Walking around the iconic and beautiful site, I reflected on the recent gathering of our strong and diverse group of volunteer leaders and IMA staff in New Jersey.
Stonehenge contains almost 100 massive upright stones placed in a circular layout. The outer ring reminded me of the vast group of members and finance professionals that our Board represents. The four station stones placed around the edges brought back memories of the rigorous work of the chairs of our Board committees (Global Markets, Strategic Planning, Volunteer Leadership, and Performance Oversight and Audit—with alignment by a fifth committee, Governance). These stones mark a perfect rectangle whose central point is in the exact middle of the monument. That center contains an imposing formation with huge lintels, and I couldn’t help but smile and think about IMA’s senior leadership team, which carries so much weight for our community and is responsible for the heavy lifting and strategic direction on a daily basis.
Just like our global volunteer leaders attending the meeting, each rock at Stonehenge was brought to this landscape arrangement from faraway places. Together and in formation, they form an impressive symbol for unity and peace. The powerful effect reminded me of what an organization’s chair aims to accomplish during events like the Board meeting in Montvale: You want everyone to come together to converse openly and honestly about the necessary transformations the organization is going through, but you also want everyone to feel united through a strong governance and community structure.
The circle formation of Stonehenge also brought to mind management guru Stephen Covey’s circles of influence and control. In the middle of Covey’s leadership model is a circle that represents acting and control. These are the things we can change and have direct control over—our personal values and what we work on. This circle is surrounded by a larger circle, which is the circle of influence. These are things that we can change indirectly (e.g., partnerships and peer strategies). Finally, there’s an outer circle that stands for external concerns that we have very little control over but that require a reaction (e.g., the economy and regulation).
For me, a good Global Board meeting needs to address all three circles, and I’m proud to say we certainly touched on all the circular layers of control and influence. Not only did we look at IMA’s immediate, short-term future, diving into the organization’s performance this year, but we also allowed ourselves sufficient reflection time to think about IMA’s longer-term future and more indirect responses to what’s going on in the world.
Reminiscent of Stonehenge, IMA has an excellent foundation, and our leadership relationships are rock solid. Our history and governance structures make us who we are, and if we stay open to new control measures and responses to changing times, IMA will surely stay relevant for future generations of finance professionals.