Written by Tom Deighan, LPS Superintendent
Last year, the Lawton-Fort Sill community celebrated leadership during an event at Cameron University. Hosted by the Greater Lawton Rotary Club (GLRC), it brought leaders from all over Southwest Oklahoma to the McCasland Ballroom for a simulcast of nationally recognized leadership experts. Civic, community, business, faith, and educational leaders focused together on “service above self”, believing that shared leadership can be the norm rather than the exception. The Lawton Rotary Leadership Institute was born, but Lawtonians wanted more.
Leaders immediately scheduled the second GLRC Leadership Institute for November 4, 2016, and partnerships formed across the community as men and women strategized ways to increase the impact of this year’s event. Clearly, leadership could not be contained in a single day. As much as they valued last year, they saw opportunities to multiply the impact and value of this year’s Institute. The message of “service above self” resonated and people immediately recognized that we need to reach all generations, all sectors of the community, and all levels of leadership. After all, leadership is not leadership unless others are brought alongside.
A community-wide leadership training model emerged, one which would include a broad base of leaders. We needed Fort Sill and the City Council at the table. We needed civic groups and ministers. We needed tribes, legislators, and educators. Lawton Public Schools, Great Plains Technology Center, and Cameron University captured the vision in a proposal which the McMahon Foundation funded to include as many leaders as possible in this year’s event. Beyond our wildest expectations, McMahon funding also provides the program to Cameron, Great Plains, and LPS free-of-charge. Nevertheless, more could be done.
So much is packed into the Leadership Institute that attendees requested pre- and post-Institute trainings in order to maximize their investment. The result: a 90-day leadership immersion for organizations and leaders called “Leaders of Leaders”. Pre-Institute training will help organizations prepare their staff for the November 4 event by forming shared vision and goals for the next 90 days. The Post-Institute workshop will offer participants a time of reflection and celebration as they identify strategies to continue building on their successes throughout the year. Through this model, the Lawton Rotary Club hopes to extend the value of the GLRC Leadership Institute beyond a one day event. And by having key leaders across all sectors and age groups at the table, the Rotary Club hopes to foster a community of leadership which evolves into a culture of leadership over time.
The ultimate goal, however, is a Legacy of Leadership. The Greater Lawton Rotary Club and all its partners believe that Lawton-Fort Sill is a community of leadership. The legacy we build and pass on to our children must be founded on the eternal qualities and shared professional ideals that will ensure greatness for generations to come. Just imagine the third largest metropolitan area in Oklahoma moving forward with shared values, shared vision, and boldness. It is not about the GLRC Leadership Institute or Rotary or any of us individually. It is about shaping our culture. It’s about leadership. It’s about legacy.
So get ready for leadership. The date for the Rotary Leadership Institute is November 4th, but that is only a small point in time for Lawton-Fort Sill as community, civic, business, education, and faith leaders converge. Their focus is not just a day or a season . . . but a community, culture, and legacy of leadership, and it has the potential to shape the path for generations to come. Just imagine what is next!