Interdependence refers both to a description of the state of the world, and to the values, beliefs and practices for thriving in such a world. To fully engage the interdependent world requires clear vision and intent, even a declaration: We hold this truth to be self-evident: our lives, work, and well-being are interdependent. Our colleagues at the Ketchum Leadership Institute recently made and acted on a Declaration of Interdependence, and their story, posted by Robert Burnside (Ketchum Chief Learning Officer) is below.


Ketchum is a global public relations company of 2000 employees.  Our top executives attend Ketchum Leadership Institute to learn the latest in leadership concepts as well as practice behaviors that help Ketchum reach its business goals.

In 2010 we introduced CCL’s concept of interdependent leadership.  Our executives found this concept fit their daily experience well – that working across boundaries of all kinds, internally across groups and regions, externally across clients and partner agencies, composed their most pressing challenges.

In each of the programs, run with groups of approximately 40 leaders, in Dusseldorf, San Francisco and New York, the reality of complex boundaries that needed crossing was in the room.

In San Francisco one of the boundaries present is between Ketchum and one of its successful new units, Access Communications, located in San Francisco along with the Ketchum office.  The two groups have the potential to work together more closely.  The program and the concept of interdependence are a good setting for raising tough issues within a context of mutual goals.

To capture the common enthusiasm at the end of the program for working interdependently, Peter Fleischer, Ketchum’s head of business development and a member of KLI’s teaching team, developed a “Declaration of Interdependence”, which participants could publicly sign at the conclusion of the program.  Here’s the text of the declaration (Peter says you are welcome to adapt it):


When in the course of agency events, it becomes critical to dissolve the traditions which have shaped the course of our destiny, respect for both the opinions of our colleagues and the storied history of our firm require that we should declare the causes which impel us to this course of action.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all profit centers are created equal, that they are endowed by their agency with certain unalienable goals, that among these are growth, client service and the pursuit of profit—and that if our form of leadership becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right, in fact, the duty of our leaders to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new leadership model, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to succeed.

We the leaders of Ketchum  do, therefore, in the Name, and by the Authority vested in us by the  Executive Committee of this agency, solemnly declare that we are Absolved from the tyranny of heroic and independent leadership.

As men and women of free will, we commit ourselves through this Declaration to the establishment of Free and Interdependent leadership, based upon a genuine, shared appreciation for each other’s talent, intellect and judgment – as well as a clear understanding and profound appreciation that in this era of global growth and connectivity, none of us can succeed unless all of us succeed.  Together.

Here’s a photo of the group – the signed Declaration of Interdependence is behind the group on the right.

Ketchum Leadership Institute, San Francisco, 2010

Want to know more? Feel free to write us at Ketchum and we’ll tell you all we know!;

Robert Burnside, Ketchum ‘s Chief Learning Officer

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