Leaders Growing Through Connections and Curiosity
By Rehnuma Karim Ph.D.
Founder, Heroes for All Inc. and Faculty, College at Brockport, SUNY
True leaders must stay hungry to grow. They need to take advantage of every opportunity to connect with people who challenge them to become their best versions.
When we choose to lead… we make a choice to execute with vision, empathy, persistence, adaptability, curiosity, awareness, positivity and faith. From my personal point of view—we slowly transform into leaders when we are ready to give our best with a goal of bringing positive change. And it’s not about the businesses we build for our own personal gain but it’s about the people we impact through the services or products we create.
The quote, “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role. It’s always about the goal…” truly resonated with me when studying characteristics of great leaders and companies.
Great companies who continue to leave a mark in the global arena strive to make a difference by asking what they can do differently to serve better. In our own backyard, Kodak was a shining example of imagination and innovation that aimed at making a difference on how we view films and taking pictures. It captured 90% of the US film market and was one of the world’s most valuable brands (Forbes, 2012). But sadly it came to an end when Kodak failed to adapt, and see changes occurring in the marketplace and with consumers. Management discouraged Steve Sasson, the Kodak engineer who, in 1975, invented the first digital camera, by asking him to keep quiet about his invention. They thought it might disrupt their existing film-based business. The problem was that Kodak failed to see the potential of what their business could have been. They didn’t focus on how to best serve their customers by more effectively and efficiently preserving precious moments of life. They were fearful of change.
Leaders of organizations can no longer afford to be complacent with fixed mindsets that thwart growth in a competitive era of globalization. Leaders today must emphasize two core areas of leadership development: building a network and continuous learning. Thankfully both of these elements are available to our community through the annual Global Leadership Summit (GLS) – a 2-day event which brings prominent speakers from all over the world via satellite to share their thoughts and experiences with the Rochester audience.
I was fortunate enough to be part of the organizing committee of the 2018 GLS which allowed me to connect with prominent community leaders and helped me gain knowledge of new trends and ideas. I learned that connecting with like-minded people brings about real change. Nothing is more powerful than getting people together for a common purpose. And that is why, true leaders must stay hungry to grow. They need to take advantage of every opportunity to connect with people who challenge them to become their best versions.
I was personally inspired meeting Dr. Ken Blanchard at the Summit, author of the bestselling book, The One Minute Manager. I had the opportunity to discuss his belief of true leadership: “We should not focus on love of power, but rather on the power of love.” At the Summit I was able to learn from leadership gurus such as Simon Sinek and John Maxwell—to name just a few. Rochester is very fortunate to be a part of this amazing initiative. It can play a transformative role in fostering change makers who can build a thriving community.
Rehnuma Karim, Ph.D. is the Founder of the New York and Bangladesh based Non-Profit Heroes for All Inc., and a faculty member at the College of Brockport. Her passion for leadership and motivation drives her to speak at various venues in academics and in business.