Leadership Outfitters prides itself in providing a balanced mix of theory, interaction, and practical application in all our content design and facilitation. Our interactive approach to strategic thinking and organizational development provides participants with an opportunity to consider a variety of aspects and perspectives impacting the organization’s future.
Our intentional approach allows volunteer and staff leadership to share knowledge and ideas as they sort through new approaches. We urge participants to engage in provocative thinking and exploration of "what if?" We accomplish this through a variety of strengths-based facilitation techniques and interactive activities. Our programs are known for being highly interactive and dynamic producing purposeful ideas for immediate implementation.
Leadership Outfitters is a consortium of six (6) primary content catalysts lead by Dr. Steve Swafford, IOM and Jill McCrory who combined have over 60 years of experience working for and with non-profits, small businesses, volunteer-based organizations, corporations, universities, and public agencies. Leadership Outfitters facilitators specialize in various areas of leadership development, strategic planning, communication, group facilitation, and staff training. Detailed background on our team is www.leadershipoutfitters.com/the_team.php. Our core team is located in Los Angeles; Boston; Washington, DC; Eugene, OR; Ft. Lauderdale; and Hartford, CT.
Road trip up the west coast of California by Jill McCrory and Steve Swafford. Spring 1996. A week of association executives training association executives. A flat of vine-ripe strawberries on the backseat. Convertible top down. Assorted vineyard visits. It was a “Thelma and Louise” adventure about to happen.
During that life-changing trip, we asked several entrepreneurial “what if?” questions revolving around our future career paths and launching a fresh approach to leadership development. In our association executive positions, we both were very passionate about providing practical tools that could be implemented immediately.
Jill remembers the impetus for starting the discussion around the new company: "Steve and I had been to a workshop where the speaker talked all around and about leadership, yet never gave us anything that we could take back and use. I remember walking back to the office lamenting that we had spent three hours on the theory of leadership, not on the practice. So, the seed had been planted before we ended up on the infamous California Road Trip."
While trade associations and professional societies continue to be our core client base, we have strategically collaborated with higher-education, government agencies, and faith-based communities. Our early relationships built with trade associations and professional societies are still strong today, developing into leadership development programs that have continued with some clients for more than 15 continuous years.
We still remember putting our new venture to flip chart paper over 20 years ago. We sketched an "L" for leadership which we drew to look like a fir tree. That never quite got past the flip chart stage. But we kept the tree theme for the first printed logo.
Three trees, with one tree standing in front of the others, was supposed to convey the thought that an effective leader stood out from the rest. Unfortunately because our name included "outfitters" everyone thought the trees meant that we were an outdoor clothing or survival company. We decided to let professionals get involved and had a PR company design the next logo. When we celebrated our 10th anniversary we added an "X" for 10 to that design. This element from our 10th Anniversary remains in our logo today.
From the very beginning, others who were dynamic facilitators, experienced in particular areas, and talented in a variety of ways joined the Leadership Outfitters team. Many are still active with the team. Some started their own spin off companies after joining Leadership Outfitters.
In 2017, Leadership Outfitters' will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Certainly that is a milestone for any company. Celebrating is in order! But most important are the relationships that have been forged, the memories that have been built, and the leaders who have been influenced as a result of these 20 years. Special thanks to Molly, Jim, Alyson, Dan, Greg, Bridget, Elizabeth, Marshall, Jeff, and Kent who have journeyed with us on the Leadership Outfitters team’s two decade (so far) journey.
We’ve had so many incredible personal and professional experiences all throughout the United States and Abroad. Steve even notched his 50th State visited in 2013 with a two-day stop in Fargo, North Dakota. Although our style and content evolves as organizations change, what stays the same is our pure joy and passion in what we do. We remain committed to living our “why” statement which is our commitment to sparking “Provocative Ideas for Practical Implementation.”
Participants may ask for these when they want to exhibit the behavior, or they may be given to a participant when the behavior is apparent.
For good ideas, fresh thinking, new perspective.
For things said or done that build up the team, recognize effort, or encourage others.
The “negafish” – for negativity and comments like “we can’t do that” or “it won’t work”.
The sacred cow – to identify processes, programs, rules, things we do because “we have always done it that way”.
Identifies whining – a little cheese with your “whine”.