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Leadership and Influence

July 6, 2017
Reflections from the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program Session 5.

The LBJ Presidential Library on the campus of the University of Texas was the site of this June’s meeting of the 2017 Class of Presidential Leadership Scholars. Scholars heard from former members of the Johnson administration about the President’s approach to influence and persuasion.

This session concluded our visits to the four participating presidential centers — the George Bush Library in College Station, the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, and the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin. Throughout the program, the Scholars apply the lessons learned from these four presidents to enhance their own strategic partnerships, vision and communication, decision-making, and persuasion and influence.

Here’s a rundown of the activities in Austin:

  • The Scholars traveled to the LBJ Ranch in the Texas Hill Country. They were greeted by the President’s daughter, Luci Baines Johnson, who shared experiences from her lifelong connection to the “Texas White House,” including that fateful day in November 1963 when her father became President.
  • Bill Moyers, acclaimed broadcast journalist and former Press Secretary to President Johnson, traced the turbulent history of racial discrimination in this country that led up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, while giving the Scholars extraordinary insights into President Johnson’s strategy for influencing that outcome.
  • Professor Michael O’Leary from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and Dr. Mike Hemphill from the Clinton Foundation led the Scholars through an exploration of their own preferred styles of influence stressing the importance of developing a repertoire of influence strategies suitable for a wider variety of key stakeholders.
  • Former Special Assistant to the President Tom Johnson introduced Bill Moyers who was joined by former Special Counsel to President Johnson Larry Temple and the two provided insights into the role of presidential power and persuasion.
  • Former Executive Director of the LBJ Library, Mark Updegrove, shared with the Scholars various phone conversations between President Johnson, Dr. Martin Luther King, key legislators and other activists who were instrumental in successful passage of civil rights legislation.

  • Daron Roberts, who is the Founding Director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at the University of Texas, and a member of the Presidential Leadership Scholars class of 2015, shared with the Scholars his insights about the critical role of empathy and vulnerability in leadership.

    Our visit to the LBJ Presidential Library had a deep impact on the Scholars, all of whom are faced with the challenges of inspiring and influencing others to make this world a better place. Our thanks to the staff at the LBJ Library for providing the Scholars with an unforgettable experience. Next week we’ll be back in Dallas at the Bush Center for our final session and graduation ceremonies.

Applications are now open for the 2018 Presidential Leadership Scholars program. To learn more, visit www.presidentialleadershipscholars.org. For updates about the Presidential Leadership Scholars, use #PLScholars or follow @PLSprogram on Twitter.

This content originally appeared on the Medium page of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program.