Friday, June 3, 2011

The process will accelerate your growth as a leader.

Bill McGowan of the University of Delaware and I completed another leadership intensive with a remarkable group of business, non-profit, and community leaders.  Bill has taught me over the years that adults really learn if they teach each other.  Consequently, we developed programs with the following principles in mind:

1)  Get the right people in the room.
2)  Get them on the hook for something that is important to them and will help them become self aware, self confident, and enhance their leadership capabilities.
3)  Make their goal measurable.
4)  Create an environment of individual and group accountability for success, support, and affirmation.
5)  Be resolved to find a way to succeed - no excuses for failure.
6)  Frame appropriate questions and challenges to the group and give feedback with little instruction.
7)  Keep the group safe but keeping every one's egos, most importantly ours, out of the room.
8)  Be connected to the needs of the group moment to moment, and do everything we could do serve these needs.
9)  Value the fact that people have different needs and that there is no one path to leadership development.
10)  Leaders had to grow themselves, improve their organizations, then give back in a meaningful way to their communities.

We took a leap of faith because it felt like we weren't doing enough.  Which was true.  We struggled with the idea that less is more; less proscription, teaching, and preaching regarding the virtues, principles, and practices of leadership and more faith that a few important questions asked at the right time would allow for the group to learn through intense discussion and dissection of personal challenges and opportunities.

What we have done is create a methodology for leaders to grow in a challenging, safe, experiential, real life, fulfilling manner, which accelerates leadership possibilities on many levels.  The process matters.  The process of self discovery, dialogue, internal debate, questioning, failure, recovery, and success created the confidence, competence, and patterns of success that enhance personal leadership impact. 

When asked how the course impacted their leadership, we heard such comments as:

"I no longer see myself as a peon.  I can be in charge now.  I can change the culture; it's my ball of clay to work."

"When I entered the seminar, I thought business was the big thing to worry about and the relationships were the little things; I found out I had it wrong.  In fact, it was the opposite."

"How I view the way I set the tone and pace with my leadership is profoundly different with my team."

"I don't see people as parts in the machine anymore.  I see them as humans and I want to let them feel my humanity.  Now when I approach a conversation, I think,  how do I want this person to feel after the conversation."

"I found my authentic leadership voice.  I feel free, confident, and capable to lead."

"I'm on fire, I won't be stopped; my team won't be stopped."

If you want to accelerate your leadership results, put yourself out there and join a group of like minded catalysts.  The people and the process are more important than the techniques and facts you will long as you are ready to do the hard work to become a better leader.

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