Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kosair Shriners' New $5 Million Headquarters

Shawn Warren, CEO of Kosair Shriners, stands outside
of the new Kosair Shriners headquarters. Oct., 29, 2014

A public dedication event Saturday for the Kosair Shriners' new $5 million headquarters in a remodeled car dealership in Buechel signals a new chapter in the group's 130-year history in Louisville and also introduces a soon-to-be restaurant open to the public.  A grand ballroom with a cushioned dance floor in the former car service area and meeting and dining rooms also will be available for public rental in the building, 4120 Bardstown Road.

The Shriners had hoped to be in the new, 41,000-square-foot building by now, but unanticipated permitting and construction code requirements delayed the renovation process by eight to 10 weeks, after some work began in February, Shawn Warren, the group's potentate and CEO, said.
Now the organization hopes to move in this February, when the restaurant in the former car showroom will open to the public for breakfast and lunch. Pillars and a portico will be added in front at the main entrance, and a large parking area will be landscaped.

"When we're done, it will be a showplace," Warren said.  The dedication event was scheduled on the same day as the organization's annual Potentate Ball, which it had hoped to hold at the new site. Instead the ball will be held again at the organization's current multi-level Kosair Shrine Temple, 812 S. Second St., which was purchased for $3.85 million in March of last year by adjacent Spalding University.

Saturday's event will include a symbolic and traditional "cornerstone laying" ceremony overseen by the Masons' Grand Lodge, which has headquarters at the Masonic Homes of Kentucky campus on Frankfort Avenue. The building used to have a bowling alley, before being expanded over the years.
The Shriners are still using the downtown building until their new building is ready, and it has a public dining room there, too, that has long attracted business people and others.

Two months after Spalding bought the downtown building, the Shriners bought the former Swope Auto Group site for $2.26 million. Proceeds from the sale of the building to Spalding are helping pay for the overall $5 million cost of the headquarters project — which includes about $3 million for remodeling — along with proceeds from the sale of Shriner property on River Road in the 1990s.
The Kosair Circus offices, which are now in a separate building near the temple downtown, will also move to the new site, and a Louisville ballroom dance group that uses the downtown ballroom is expected to move, too, Warren said. The Kosair Circus is held annually in February at Broadbent Arena.

The Shriners have about 30 "special interest" groups for members, including ones for motorcycle riders, its band and former and current pilots — and each will have a separate meeting room at the new headquarters. Retiree groups from L & N and the Air National Guard that currently use meeting areas in the downtown building and others also will be able to use the new site, and the Shriners hope to attract new user groups, Warren said.

Many of the Shriners' 2,400 members lived between I-65 and the Gene Snyder Freeway along the Taylorsville Road corridor, and the group wanted a centrally located, one- or two-story building that would be more accessible to older members. The current site downtown has four main levels and about 13 sub-levels in all, connected by staircases, Warren said.

The organization's original building, the Kosair Shrine Mosque and Hotel, 224 E. Broadway near Floyd Street, still survives as an office building owned by Norton Properties next to Walgreens.
The exterior still has copper-colored panels with Arabic-style inscriptions from when the group occupied it for a few years in the 1920s, before tough economic times forced the sale of the building, Warren said.

The group then met at other sites, including the old Henry Clay Hotel and the Scottish Rite Temple at Brook and Gray streets, before buying th current building from the musicians' union.

Reporter Martha Elson can be reached at (502) 582-7061. Follow her on Twitter at @MarthaElson_cj.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Number One Reason Why Leaders Fail - by Keith Johnston

How often have you seen people thrust into leadership roles and fall flat on their face? Sometimes you knew or maybe even hoped they would fail because in your mind they did not have what it takes to be a leader. Other times the person was simply not ready to take on leadership responsibility.
Leadership failure does not just hurt the individual; the whole organization suffers when a leader fails.

Regardless of the situation, a high percentage of new leaders, or people taking on new leadership responsibilities, do fail.

I believe the primary reason for the high failure rate is because many people simply don’t understand leadership. As a result, management fails in their responsibility to prepare and support leaders in their roles.

If they understood leadership they would:
• Ensure that new leaders understood what is expected of them
• Invest time in matching the skills of the individual with their role
• Prepare their people for leadership responsibilities through training, and
• Provide the opportunities to test their leadership skills prior to stepping into a leader’s shoes.

When management makes a decision to promote someone into a leadership position they are frequently under pressure to fill a crucial role. The pressure is created as the result of a vacancy in a leadership position or new projects/initiatives creating a need for new leaders.

Forward thinking management teams have been preparing people for leadership roles and have several options when they find themselves needing a new leader.

Management teams who do not understand leadership are caught flat footed. They end up taking a knee-jerk reaction, promoting people into leadership roles based on the wrong criteria.

Criteria that are used most frequently include experience in current position and technical ability.
Given the need for leaders to be credible there is some logic to these decisions; but they fail to consider the leadership skills which are critical for success.

Critical skills include the ability to: 1) instill confidence, 2) inspire a shared vision 3) build relationships 4) make tough decisions 5) get things done through other people.

Not all leaders will be required to build and promote a vision for their team, but they may have to create alignment around a vision or champion the execution of tasks to achieve a vision.

Regardless of the role facing the leader, the challenge will be to achieve goals through other people. The people that need to be influenced include subordinates, executives, outsiders and peers. Many of these new leaders have always been able to achieve results in isolation and therefore find it difficult to motivate other people to deliver results.

Management teams fail to recognize leadership is not a one size fits all proposition. Different leadership styles and skills are needed in different situations. Ignoring this fact can result in good people being put into the wrong roles.

The really sad thing is that developing an effective leadership program is not rocket science, and companies don’t need to send their people to a six week course at The University of Notre Dame to teach them leadership.

There are multiple assessment tools, programs and coaches available that can help jump start leadership development programs without breaking the bank or consuming an inordinate amount of time.