This year’s Innovative Leadership Conference, held this week during the 2016 Sons of Norway International Convention in Tacoma, WA, provided delegates a solid framework for developing their own leadership skills and the tools for mentoring potential new leaders in their respective lodges. The conference was led by communications expert Kit Welchlin, who engaged the group of more than 120 with interactive exercises and in-depth discussion.

Participants worked through four learning modules: Teamwork, Conflict Resolution/Negotiation, Strategic Planning and Mentoring/Leadership and left the conference armed with tools and tactics to improve their leadership skills and convey what they learned to potential new leaders.


The Teamwork module featured factors toward building cohesiveness and a collective sense of identity:

  • Shared or compatible goals
  • Progress toward these goals
  • Shared norms
  • Lack of perceived threat between members
  • Interdependence of members
  • Threat from outside the team
  • Mutual perceived attractiveness and friendship
  • Shared team experiences

The Conflict Resolution/Negotiation session focused on building a supportive communication climate. The content encouraged viewing others on the same level and being worthy and deserving of respect. Additional tactics included considering the value of an idea, regardless of the source; communicating openness, trust and self-confidence; and understanding a situation from the other person’s point of view.

The Strategic Planning module presented a clear definition of the term: A coordinated and systematic process for developing a plan for the overall direction of your lodge for the purpose of optimizing future potential – a plan that defines the goals for the entire lodge, district or organization. Also presented in the Strategic Planning session were detailed components of a strategic plan and each phase of implementation:

  1. Determine your core purpose and envisioned future.
  2. Assess your strategic position.
  3. Develop your strategies and priorities.
  4. Cascade your strategies to actions.
  5. Align your people and financial resources.
  6. Execute your plan.

Finally, the Mentorship/Leadership session detailed why mentorship is a strategic organizational imperative: When successful, a mentoring experience can provide a measurable improvement or increase in productivity, retention, commitment, satisfaction, knowledge sharing, leadership growth and succession planning.

More take-aways from the conference will be available online to Son of Norway members in the coming weeks.