Over 50 Years of The Leadership Challenge in Practice: Experienced Practitioners Told All

Certified Masters don’t just deliver the message of The Leadership Challenge, they build leadership capacity and confidence in every leader they touch. And at the recent Leadership Challenge Forum in San Francisco, a packed room of leadership learners had an opportunity to hear first-hand from some of the most seasoned practitioners about just how it’s done. FlashPoint hosted panel discussion featured Deb Calvert, Dick Heller, and Sharon Landes who brought their love of leadership, as well as their wisdom, to share lessons learned from their combined five decades of experience bringing the power of The Leadership Challenge to organizations around the world. 
 
What was your personal best in delivering The Leadership Challenge?
Members of the panel started by sharing their “personal best” stories while facilitating The Leadership Challenge. One of the most experienced practitioners, Sharon Landes, shared how the material resonated with one particular group at a high tech firm, and seeing that spark of interest in them, it inspired her to put forward her best, and to know it made an impact.  Dick Heller shared an engaging story about a particular leader who, as a result of attending the workshop, went out on a limb to Challenge the Process with his team and was rewarded for his efforts.  This, in turn, inspired Dick as a coach and facilitator to always take risks and lead change, resulting in his personal tagline, “I’ll get you to stick your neck out!”


What are best practices for sustaining the learning?
Deb Calvert, one of the newest members to join the Certified Master community, stressed the importance of coaching and mentoring—moving leaders from the conceptual to the contextual in the workplace. All three panelists agreed that The Leadership Challenge® Workshop and the Leadership Practices Inventory® are only part of the whole. A best practice is having a clear path laid out for how an organization will support its leadership initiatives. Having an executive sponsor, senior-level involvement, and identification of “champions” within the organization also are best practices for ensuring commitment to the program.
 
Delivering The Leadership Challenge across an organization

Panelists generally were in agreement that it’s hard to say what the ideal implementation of The Leadership Challenge would be, given the differing needs of individuals and organizations. Thematically, however, the modular quality, flexibility, and applicability of the material were appreciated by all. Deb expressed that in her experience if the program can touch every level of the organization, engagement is dramatically improved. And Dick agreed, adding that bringing in senior-level sponsorship sets the stage for Model the Way from the beginning.
 
What are your best tips for new Certified Masters or other facilitators?

The theme that emerged from this expert group was to “trust the material and trust yourself.” Each panelist had a very personal commitment to the impact of leadership, yet collectively emphasized that it is not always easy work. Sharon, with over 20 years delivering The Leadership Challenge, renews herself each time by showing up with authenticity. Both Dick and Deb told the audience to keep up with the news, keep at it, keep listening, and stay in love with the material.
 
Overall, this experienced panel of The Leadership Challenge practitioners echoed the theme of The Forum: Creating a Culture of Leadership. Together with the session’s eager learners, we all found inspiration in the numerous ways the material resonates with diverse audiences and just how deeply it can permeate into the culture of an organization.
 
Holly Seaton, Ph.D., a Certified Master-in-Training of The Leadership Challenge, is Coaching Practice Leader with FlashPoint where she focuses on LPI feedback, leader follow-up, and leadership next-steps and best practices.  She is the in-house coach for all of FlashPoint’s Open Enrollment The Leadership Challenge® Workshops, and can be reached at hseaton@flashpointleadership.com.

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