Grand Challenges

If you follow my work, you know I love Grand Challenges, and one of the greatest joys of my life is to help leaders develop and execute their own. A Grand Challenge is a bold goal that tackles an intractable problem, one that no one else has been able to solve.

The grand challenges I have been fortunate to work on include Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation, to measurably improve the health of America’s 3.6 million nurses; the Center for Financial Planning, which will ensure women, African Americans and Hispanics have entry into the finance industry; and the Thriving Earth Exchange, to bring together community leaders, scientists, and sponsors to work together on local issues related to natural resources, climate change, and natural hazards. All three of these Grand Challenges are making wonderful progress and making the world a better place because of it.

Each of these Grand Challenges addresses a problem that no one has yet found a solution to. In that sense, these challenges are truly grand, and they take a special kind of leader to take them. This leader must be willing to face the unknown in new ways, craft innovative solutions and learn a great deal as they marshal the players who will work toward their goal.

For me, this work is a calling, a magnetic higher purpose that asks me to give all I have to help these visions be realized. It gives me hope, desire, and raises my sights beyond my reach. Having work like this is one of the greatest joys life brings.

Is there something you can pursue this week that strikes the notes of your heart, that calls to you?

Every calling is great when greatly pursued.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes

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