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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Stan Gryskiewicz, January 15, 1999. Interview S-0017. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Evolving work and globalization with the Center in the 1990s

Gryskiewicz describes how his work with the Center for Creative Leadership evolved into the 1990s. On the one hand, he focuses on his goal to finish his book, <cite>Positive Turbulence</cite>. On the other hand, Gryskiewicz describes his role with the Center's steady globalization.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Stan Gryskiewicz, January 15, 1999. Interview S-0017. 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

JOSEPH MOSNIER:
Let me take you back a moment. I want to ask another question about doing the book. What was it like to take on this project and to spend a couple years with that as your principle task in front of you?
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
Well, the problem was it wasn't my principle task. And I also in the middle of that took on the responsibility of global for the Center. They wanted me for that role and I really felt like my experience had set me up in a way that other people weren't paying attention to our global partners or even our chance to reach out and have a footprint globally. The next step I saw was really Asia. And let me give you a context for this. In '89, I was part of the committee to decide Europe and where in Europe. So now it's '98-99 and we're doing the same thing about Asia. So if we don't start talking about it now, we're going to be left out. So it took us eight years to finally get money coming back from Europe. Maybe we could speed it up. What did we learn from doing that that could speed up the process? I know one of the things we're doing much better this time is connecting in with the right people. We decided what part of Asia to go to and we connected with the right people in that part of the world. It's like we're connected to and I'm keeping my fingers crossed, to a major ambassador named Tommy Kho who is an ambassador at large to Singapore, active in the U.N. He authored the Treaty of the Seas. It's like if we had gone into Brussels the equivalent being connected to Jacques Chirac back then. So we hope we can speed up the process. We know that's how it works over there. We're hooked up to the right organizations that are similar to ours, researched-based organizations over there that are non-profit. So we've done our homework and we're hoping that we can learn from our lessons learned of going into Europe will help us into Asia. So that was going on at the same time of the book but I don't think, Joe, that I am the kind of person that could just sit down and write a book with nothing else going on. The only thing that finally got me shook up and scared was deadlines.
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
Sure.
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
And then finally realizing that if I don't get this done, I'll never get it done. So carving out significant like four week times with nothing else to do. I'm not sure I could last more than four weeks with doing that but I did that twice to get to this point. And I'm pleased with the piece that finished. It won't come out—I was just looking at e-mail that said it may not come out until the end of June. My fault. If I had gotten in last November, it probably would have been out by May or so, but it's finished. I'm going to miss a major conference called American Society of Training and Development but that's my fault. But so the book really is me, my career, where I think the field is going and my statement as a 52 year old who's been in the field for 30 something years, 30 years. That's what its statement is about. I did it knowing my style. I think the global stuff—I'm working with a good group now. Meena Suri-Wilson who's from India and who's lived and did her Ph.D. here and been in the states and did her Ph.D. at Chapel Hill and did her undergraduate out in one of the colleges out in California, one of the small ones out there in Berkeley. And I have another couple of good staff members here who are getting us to help the organization think about Asia and more structure in a more structured way. So how am I going to spend the next part of my career? I hope it's being able to react to or have the public react to the book and to the dialogue I started. I would love to see my work with AMI and all this other stuff, officers of innovation in organizations practice positive turbulence which is the name of the book. That kind of stuff, I would love to see that kind of foothold. I think I was the first person to bring structured creativity to Japan. That was an interesting thing. Who knows, maybe ten years from now we'll really have had a foothold there and I'll have some kind of an impact there. I'm hoping also that the global stuff will take off for the Center. We're doing the beginning work. Five, six years from now, the Center will be known in Asia.
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
Is the institutional [unclear] in place?
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
Yeah. My sign was that I presented what it would cost and the executive committee said, "Let's talk about this." And we had a four hour conversation and they said okay. So we kept the money [unclear] . And as you can imagine, most of it is travel. Some of it is going to be relationship building.
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
It's hard to measure the return sometimes.
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
And I just have to keep reminding them of what—and I have to do my lessons learned from the past are the better job with internal connecting into people so it's not seen as something that's off to the side, an appendage that can be cut off. But we have our—the other thing that's working for me is we have our clients dragging us globally. Our clients are there already. And part of our reputation or how we're seen is are you a global company? I don't know, are we? But we're working in Singapore. We've got 12 associates around the world. Yeah, we are. So we just need to—so part of that is working for us, that our client base is working for us and this notion of being able to say that we are a global company is working for us. So that's what I see happening over the next couple of years.