It’s Election Day! Time to Collaborate

Gov LeavittToday is midterm election day in the United States and Americans are collectively crossing their fingers for a fresh crop of elected officials who will work together for the country’s good.

Michael O. Leavitt, former US secretary of Health and Human Services and Utah governor, recently spoke to Marriott School graduates about the power of coming together.

Leavitt received some astute advice as a young lieutenant. While training in Texas, Leavitt was housed with a successful general who counseled him, above all else, to learn how to manage and work with others.

“Collaboration skills have become, in my mind, a critical measure of leadership in this century,” Leavitt said. “The world is beginning to organize itself intuitively into alliances and networks. I’m not talking just about the social kind. I’m talking about the way nations, societies, communities, and businesses organize themselves for financial survival.”

This new formula for finding solutions did not come by magic, Leavitt explains. It came through hard work, collaboration, and the mutual desire to see permanent change for the better. The Founding Fathers are a prime example; they pioneered collaborative leadership and cemented those ideals into the country’s mentality, Leavitt said.

But working together isn’t just for those on Capitol Hill.

“We all have the capacity to develop a sphere of influence and to convene,” Leavitt continued. “If people have confidence and trust in us, if we can take care of relationships through networks, if we maintain a sense of objectivity, and if we refine and execute our diplomatic skills, we can become powerful conveners in big and small ways.”

Read Leavitt’s full speech, “Collaborative Leadership,” in the Fall 2014 issue of Marriott Alumni Magazine.