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Allison Smith

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What Do You Value?: ELP Recap

What do you value? And how we can advocate for communities where we want to live

Our September Emerging Leaders session revisited the model of Leadership Effectiveness and focused on commitment. Pete DeLisle told us about a study from the 1980’s which showed two different functioning commitment models. The first group does exactly what they are told to do impeccably with an eye towards position and power within the firm. The second group does what they are told to do and takes on responsibility without authority wherever they see need. This attitude stems from their desire to do interesting work.

People from the first group are effective to the organization and steadily ascend the “corporate ladder” of position and power. People from the second group do not get motivated by position or power but want to innovate and learn new things. These people end up in positions of power sooner due to the value they create for the organization. They tend to rise within their company faster, a phenomenon jokingly referred to as “taking the corporate elevator.”

Which one are you? Which one(s) are your manager(s)? The motivating factors and values are different for each group. What is the best perk a job can offer? We learned that picking your next job is a huge motivator for the second group.

Next Pete had us pick our top eight values (fill-in-the-blank was an option) from a list and then rate our satisfaction with each value. We were faced with the tough question, does our present circumstance align with our values? Pete shared an allegory – would we cross an I-beam between two skyscrapers for a large sum of money? Some of us would, others refused. Then Pete asked us if we would cross that same I-beam to save our children’s lives (or children we were close to), many of us (all?) said, “yes.” This was meant to help us realize our values.

Following Pete’s presentation, we had a moderated discussion with Lisa Neergaard from bcWORKSHOP, Katherine Seale from Preservation Dallas, Evan Sheets from Downtown Dallas, Inc, and Darryl Ratcliff from Ash Studios. We quizzed the panelists about a wide range of topics and what followed was a lively discussion about pressing issues within Dallas and ways to engage in the community and counter these issues. Issues like gentrification(displacement), racial and generational segregation, access to information and lack of participation were discussed.

As Architects, the panel recommended that we should join community organizations (speed date and pick the one you connect with), volunteer your time to listen and translate the community vision into sketches at workshops, work with artists at the conceptual phase of projects, speak at council meetings, and be an advocate for mixed income communities in your neighborhood. Low engagement is the most pressing issue in Dallas, whether that is voting, attending community meetings, or awareness of how our community operates.

Further the panel discussed specific opportunities where we can positively impact our communities and advocate for the communities where we want to live. A common message from all panelists to us was to keep getting involved in community projects and to ensure we do so consistently to maintain the trust of the communities we want to help.