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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with David DeVries, November 23 and December 2, 1998. Interview S-0010. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Hoping for changes in CCL's approach in the future

DeVries shares his predictions for CCL's future. He sees continued growth for CCL, but thinks also that it might change its approach to leadership training by using new technologies to reach a wider audience and address a broader range of issues.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with David DeVries, November 23 and December 2, 1998. Interview S-0010. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

You've named some very interesting characters. Where do you see the Center in ten years?
DAVID DE VRIES:
Ten years from now? Either two of very different places. I couldn't give you probability as to which one it would end up. One is it could be basically where it's at now except it would be bigger. It's impact would be greater on the field. But basically doing what it's doing right now. It really could feel very much like the same place. I guess actually what I would say at this point is I would assign a 70% probability to that quite frankly. I think it's more likely that it's going to end up there. Now it may be it will do what it's doing with more people around the globe in perhaps more places with some slight varied adaptations to specific leadership constituencies but basically doing what it's doing and being successful at that. Another option would be that it in ten years has redefined itself to be a organization that generates new ideas, develops prototypes, and then spins them off into a variety of other organizations for the full scale kind of dissemination of it. Those organizations might in ten years from now be software organizations so they create let us say the medium that is used to disseminate this is anything but stand-up trainers. Rather it's a variety of interactive software programs. The Center would be a collection of ad hoc multi-disciplinary teams focused on specific challenging issues within the field of leadership such as, "How can you create leadership in a leaderless group? What's the best kind of leadership in a leaderless group in which no one person is given the formal role of leader? How can you, as leaders, regularly reinvent...?" [END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A] [TAPE 2, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
ELIZABETH MILLWOOD:
This is an interview with David DeVries on December 2 and we were talking about where the Center may be in ten years.
DAVID DE VRIES:
Right. I was on the second of two examples or issues that these ad hoc new idea kind of development, whatever you call them, teams would be working on. Just how do individual executives, leaders reinvent themselves in a way that keeps them fresh, keeps them growing, keeps them being up to the interesting new challenges, basically, versus a more static model of leadership? Those are two. You could create a long list. But these would be very specific kinds of efforts which might go on three to five to ten years with real accountability in terms of what gets generated and how it's used. And then working all along to be sure that whatever products come out of those efforts and they do get disseminated widely, that the Center does not get—is not the principle agency for that dissemination.
ELIZABETH MILLWOOD:
So sort of creating them and then setting them free.
DAVID DE VRIES:
Exactly. Anyway, that obviously returns income to them and adds to their own visibility but doesn't drag them into the day to day kind of carrying out of that dissemination. That's the last thing that the Center really should be doing and unfortunately, it's really gotten caught up in that over the years. And now does that role get in the way of really new idea generation? It remains a fact that the Center is not nearly as good as doing that dissemination as its for-profit competitors for a variety of reasons. The Center never has been as good at and never will be as good at. That, by the way, that second model is more of a virtual organization model. These ad hoc teams could be drawn from the best and the brightest around the world. These do not have to be full-time permanent staff. In fact, God forbid that it would be. A portion of them could be but I could even see the majority of them not being. These are people to whom the Center can say, "We'll pay you to be part of this team because you've done some interesting work in this field. And we want your time and energy but you don't have to move to Greensboro, North Carolina. You may be living in London or San Diego or wherever but we're going to find ways for you to be part of the team."
ELIZABETH MILLWOOD:
Fascinating concept, it truly is.
DAVID DE VRIES:
I think the Center should have been playing with that a long time ago. It's really disappointing. I work with a variety of corporations around the country and they already are at that point. And one of the sad things about the Center is that it has not modeled innovative approaches to the whole field of new idea generation, new products creation. It's sad because the Center knows about these models. It convenes organizations around the world that are using these models but it doesn't apply these models themselves. That has always baffled me in the last ten years.