Fresh Perspectives: Emotional Intelligence and Leadership An Inteview with Annie McKee

October 2009 / Fresh Perspective

annie McKeeRuss VolckmannAnnie McKee earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University. She has co-authored two groundbreaking books on leadership, Primal Leadership (with Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis) and Resonant Leadership (also with Boyatzis) Her book, Becoming a Resonant Leader, was published in March, 2008. She serves as Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Education at Penn, and teaches at the Wharton School’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education. She is a founder of the Teleos Leadership Institute. In 2005, Business Week dubbed her “the high priestess of executive coaching”.

Russ: Annie McKee, welcome to Integral Leadership Review. I’m so excited to have the chance finally to speak with you after having been familiar with your work for many years now.

Annie: Thank you Russ, it’s great to finally get to meet you, and I’m delighted to do this.

Russ: Annie, one of the things that strikes me about you is that I can’t help myself but coming up with parallel images of Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama in terms of their life experience. You have gone through some remarkable periods of your life that you have transcended and included—if I can use that phrase—to build a really remarkable international career. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Annie: Well first, thank you for putting my name in the same sentence as Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln! I think we can all be thankful that Barack Obama has now made it acceptable to come from other than standard fare; it makes me really happy. Most of us have walked a winding path in life and no one’s is exactly the same, so I feel grateful that we’re living in a time where we can tell our stories. It’s true—my path has been a winding one. I had an unusual childhood and graduated from high school at a very young age. I was wise enough at that time to know that I wasn’t ready for college. It was a time during our nation’s history and in the world when young people were taking a look outside of our boundaries and venturing out. I did that for a number of years. I lived and worked in lots of different places between the ages of 16 and 22.

Russ: Is that nationally and internationally?

Annie: It was mostly in the U.S., but I also was in England for a while doing some interesting things. There’s a young man named Daniel—I don’t know his last name—and he’s working his way through the 50 states over the course of a year and I sort of did that. From cleaning houses to helping people with bookkeeping to waitressing to working with horses—you name it—and throughout all of it there was a thread for me that held things together. I was always looking for social justice opportunities to support the communities that I was in. It was an important thing for me. I didn’t have any fancy positions or jobs or anything like that, but there was always a drive in me to look at the community I was living in—no matter whether for a few weeks or a few months—and see what was and wasn’t working.

Russ:Can you give us an example?

Annie: Sure. For quite a while I lived in Laguna Beach, California. During that time there were a lot of groups of people taking a look at what we could—and should—be doing to try and support our environment. There were words like “conservation” being used back then. This was quite a long time ago as you may guess. I got actively involved in a couple of groups who were promoting healthy foods and vegetarian diets. We were trying to manage our food sources so that more people would have greater access to food. We did that on both a local and what we thought was a global level. We were trying to motivate people to look at the issue beyond the boundaries of our own day-to-day lives by not only eating a vegetarian diet, but also encouraging our communities to examine themselves.

We looked at the supermarkets and wondered what they were doing with that day-old produce? They were throwing it in garbage bins! We convinced a few of those supermarkets to give that produce to us because a) We could use it ourselves because we were poor and hungry, and b) We could distribute it amongst others who also needed it. It was perfectly fine food—it had just passed the “sell-by” date. That’s only one example—it’s nothing that was really remarkable, but it was important to us at the time.

Russ: How did you move beyond traveling the 50 states?

Annie: I got married. I wanted to have babies! And we did. We had three children—I was pretty young—and we ended up living in Hawaii. My now ex-husband was from there; we first lived in California and ended up settling in Hawaii. I lived in a very poor community and I became very active around social justice activities.

We were also tied to a global initiative supporting several countries, mostly in Latin America, that were at that time in the midst of civil war. It was an interesting time. “Think Globally, Act Locally” was a mantra that we actually lived. We were very, very poor—food stamps, welfare, the whole bit. I’m not holding that up as something noble. It was very painful, but there are an awful lot of people in our country now—as there were then—that have to live like that, as I did.

I decided that if I had to live that way, I was going to try and do something about it, not only for myself, but also for others. There were a number of us that banded together to try and help each other out. At the end of the month when the food stamps ran out, we’d have a sack of rice left. Maybe someone would have some vegetables from the garden. It was the loaves and fishes idea—we’d combine our food. We’d have a lot more than we could eat, so we’d invite others, too. That was the local action—the global action was looking at our nation’s policy with respect to nuclear weapons or aggressive stances with other countries. We were making some statements about those kinds of things as well.

Russ: And all of this with children in tow?

Annie: Yes, all of it with children in tow. They came with me to our meetings and community gatherings…I say “thank you” again to Barack Obama for making community organizing cool.

(laughter)

Annie: Fast forward a bit, and I realized at a certain point that as a single mom, I was going to have to do something differently. I started college after my third child was born and made some decisions to continue on with school. I found myself in a PhD. program in Cleveland, Ohio: Case Western Reserve University. It was one of the best things I ever did. I took my passion for community and human systems and educated myself about how I could contribute in a more profound way.

Russ:Was David Cooperrider there at the time?

Annie: He was! He was a young professor. I think he had just become a professor when I joined as a student. He is still there and still doing really wonderful work on “appreciative inquiry.”

Russ: Seems to me he also worked with Suresh Srivastva, didn’t he?

Annie: Yes, he did. I believe Suresh is pretty much thoroughly retired at this point. He and Cooperrider worked really closely on the beginnings of the appreciative inquiry stance. Those of us who were students at the time were involved in some of those early projects—it was really fun.

At Case Western I wasn’t sure what my intentions were. Remember, I had left rural Hawaii and community organizing. I was catapulted into the business world really quickly, partly because that’s what the Organizational Behavior degree did—it prepared people to work in organizations.

I needed to work while I was in that PhD. program. I had those three kids underneath my desk, so I began consulting in hospital systems and businesses almost as soon as I got there. That was a real shock to my system. I justified that—and I don’t think this was a rationalization—by saying, “Look how much time people spend in organizations in the world.” We spend 1/3 of our waking life at work. If we can find ways to help these organizations be more humane and sane, I feel pretty good about that. I did then and still do.

I should mention that when I left Case, my intention was to teach in academia and to consult, which I did. I taught at a small college. Then I was asked to join Wharton to teach in their MBA program in leadership. This again was a real surprise. I don’t even know how they found me. So I went and did that for a number of years.

Then I met Dan Goleman. Richard Boyatzis had been at Case, as you know. We remained friends and consulting partners long after I left Case—in fact, we still are. Richard, Dan and I began talking a lot in the mid-90’s about how to take Dan’s wonderful work, Richard’s fantastic research on competencies, and my practice out in the world of organizations and put them together. The result was Primal Leadership.

Russ: And now that’s available to the world. I’m hearing a number of influences in your work that include the appreciate inquiry/Case Western perspective, the business orientation of Case Western, your own political activity, and the emotional intelligence material. I’m assuming at that time the latter was associated with the Hay Group. Is that correct?

Annie: It was. I joined the Hay Group for about two years. It was a decision that Richard and Dan were instrumental in helping me to make. The idea was to go into the Hay Group to support them in developing their leadership practice with a focus on emotional intelligence, which I did for a couple of years. I enjoyed myself greatly and met some really wonderful and talented people. But I realized that a large consulting company was not the kind of environment that I wanted to be in.

Russ: Were there other intellectual streams of work or thought that were influencing your work in those times other than those I mentioned?

Annie: There were. I would de-emphasize appreciative inquiry a bit and emphasize qualitative research, although I wouldn’t have necessarily used that language in the communities and organizations I was working in. I would refer to it as, “Qualitative research that attempts to look at the multiple levels of human experience.” I know that sounds kind of academic, but I think your audience will understand what I’m getting at. I take systems theory and use it as a tool to understand the complexity of the human experience in groups and in organizations.

I developed a research methodology that allows us to uncover the root causes of issues: the underlying reasons for the symptoms that we see in organizational life and human pain in organizations, as well as the strengths and the opportunities that exist that often get ignored because people are in so much pain. I think that’s been a profound influence on my work—the search for how to understand the dynamic complexity of people’s experiences in groups and organizations. Once we understand it, then what do we do about it?

Russ: Could you say a little bit about the methodology? What is it about the methodology that has helped make it successful?

Annie: That’s a good question. I would say there are two main components. One would be the technique of interviewing itself. It sounds really simple, but in practice it can be profound. The point is to gently take people past their superficial answers to the four main questions:

  1. What do you need in order to be effective here? “Here” can be anywhere—in this organization, in this role, in this group, whatever.
  2. What do you think leaders need to be effective here?
  3. What do you think groups need to be effective here?
  4. What do you think this organization needs to be effective in the world?

It’s a systems approach. It has a positive slant. Once we ask those questions, we ask repeatedly, “Why do you think that?” For example, I might ask, “What do you need to be effective in your job, Russ?” You might say, “Well, I need access to interesting people. I need to be stimulated in my thinking by new ideas.” I might say, “Why?” and you might answer (hypothetically, of course), “Because I need to be creative in my work.” I might then say, “Why do you need that?” and you might say, “Because I see myself as a contributor to the world of new ideas.” Those types of queries take us to the deeper drivers of your behavior.

The second component is the stance of the interviewer. We look at these interviews as an opportunity to build a relationship and an opportunity to contribute to the person and to serve the person we’re with. So when we enter into a 45-minute or 90-minute interview, we go in with the intention of building a trusting, warm, open, friendly relationship. Our goal is for our interviewee to feel accepted and heard, to feel that his/her opinion really matters and is important, and that we can actually contribute to that person’s thinking or possibly offer that person a new perspective from which to view things. It’s absolutely not the tabula rasa empirical approach to data collection that you might see in certain academic settings. We truly engage in a process that some call “co-inquiry.”

Russ: It seems to me you are using the systems theory rubric to talk about a set of variables that I might include in an integral perspective from the point of view of both subjectivity and objectivity. Is that accurate?

Annie: You absolutely could! I think my work parallels Ken Wilber’s in certain ways, that being one of them. What I love about that is there’s a zeitgeist phenomena happening, I believe, around the world where a lot of us are trying to find ways to understand this crazy, complex world that we’re living in. I really think it’s truly wonderful and tremendous that we’re all coming at it slightly differently, but in an open, non-competitive frame that allows us to learn from each other. I feel really encouraged and optimistic about our world and our field when I think about what’s happening.

Russ: That’s exactly the introductory comment that I’m making in a pair of interviews that I’ll be publishing in Integral Review, which is different than Integral Leadership Review. I’ll be citing things like systems thinking and design thinking as well as the more transdisciplinary and integral types of perspectives.

I’m thinking back to your qualitative research methods and I’m seeing it emerge more and more in academic environments on the part of methodologists that are working with PhD. candidates upon whose dissertation committees I sit.

Annie: That’s really exciting, and I’m seeing it too. I feel great about that!

Russ: A second way your name came up for me was when it was mentioned by a colleague in relationship to a large international NGO and a project they were doing in Africa, Cambodia, and the Caribbean related to leadership training. But it was leadership training in order to engage with cultural and individual challenges in relation to addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis. Is that correct?

Annie: It is. We were so fortunate to be included in what ended up being a very impactful program over a number of years in quite a number of countries. The countries we were actively involved in were South Africa, Swaziland, Cambodia, and a number of countries in the Caribbean. This NGO, and in particular the person that was spearheading this initiative, was extremely far-sighted in their understanding of what might need to be done to address some of the issues related to HIV/AIDS.

This was 2001 thru 2005 or 2006, and in 2001, HIV/AIDS was being treated in most places as a medical issue—as a disease, as something that needed to be treated with some education, some prevention, but mostly it was a “medicalized” problem. Of course, anything that is transmitted sexually is going to be far more than just a medical problem. It will be tied to cultural practices, beliefs, economic situations, gender, political stances and positions on certain issues.

This particular NGO and the woman who was spearheading this initiative invited a number of us to use some of what we were developing in the business world vis-à-vis leadership. We created a process for what we called “capacity development” that would allow us to share some of our knowledge with people in these countries in a way that allowed them to then address some of the issues related to leadership on an individual level but also culture, economics, politics, etc.

We took our stance on leadership development by enabling people to chart a path for themselves through a process of intentional change, charting their own leadership development along a path that would allow them to reach their dreams. We coupled that with development of emotional intelligence competencies, which obviously are related to effective leadership. But they are also related to understanding really complex social issues. We combined that with the “program” designed specifically for this setting, called “Resonant Leadership for Results.” There were up to 150 people in a program at a time over a year. We have subsequently done this elsewhere, including in a number of private organizations. It’s been very successful.

The magic of the process was that we were able to identify approximately 10-20 people in each country with the help of the NGO. We partnered with them really closely to transmit our knowledge about leadership development, emotional intelligence, and about the interplay between individuals and the collective systems theories. We introduced the integral perspective of subjective/objective/individual/collective. This frame helped to form our thinking a little bit, although it was very much behind the scenes, because it was truly not that accessible or easily used in these settings. We were dealing cross-culturally through translation and we did many of these programs through translation as opposed to in English, but it did inform our thinking for sure.

We took these 10-20 people in each country over the course of 2-5 years and shared our knowledge with them. As a result, they have then transferred knowledge to others in their countries without our help. They have continued to do that in a variety of ways. It has been a blessing to be part of that. We are still close with a number of people, particularly in South Africa and Cambodia, who continue the work there, and we continue our work in a variety of countries and in a variety of ways.

Russ: Our colleague has told a number of stories about the impact of the program and I recall a particularly touching one. There was a sergeant in the police force. He and his wife came in to one of the training sessions one day. She approached our colleague and said she came with her husband because she wanted to see who and what was happening that made it possible for her husband to treat her as a partner for the first time in their married life.

Annie: That is a very touching story.

Russ:It’s very personal, and I have yet to hear a story about it impacting larger systems.

Annie:There have been a few. Let me start with what I consider to be a catalyst for activity at the collective level in South Africa during one of the years of the program. We had a large group of 100 people or so, and we had met with them once. There was a lot of resistance to the notion that the culture should be examined. We weren’t coming in demanding they change their culture—far from it! We were coming in with tools such as our dynamic inquiry process that allowed people to look at their own processes, practices and cultures, and make some decisions themselves.
There was a lot of disagreement in the group about whether we should be taking up the issue of HIV/AIDS at all and if so, how? One particular day, there was a lot of emotion in the room. We ended up sitting in this huge circle, intending to discuss how individuals’ experiences impacted the collective. We were in Africa—the I/We dichotomy is very much alive in many cultures in Africa.

In this particular session we were all there. We launched it by saying something like, “This is the time where your personal experience and the community experience will come together. This is a community.” For the next 5-6 hours, people shared stories of how HIV had impacted their lives. We heard about a man whose wife had been raped. What was he to do with her? He loved her. How could he continue on with her if she was HIV positive? We heard from people who were HIV positive and had been thrown from their homes and shunned by their community. On the flip side we heard from people who had overcome obstacles and had returned to their community 12-15 years later, healthy and living productive lives while taking antiretroviral drugs and contributing tremendously to their community.

The emotion that was sparked in those few hours rallied this community of very diverse people from all over South Africa—all walks of life—to get really serious about engaging in action learning out in their communities. Some of the things that resulted were amazing. One young woman was a very powerful minister of a very large church. That’s a rare thing. She had planned to do little Sunday school lessons to the children regarding HIV/AIDS. She chucked that plan and went straight to the parents. In turn, she taught a number of people to educate parents vis-à-vis HIV/AIDS, sexual practices, how to deal with their kids, and how to talk to their kids. She touched 2,000 parents in a year.

Another group worked with prostitutes in the areas around the mines. If you’re familiar with South Africa, you’ll know there is a transient work population. With forced transience come difficult circumstances, including poverty. These women were using prostitution as a means of dealing with poverty. One of the groups set up a program that traveled between mining camps working with young women who were basically attempting to feed themselves and their families. The group helped them to find a vision of a different life. It allowed them to see what they might be and do in the future and helped them get connected with skills training.

Russ:Thank you. You mentioned that emotional intelligence was a part of the thinking in your approach. When I look at the Hay Group ECI, in each of the self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management dimensions, there is a set of four variables. I think of them as statements around emotional intelligence that could be looked at as developmental. That is, they could be looked at as hierarchical models of development in the areas of emotional intelligence. As a consequence, they could be seen as a way of thinking about adult development in the emotional stream of development. Am I off base here?

Annie:I think I see where you’re going with that, because some of the competencies related to emotional intelligence are actually very complex and sophisticated. I wouldn’t necessarily see these in terms of a hierarchy. There are certain aspects of emotional intelligence that I believe are really fundamental: emotional self-awareness being one of them. If you’re lacking in emotional self-awareness, it’s really hard to control your emotions. If you can’t see how your feelings and moods are impacting your behavior, it’s really hard to get a handle on them and use them for positive change and for good with yourself and others.

The model is based on a lot of research. It is coming out of the framework of leadership competencies. We would say that a leadership competency is an observable, measurable behavior that is backed up by intention. We believe these things can be learned as opposed to just evolving over time.

Some literature indicates there are particular points of view that moral or ego development is something that develops over the course of a person’s lifetime. Our stance is that emotional intelligence can be learned at any point in life, and in fact, we promote the teaching and learning of emotional intelligence at all levels. In fact, Dan, Richard and I are just now getting involved in an advisory board for the Center for Social and Emotional Intelligence at the University of the Pacific. That organization is intending to bring teaching and learning of social and emotional intelligence to higher education, which we feel very passionate about.

I’m currently writing a textbook for management students that will also have a focus on the development of EI and SI. The learning of these competencies is not simple and it’s not necessarily easy. That’s where intentional change comes in. Richard has been absolutely instrumental in developing a theory of intentional change at the individual level that has been shown to increase the likelihood that people can actually change complex behaviors, like those associated with emotional intelligence.

In a nutshell, the proposition regarding intentional change is that in order for adults to change complex behaviors like attitudes and skills, we have to want to change. It’s simple and beautiful. People don’t change unless they want to.

The first step in the change process is getting very clear about what one’s vision for one’s ideal self in life might be. With that, we’re energized. We are more open. We can see the links between what we’re doing now and where we want to be. We have the resilience to follow through and to make some changes, to compare the real with the ideal, and then plan for change. There is a neurological basis for why this particular model is so successful. When we are excited, energized, optimistic, enthusiastically attached to a dream, we are more open and have more resilience. We are more creative and more adventurous. When we’re just focusing on the reality of today, for example—and most learning methodologies focus on deficiencies—when we focus on those deficiencies, we shut down cognitively.

Russ:That resonates with the data gathering and the interviewing methods that you talked about earlier. It also leads us into the next stage of the work that you’re involved with, particularly with Richard Boyatzis on resonant leadership. Three terms that you have associated with the notion of resonant leadership that really stood out for me were mindfulness, hope, and compassion. Could you tell us a bit about that?

Annie: Sure. First, thank you for attending to that. This dream for our work and our inquiry is really important to us and to me. We’ve been asking ourselves for a long time what it takes to be a good leader and we’re starting to find some answers; not “the” answers, trust me. This is a long course of study and it will continue long after Richard and I have ceased to work on it.

Emotional intelligence does make a difference. We know that now and the research is really clear. Creating what we would call a “resonant environment” that is ripe with enthusiasm and appropriate levels of challenge and hope, etc. does make a difference, because it allows people to be at their best.

But, when we look around at our organizations and institutions, and if we ask, “How many great leaders are there out there?” the answer is pretty darned depressing. Most of us who have been working for 5+ years would need ten fingers and toes to count up the bad managers and leaders we’ve seen. If we’re lucky we can count one or two good ones. Why is this? They aren’t bad people. Most people don’t get up in the morning feeling gleeful about hurting other people. So something must be happening. We think it’s the pressures that are inherent in a leader’s role.

And by the way, most people have to be leaders in their institutions and organizations today whether they hold the position or not.

Our organizations are flat, resources are slim or non-existent, the complexity inherent in the work and human processes are just huge, not to mention the fact that we seem to be addicted to change. Most people have to be leaders. With that comes pressure and stress that isn’t going to go away. We call it “power stress.” This is particularly true for good leaders. We take our responsibilities really seriously. We rise to the challenge. We face crises with creativity and hard work. We’re ready when we need to be. We give of ourselves constantly. Ultimately, we can become trapped in a repetitive and endless cycle of sacrifice and giving.

A recent study said that people in the U.S. are working one month more per year than we worked 20 years ago. Where did it come from? Last I knew it was January thru December. It’s coming out of our mornings and our evenings and our weekends and the lunch hours. Richard and I have been wondering how we can deal with this. It’s not going to change. The world isn’t all of a sudden going to become calm. If anything, that whole notion of the change process that may have been appropriate in the 50’s—Freeze, Thaw and Refreeze—doesn’t work anymore. Permanent whitewater is a much better metaphor.

So we looked at these three experiences that you mentioned—mindfulness, hope and compassion—and have tried to understand how engaging these experiences can literally counteract the physiological and psychological impacts of stress.

We start with mindfulness. Ellen Langer’s work at Harvard is excellent. If any of your readers are interested in learning more about mindfulness and mindful learning, they should look into her work. She takes a cognitive psychologist’s view of mindfulness. Basically, we’ve translated that into accessible language and are encouraging people to engage in practices that allow us to quite literally open our minds—to not get trapped by our own cognitive maps and our own processes, but to attempt at all times to be looking at ourselves, at people and the world around us with an open stance. We couple that with a Buddhist stance of bringing a sense of serenity, calm and openness into our being and our mental state.

We’ve taken both the cognitive psychology stance and the Buddhist stance and put them together in a practical, applied way. Our position is that cultivating practices that enhance mindfulness will enable us to begin to cultivate resilience and a sense of groundedness, even in the face of stress and pressure.

When we say the practices of mindfulness, we really do mean “practice.” Do something every day. It doesn’t have to be a 2-hour meditation practice or yoga twice daily, though if you do, good for you. It can be a 5-minute routine before you get out of bed. Instead of running over the stressful list in your head, just breathe and imagine how positive and beautiful your day is going to be. Imagine the smile you’ll see on your little girl’s face when you make her breakfast. Whatever it is for you—it can be ten minutes on the walk from the train to the office. Instead of punching text messages on your BlackBerry, pay attention to your surroundings. Walk and breathe.

Russ: And hope?

Annie: Hope. Absolutely! The experience of hope engages our neuropsychology—the parasympathetic nervous system. It literally counters the effects of stress and it’s contagious. If you are optimistic with a sense that you can do something positive in your surroundings, people will pick up on that and they will join.

Russ:And compassion.

Annie: And compassion. Like hope, it literally triggers the parasympathetic nervous system and counters stress.

Russ: Compassion reminds me of empathy, which is a concept that is politically active lately, but also appears in emotional intelligence.

Annie: That’s right. Compassion is empathy in action. It doesn’t have to be a great noble act. Simply asking someone, “How are you?” and actually waiting for—and listening to—the answer is enough.

Russ: So you’re doing your work out of an organization you call Teleos, which includes you, your husband, and a number of other people. Can you tell us about that organization?

Annie: We laughingly call ourselves the “micro-multi-national.” We are really small. We have a small core group. We’re based in Philadelphia and we have quite a few people around the world who work with us on various projects. We have advisory services. We are a consultancy. We advise Fortune 50 businesses—mostly large ones. We work at all levels of organizations in terms of leadership development services, but we usually work at the top of the organization to attempt to integrate what we bring in terms of leadership development and change. We try and integrate those two things with strategy so it’s making a difference throughout the organization.

Russ: One of the distinctions I like to make between leader as a role and leadership is that leadership includes all the systemic support for individuals being able to be effective as they step into leader roles. You seem to be expanding your work beyond just working with individuals to also trying to attend to larger systems, processes and structures and the like. Is that accurate?

Annie: Absolutely correct—well said in fact. One of the reasons that billions of dollars are wasted every single year on leadership development is because individuals go through leadership development programs that have little or no impact on or relevance. And, they return to systems that don’t support learning or change. They return to their organization and the systems are so powerful that the people can’t change. Even if they’ve learned great ways of being, learned great things about emotional intelligence, they can’t change because of the power of the systems. One of the systems that we pay most attention to at Teleos is organizational culture. We feel that it is a powerful driver of people’s behavior, of the outcomes of the organization, and it’s largely under-attended to.

Russ: Do you find that the relatively rapid turnover of executive leadership in large corporations inhibits the effective implementation of the work you’re doing?

Annie: It can. Absolutely. You need a strong push from the top of the organization if you’re really going to do any transformation. Turnover at the top has been accelerating for sure. Of course, with the meltdown of the economy, what power does the board have but to hire and fire the CEO? Obviously boards do a lot more than that, but that’s one of the things boards do and it’s frequently the first thing they do when things go wrong. My stance is that other than in rare instances, it takes far more than an individual to take an organization to greatness or bring it to the brink of disaster.

Russ: I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface and we’re almost out of time.

Annie: I truly have enjoyed speaking with you, Russ. You have allowed me the gift of sharing some of the things I’m most passionate about. I would like to thank you very much.

Russ: Well thank you, Annie, and I look forward to having the chance to meet you one day in person.

Annie: That would be truly wonderful.

Russ: Thank you very much, Annie.