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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Transforming Society and Self

CCL’s Jeffrey Yip recently interviewed Sam Voorhies of World Vision for an upcoming issue of the Leadership in Action journal. Sam spoke about the role leadership development has to play in accomplishing the organization's mission.

“World Vision globally is growing very rapidly. We’ve doubled in the last five years, and we project this growth to double again. Human talent and developing leadership capacity is our biggest challenge. We can raise all the money we want, but if we don’t have capable people to design programs and deliver them locally, it won’t happen. Our strategy is to identify and develop local leaders and not rely on expatriates.

Most of my work has been at the national and global level in the area of program development, leadership, and evaluation. The cross cutting theme of my work is in developing leadership capacities across all levels – indigenous leadership, national and global leadership. This work has been a tremendous education for me enriching me in ways I never thought possible. If we are going to facilitate transformational development in the communities of need, we have to be transformed ourselves. I would say our biggest challenge is growing our own leaders.”

Voorhies' words echo the wisdom of the greatest change agents of the 20th Century:
  • Mandela: “One of the most difficult things is not to change society, but to change yourself.”
  • Gandhi: "As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves."
To address the great problems of our time we should take note that change must take place within people to enable the greater transformation we seek in the world.

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