Some thoughts on LLP - Plus some Guiding Principles

It has been a priveledge to be able to volunteer and serve with the Leadership La Plata program.   Since the original conversations with Steve Parker, to the formation of the first Steering Committee, through the 10 years of Leadership La Plata classes, including all the lessons learned along the way, this community leadership program has exceeded our expectations.   Many events, discussions and decisions have occurred during the first decade of LLP history.  They all point to a focus, vision and willingness to improve our communities through a community leadership program that impacts participants, organizers and community members.  Now we have another challenge:  How to improve the quality of the program, while retaining the tradition of excellence we’ve worked so hard to create.

Perhaps these guiding principles could help in that goal of excellence:


  1. People are the most important part of Leadership La Plata:  the class members, volunteers, Chamber staff and Steering Committee.
  2. Diversity means different things to various people. For LLP, our intent is to create a leadership “learning” environment that transcends the traditional boundaries in our community.
  3. Leadership is an art form.   It must be practiced in community to be effective.  Sacrifice, risk, hard work, and integrity represent some of the many characteristics needed in our community leaders.  How is LLP doing in terms of giving emerging leaders enhanced opportunities to practice leadership in our communities?
  4. If a community member is elected, appointed or hired into a leadership position in our communities, we need to encourage them as a LLP graduate or ask why they didn’t become involved in LLP prior to community service.
  5. We can’t leave class selection to numbers, forms, charts or graphs.  We need to continuously develop a selection process that combines various means of evaluation so as to present the best qualified individuals, yet using our judgment, we need to select the best qualified class. Qualified? Who is or will be leading our communities now and in the years to come (in all sectors: public, private and non-profit)?  Are they in the next year’s class?
  6. Class Dynamics:  Women and men, newcomer and native, well educated and high school, young and old, ethnic backgrounds, urban and rural…how many part of each spectrum can be reasonably represented?  The goal is to create a leadership learning environment that transcends the traditional boundaries and limited communications we have as a community.
  7. Volunteerism:  The key to a successful program.  Thanks to the Chamber for their tactical and professional staff support.  The volunteers are the spark that sets the leadership fires going.  New ideas, innovations, new programs…don’t let the success of the past constrain the future.
  8. Have fun!  We may take what we do with LLP seriously…and we should.  But we can’t take ourselves or life too seriously…humor is a good medicine.

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