A little over three years ago, I had recently been downsized and I felt depleted. With my enrollment in the JWMI program, each class presented new and exciting opportunities to refuel my passion. It was a lot of hard work, but it was also fun: the learning, the interacting, the push to become better – all of it.
Fast-forward to today. In about four hours I will walk onto a stage and shake Jack’s hand. Right now, I’m sitting in my room at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC. High floor. Panoramic and expansive view from the Capitol Dome, the Washington Monument, the lawn of the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and beyond. I see parallels between the geographic enormity of the horizon I am looking out on right now and the opportunities that are ahead of me because of this wonderful program.
Since enrolling in the program, I have landed a great job and been promoted to an even better job. Post-JWMI I am absolutely expecting to continue to drive hard for that next promotion. Each course has supplemented my learning, my abilities, and, perhaps most importantly, my ability to confidently lead. I always felt I was a good manager and leader, and I probably was. But good doesn’t cut it. To make the jump to the next level I needed this program. I needed the ‘5 slides’. I needed to hear Jack’s no-nonsense approach and allow it to sink in. It was important to understand that it’s OK to not be the smartest person in the room when you are the leader. And, most importantly for me, it was critical for me to learn how to assess and acquire talent, and to mold teams into super-performing teams that exceed expectations. If my team can’t be first or second on an internal scorecard, then we really need to consider what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how we can retool to make the jump to being the best. I no longer manage change – I drive it!
I have a long way to go, but I would not be the confident and compassionate leader I am today without this program and everyone in it. After just one year as the leader of 50 people, my branch has gone from second-worst to second-best in our region. We will be #1 within the next month or two because of the solid foundation we have taken the time to build and our commitment to putting the right people in the right jobs. I’ve made 100% certain we have every brain in the game. With the tools and knowledge I have gained in the program, I am very confident we will keep improving. I now understand better than ever that excellence is not a destination – it’s all about continually learning on Monday, and applying on Tuesday.