AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah Insurance Exchange: Expanding on a 100-Year Legacy to Build 21st Century Leadership Competencies
AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah Insurance Exchange, the insurance provider for AAA clubs in 23 states and Washington, D.C., is a $2.7 billion company with more than 3,500 employees. Now one of the largest personal lines insurance companies in the United States, the California-based company wanted to ensure it could sharpen its competitive edge. And solid metrics from employee engagement surveys and organizational assessment analytics convinced senior-level executives of the need for a proactive strategy to develop a stronger leadership pipeline.
Determine the needAccording to chief administrative officer Marie Andel, “Like many companies, we were doing all types of leadership training programs, using a variety of models, but not getting much organizational punch. While some of the individual components were valuable, it wasn’t well-integrated. And I had employees say, ‘I loved it, but my boss didn’t really get it; my learning didn’t seem supported by the organization.’ The time had come to create a systemic approach that would make a significant impact on the organization as well as on individuals and teams.”< The company’s aspiration—to be the number one insurer in AAA member households across the markets it serves—became a lynchpin that tied all operating strategies for the Leadership Institute together and shaped the blueprint for how the institute and Executive Development Program would be structured. It also defined a framework that links the company’s mission, vision, and values to the institute’s role: to deepen the capacity for leadership throughout the organization to create and sustain a high-performance culture. “From my own personal experience and feedback from employees, it was clear< our new initiative had to be more than a one-time event,” Andel observes. “We needed an ongoing process that was very experiential and would lead to a high degree of self-awareness. And we wanted the entire experience to have broad impact, mixing up the cohort groups to bring together participants across functions, different lines of the business, and up and down the leadership ladder.”
Program designWith a strong base of champions across the organization, the design of the program began in earnest, spearheaded by Lamont Gilbert, program director of the< Leadership Institute. “We needed to create a common language of leadership,” he said. “So I began by defining a core operating definition that focuses on building the skills our leaders need to effectively confront and resolve tensions, release the energy of people, create a community of purpose, and amplify leaders’ impact. Together, these competencies will help us simultaneously create performance alignment, psychological alignment, and the capacity for learning and change.” Ultimately, the Executive Development Program’s final design included five distinct modules: personal assessment and orientation, leadership reflection, ground school, flight school, and action learning. Working with this foundation, Gilbert and others went in search of solid, evidence-based programs and tools that had proved to help leaders motivate and empower a high-performance workforce. Alignment with other components of the program also was essential. When it came time to build the Leadership Reflection module, Gilbert remembered attending a workshop where he first learned about The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership model, created from the international bestselling works of James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. The authors’ fundamental approach— that leadership is an observable, teachable set of behaviors that anyone can learn—resonated. A quick comparison of The Five Practices (model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart) with the institute’s operating definition of leadership (confront and resolve tensions, release the energy of people, create a community of purpose, and amplify leaders’ impact) produced an ideal match. The 360-degree feedback tool, the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), was a must-have. And the customizable delivery options made available by Sonoma Leadership Systems, a provider of The Leadership Challenge Workshop, completed the package. “I knew right from the start that The Leadership Challenge would be a great fit for the program,” Gilbert recalls. “Everything about The Five Practices model—how flexible and simple, yet powerful, it is—has provided the perfect link to all other components in the program. The two-day, integrated approach was really significant in our choice and, of course, how aligned the practices and behaviors are with our core values and beliefs.”
The two-day Leadership Reflection module brings together cross-functional groups of 20 to 25 high-potential leaders for The Leadership Challenge Workshop and the transformative experience of the LPI 360. Presentations, group discussions, exercises, and experiential activities engage participants in learning about The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership, the research behind the model, and ways to apply The Five Practices as they progress through case study analysis, action learning projects, small business simulations, and when they are back on the job. Through coaching and analysis of the LPI 360 results, participants focus on behavioral development areas that wil expand their leadership capacity, and integrate into their development plan the action steps they will take to ensure that effective leadership behaviors are intentionally leveraged as strengths. During their leadership reflection experience, learners also choose a peer with whom they share the rest of their journey. As they move through the remaining modules of the program, participants continue to apply The Five Practices to their ongoing learning. In ground school, they analyze a business case built around an actual situation the organization is facing. Leveraging insights from their LPI 360 feedback, The Five Practices model, and the program’s operating definition of leadership, they’re tasked with assessing the various factors at play, including leadership behaviors depicted in the study. Flight school continues this hands-on application of leadership competencies through a business simulation that takes participants into a deeper exploration of external business forces, internal market choices, and strategic decision making. And the final module, a personal action learning project, puts learners in the driver’s seat to develop and execute a plan that makes actionable all that they have learned throughout their Executive Development Program experience.
In 2012, the Executive Development Program ranked among Leadership Excellence magazine’s Top 100 Leadership Development Programs (among large organizations). With more than 100 graduates now bringing their learning and experiences back into the workplace, the program has begun to gain traction. “We are extremely proud of the positive contributions The Five Practices model has made to the institute’s overall success,” says Lisa Shannon, associate publisher of Pfeiffer, publisher of The Leadership Challenge training materials and LPI assessments. The organization already is seeing improvement in the degree of alignment with goals and internal promotions, according to Andel. And as Gilbert notes, “Program graduates are leveraging leadership skills and program content with operational teams, creating a common language of leadership across the company that is showing up in feedback surveys from employees at all levels.”
Terri Armstrong Welch is an independent writer and editor, and president of Armstrong Welch Ltd.; email@example.com
Originally published in the November 2012 issue of T+D. Read More
INTRODUCTIONThe future of leadership development in our geographically diverse, virtually-connected business world has already arrived at industry leader Oracle Corporation, an enterprise software company that develops, manufactures, distributes services, and markets database, middleware, and application software worldwide. Following the trend in higher education where online learning has become a core ingredient of today’s educational model, Oracle has created an effective learning platform that meets the needs of the company’s on-the-road sales team and establishes a virtual delivery system that will be ready for next generation leaders as well—those who take interactive technology for granted and who instinctively learn in online environments.
With aspiring leaders scattered around the country, full travel schedules, and the universal pressure to control training costs while maximizing learning effectiveness, Oracle turned to a program design strategy that successfully blends on-the-ground collaboration among peers and virtual classroom learning—all built upon the evidence-based practices of The Leadership Challenge, the international bestseller from authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.
This case study describes the unique approach developed and implemented at Oracle:
The Leadership Challenge Series is Oracle’s successful live and virtual leadership program that incorporates experiential learning and real-time application of The Five Practices to the leader’s everyday personal and organizational challenges and opportunities. With its focus squarely on maximizing business, organization, and team performance, this blended-learning program was co-created by two key teams at Oracle: the North America Organization and Talent Development (NA OTD) team and the senior leadership and enablement team from the company’s North America Technology Organization (NATO) Sales Consulting group.
The development of what became the pilot of the Leadership Challenge Series was spearheaded by senior executive Gayle Fitzpatrick—a trailblazer within Oracle who had sponsored other leadership development initiatives for NATO’s sales consulting managers as well. And with the success of the initial program, efforts to expand the implementation of the Leadership Challenge Series has already begun to take this unique, self-paced, designed-learning experience to other aspiring leaders throughout the organization.
At Oracle, the North America Sales and Consulting (NASC) group had been exposed to and valued the core Leadership Challenge concepts for several years. In fact, it was the organization’s executive vice president, Keith Block, and senior vice president, Rudy Corsi, who both served as catalysts for a new approach to developing their leaders. During a year-long experience with an Oracle executive leadership program called The Executive Leadership Experience (ELE), Keith and Rudy had encountered author Jim Kouzes and were introduced to The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® model. When it came time to launch a new ELE program for 60 of the company’s most senior leaders in 2008, they called on Jim to kick-off the program. And when Keith closed the first session, he challenged everyone in the audience to “raise all boats” through leadership development.
A participant in that first session was one of North America Technology Organization’s (NATO) group vice presidents, Gayle Fitzpatrick, who responded enthusiastically to Keith’s call-to-action. Bringing together her entire group of 80 leaders, Gayle became the supportive and highly visible senior-level sponsor that the initiative needed to jump-start the program. “There are lots of leadership concepts out there today,” Gayle observed, “but nothing like The Five Practices, which are truly timeless. I also felt that continuing to work with Jim Kouzes would help us maintain momentum. And I am thrilled that this is a true blending of learning experiences for our sales leaders.”
Gayle found support for her efforts to champion this pilot program in her manager, Paul Cross, Group Vice President of NATO Sales Consulting. In addition, her peer and colleague, Steve Vakulskas, Group Vice President of Sales Consulting, valued how flexible this new leadership program could be in preparing his team of leaders to provide strategic and even tactical leadership. “We looked to this new initiative to provide a foundation for core leadership skills and, just as important, to support the management team in using their own approaches, principles, and styles, and applying them to The Five Practices,” Steve said. “The Leadership Challenge Series was not going to be a cookbook of leadership recipes, but actually the ingredients that can be shaped as you work to apply true leadership to unique situations.”
Once top-level sponsorship was firmly set in place, the program design team set out to achieve the project’s three key learning objectives: leadership collaboration, practice application, and personal commitment. Key players of the initial team included three members of the North America Organization and Talent Development (NA OTD) group: Tamara Driggers, Larry Lenox, and Elena Raymond. Working closely with program sponsor Gayle Fitzpatrick, the team also included: Dr. Gregory Anderson, Sales Consulting Director, who served as the Pilot Program Manager; Karla Massera, Communication Program Manager, who supported the design team with all program communications and session scripts for Executive sponsors; Susan Downer, Senior Practice Director for North America Sales (NAS) Communications, who served as the Program Lead for ELE; and Steve Akram, Training Director for NAS Sales Force Development. Together, this team developed what has now become known as the Leadership Challenge Series–a virtual, blended learning experience consisting of online work and both large and small group sessions where leaders engage and collaborate on applying each of The Five Practices to their individual business environment—real-time initiatives and foreseeable business and organizational challenges and opportunities.
With the North America Technology Organization Sales Consulting (NATO) team as the pilot group for the Leadership Challenge Series, the design team was able to create, deliver, and continuously improve each of the Practice sessions to ensure the success of the applied learning and application. Following that initial success, the Series was rolled out to the North America Applications Enterprise Sales Consulting group with Lee Paulino, Group Vice President serving as Program Champion and John Schmiesser, Senior Director, as Program Manager. Again, the design team took advantage of the opportunity to enhance the Series’ sessions and components, and to package the program in ways that would ensure consistency in delivery to other Oracle organizations. And the results generated from this second program launch won the praise of Program Champion Lee Paulino, who said, “This is such a great investment for us as an organization. In addition to members of my management team, non-managers as well have felt re-energized by the program. The Leadership Challenge Series has provided the principles to help forge our leaders of the future.”
And Elena Raymond, lead designer of the Leadership Challenge Series, agrees. “Thanks to special supporters like Gayle Fitzpatrick and Lee Paulino, we have been able to achieve great success with the Leadership Challenge Series,” she said. “All four elements that are so critical to the effectiveness of leadership development programs were at play here at Oracle: executive sponsorship, senior leadership involvement, participant engagement and commitment, and real- world application for both personal and organizational leadership effectiveness.”
“Already multiple groups within the North America Sales and Consulting organization are lining up, ready to initiate the Series for their teams, which should bring participation up to nearly 200 leaders within the first 18 months of implementation,” Elena added.
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Serving patients from southeast Georgia and northeast and central Florida for more than 35 years, Jacksonville, Florida–based Brooks Rehabilitation operates one of the largest inpatient rehabilitation hospitals in the United States and one of the region’s largest home healthcare agencies. This not-for-profit also includes 26 outpatient rehabilitation clinics, a skilled nursing unit dedicated to orthopedic rehabilitation, a rehabilitation medicine physician practice, and an award-winning skilled nursing facility. In addition, the Brooks Rehabilitation Clinical Research Center specializes in research trials for stroke, brain injury, and spinal cord injury, among other conditions, to advance the science and practice of rehabilitation.
Having built a legacy of unmatched expertise and a dedication to results, Brooks—like many other healthcare organizations—came face-to-face with major challenges in early 2000. Dramatic changes in research and the practice of rehabilitation medicine were under way, and economic and regulatory pressures required that Brooks expand its business and broaden its reach to remain competitive and relevant. Streamlining operations and building expertise among all staff became the first order of business. But in reality, these goals could only be achieved with a major shift in the cultural mindset.
Building a team for growthThe question of who would lead the organization through this era of change became evident when Doug Baer was promoted to CEO in 2002. While sustainability and financial performance are measures of success for any CEO, Baer’s leadership philosophy was what truly provided meaning and inspiration to his team and created the momentum for change.
“To be successful in our dynamic environment,” he says, “it was imperative we develop leaders throughout the organization who would challenge the process and strive to develop new and innovative programs.”
From the beginning of Baer’s tenure, Brooks started to have a different look and feel. Baer brought in Michael Spigel, now executive vice president and chief operating officer, who continued to push a new cultural standard with his passion for leadership development.
“I’ve always had a strong belief that if you influence people, you are in a leadership role,” adds Spigel. “At Brooks, I wanted to be sure that we developed rich programming for both clinical and nonclinical staff that was open to every- one—regardless of title or position.”
Once more talent was on board— including Karen Gallagher, vice president of human resources and learning; Edith Katz, employee development manager; and Monica Chandler,learning manager—Brooks finally had a solid team experienced in leadership development to complement the clinical expertise of the medical staff and move the organization forward.
To ensure Brooks’s success, it became clear that nothing short of a revolutionary culture shift would shake people out of their comfort zone. Building leadership capacity in every- one, at every level, was essential. With no personal development programs available to build on, Brooks turned to The Leadership Challenge leader- ship development program by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. Several staff members already had seen first- hand the power of this research- and evidence-based model to transcend organizational hierarchy—making leadership everyone’s business. Brooks’s leaders were confident it would be both sustainable and flexible because the program’s core practices were grounded in everyday behaviors and actions.
While many at Brooks understood that developing leadership talent was inherently the right thing to do, pro- gram advocates set out to do more. By implementing The Leadership Challenge program, they proposed to demonstrate that it also was good for business by delivering a positive return-on-investment.
Brooks’s focus on a continuum of learning In structuring its 12-week program, Brooks incorporated a variety of tools required as prework, including a goal- setting assignment, various exercises, and the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) 360-degree assessment instrument. In addition, the program design integrated an action learning frame- work to create a unique continuum of learning built around a model that includes conceptual learning, home- work, lab classes, and ultimately, application.
In the first few conceptual classes, participants share their Personal Best Leadership stories, review important concepts related to the Five Practices model, and begin defining their guiding values and beliefs—an essential step to mastering the first of the five practices, Model the Way. With coaching and guidance from the program facilitator, learners review their LPI data and, based on both self-measurements and insight from others, draft a personal leadership development plan that remains the focus of their work throughout the workshop.
“Change projects” have become a key program component. Participants are tasked with identifying a process or function they feel passionate about changing, and engaging their manager or a member of the senior leadership team in helping to refine and sponsor the initiative. Incorporating what Kouzes and Posner call “outsight,” learners develop an action plan that includes research into best practices other high-performing organizations have used to successfully execute similar opportunities.
Practice is the focus of the lab classes. In a safe learning environment, participants share their homework assignments, including their visions and change project ideas, before presenting to constituents. For example, learners describe the current and desired future state of their change project, present their action plan, and learn how to provide balanced feedback as they give and receive input on the message and delivery.
Most important, learners take their learning back to their work, setting dates in their development plan to apply what they’ve practiced in class. “At the end of the program, these leaders are ready to be the effective change agents we need to continue Brooks’s success,” says Katz.
The full executive team participates in a special celebration, sending a positive message to everyone about the importance of this program. Also, each participant’s next level manager provides a personal story that acknowledges the positive contributions being made to the individual’s team, department, and the overall organization.
A leadership development strategy that delivers Collaboration within teams and throughout the organization is critical to success. Within Brooks, stories abound of how The Leadership Challenge experience continues to serve as a training ground for individuals to collaborate across functions and departments, turning ideas and visions into reality.
For example, when an orthopedic clinic manager wanted to make evidenced-based research easily accessible to staff therapists across the system as they developed care options for patients, the Scholarly Resource Center was born. Through a connection made during The Leadership Challenge program with an IT colleague, all Brooks therapists now access the latest peer-reviewed research—with a click of a mouse through the eBrooks intranet.
After finishing the Brooks leadership challenge program together, Joanne Hoertz, vice president of nursing, and research director Holly Morris saw how the new Nursing Research Council could benefit, too. “This program was an innovative and creative way to build cohesiveness among the members, focus on group goals and objectives, and develop as both leaders and role models within the nursing department,” says Morris.
For the HR and employee development team that designed and implemented this powerful culture- shifting program, the “hard” bottom-line results are undeniable. According to Spigel, “We set out to make sure that The Leadership Challenge program solved real business problems. And we are not disappointed. For example, our new electronic online payroll communication system, eStubView, was a direct result of the out-of-the-box thinking the program generated. It has already delivered $50,000 in cost savings.”
Brooks continues to move full steam ahead, capitalizing on the goals it has already reached. While the ROI is, of course, important to Brooks, Baer also notes, “Now that we’ve had more than 200 people complete the course, we are seeing how The Leadership Challenge program has helped us achieve many of our other goals in addition to improved financial performance, including higher staff retention, and improved quality and patient satisfaction.”
And Gallagher agrees: “Employees are now asking, ‘How can I make a difference?’ And to me that speaks volumes to what we see as the real success of The Leadership Challenge program. The increase in employee engagement has been phenomenal.” Recent survey results published by The Advisory Board Company ranked Brooks’s employee engagement scores in the 91st percentile—outperforming 112 of the 125 healthcare organizations that participated in the survey. “Fundamentally, we’ve changed the lexicon.”
Terri Armstrong Welch is president of Armstrong Welch Ltd. and an independent writer and editor; http://yourrockstarwriter.wordpress.com. Read More
Headquartered just north of Chicago in Lake Forest, Illinois, Trustmark is one of those heartland organizations that exemplifies the corporate values that are often missing from today’s business headlines. Founded in 1913 by four railroad workers to provide benefits for fellow employees who are injured on the job, Trustmark has grown to more than 6,200 full- and part-time employees working in 25 locations nationwide.
Through its subsidiaries and operating divisions, Trustmark provides access to a full spectrum of employee benefits, providing more than 2 million people with flexible medical, life, and disability benefits, as well as fitness and wellness-related services.
Trustmark’s dedication to its customers and employees resulted in quiet and steady growth until the mid-1990s, when the company faced unprecedented business challenges. Consolidation in the health insurance industry put new constraints on growth and profitability, while other financial pressures forced the company to reassess its operations and competitive value proposition in the marketplace.
The mantra became “focus...focus... focus,” and employees were asked to adopt an almost military mentality. Trustmark concentrated on core competencies, sold off non-core businesses, and made generating capital a top priority.
While Trustmark leadership knew that this approach was necessary in the short term, it was not the strategy that would carry the business to long-term growth and prosperity. With the company on firm footing again, it needed to create a culture that would be open to innovation and opportunity.
The Trustmark RenaissanceThroughout decades of partnership- building with clients, Trustmark was trusted by its customers for its flexibility and the caring service its people provided. When it came time to initiate the fundamental culture change the business needed, the company’s senior leadership decided to build on those attributes that helped the company thrive for nearly a century. The result is what became known as “The Trustmark Renaissance”—a change initiative that, at its core, required a radical change in employee mindset.
“It was difficult at first,” says Kate Martine´, senior vice president of human resources and corporate communications at Trustmark. “Culture change is hard. Business transformation is hard. And the renaissance at Trustmark meant that people had to think differently about how they approached their work.”
For some, the challenge was daunting. Others saw an opportunity to help shape the company’s second- century legacy. As one Trustmark executive described it, the challenge was to find a way to turn a command- and-control style army into a community where everyone felt supported in challenging the status quo and seeking new opportunities.
“We knew we needed to launch out into new venues. And that meant taking risks,” explains Martine´. “It was only through effective leadership— trust, confidence, and credibility—that people felt that it was okay to take those risks. The leadership development that supported those tenets soon became a central component of our business and cultural revival, where innovation and open communication would thrive.”
A leadership development program to support radical culture change Trustmark knew that it must effectively build leadership capacity throughout the ranks, from seasoned senior leaders and new managers to individual contributors. Shying away from “flavor of the month” programs and generic course offerings, Martine´ searched for a leadership program with a proven, time-tested track record; a core model grounded in research and evidence-based results; and flexible and customizable delivery options that aligned with the renaissance strategy.
A valid and reliable 360-degree feedback tool was also a must-have component. Martine´ and other senior executives wanted leaders to receive the feedback needed to gain a deeper understanding of their own specific development needs.
Through a long-standing relationship with Third Eye Leadership and its two principals, Jo Bell and Renee Harness, Martine´ discovered and eventually chose “The Leadership Challenge” program, created by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. The authors’ fundamental belief, that leadership is a measurable and learnable set of behaviors, resonated at Trustmark.
For the Trustmark Renaissance to succeed, more employees would need leadership skills—an understanding of the importance of trust and credibility in motivating others to achieve shared goals. This aligned perfectly with Kouzes and Posner’s field-tested leadership model, “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership” (model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart).
With guidance from Bell and Harness, who are also Leadership Challenge Certified Master Facilitators, Trustmark began to focus on long-term implementation using several components of The Leadership Challenge Workshop and the 360-degree feedback tool, the “Leadership Practices Inventory” (LPI).
The practice of leadership developmentAt the outset, Trustmark leadership knew that it was important for the company’s most visible senior leaders to “model the way” before asking others to follow. As a result, this initiative began with a small pilot group of senior leaders and then quickly spread to all of the organization’s directors and managers.
The initial structure of The Leadership Challenge Program consisted of five components:
“What distinguishes Trustmark is the conviction its leaders have about the meaning of their work. More than 160 Trustmark leaders have experienced The Leadership Challenge and have taken what really matters to them to heart in creating a vision of their future. This has had an effect on the engagement and motivation of employees as well as on bottom-line results,” explains Harness.
Results that matter
More than ever, people at Trustmark have a say in how the company works and the direction it’s going, and those efforts are recognized and rewarded. From inspiring messages displayed on walls throughout the office to celebratory events and “Ask, ‘What If?’” board games, employees are committed, energized, and active participants in ensuring the success of their teams and the organization.
Less progressive communication and management styles, a highly diverse and discontented staff, and all the myriad challenges that come with stepping in to address a decade’s worth of short-tenured leadership and an organization focused solely on output vs. knowledge development. Faced with just such a situation as the newly appointed Director and Chief Clerk of the Houston Municipal Courts, I was up to the task with much help from my trusted consultant colleagues, Cloud Rainosek and Associates (CRA), and the powerful tools of The Leadership Challenge.
Appointed by Houston Mayor Bill White in January 2007, I became the Director and Chief Clerk of the largest fine-only and paperless court in America, and the largest Municipal Court in the State of Texas: annually processing over 1.1M violations, generating over $60M in State and City fine payment revenues, and servicing over six to eight thousand customers daily at 19 courts. At the time of my arrival, the department consisted of over 300 team members, approximately 80% female, with an average of eight years of experience. Seventy-five percent (75%) had only high school or Junior College education and there were well over 12 different cultures and languages represented.
Based on Employee Survey Results from 2005 and 2006, it was evident that staff had not been provided with professional training for a significant period of time, and that a leadership development program for all leaders had never been offered. It was very apparent that the organization focused solely on production, using a top-down style of communication between management and staff. Quality assurance was non-existent. There was very little effort to build knowledge or to holistically tie the goals of the organization to those of each team member. Survey results also showed that the relationship and communication between staff and management was very poor, generally flowing only one way: from managers and supervisors and eventually to staff. Overall employee morale was extremely low. Within the community, Houston Municipal Courts had a reputation for providing less-than-stellar customer service to the public.
As I assessed my new role within the first few weeks, I could not help but realize the challenge I was facing. I knew that in order for the organization to succeed we would need a complete metamorphosis, one that would begin from the inside out starting with the Executive Leadership. As I mapped out a five-to-eight year transformational plan, I knew I needed help. Having first worked with Cloud Rainosek and Associates (CRA) when I was Deputy Director of Library Administration to introduce diversity and social justice training at the Houston Public Library, I once again turned to Jackalyn and Liz at CRA for their guidance on this transformational journey. I shared with them my assessment thus far and my ideas on how to move the organization from a Production Base to a Knowledge Base and, ultimately, to a High Performance Base Organization. I was concerned about how to most effectively do this, while ensuring that the process was meaningful and not just another training program reduced to a manual collecting dust on my shelf. I knew we needed a program that we could truly ‘live’—one that we could see and apply every day to make the changes needed to pull the organization up from where we were.
Immediately, Jackalyn and Liz introduced us to The Leadership Challenge and the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) tools. I was instantly struck by the program’s simplicity yet the depth of information the program was able to deliver. Within weeks, we began the first LPI training session with all seven members of the Executive Management Team, including myself. At its conclusion, the leadership team was in full agreement that the program was credible, simple to understand, and easy to apply on-the-job with consistency. More importantly, the LPI aligned well with the new vision and direction I had for the organization. Specifically, my vision was to:
While this may sound like the process was without complications, it wasn’t. Anytime major organizational changes are made via Executive Leaders, it is important to take ownership for the process—even when it gets difficult—and to turn lessons learned into best practices.
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The Registered Nurse (RN) is a hot commodity in the healthcare industry. Unlike many professions that are experiencing decreased job opportunities, the RN is in high demand—especially within the hospital setting. So why are RNs leaving the workforce?
In a nutshell, it is the existence of an unhealthy work environment. There are too many sick patients to be cared for by too few RNs who are experiencing too much stress, which is often compounded by conflict with doctors and RN co-workers.
This increased job demand for RNs working in hospitals is now a well-known fact. Newspapers and TV reporting frequently describe personal horror stories that exemplify the RN shortage. Too few RNs result in more and more RNs leaving the patient’s bedside because the patient care load is too high. And in an effort to address the issue, the federal government has released millions of dollars for career development retention efforts to improve the numbers of RNs in the workforce.
While lack of adequate RN staffing is critical in all acute care settings, a children’s hospital is certainly the worst place one can imagine for the RN shortage to exist. And in one particular children’s hospital in Texas, there was a real crisis. An unprecedented drop in the number of available RNs, coupled with the increasing number of very sick children, created a workplace situation of ever-increasing stress for the hospital staff RNs and extreme job dissatisfaction. And future RN shortages were looming: a pediatric surgical unit, for example, was desperate for help because 48% of their RNs were leaving within a year.
The hospital’s RN leadership had to do something that was immediate. A federal grant was written and the hospital was awarded $1.2 million dollars to improve nurse retention through its Nurse Retention, Patient Care Improvement Project. After attending a public workshop of The Leadership Challenge, the project director spearheaded the development of a two-day workshop using this evidence-based leadership development tool for the hospital’s front-line managers. The surgical unit director who was facing the 48% turnover, in particular, made a conscious effort to incorporate the principles of The Leadership Challenge into her and her managers’ leadership styles. She and her manager team made public their inspirational shared vision, embedded their leadership behavior development into the agenda of all meetings, and continually promoted their vision and leadership development—despite many obstacles.
After 18 months of applying the guiding practices of The Leadership Challenge, this children’s hospital surgical director is presenting great outcomes at a national conference this year. Her unit’s an annual turnover rate for RNs has gone from 48% to 17%. And job satisfaction surveys show statistically significance improvement: an increase of 14% of RNs who would recommend their organization as a good place to work and an increase of 10% who say they want to stay at least three more years. Job satisfaction survey scores now place them as the top surgical unit for all children’s hospitals in the nation.
Sally Carmen, RN, MSN, CPNP is Director of Education & Organizational Development at North Hills Hospital in North Richland Hills, Texas. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read More
As a leading global strategy and technology consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton is continually working to improve the lifeblood of its business: employees. Seizing the opportunity to facilitate leadership, the company integrated The Leadership Challenge® Workshop into its work culture nine years ago. Since then, more than 2,500 leaders at the Virginia-headquartered company have attended the class, which espouses the philosophy of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, the foremost experts in leadership development who penned the best-selling book of the same name.
The 90-year-old organization generates annual sales of $3.3 billion; works with major international corporations and government clients; and employs more than 16,000 people on six continents. This year, it earned second place in Training magazine’s “Top 100” list and was named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in FORTUNE magazine.
“The primary reason we implemented The Leadership Challenge was to give leaders an opportunity to see how others perceive them and how they see themselves,” says Senior Director Ed Cohen. “It also helps them develop an action plan.”
Cohen oversees Booz Allen Hamilton’s Center for Performance Excellence, which builds and expands the company’s learning culture through workshops, online self-study courses, a virtual online campus, and more.
In 1996, the three-day workshop’s rollout began with the firm’s partners. Then it cascaded to the principals and eventually evolved to the senior-management level. A 360-degree assessment instrument, The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) serves as the foundational feedback tool for the workshop.
LPI is the best-selling aid that approaches leadership as a set of behaviors. This comprehensive leadership-assessment tool measures behaviors and guides leaders-in-training through the process of applying Kouzes and Posner’s The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership“ model.
At Booz Allen Hamilton, follow-up coaching is held one month after The Leadership Challenge® Workshop. During this one-on-one post-session, the individual’s action plan is reviewed and each leader can consider his or her progress.
Sometimes leaders will also participate in Leadership Challenge triads, where individuals identify and isolate specific areas of their LPI that they judge needs improvement. Then the participants work as a team, interacting collaboratively and sharing knowledge, skills, success, and failure to help improve competencies and attain a performance level of strength.
Booz Allen Hamilton measures the workshop’s success in two ways: end-of-course reviews by attendees and the number of referrals to the course.
“Though not a mandatory program, every single person who qualifies—senior associates, principals, and partners—has attended,” says Cohen. “They see attendance at this program as key to their development as leaders, and we want our leaders to be better leaders.”
This highly valued workshop is viewed as a privilege. Those who qualify are asked to wait at least one year after their promotion or hiring to a senior-level position before attending. “This one-year period gives them a chance to perform in a leadership role before being assessed,” says Cohen.
The Leadership Challenge® Workshop is part of the firm’s ongoing, whole leadership-training program and culture that combines mentoring and apprenticeship. Last year alone there was an average of 500 new hires each month. Keeping stride with the workforce’s rapid growth, the Center for Performance Excellence expanded nearly 50 percent from 49 to 72 trainers.
“We know that our leaders inherently want to do better,” says Cohen. “The Leadership Challenge® Workshop and subsequent follow-up sessions are opportunities to reflect on where they see themselves and if their perceptions are in alignment with others. If not, they can take guided measures to create alignment and agreement.” Read More
Like many healthcare organizations, St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis was at a crossroads as it rang in the New Year of 2004. An unprecedented drop in the number of nursing professionals available to fill the ever-increasing demand was sweeping the industry. And the situation at St. Vincent was no exception. Competition for talent in this Midwestern market—for both skilled and experienced nurses and physicians—was intense. This faith-based non-profit also was about to be challenged by a rival hospital system, ready to break ground on a new facility that would add even more competition for patients and staff alike. Plus, internal survey results showed St. Vincent associates were dissatisfied with the current work environment and believed they had poor relationships with their direct supervisors.
Bravely facing both internal and external challenges, St. Vincent took stock of where they were in the marketplace, assessed their strengths as well as flaws, and embarked on a strategy to develop leadership capability, knowledge, skills and behaviors. With strong advocacy on the part of top leadership, St. Vincent set out to combat this competitive expansion and disengaged workforce with an initiative that would build a successful culture of leadership, strengthen leader-to-associate relationships, and create a fundamental change in the culture to more accurately reflect one of its key business strategies: become the hospital of choice for patients, associates and physicians.
“What was absolutely essential was that this new development program be evidence-based and demonstrate clear results tied to business goals and organizational performance,” said Education Consultant Lu Pennal, who was brought on board in 2004 to facilitate the initiative. “And after great scrutiny, we selected The Leadership Challenge because the Practices of the program were so clearly aligned with our faith-based mission and core values. They also tie directly to what we refer to as our Call To Action, which speaks to the hospital’s dedication to deliver Healthcare That Works, Healthcare That is Safe, Healthcare That Leaves No One Behind. The fact that the 360-degree tool, the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), is backed by solid statistics, and that the program overall was internally sustainable and measurable, also was very important,” she added.
A formal Steering Council that included senior leaders, whose front-line support was essential for successful implementation and to deliver positive and long-term results, led the program’s development and implementation. And from the very beginning, each Steering Council member promoted this new leadership initiative as a process—not a one-time workshop or set of tools to use and then discard. Starting with the organization’s president and executive team, The Leadership Challenge program rolled-out to nursing, physician, and associate leaders and now includes over 500 graduates of what St. Vincent has called its ‘Building the BEST’ initiative (the best Budget, patient Experience, Safety, Team).
Pre-session assignments, a 3-day workshop, plenty of time to apply key learnings, and a 1-year refresher were bolstered by the Steering Council’s decision to include a one-to-one coaching component that became integral to the success of the experience for both participants and coaches.
“Our goal was to create a common language and expectations of behavior in order to fully implement a complete culture change,” observed Marty DuRall, founding Steering Council member and Executive Director, Human Resources. “After 11 years with St. Vincent, and having studied several major management theories, I see a profound difference in how this model boils down all of the theoretical complexity into five very simple, very memorable steps that can be applied to everything: operational goals, process improvement, global communication, and performance reviews, just to name a few.”
“Most importantly, The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® ground us. These principles have set the standard and cultural norm for how we communicate. Now synonymous with our ‘Building the BEST’, The Leadership Challenge has given everyday meaning to expectations of leaders and helped us identify a way of behaving and communicating that reflects who we are and how we intend to treat each other and our patients,” Ms. DuRall added.
St. Vincent has incorporated The Five Practices into its reward and recognition programs. Promoting the practice of Encouraging the Heart, a President’s Award is given once per quarter to a St. Vincent associate recognized as having gone above and beyond expectations in demonstrating The Five Practices.
“’Leadership as a relationship’ is perhaps the most significant change in St. Vincent’s leadership culture,” according to Anne Coleman, another founding member of the Steering Council and currently Administrator of St. Vincent Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital . “While the previous role of leader was more akin to the management of tasks, not of leadership, what we have now is an environment in which we each take responsibility for living out The Five Practices every day.”
“An added benefit of this program is the opportunity for us to participate in the experience of being a leadership coach,” Ms. Coleman added. “This internal coaching component builds relationships into the system and connects us all together. It has transformed our individual leadership styles into a more consistent and comprehensive system of enabling others to act, modeling the way, and encouraging the heart as we coach others to replicate their learning, challenge the process, and become the leaders we know they are capable of being.”
According to Lu Pennal, the results of St. Vincent’s experience with The Leadership Challenge process have been remarkable. “Following a measurement plan the Steering Council established at the outset, our survey response rates have been very impressive at 61%, with 90% of respondents noting that they had learned new knowledge and skills and 93% indicating they had applied that knowledge and those skills to their jobs. Even more significant is the feedback from our most seasoned and experienced leaders: 77% reported that their leadership skills had improved 40% or more as a result of The Leadership Challenge experience.”
“Across the organization, we have seen more collaboration and partnerships that have improved the use of resources and equipment. We have seen an increased level of engagement from associates, greater talent retention, and improved patient access. In addition, St. Vincent has been honored with a Best Healthcare Employer award (in the Indianapolis market) by a consumer choice group three years running. The Leadership Challenge has played a critical role in creating the kind of culture that brought us the success we have today. And we continue to incorporate the LPI tools and the Five Practices model into our ongoing ‘Building the BEST’ program in developing new leaders throughout the St. Vincent Health system,” she concluded. Read More
“There’s something different here.”
This phrase is uttered by many who encounter Annapolis Valley Health (AVH) in Nova Scotia, Canada. So much so, that staff are constant panelists at conferences, sharing an award-winning program that many want to duplicate.
That difference, the “good feelings” described by new employees, patients, and others, may be attributed in part to The Leadership Challenge (TLC). This evidenced-based leadership development program has encouraged a culture of people who are passionate about their leadership, about the organization, and what they are able to accomplish with their team.
“We are building an organization of excellence,” said President and CEO Janet Knox. “We are sending a message that we want people to come grow with us. This is a good place, and we are committed to creating the best environment possible to work and promote health.”
In a recent survey of the recipients of their service, 84% of more than 500 individuals surveyed over a 3-week period rated AVH services a 4 or higher on a five-point scale (where five is the highest rating). “This is one demonstration of our success through our people, and we connect that back to our leadership,” said Knox.
TLC is so much a part of the corporate culture that one manager, upon leaving one of AVH’s six facilities to move with her husband to the U.S., wrote a detailed thank you note, as she was so grateful for the personal and professional growth she experienced. The letter was written in the context of Leadership Challenge principles.
As with many good organizations, success starts from the top. Knox was already a proponent of The Leadership Challenge when she joined AVH three years ago. She had used the book in the graduate-level courses she taught, and arranged for her previous staff to take The Leadership Challenge® Workshop.
In a wonderful bit of serendipity, Knox arrived at AVH just as a “Living Leadership Team” was created, a group charged with adopting a model for a new leadership program. Literature reviews and past experience had led the district health authority to focus on three areas: people, leadership, and organizational processes and structures. The goal: build a healthy organization through leadership.
Not one to lead by edict, Knox joined the conversation, but did not force a TLC choice. Championed by Edith Menzies, AVH’s Director of Health Programs and Chief Nursing Officer, The Leadership Challenge was chosen and the organization began to grow from there.
“Canadian healthcare has been through a lot of changes -- good ones,” said Knox. “And those changes can create instability if you aren’t prepared to deal with them. The Leadership Challenge’s Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership fit with our need to create a healthy workplace through transformational leadership. TLC fits with our strategic direction, mission, vision and values. It anchors us.”
The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) has been a part of AVH’s use of The Leadership Challenge program. As with most who take it, the feedback has been extremely valuable. In fact, even though it wasn’t required, many executives took their results to Knox, wanting to share and continue the dialogue about their own leadership development.
“From the executive perspective, there is an expectation that we’ve made the commitment to The Five Practices,” said Knox. “We’re now promoting these practices and watching them become integrated throughout our organization. It’s making a difference.”
AVH is using The Leadership Challenge to create common language for the executive team and leadership forum and have placed The Five Practices as a footer to its mission on district documents included in presentations. TLC is also used to focus AVH’s approach to issues, solutions, and how employees act inside and outside of the organization. “TLC helps us focus on our individual and collective responsibilities to support each other’s success,” said Knox. “This leadership model has raised awareness in our leaders. They are very knowledgeable about how we expect them to lead our people.”
In addition to the LPI and on and off-site TLC course, the crux of AVH’s leadership program is the development of “Leadership Champions” amidst the 65-member leadership forum. A call went out asking for volunteers who wanted additional Leadership Challenge development in return for promising to “Model the Way.”
Initially, 15 jumped at the chance to share The Leadership Challenge tenants – both by example and through dialogue. “The program really fosters that person-to-person connection,” said Sheila Rankin, AVH’s Director of Human Resources. “Our literature reviews reminded us that people need to feel valued, and often that value comes from their front line manager.”
The inaugural group of Leadership Champions came from across the management structure – executives and directors as well as front line managers. “Our Leadership Champions are so passionate about leadership. They see the extra training they’ve received as a gift from the organization,” said Rankin. “They believe, as we do, that good leadership makes a difference in the way we can deliver health services.”
Once the leadership forum is full of Leadership Champions, AVH plans to invite others to take on the role, starting with those who lead nurse councils, safety committees, and other groups. “We know that leadership is also about informal leaders, and we want to grow those people as well,” said Rankin. “We want to have enough folks doing this that it becomes the natural way. We want enough folks to live and breathe these principles so that they’re integrated into our culture.
“It’s a constant journey, through constant education, and we’ve got a lot more work to do. But we’ve got a solid foundation. And it really is ‘different’ here, thanks to The Leadership Challenge.”
Others are noticing as well. Recently Rankin was selected as the 2007 recipient of the Bluenose Chapter of the Canadian College of Health Service Executive’s CEO Award for Leadership and Innovation in Healthcare. “This award acknowledges Sheila’s contribution to leadership development and organizational health at the district and provincial levels,” said Knox. Read More
In 1999, after experiencing unsatisfactory incremental growth for six consecutive years, Nebraska-based Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) implemented The Leadership Challenge® Workshop based on the best-selling book of the same title written by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. The agricultural lender, with assets of more than $8.5 billion, serves the credit and financial needs of farmers and ranchers in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming. It offers loans, risk management tools, and loan services.
“There was no reason we shouldn’t have been growing. The fact that we were flat led former CEO Jack Webster to decide that we needed to tap into our resources and full potential, open communication channels, develop leaders, and guide our teams,” explains Nina Swanson, Director of Organizational Development and Learning. “In doing so, we unleashed the talents and skills of our workforce.”
The objective in launching The Leadership Challenge was to develop a core set of leadership skills and a culture where people felt inspired and productive. To begin embracing the philosophy, FCSAmercia first transitioned from a hierarchical institute to a team-based model. “We found that 80 percent of our time was spent leading people and 20 percent was spent managing staff,” says Swanson. Therefore, the title “manager” became obsolete and everyone became “leaders”. That shift also led to a one-and-a-half-day workshop titled “Leadership Is Everyone’s Business”—based on The Leadership Challenge— for mid-level managers.
A representative of the Tom Peters Company, a consulting firm, led all 80 of FCSAmerica’s senior leadership team through “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership“” model of The Leadership Challenge. The training tools utilized included The Leadership Challenge® Workshop materials; The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), which assesses skills and performance before and after the workshop; and The Leadership Challenge Workbook. Eventually, Swanson, along with President and CEO Doug Stark and another senior leader, underwent further Leadership Challenge training and earned certification to facilitate the workshop.
Three months after the rollout, the organization implemented a competency-development program, and in the winter of 2001, all senior leaders attended a two-day follow-up course. By 2002, Swanson launched the “Leadership Is Everyone’s Business” curriculum company-wide to achieve alignment and agreement with established competencies. Because it achieved breakthrough results, The Leadership Challenge became an integral part of FCSAmerica’s environment.
The two-and-one-half day workshop is held annually for new senior leaders, and “Leadership Is Everyone’s Business” is offered monthly. More than 300 of the company’s 950 employees have attended these workshops. The model is also introduced at new-employee orientations and the terminology from “The Five Practices” model is part of the workplace culture. Success indicators include gaining a highly engaged workforce that supports a performance-driven culture, leading others instead of managing them, and demystifying and simplifying the concept and behavior of “leadership.”
Swanson continuously hears positive feedback. “I’ve had leaders call me stunned about how team members want to take initiative and ownership. They’ll say, ‘What have you done to this person?’ It hits home for everyone at that level.”
Prior to gaining approval for the program’s implementation, “our senior leadership talked about The Leadership Challenge all the time, and eventually, inspired their counterparts,” says Swanson. “Once you change the language and people start referring to themselves as ‘leaders’ instead of ‘managers’, behaviors change.”
This tried-and-true way of life continues to play an important role at FCSAmerica. As Swanson says, “It reinforces the leadership model. It reinforces the notion of having accountability to help better your team.” Read More
At Technology Credit Union (Tech CU), like at all solid financial institutions, ROI is the predominant thread of the cultural fabric. That is why, when its Corporate Training Department wanted to incorporate The Leadership Challenge (TLC) into that fabric, the pitch was TLC’s potential positive impact on the achievement of the company’s core mission – excellence in member customer service.
At the January 2006 launch, Barry Posner was the keynote speaker. He signed a copy of The Leadership Challenge for each manager and led a 50-minute dialogue about lessons for leaders – setting the tone and atmosphere for knitting TLC into Tech CU’s corporate culture.
It was an easy sell.
Founded in 1960 out of a cafeteria conversation between employees of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Semiconductor Division, Tech CU now has 265 employees and nine branches in the Silicon Valley, with plans to add to those numbers in short order. The company’s primary business is providing full-service banking to technology-related companies and their employees.
Members of Tech CU’s Corporate Executive Team were turned on to The Leadership Challenge at a public workshop (sponsored by Sonoma Learning Systems) in Fall 2005. Convinced that TLC could help their already successful company continue to flourish, a plan of attack was put into place by the Corporate Training team.
At the January 2006 launch, Barry Posner was the keynote speaker. He signed a copy of The Leadership Challenge for each manager and led a 50-minute dialogue about lessons for leaders – setting the tone and atmosphere for knitting TLC into Tech CU’s corporate culture.
Next came TLC content on the company’s intranet site (naturally – it is TECHNOLOGY Credit Union, after all!) – resources, links to The Leadership Challenge website, information about the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), and a calendar of TLC events at Tech CU.
To “Model the Way,” top executives went through the TLC workshops first. Two small group sessions were held so corporate decision-makers could go through the LPI and decide what TLC-related outcomes were desired (the ROI discussion). It was determined that ensuring that the management staff was fully equipped to manage would directly impact the company’s bottom line – via less turnover, longer employee tenure, and better morale – connecting the dots to improve service to credit union members.
CEO Ken Burns followed up his initial TLC experience with small group luncheons with his managers, getting their feedback about how TLC was going to help all of them (himself included). This helped employees really experience the company’s commitment to leadership development. The Board of Directors gave its blessing as well.
The larger management team came next, with sessions off-site to maximize attention-spans and minimize interruptions. Using information from a recent internal survey that highlighted areas of “breakdowns” between levels of managers, the TLC process was used to identify trouble spots. Bosses and direct-reports were not in the same sessions, so no self-censorship was necessary. Feedback for the set-up was excellent, with participants citing that they enjoyed everyone being at the same level during the training, with “no silos or grandstanding by title.”
“The dialogues that have occurred as a result of The Leadership Challenge have opened up many, many good discussions in our organization,” said Michelle Greear, Corporate Training Manager. “The value has been unbelievable.”
The LPI was part of the sessions, and while the normal feelings of intimidation and fear were present, feedback was overwhelmingly positive regarding the results. Many expressed a desire to continue the process, so the Corporate Training Team invited some of the more vocal managers to a brainstorming meeting about how to keep TLC alive at Tech CU.
As a result, a reading series was implemented. A copy of “Encourage the Heart” was given to participants and small group sessions were held over six weeks to discuss the text and how to apply it in daily practice.
More evidence that TLC is truly woven into their cultural fabric: Greear has a copy of Credibility on her nightstand, “and a poster of The Five Practices and Ten Commitments’ in eyeshot of my desk at work.” Greear and her staff work daily to incorporate TLC components into all correspondence and communication with employees.
Next steps for Tech CU and TLC include a reading series about innovation and a follow-up survey to assess what, if any, progress managers have made in their leadership development.
As to the ROI, quantitative surveys will be used to assess credit union members to see if service has improved as a result of better managers and happier employees. A survey conducted in the midst of TLC training showed a significant increase in member satisfaction, so the further research will be used to validate that trend and possible TLC correlation.
Bottom line – good leadership equals good business. Read More
Pacific Lutheran University: The Leadership Challenge Opens Minds, and Doors, for Tomorrow’s Leaders
When Dr. Catherine Pratt began looking for materials for her new leadership course, she knew she wasn’t searching for a typical textbook. Pratt wanted something to reach the students on their level, something that would integrate personal experiences with the concept of leadership.
A professor at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, Pratt had read The Leadership Challenge (TLC) several times herself, and had found the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) personally useful. Based on her vision for the course, and the fact that the Student LPI is a research-based 360-degree development tool, Pratt chose to wrap her course around TLC—with tremendous success.
Her students read the book and use the Student LPI Participant Workbook, the Student LPI Self, and Student LPI Observers when they take “BUSA 387: Leaders and Managers in Action.” The course was offered for the first time during last winter’s 4-week intersession and she just finished teaching a second installment of the short, intense format. Starting this fall, the forecast is for the course to be offered as a traditional, semester-long session.
In addition to using TLC materials, students hear from a number of “live case studies” via guest lecturers—all exemplary leaders in the community. They also engage in service to the community, interview a local leader one-on-one, and, using all of the course material, create a “Personal Leadership Development Plan.”
“Linking students to The Leadership Challenge and introducing them to leaders who serve through their values helps students realize that what they read relates to what they see and hear, enabling them to learn instead of memorize,” said Pratt.
Shane Richins, 21, a senior majoring in finance/accounting, took last month’s class as an elective. “I wasn’t sure what to expect,” said Richins, “but I really liked coming to class. The book is a great read—and with the concepts woven into the stories, I know I’ll retain the information. I even did the suggested exercises in the book, like identifying who my role models are, and thinking about the ways I am like them. It’s made me much more self-ware.”
The Leadership Practices Inventory’s 360-degree component has also been an incredible learning tool for the students, often resulting in surprises. An athlete from last year’s course was extremely confident that because of all his team experience, leadership was “his thing,” and therefore he was particularly adept at two of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership—Enable Others to Act and Encourage the Heart. Upon reviewing his observers’ analysis, he was humbled to realize that perhaps he wasn’t as good of a leader as he thought. This lead to incredible insight and reflection and caused him to start doing things differently in his interactions with others.
Self-discovery abounds in Dr. Pratt’s classroom. One admittedly-shy student had her “aha” moment when she realized that she doesn’t have to be an extrovert to be a leader. “You don’t have to be in charge to be a leader,” she wrote in a recent quiz.
Students also learned a heartfelt lesson from a guest speaker who had recently been laid off from his high-level management position. “The students observed first-hand that it’s not failure that derails people, it is the failure to learn.” said Dr. Pratt. As one student reflected on this session, she mentioned she did not realize people could recover from mistakes. She always thought she had to be perfect.
The course and The Leadership Challenge materials have even led three students to their dream jobs. In one example—upon hearing the CEO of Bargreen-Ellingson speak, one student was so touched by their values, and so excited that they matched hers, that she decided she absolutely had to work for them. (The 47-year-old company specializes in food service supply and design.) The student was extremely persistent in her communication with the company, so much so, that the Human Resource manager finally went to the CEO and explained that this young woman thinks so highly of us, and is so sure that she needs to work for us, but we don’t have a position for her. The CEO decided that if the student was that determined, then she should be working for him—and they hired her. The match has been made in TLC heaven.
“I love all my classes,” said Pratt, “but this one is special. Here, connections are made, values are clarified, possibilities are imagined, and the desire to make a difference is energized. Students connect with TLC material on a personal level, and as they start to internalize it, they start making life choices that will make a difference. Read More
Five years ago, Fifth Third Bank, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, was on the front of a series of acquisitions that would result in their employee base growing from 5,000 to 19,000. Lauris Woolford, VP of Executive Development, came to Fifth Third understanding what that growth was going to mean for leadership development within her new company. “We knew from past experience that management was simply not enough.” Such quick and tremendous growth would call for a larger group of high potential employees and greater bench strength; requiring the need for a new set of leadership competencies. The program adopted by the Bancorp was The Leadership Challenge® Workshop, based on the book written by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.
The three-day workshops were rolled out to senior level managers throughout the organization. The “top-down” approach appeared to be very effective. As the program began to pick up momentum, The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® discussed in the book and the program were integrated into the orientation, evaluation process, and annual goals for all senior managers. This helped to establish a common language and set of common expectations.
Andrew Albrinck, Education Consultant and facilitator of The Leadership Challenge® Workshop at Fifth Third, also mentions the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI)—the premier 360° feedback tool based on the principles of The Leadership Challenge. This tool was written by the same authors to evaluate and assess the existing leadership skills of managers and nonmanagers. Albrinck states “The LPI delivers practical feedback on specific behaviors. This feedback allows our managers to focus on areas tailored to their individual leadership development.” Every participant of the program—over 1,500 in the past five years—completes an LPI prior to attending and receives the 360° feedback during the workshop. The participants are then invited back twelve months later to attend a one-day follow-up program and receive another LPI report.
Fifth Third tracked the performance of five individuals who attended The Leadership Challenge® Workshop and follow-up program. They found that all five participants improved their LPI scores in each of The Five Practices. They then compared the data back to their financial results for the same time period. The results were astonishing! Profits generated by the five individuals and the
groups they were leading significantly increased from before attending the workshop to after the workshop. Four individuals showed a 31% profit increase of $8.8 million over the previous year. The overall Bancorp turned in a 15% increase during the same year.
The fifth individual implemented process improvements resulting in $385,110 to the bottom line.
In addition to the obvious financial growth contributed by these individuals and the teams they were leading, participants reported improvements in the way they acted as leaders on a daily basis. The five reported noticeable differences in the following areas: more innovation, greater initiative, the initiation and ownership of calculated risk, collaboration, self-confidence, and clarified shared values.
Not all of the $8.8 million in bottom line growth generated by these five individuals can be attributed to attending The Leadership Challenge® Workshop. However these individuals believe that attending the workshop and implementing The Five Practices directly translated into higher employee performance and a greater sense of ownership that is required to continually grow profits for the bank’s shareholders.
Albrinck concludes, “The Leadership Challenge continues to be a real strong cornerstone for the Bancorp. While managing the business is extremely important, leading our people is equally important. Principles from the program have been incorporated into recruiting and retention strategies, talent management, and other leadership courses—from new frontline supervisors to senior level executives. This ongoing development is essential to grow the company as successfully and profitably as we have in the past.” Read More
The Leadership Development Forum (LDF) was first delivered in 1998 and received an overwhelmingly positive response from participants. Every LDF since the pilot has generated a "wait list" of employees interested in improving their leadership skills. Participants of the fourth LDF program made an impassioned plea to Fab 12's senior staff requesting that the staff attend LDF and model the way for the factory. As a result, the entire twenty-two-member senior staff attended LDF in 2000. Since its inception, eleven LDF programs have been delivered at Fab 12 to a total of 204 middle (group leaders) and senior (department manager) level factory managers.
Although the first LDF was delivered to Fab 12 leaders only, subsequent programs have included participants from other Intel business groups in an effort to proliferate LDF throughout the company. In 2002, LDF was first piloted outside of Fab 12 to Intel's Supplier Group and Corporate Quality Group. The participants' feedback about the program resulted in an expanded pilot to proliferate LDF on a large scale. LDF is now being offered to other Intel business groups across the United States and in Asia.
In 2000, the LDF program was highlighted at the corporate Intel Manufacturing Excellence Conference (IMEC). IMEC, an annual event attended by a worldwide audience of five hundred selected Intel employees, shares papers, presentations, and exhibits to proliferate "best known methods" across the company. A rigorous selection process ensues to select the exhibits and presentations (only eighty of 1,100 are selected). The focus of IMEC is primarily technical; however, due to LDF's unique design and success it was selected for the conference. The LDF program philosophy, key components, and results were shared in a presentation following the conference's keynote speaker, Intel's vice president of manufacturing. IMEC established LDF as the premier leadership development program throughout Intel.
The lessons learned are important for anyone in any organization coping with the daunting challenge of how to develop their management's leadership abilities.Read More Read More
MONTANA FISH, WILDLIFE & PARKS (MFWP) was established 105 years ago to serve the people of Montana through conserving the state’s fish, wildlife, recreational, and cultural resources. The organization accomplishes its mission through the collective efforts of nearly 1,000 employees including seasonal laborers, technicians, biologists, wardens, park managers, accountants, attorneys, managers, and administrators among others.
Like many agencies in Montana State Government, a large number of MFWP employees are at or near retirement eligibility. Of the almost 600 full-time employees in the Department, more than 100 will have either met the criteria for full retirement in the next five years, or be eligible for early retirement. Attracting, retaining, training, and managing a highly qualified and motivated workforce is essential to the Department’s ability to accomplish its goals and objectives. To help in this effort MFWP turned to The Leadership Challenge.
MFWP created the Leadership and Management Development Program in 2003 to provide ongoing career development for its employees. Modeled after the principles of The Leadership Challenge, the program was designed to recruit and develop the next generation of leaders and managers within the agency.
Marc Scow, who leads organizational development initiatives for MFWP, said the decision to use The Leadership Challenge as the foundation for the program was an easy one. “I probably have about 50 leadership books on my shelves, but The Leadership Challenge really stands out as the best book, and I knew it was the right choice for modeling our leadership development program,” he explained..
The Leadership and Management Development Program encourages applicants from the entire organization and selects no more than 30 employees for each class. The program consists of three-day sessions held quarterly throughout the year. A key component to the program is The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), the bestselling 360-degree leadership assessment tool developed by The Leadership Challenge coauthors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.
“The LPI is a terrific means for developing awareness and a baseline of each participant’s leadership practices,” says Pam Boggs, who works in the MFWP Human Resource Bureau and serves as the program leader. “Not only does it provide a useful path for improving leadership, but it also demonstrates the tremendous progress of each and every participant by the end of the program.”
During the first three-day session of the Leadership and Management Development Program, The Leadership Challenge is introduced with an orientation to the LPI. In between sessions, the participants take the LPI selfassessment and assign their observers. In the second session, the participants receive their LPI Feedback Reports and review the LPI Participant Workbook to interpret the results.
“The open-ended comments that can accompany LPI feedback allow us to create customized questions specific to relevant MFWP issues and core competencies,” said Boggs. “The participants gain valuable 360-degree feedback encouraging increased dialogue between our staff, resulting in relationships that are actively building.”
The inter-session work involves completing a personalized development plan to build on strengths and address development opportunities identified during the LPI process. During the third session, the participants share their progress with their development plans and work together in small groups to review their plans to gain ideas from each other on various approaches to development.
By the fourth session, the participants have implemented changes and report back on their progress. This final session includes a leadership panel of current and retired managers that share their leadership and management experiences. Even without a prepared script, these shared experiences reinforce The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership?? from The Leadership Challenge and emphasizes the real life application of these practices.
Thus far, MFWP has completed four programs and graduated 100 employees representing a mix of regional and divisional staff ranging from entrylevel to current managers looking to advance in the organization. The fifth program is underway and a new program is scheduled to begin each spring into the foreseeable future. Scow and Boggs have tracked promotions in the agency and report that they seen a high percentage of employees applying for positions that they would not have otherwise applied for and a greater percentage of program graduates obtaining those positions.
“The Leadership and Management Development Program has broken down the ‘us and them’ attitude,” said Scow. “Like many organizations that employ a large numbers or people with many different roles and responsibilities, there was a silo mentality. Employees didn’t have the chance to build relationships within the organization. The leadership training program has really helped to change that, bringing the entire organization closer together.”Read More
The Staubach Company has established itself as a market-leading real estate advisory firm with 1,200 people in 58 offices throughout the Americas, representing 2,200 clients and an overall value of $17.7 billion. To maintain its impressive industry standing, the company embarked on a path to further develop leadership among its employees, turning to the principles of The Leadership Challenge, by best-selling authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.
In the competitive global real estate market where people make all the difference, The Staubach Company recognizes leadership among its five core values. “Behavior is the distinguishing characteristic of a Staubach employee in the marketplace,” says Roger Staubach, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Staubach Company.
Craig Haptonstall, Vice President of Leadership Development for Staubach, designed a program based on The Leadership Challenge and The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and rolled it out to The Staubach Company in 2001. He began by asking the company’s “Leadership Council,” a membership group consisting of 40 regional presidents, to take the LPI, a 360-degree leadership assessment tool that measures leadership behaviors and identifies potential areas of improvement.
“These people were already high performers, so when they saw a metric that represented their leadership behavior in the eyes of others, they were immediately interested in the leadership program. By creating a picture, it generated a tremendous amount of positive energy and desire to improve,” says Haptonstall. “We tapped into the intrinsic value and motivation within these individuals. They wanted to enhance their leadership abilities. That kind of interest builds tremendous momentum and energy.”
Haptonstall then utilized The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership“ model, detailed in The Leadership Challenge, to address and improve leadership skills among the participating Leadership Council members. Furthermore, each of the leaders was encouraged to take the lessons they learned back to their respective offices so they could develop other leaders within these offices.
Moving forward, Haptonstall introduced the LPI and The Leadership Challenge principals to various offices including Houston, Chicago, and throughout the Northeast region, which included Washington D.C., Virginia, Boston, and Philadelphia. He started with managers in each of the offices who soon began to see the value of elevating leadership at all organizational levels. The program was then rolled out to all employees within the region. “We realized that there’s a tremendous ROI in tapping into the leadership potential of employees at every level,” says Haptonstall.
Over the course of five years, Haptonstall conducted The Leadership Challenge program and administered the LPI for over 1,000 leaders at The Staubach Company. During that time he developed a statistical validation study that identified a positive statistical correlation between LPI scores and revenue production of real estate professionals.
Among the individual offices, Haptonstall documented elevated LPI leadership scores for greater than 60 percent of the leaders in the Dallas and Houston Staubach offices based on an LPI retest schedule of 18 months. In 2003, The Staubach Company achieved recognition as the best mid-sized business to work for in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area—attributable in part to its ongoing leadership-development initiatives. And the Houston office experienced an average 15 percent annual revenue increase each year over the course of the LPI rollout. In the Chicago office, the original LPI data showed self scores ranked the highest and the direct report scores ranked the lowest.
A little more than two years later, after following Haptonstall’s leadership program based on The Leadership Challenge, the direct report line moved to the highest ranking, resulting in 70 percent of the leaders within the office elevating their overall LPI scores. “It was an amazing transformation,” says Haptonstall. “During the course of our leadership training we had people such as the number one Staubach Company salesperson undergoing a personal transformation from program cynic to program advocate. He truly saw the difference the training made in himself, and more importantly, his behavioral change was noted by those around him.”Read More
Having a park, garden or other natural area “within a 10-minute stroller ride of any child in America” is the goal that motivates the 435 employees of the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit organization whose leaders personify The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® as outlined in The Leadership Challenge: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart.
Founded in 1972, TPL is a land conservation organization that protects land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come.“Our founders set out to Inspire a Shared Vision, to change the way communities think about themselves,” said Dan Schwab, Director of Training for TPL. “In addition to preserving land in communities across America, TPL served a ‘Johnny Appleseed’ role and helped create hundreds of local land trusts throughout the country – focusing on the notion of Enabling Others to Act. Often people don’t believe they can affect change, but TPL shows them they can—and must. We want Challenge the Process to become the American way of life when it comes to improving the health of communities through folding nature into our everyday lives.”
While unofficially the mantra of TPL from the beginning, The Five Practices and The Leadership Challenge became a formal part of the organization five years ago when Schwab joined the organization. Schwab has a long history with The Leadership Challenge, first working with co-authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner in 1987, when he partnered with the duo to create an experiential component for their leadership material. A certified facilitator, Schwab has conducted several Leadership Challenge® Workshops at TPL, including sessions for non-managerial employees with the theme, “Leadership is Everyone’s Business.”
“We are fortunate to have leaders who personify the Leadership Challenge values,” said Schwab. “The training has helped them become more in tune with those values and to be more aware of the impact of their leadership style on others. They better understand the importance of self-awareness and constant improvement, as The Leadership Challenge is as much about who you are as an individual as it is about who you are as a leader.”
The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® have taken hold at TPL. Will Rogers, TPL’s CEO, conducts his role within the organization by Encouraging the Heart, as he understands the importance of valuing employees by recognizing them with small, but significant, celebrations. Rogers Models the Way by being an accessible leader, someone who enjoys his job each and every day, encouraging others to follow suit.
Rose Harvey, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, also Models the Way by leading through her values and being consistent with her vision and her actions. Chief Operating Officer Felicia Marcus serves as the driver of the organization, Inspiring a Shared Vision and motivating others to act through her strong values and commitment to the organization’s mission.
Another advocate for The Leadership Challenge process is Reed Holderman, California Executive Director. “The Leadership Challenge has been a tremendous help to our organization,” said Holderman. “Everyone who has been involved with the program has become a better leader because of it. Our senior management also works better as a team because of the shared experience.”
After his senior managers went through The Leadership Challenge, Holderman encouraged them to put together 30-minute presentations to share at a staff meeting about their values, what drives them, and what makes them the leaders that they are. This very revealing, often incredibly emotional experience was an astounding success. “It was amazing,” said Holderman. “Several employees commented that this was the most inspiring, surprising, motivating thing they’d experienced anywhere they’d ever worked. The exercise led to an unprecedented level of loyalty and commitment.”
Since its inception TPL has worked with willing landowners, community groups, and national, state, and local agencies to complete more than 3,000 land conservation projects in 46 states, placing more than 2 million acres of land in permanent protection. Since 1994, TPL has helped states and communities craft and pass almost 300 ballot measures, generating over $19 billion in new conservation-related funding. As TPL strives to build on this success, The Leadership Challenge will continue to be part of the culture of the organization. “We plan on continuing the discussions generated by the program and continuing exploring and learning through The Leadership Challenge,” said Holderman.
Schwab encourages other nonprofits to incorporate The Leadership Challenge into their organizations. “The Leadership Challenge is about purpose and vision, about striving to create a future that matches our values,” he said. “TPL is one small example of a public benefit organization that understands how critical this is. The entire nonprofit and government sector could benefit from this process.” Read More