Meet Me Where I Live or My Collaboration Methodology, The Nuts and Bolts

It is no secret that I am a transparent personality. I wear my heart on my sleeve. That is by design. You see, I have a God-sized assignment. It is to develop a new generation of civically engaged educated Black men in America starting with inner city Black youth attending Atlanta Public Schools. The only way I know to accomplish this in the time I have here on earth is through Collaboration.

I understand that no man is an island and that working with others is paramount to a successful outcome. I am challenged by others often enough about my ability to Collaborate that I want to address it here. I hope that by doing so others will more fully understand the task at hand, and what I have in my heart. If they do, my desire is that they will open theirs to me in the spirit of Collaboration.

Over the last ten years in my capacity as CEO of L.E.A.D., Inc., I have been honored to work with at-risk inner-city young Black males to empower them to lead and transform their city of Atlanta. L.E.A.D. partners with Atlanta Public Schools, grades 6 through 12, using baseball as the vehicle for transformation. During that time, I have done a lot of soul-searching, heart-searching and self-questioning to grow into the leader I am today. I have “a ways” to go, but I am blessed to have the unwavering support of family, friends and colleagues to help me become the best leader I can be.

2017-18 L.E.A.D. Ambassadors

Also, during that period of personal and professional growth, I developed a methodology for Collaboration that has served L.E.A.D. and its Ambassadors well. To have a successful Collaborative outcome, potential collaborators must define their Conviction and Connection and look for Consensus. Communication is also key. I use this methodology when looking for those with whom to Collaborate. Following is an explanation:

Conviction has four components, and each person involved needs to determine: (i) what they can do; (ii) what they can’t do; (iii) what they will do; and (iv) what they won’t do.

For me:

· I can lead by example based on my life experience.
· I can’t be all things to all people.
· I will serve out of my passion, purpose and grit.
· I won’t spend significant energy and time on things that I’m not passionate about.

I believe this process must happen first because it reveals what’s in the heart. Connection can’t happen without it.

Connection happens when we – potential collaborators – know each other’s hearts. Connection happens when we understand each other strengths and weaknesses. Simply put, through the Conviction process we find out how our earthly talents, spiritual gifts, skills and desires complement each other. We find out what one person can do that another can’t, and what one person will do that another won’t.

Consensus is personal to me and should be taken into consideration by any potential collaborator in their own life. Let me set the expectation here. My wife, Kelli, is my gatekeeper. She is my helper, and voice, from God. Kelli must buy-in to any Collaboration. If she doesn’t even after we, as potential collaborators, have explored Conviction and Connection, there won’t be a Collaboration.

Communication needs to be Clear, Concise and Consistent by and among Collaborators from the start and must continue in that vein until the Collaborative effort is over.

For Collaboration to work for me it must involve a task of God-sized proportion. It must be an assignment from Him. It must be God-sized for it to be worth my prayers, energy and time.

We all know that Atlanta will never become a world class city until hundreds of thousands of Black males are living a sustainable life of significance. I know that the task to get us there is the development of “a new generation of civically engaged educated Black men in America starting with inner city Black youth attending Atlanta Public Schools.” That’s God-sized.

To that end, L.E.A.D. has successfully empowered a group of young Black men from Atlanta to graduate from APS high schools, go on to college, and work in their chosen fields, but we have much more to do before we can dub Atlanta world class.

I challenge you to think about how your “can dos” and “will dos” could work with my “can’ts” and “won’ts” and how together we can positively impact our world with a successful outcome of this God-sized task. Contact me and let’s start the process.