We join the larger group of US delegates for the start of a two-day conference, filling a large windowless hall with our interpretations of business casual dress. Like ourselves, the Americans work at a range of institution-types: there are delegates from community colleges, large universities and, surprisingly, the National Rifle Association. Many of us are expanding our fundraising operations, launching them from scratch or rebooting them, so people management is important and that is the focus of today’s sessions. We explore communications and relationships, assess our ‘Management and Leadership IQ (c)’.
Later, while the US contingent head out to alluring-sounding restaurants, the Brits stay in the hotel discussing the intricacies of our matched funding scheme. One institution gets a round of applause for having already achieved their target for the three-year period. As we share the joy, I’m reminded of a slide from earlier in the day quoted a neurological study indicating that altruistic giving stimulates the same parts of the brain as sex. Arguably, then, we are working in a benign version of the sex industry, an insight worth a 4000-mile trip to unlock: ‘Know Thyself’ being a key precept of leadership.