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Looking for leaders



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Former councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, who is challenging the mayor's seat, said: "My primary leadership style is as an achiever. Owning a successful small business requires a focus on the market and actions taken in response to it.

"My business relies on all of us working effectively as a team. As a litigator, of course, I am goal-oriented. When a matter goes to trial there is no middle ground. On the other hand, my experience as a volunteer and councillor has elements of being a strategist. For example, when we founded the Community Foundation of Whistler, we followed a deliberate strategy of carefully setting up policies and procedures before we went into the marketplace looking for donors. It was painstaking in the short-term but has served the Foundation well over the longer term."

Councillor Ralph Forsyth, who rounds out the mayor's race to three, said he falls between an achiever and individualist.

"I am an achiever because I'm very much a goal oriented person," said Forsyth. "I believe in setting targets and having a plan to execute them. I'm also an individualist because I enjoy creating the strategies that will improve performance. It's no surprise to me that I fall into these categories - I love doing research into leadership traits and often identify with these types of categories. I do this as I'm always looking for ways to improve my own performance and the performance of my business clients. I always advise my clients that, 'if you know your goal, your role and your team you will succeed,' because it's worked for me."

Steeves said though just four per cent of the population in general are strategists, this is the kind of leader to look for.

"To be able to think about the good of society... how you balance the budget but do everything the community wants and how you do something more than just run the show, how you make a difference in the world."

And to effect major organizational change the leader has to be a strategist or joined at the hip with a consultant or CAO who is a strategist. If not, said Steeves, research shows the change fails.

The framework, and where a person falls in it, is developed through life experience.

Steeves said: "So what I would want to know from our mayoral candidates is: tell me about your life and your experiences? What have you done? What's the biggest mistake (you've made)? Tell us about that story and how you learned and how you became who you are."