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Strategic Leadership

One of my dMBA collegues wrote, “Michael Jordan was able to bring out the best in everyone.”

I would argue that the real question of what makes a good team is, what was Jordan doing in order to bring out the best in his teammates? How did he help his teammates rise to their best potential (or his own for that matter)? What was the “strategic choice” that was made? And furthermore, what are the actual behavioral changes that need to be made in order to achieve this kind of synchronicity. I would say…humility, strength, honesty, wisdom and more than anything else, the ability to listen and absorb the needs of others and act upon those needs in a meaningful and genuine way.

People flippantly throw around buzzwords like, “collaboration” and “behavioral willingness”. But do we really know what it means to do and be these things? Ultimately, the more grounded you are in your own internal strength and self-understanding, the more open and honest you can be with others. And in turn, the greater a leader you can be. This might sound very “oogie woogie” as my mom and I like to say, but I think it is true nonetheless.

My favorite quote, spoken by Nelson Mandela but written by Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Val Neumark Mickela - director of strategic initiatives & education, founder, headshot

Val Neumark

Val is a brand strategist, educator, facilitator and coach focused on using communications, design-thinking and technology as vehicles to advance equity. Through partnerships and collaborations, Val endeavors to co-design anti-racist, anti-oppressive spaces and tools that facilitate strategic-thinking, community building and sustainable growth for non-profits and social impact organizations.

Val has a Bachelor's Degree in Visual Arts & Media from University of California San Diego and a Master's Degree in Education from Pepperdine University. A 2016 recipient of Pepperdine University's inaugural 40 under 40 Award. In their free time Val plays soccer, loves to hike, watch baseball and read Mia Mayhem books with their daughter.