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Using powerful new data from The Leadership Challenge 6e to strengthen and enrich the delivery of The Leadership Challenge Workshop

Tips and Techniques

After delivering more than 100 multi-day The Leadership Challenge® Workshops over the past 10 years, I have found a way to make the program even stronger, more alive, and more relevant than it ever has been. That’s thanks to the new research available in the 6th edition of The Leadership Challenge.

While I have always looked for ways to integrate content from the book into the workshop experience, the research examples were mostly focused on personal-best leadership stories and how they exemplified The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®. These are excellent examples of individual leaders to which we can still refer, but what the 6th edition offers is research that is broader, deeper, and richer. The new research correlations to the Positive Workplace Attitude (PWA) questions and data, for example, allow all of us as practitioners and facilitators of The Leadership Challenge to more effectively show how higher frequency of observed behavior links directly to higher levels of constituent engagement, thereby increasing organizational effectiveness.

To make this work well for leaders in my workshops, I purchase multiple copies of The Leadership Challenge book and distribute one to each participant ahead of time. In addition to completing the LPI® prior to the first day, leaders are asked to also read at least the first couple of chapters to become familiar with the research, and to bring their copy to the workshop.

Day #1, after we distribute the LPI reports and leaders have had time to read them and reflect, I ask participants to look at the behavioral ranking page, which they will use for the first exercise:

Five posters—one for each Practice that includes the two Commitments and the six behaviors that support that Practice—are displayed around the room. Leaders are asked to put their initials on three post-it dots, and to place one dot on each of the posters that correspond to the top three observed behaviors from the behavioral ranking page of their customized LPI report.

This exercise reveals some fascinating data and shows graphically what behaviors the group is most frequently seen demonstrating. It also creates a useful tool to explain the PWA research and how it fits into the LPI when we do the deeper dive into each of The Five Practices.

Another activity involves the self scores and average observer scores we’ve captured in the Participant Workbook.

Leaders are asked to focus on one specific behavior from each Practice, choosing a behavior that has been correlated to PWA data with a corresponding page in the book. For example, focusing on Model the Way I ask them to look at behavior #11 of the LPI, “Follows through on promises and commitments he/she makes.” Referring to the Model the Way poster, there are always a few dots behind this behavior and those who are seen frequently exhibiting behavior #11 are asked to share with the group what they specifically are doing or saying that has their observers seeing that they follow through on promises and commitments.

After eliciting a couple of examples and follow-on discussion, we then show how important this behavior is. I have the group turn to Chapter 4, Set the Example, and ask a participant to read from page 75. The passage here refers to this powerful graphic

It says, in part, “There’s a consistent and dramatic relationship between the extent to which people trust their organization’s management and the frequency that they find their leaders following through on promises and commitments.”

This process can be repeated as an introduction to each of the other four Practices once participants capture and look at their LPI data:
  • Inspire a Shared Vision—focus on behavior #27 and page 105 
  • Challenge the Process—focus on behavior #8 and page 154 
  • Enable Others to Act—focus on behavior #24 and page 225 
  • Encourage the Heart—focus on behavior #10 and page 252 
Leaders are encouraged to read aloud in the workshop a paragraph or two about each Practice from The Leadership Challenge book corresponding to the behavior and table graph for that Practice. This gets them into the book and the research which provides them with a compelling reason to engage in improving frequency. I have also found that this approach encourages people to read more of the book after the workshop.

As a final note, I typically use the Credo Memo exercise as a way of helping workshop participants connect values to actions in the workplace. As leaders use this tool to formulate their own leadership philosophy, I ask them to refer to Chapter 3 of the book, pages 50-51, that focuses on the importance of clarifying values. Included there are the latest statistics derived from the LPI that provide empirical evidence of the positive relationship between having clarity of one’s leadership philosophy and PWA.

As evidenced by the excellent results I’ve seen in the most recent workshops I’ve delivered, the new research and graphics available in the 6th edition of The Leadership Challenge offer a fantastic opportunity to get leaders directly into all of its rich content during the workshop—engaging them in a way that I believe will deliver even more lasting, long-term results.

Thanks Jim and Barry! It just keeps getting better and better!

Stephen Hoel
is a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge and president of Diversity Leadership Consultants, a leadership development organization focusing on improving the effectiveness of leadership and team skills. Experienced in both operations management and human resources with Walt Disney World Resort, Hilton, Marriott and other independent hotel and restaurant organizations, he has designed and delivered leadership and team interventions and multicultural leadership development initiatives. He can be reached at shoel13@aol.com.


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