks,” a networking and educational forum offered to members of our local community. Through talks and interviews with business and community leaders, (often very high power, nationally-recognized leaders), the series provides a unique venue to promote social responsibility, community building and continuing education.

Another outstanding session on November 19, 2018 featured General Martin Dempsey, who served as the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Barack Obama.

Mr. Dempsey’s Topic – Radical Inclusion. I was totally intrigued with the combination of this particular topic and speaker given the US Armed Services oft-reputation of struggling with some issues around diversity. And I was fortunate enough to win one of his books, “Radical Inclusion – What the Post 9/11 World Should Have Taught Us About Leadership.” I look forward to reading it and writing a blog about it in 2019.

I was so pleased to be one of the winners of General Martin Dempsey’s book.

Some of the main points of Mr. Dempsey’s discussion at the Ignite Session include:
• Everyone is some kind of leader somewhere in the lives, and everyone shares the same impediments to leadership.
• Inclusion is a key theme in leadership as the world continues to change rapidly.
• Leaders are under much more scrutiny these days.

Three key reasons why inclusion is so important for leadership:
• We need to seek knowledge from a wide circle of diverse expertise to lead in a complex world.
• We need partners!
• Joint inclusion solutions are more affordable. It is often more expensive to “go it alone.”

Additional points made included:
• You need to be confident enough in your leadership to delegate and give up control.
• It is very important to be open to continually learning. Example: President Obama would frequently ask his staff to “surprise him” by providing some new input that he didn’t already know.
• Leaders know how to imagine and energize people intelligently and innovatively.
• Leading through influence instead of exerting authority may take longer, but will result in stronger buy-in.

I thank Ignite and General Dempsey for all these wise insights, and I look forward to more of these Ignite Sessions in the future.

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My earlier blogs about past Ignite sessions:

From October, 2017, “The Art of Money” with David Rubenstein, one of the wealthiest people in the world.

From December, 2014, “Three Women Igniting Social Change in Second Careers.”

From December, 2013, a blog about two very different community and business leaders who spoke at two different Ignite Sessions, “Local Leaders as Social Innovators.”