I had the great privilege of attending and providing executive coaching to eight strategic leaders at this year’s Linkage’s Global Institute for Leadership Development (GILD).  In addition to coaching incredibly talented executives from around the world, I am able to listen to four days of incredible keynotes, and participate in an immersive experience.

If you are an executive looking for purpose, inspiration, ideas and applied learning, GILD is for you. Some come alone, but most come in teams from their business unit or organization.  GILD leverages it’s Purpose Driven Leadership Model, and all participants have an experience that is well beyond your typical conference.  The GILD journey takes attendees through all these experiences throughout the week:  Assess – Coach – Learn – Connect – Apply.

Are you interested in a few of my learning points from this years keynote presentations?  Here are a few.  If you’d like to know more about this powerful leadership experience, give me a call, or check out the Linkage website for 2019 plans (http://www.linkageinc.com/institutes/global-institute-leadership-development.com)..

POWER OF PURPOSE – Richard Leider

Linkage GILD co-chair Richard Leider took center stage and challenged us to thing about our purpose; our aim in life.


What we learned:

  • A quick and practical approach to exploring why we are here:  Gifts + Passions + Values = Calling.
  • Purpose is something we do, not something we have.
  • To grow and to give is the key to becoming.
  • Purpose is mindset.  It is not a goal.  Purpose is direction.
  • Ask yourself:  What is life asking of me now?


INNOVATE – Stephen Shapiro

In this fun and engaging session, every leader got five random playing cards—the tools they would need to play “Personality Poker.” But, these weren’t just any playing cards. Each card had a personality trait, like “creative,” “analytical,” “organized” and “empathetic,” and the goal was to build a hand that perfectly describes you as a leader.


What we learned:

  • Our natural tendency is to surround ourselves with people who are similar to us. In organizations, this is great for efficiency—but it kills innovation. The people who are most unlike us are the people we need the most.
  • The goal of innovation is relevance. The key to innovation is complex formulation and solving.
  • Innovation is an end-to-end process that starts with an issue, problem or opportunity and ends with the creation of value.
  • You need to make sure that your team is playing with a full deck—that is, a nice balance of different styles and personalities!


ENGAGE – Dave Logan

Every group, family, division, organization, business unit, industry, profession, and person has a “default future,” a future state that will inevitably occur if something unexpected doesn’t come along. The very best leaders anticipate this default future and, if they don’t like what they see, confront it head on. Ultimately, they replace it with an “inventive future”.

What we learned:

  • Engagement is the result of a fire that is lit within someone.
  • Leadership is indirect; you don’t get there by telling people what to do. Motivational speeches never work!
  • You can take a Minimum Viable Step (MVS) right now and make a positive step toward your “inventive future”. One real-world example: If your company struggles with silos, make a point of having lunch with someone from outside your group.


PURPOSE – Carla Harris:

Purposeful, powerful leadership requires us to tap into our authentic selves with courage, commitment, and clarity. Leadership starts with what we think and feel—and the two are always intertwined, explained Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley.

What we learned:

  • We must have the courage in our leadership to be our authentic selves and also speak truth to power, even when it’s risky and difficult.
  • When we become dedicated to our people–honoring and building diversity, empowering others, and offering transparency–we become transformational leaders who can transform our organizations.
  • Clarify what our impact should and could be in our world. Then, leadership becomes an act of serving something else–or someone else–before ourselves.


BECOME – Sean Kavanagh

Last summer, Sean Kavanagh changed his views on leadership, presence, and risk—the work he has been focused on for much of his professional career. The reason? He was hit by a truck during his bike ride to work, suffering multiple, life-threatening injuries. Through the following year of slow and steady recovery, Sean learned what was really important to him–personally and professionally–and it completely changed his thinking.

What we learned:

  • Be brave about the person you want to be. Have more courage to take the risk of falling and encourage your team to risk falling.
  • Don’t be a helicopter leader! Provide growth opportunities for the next generation.
  • Becoming a leader is the ability to connect with the head and the heart of another person.
  • Leading and healing are the same thing! Learn from your falls so you can inspire and engage others to take risks, innovate, and achieve.
  • Rethink what you know. PTSD = Post-Traumatic Self-Discovery


ACHIEVE – Michael Bungay Steiner

Michael Bungay Stanier, Founder and Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, knows that coaching is a foundational skill for every manager and leader. With humor and wit, he offered us five essential questions to kickstart in-the-moment coaching.

What we learned:

  • When leaders make coaching an everyday way of working, they create more focus, more courage,and more resilience.
  • Coaching = work less, more impact
  • We think that the first challenge that shows up is the real challenge, and it almost never is. Ask yourself: What is the real challenge here?
  • To be an effective coach, you need to understand how people learn. The most powerful learning mechanism is to have people reflect on what just happened.


Consider sending yourself, your management team, and emerging executives as part of developing your company’s leadership pipeline.  You won’t regret it.


Dan Loichinger is the founder and president of Loichinger Advantage LLC, an executive coaching and development firm in Madison, Wisconsin.  He is focused on being a catalytic force for business owners and executives as a Vistage Chair, executive coach, and affiliate for Linkage clients.

He is married to his wife Lisa, and together they have three grown children who live and work in Denver, Colorado and Milwaukee.  They enjoy biking, skiing, cheering on the Green Bay Packers, and spending time in the Rockies together.