We realized that the entire conception of Leadership Development had become stultified, built upon layers of generations-old thinking, entrenched bureaucracies, and outdated assumptions which impeded progress. A thorough top-to-bottom redesign was needed, including:
- Better Architecture: One of the major impediments to developing effective leaders is the lack of a clear concept or framework about what actually constitutes “collaboration.” (i.e. it’s often confused it with “congeniality” or “being nice to people.”) Thus leaders have had no clear “mind-map” for distinguishing true collaboration from other forms of human interaction, preventing quick focus, rapid remedial action, and effective diagnostics.
Two of the most difficult leadership challenges are strategic alliances and complex project implementation. From these, using our extensive field experience and best practice analysis, we formulated a powerful new leadership paradigm yielding high rewards and reduced risks.
- Better Alignment: The heritage of explaining leadership by traits, aphorisms, characteristics, and styles has impeded the integration of leadership development with organization development.
We filtered out the muddled thinking, creating a deeper and more integrated alignment between the mission & interests of sponsoring organizations, their leadership development efforts, operational effectiveness, and the core methodologies of executive education.
- Better Learning Methodology: Historically, a Training Model has provided the theory and practice of leadership behavior. While this sounds reasonable, often it has produced mediocre results. Our experience in Exec. Ed. compelled us to further refine our Action Learning framework where everything learned is immediately applied in workshop format, producing results fast.
Action-Learning incorporates a breakthrough “learning loop” process that completes the learning cycle integrating the five dimensions of how a person frames what they believe, perceive, conceive, achieve, and what they receive for results.
- Better Cultural Impact: One of the perpetual complaints about Exec. Ed. is that after an intense training session, upon being re-immersed back into an unsupportive culture, the new trainee feels their new knowledge and inspiration being depleted, quickly becoming disillusioned.
We address this by ensuring, up-front, there is significant senior executive sponsorship, HR support, a long-term engagement with a coach, and the coalescence of operational teams as they learn together and rapidly apply their learning to their every-day work.
- Better Content: Current Leadership Development curriculum has a series weaknesses, including:
Deeply disjointed, fragmented topic areas presented by different subject matter experts with no attempt to link or integrate one element into the next, forcing the student to attempt integration themselves. This stems from each “authority” having their unique “model” for a topic, while Exec. Ed. admin makes no effort to integrate the dissimilar models.
Superficial treatment of symptoms and problems, with an over-emphasis on skill-oriented competencies, without addressing root-causes and over-looking the importance of holistically changing the inherent mind-sets upon which actions and metrics are based.
Failure to link the curriculum directly to tangible diagnostics and every-day realities faced by participants responsible for execution and implementation.
We remedied each of these weaknesses in our Transformative Action-Learning Engagement strategy. The result is a powerful immersive learning program with a core curriculum that compels the prospective leader to address: the vital questions of “Why?” “What?” & “How?” of each element of the Leadership Development process, each building on the prior learning. Participants are given ample time to design an implementation platform and begin to see the results before being forced to move on to the next learning element. The curriculum is delivered virtually via pre-recorded video, but activated and customized locally (see next bullet)
- Better Activation: Senior executives expect Exec. Ed. to deliver transformative results, not just inspired rhetoric. Moreover, because each organization is unique, the Collaborative Excellence program must be receive a modicum of customized tailoring (bespoke) at the field operations level.
To accomplish this local tailoring, our program uses an established network of qualified Advisors/Coaches to facilitate the learning and the production of results within the client organizations. We encourage these advisors/coaches to oversee the implementation of the Action-Learning model, making adaptations where ever necessary to produce the desired results. Thus the role of the coaches is not as “consultants,” but rather as “resultants.” Depending upon the circumstances, the “resultants” can engage either remotely or physically on-site. Regularly the coaches will exchange localized best practice adaptations with each other, thus upgrading the implementation processes.
- Better Expertise: Feedback from tens of thousands of senior leaders and managers attending our programs confirmed that the impact of any educational experience was significantly increased when the presenter transcended academic theory and spoke directly as practitioner. While professors are acknowledged for their ability to teach at the undergraduate and graduate school levels, their ability often diminishes at the Exec. Ed. level because of their lack of practical experience “in the trenches.”
Responding to this concern, our team is composed of “Pracademics” – individuals who have spent a large portion of their lives in both the academic and business worlds. Most have researched and written extensively, and are considered “thought leaders.” We believe Pracademics are the best people to develop content for Action-Learning. Many of our Pracademics can also do double duty as “resultant” field coaches or coach other coaches.
- Better Value: We’ve reconfigured the delivery system, presenting each learning module “virtually” in pre-recorded sessions, which are adapted for each customer by a local coach/resultant, thus producing twice the value at half the cost.