Published on February 28, 2017, Vincenzo Aliberti, Ph.D.
The 3 Gems of Leadership
With a name like Vincenzo Aliberti one would assume that my heritage is Italian. That is a correct assumption. Since July 5, 2009 I have been living and working in Calgary. But no matter how great it is, I missed connecting with people of Canadian-Italian background, like I did when I was younger in Windsor, Ontario. I longed for even the simple connections like having a good conversation over a cappuccino.
On July 15, 2015 that totally changed. I bumped into Riccardo on the corner of 7th Avenue & 7th Street Southwest, and started a conversation with him with a simple “hi”. The next thing you know, we hopped on the C-train together and were headed to the same location, the Annual Oil & Gas Show. Within a few minutes we ended up exchanging a few business cards, and went our merry way. A few days later I called Riccardo and asked him if he would like to grab a cappuccino. He agreed and asked if he could bring a friend along. I said, absolutely.
A few weeks later, Riccardo, his friend, Luca, and I met at a café in downtown Calgary, and shared some stories about where we were from. Both Riccardo and Luca were from Rome. I was from a little town in Southern Italy called Taormina. We then spoke about how great Canada is, and we promised to keep in touch, which we did. Over time our group grew and 10 of us Canadian-Italian business professionals, entrepreneurs and owners met on a regular basis.
This got me thinking. Why stop there? Given that we’re all business professionals, maybe there is an organization that has a Canadian-Italian business focus that I could start here in Calgary and I discovered there was - the Canadian-Italian Business & Professional Association (CIBPA) -- www.cibpa.com . I’m one of those guys that takes the bull by the horn, so I contacted the national president, Robert (Bob) Sacco. I was intrigued by what he said about the association, and the next thing you know, I’m the president of the Calgary Chapter of CIBPA. Although it is a Canadian-Italian Business Association, anyone is welcome to join as a member. The association has an Canadian-Italian flair, and its purpose is to work with business professionals to grow themselves personally, professionally, as well as, create a sense of community for Calgary and area at-large.
The board was developed and we wanted to do something special. Something bigger. And we did. We held our first major CIBPA event on January 18, 2017 at Spolumbo's, a local restaurant that is renowned for its signature sausages. At that meeting there were business leaders, entrepreneurs and individuals that were on the Board of Directors of various associations and companies. When everything was said and done, the event was a smashing success.
Following the event, the CIBPA Board met to discuss why the event went so well. Three leadership gems were identified: 1) Vision, 2) Challenges, and 3) The New Reality.
- 1st Gem – The Vision. The board’s vision was to create a Canadian-Italian association that would enable business professionals and owners of businesses to grow themselves, their businesses, and the Calgary and area community at-large. The vision was clear as a flawless diamond. With clarity came simplicity, and with simplicity came ease of execution.
Once the vision was established, the goals and objectives were flushed out and executed upon by various members of the board.
- 2nd Gem – Challenges: No matter how good someone’s intention is, there are always going to be naysayers - people who believe that the association that we, the board, wanted to develop, was not required. We encountered people that looked at the world as if it were an Onyx gem, black, and did not see the benefit of having a CIBPA Chapter here in town. As leaders, it’s our duty to look at the Onyx gem, that challenge or negative force, and look at it as a precious gift, one that used the naysayers as fuel to more efficiently execute our goal, to host a fabulous CIBPA event on January 18, 2017.
The one thing to keep in mind as leaders is that although you may have a clear vision, and are resilient enough to embrace and supersede any obstacles that come your way, unless the 3rd Gem, The New Reality is addressed, everything is done in vain.
- 3rd Gem – The New Reality. As board members, it was critically important that we illustrate the benefit and value of this CIBPA, and then to deliver a successful event. Just like a Blue Sapphire Gem, where that blue represents, in my mind, the calm and composure that a leader needs to lead people in that future state of uncertainty, the new reality.
The CIBPA Board did this by taking this five-step approach:
- Step 1: It was critically important to understand what the DESIRE of the business group really was.
- Step 2: ASK for commitment once you have confirmed the need and demonstrated the desire to go and live in that new reality.
- Step 3: BELIEVE that the CIBPA Board could deliver exactly what the business group wanted delivered.
- Step 4: ALLOW for corrections, as the path to the new reality is never as straight as a leader may think.
- Step 5: Be GRATEFUL that you, as a leader, can make your vision a reality, a reality that impacts others for the better.
Bringing It Home
Realize that as a leader the vision you have for your organization, your department, your life with your family and friends, the “vision” regardless of how great it is, is not going to be accepted, and hence challenges/obstacles will present themselves. As a leader it is your duty to work through each obstacle in order to get the commitment from everyone involved. To get that commitment it is extremely important to point to the benefits of the new reality, because that is where not only you, but everyone will benefit from. It is through your vision, embracing each challenge and creating that new reality, that you truly demonstrate your value as a leader. After all, a leader sees the way, shows the way and lives the way. Let the three gems guide you!