Our trip to Washington, DC was great. We visited the Lincoln Memorial, went to the Smithsonian Zoo to see the giant panda on its last day before heading to China, and then went to the Newseum. Each of these made me reflect on leadership and learning in a key way.
Lincoln Memorial – While some might argue that Lincoln was not our finest president, I believe he was. His ability to work well with others (even with those whose views were different), his valuing of freedoms, whether it be for people or for their words, and his humble beginnings and inherited humility provided for many of the ingredients that our best leaders show. Learning from Lincoln is one of my favorite leadership books as well. An enlightening read with much to teach us!
The Smithsonian Zoo – The zoo’s structure, with many open spaces so even the biggest crowds don’t feel that big, and its consistently “slightly” downhill slope (depending on where you start from, of course), make for an experience that allows you to forget everything else but the organisms you’re observing. Plus, the fact that it is free, at all times, makes it accessible to everyone. Accessibility to learning and an environment that allows learners to concentrate on the learning itself, are keys to success, and requirements for all of our organizations.
The Newseum – I am a huge proponent of people saying what is on their minds. I think, particularly after reading Thanks for the Feedback, that all feedback is important. Therefore, everyone needs to have the opportunity to share their thinking. Exhibits that focused on the Berlin Wall, freedom of the press, and expressing independence through music, all helped reiterate the importance of free speech to me.
Our trip was great, with tremendous learning for all of us. I always enjoy the opportunity to think back on experiences, and value what our nation’s capital has to teach us!