By Jill H Grambow, Cohort 3 Alumna

On May 30, 2019

I know that the yard at the corner house was fertilized two Saturdays ago. I saw the little white sign poking out of the thick grass that suggests kids and pets stay off the poison lawn for two days. I know the blacktop on 8th and Pacific is busted into three big chunks of asphalt around the railroad tracks, likely from the sharp snowplow blade banging into the rails all winter. I also know there is a squished bottle cap just passed the driveway of the old credit union. It somehow fused its way into the asphalt and is now part of the street.

I always look down when I walk. I observe everything in a 3-foot radius as I think and as I go. I watch my feet traipsing across old and new sidewalk squares while I march to the beat of my dog’s silver tag that swings to the rhythm of her prancing gate.

As Cohort 4 of Nonprofit Leadership Institute strolled into the first session of their year-long excursion, they began by performing close observation:  Personal Leadership. Bridget Wenman of Perspectives Training and Consulting walked the group through a detail of their leadership profiles — the perfect opener.

It has been quite a while since I read The Leadership Challenge, but it bears revisiting. Kouzes and Posner (2007) said it best, “The instrument of leadership is the self, and mastery of the art of leadership comes from mastery of the self” (p. 344). Module 1 generates self-awareness and discovery, paving the way for the journey of leadership development. It starts as an adventure of the soul.

Cohort 4 is walking down a path where they are poised to evaluate their convictions; lead with courage during adversity; handle setbacks; build relationships; persist; celebrate; and create a climate of trust and inspiration (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). We first must be honest about the way we lead ourselves and then “open yourself up to a more global view” (Kouzes & Posner, 2007, p. 345). Close observation is an important first step. Study what lies within and examine all that is in your immediate purview. Then, for heaven’s sake, look up as you go!        


Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2007). The leadership challenge. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.