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Emerging Leaders Learn from Harry Potter

Adaptors, bridgers, and innovators exist in every team environment. How do they contribute to the groups success?

Our June session of the ELP program was a welcome relief to the Texas Heat! We kicked off the afternoon with a thoughtful discussion, replete with fun and lively commentary. Our trusty mentor led us on a journey through the cognitive problem-solving process.  We learned about the short comings and the advantages of the adaptive problem solving of Thomas Edison, the innovative problem solving of Nikola Tesla, and the bridges that are charged with working with both! The adaptive problem solver looks for the one solution that has the most merit given all the constraints that exist on the table. Reason and order are their cup of tea.  The innovator can think of limitless solutions to many problems, at the same time. They is often lonely and frustrated as they are often not understood and trusted by others. The bridge does exactly what it sounds like, works between the two and is often an un-sung hero.  They are able to find a common language between all parties and steer the team towards the same goal

An ideal High Performing team would have each of these problem solvers in its makeup as can be evidenced in so many cultural and historical teams.  One need only think of the wildly successful Harry Potter series to see the innovative thinking of Harry, the Adaptive thinking of Hermione, and then the bridge, Ron.

The class had the pleasure of welcoming Brian Miller, Lillian Giering, and Ian Zapata to engage in a discussion on the topic of Firm Leadership. Brian, Chief Design Officer of The Beck Group Director shared his perspective on the leadership of an integrated Architecture and Construction Company. Lillian, Principal and Regional Client Relationship Community Leader shared her path from working as an interior designer in a small firm to becoming a principal in an international design firm. Ian, Design Director and Global Practice Area Leader, also with Gensler, shared his lessons learned and the importance of building a more diverse leadership group. All had such amazing feedback and sage advice for the room.  A few key takeaways are to: Take The Risk, Get a Mentor, and Give Grace.

Interest in the Dreyfus club project has been overwhelming. Class liaisons have been meeting regularly with stakeholders in the parks department and the community at large who form what is termed as the Project Advisory Team.  A visioning session was hosted last month where the design team asked the group to come prepared for two activities to help us to better understand their vision and values for the new club. The members were asked to bring two images that best represent what they think the spirit of the new Dreyfus Club should be. The trick to the exercise was that the images could not include buildings. The second exercise was to write a postcard from the year 2050 looking back on the past 30 years of impact that the new Dreyfus Club has had. Below is one example of a postcard that was presented in the session.

June 2050

Last night a summer stormed moved through Dallas and damaged the beloved Dreyfuss Club.  I had to go see for myself the damage that was done.  When I arrived, I found others there to mourn the temporary loss of this building.  This is much more than a building to those hanging on to the temporary fence, it is a part of their lives.   One couple shared this is where their parents got married, where their baby shower was held and where they got married.  Another young man told me of all the school club events he attended. There was another couple who told me about their annual family reunions held here.  A women told me about attending Mater Naturalist classes and meetings here and how much she enjoyed sitting on the front porch to watch the beautiful sunsets with the Dallas skyline.  Some of the people were reaching through the fence to pick up debris, so that they could take home a piece of the Dreyfuss Club with them. As I was leaving, I noticed all the flowers left in the fence, left for their beloved Dreyfuss Club.

The session was exciting, and the design team left with a much better understanding of the type of space that the community is wanting. Two of the key takeaways from the session are that the community wants something timeless that fits within the context of White Rock Lake and something that will enhance the quality of the place. The community has a deep love for park and that has been felt with every presentation and meeting. The next session will bring more energy and excitement as we host an internal design charette and begin to envision how the new Dreyfus Club will take shape.

The class would like to give a shout out to ALA for graciously hosting our June session in their showroom, and bonus points go to Tim Filesi for bringing in gelato to help us beat the heat! The day ended with a nice happy hour at the local Peticolas Brewing Company taproom in the Design District.