Feb 19, 2020
Michael Giorgione is the author
of Inside Camp David:
The Private World of the Presidential
Retreat. Michael dives
into how the world’s leaders build relationships that can last
through hardships, disagreements, and tragedies. Michael witnessed
four U.S. Presidents at Camp David and how they interacted with
world leaders despite vast cultural
[8:00] With so many different
cultures and countries out there, the common element you can always
relate to is that we are all human. Most of us love food and love
our families. These two things, despite our differences, bring us
[8:55] We conduct more and more
meetings over the phone/computer, but you still need that
face-to-face interaction at least once a year to fully leverage the
[10:25] With so many diverse
cultures coming into Camp David, Michael had to do his homework and
make sure he acted respectfully within cultural norms.
[11:55] This might sound
surprising, but great leaders know when to relax. At Camp David,
leaders weren’t afraid to kick off their shoes, recharge, and eat a
[15:25] The conduct of some of
the guests there had surprised Michael and made him cringe,
especially from those who weren’t very familiar with military
ethics and protocol. It boiled down to a lack of self-awareness of
how they treated others. However, Michael was able to meet four
presidents at Camp David and the first families always treated the
staff with respect.
[17:10] Michael notices that
people who are self-aware tend to be confident and have strong
self-esteem and a great dose of humility.
[18:50] The Reagans attended
Camp David more than any other ‘couple.’ Michael says ‘couple,’
because they would often attend by themselves. The Reagans are an
excellent example of how co-leadership can work. They knew each
other’s strengths and worked with them.
[21:15] Michael was able to
witness George W. Bush and Tony Blair develop a strong friendship
at Camp David. He saw how these two world leaders were able to find
commonalities, watch movies together with their families, and
[25:00] When George W. Bush
became president, it seemed to be very strategic that his first two
guests at Camp David were with our British allies and our Japanese
allies. Both visits were very informal/family events. No secret
service, staff, etc.
[27:00] Strong relationships
come down to finding commonalities and activities you both enjoy,
which lays down the groundwork to talk about the heavy things
leaders might have to go through. When you both know each other’s
families and children, it becomes easier to empathize when someone
is going through a tragedy.
[33:25] With social media so
readily accessible, places like Camp David become much more needed
[35:40] Remember, it’s not about
you. To be a genuine, humble, caring, and effective leader, you are
serving others. This is greater than you.
- “If you
can talk about family or food with anyone in the world, you’re
going to find a connection.”
- “Relationships… you build it and invest in it
before you need it.”
- Self-aware leaders are grateful and thankful
for what we have and don’t have.
quest for transparency is actually taking us in the exact opposite
direction at times.”
Resources and Books Mentioned
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