How a leadership laboratory improved employee engagement, increased international promotions for leadership roles, and decreased turnover.
The Vice President of a large information technology division within a leading Fortune 500 health services organization identified the need to develop leaders at the director and senior director levels within his organization. The leaders at these levels had had little to no exposure to personal and leadership development opportunities, and they lacked a shared understanding of leadership. Further, because these leaders did not have the leadership skills needed to engage others to drive results, the Vice President’s own leadership, energy, and ability to scale and drive engagement were hindered.
The Vice President had previously participated in a cross-functional leadership development program for senior leaders. Having experienced the program’s impact on his leadership and that of the senior leadership team, he decided to develop and bring a similar program to his division.
With the goal of driving business results by developing leadership skills and cross-functional enterprise thinking, and creating impact, energy, and focus within and across the division, the Vice President engaged Brimstone to develop a “leadership laboratory,” a repeatable program that would give him a forum to engage with his next-generation leaders directly.
Creating a Leadership Laboratory
Brimstone worked with the Vice President to develop a program that now serves as a leadership laboratory within the division. The program is leader-led and is structured around leading self, leading others, and leading change. Within the program, sessions focus on situational leadership, emotional intelligence, vulnerability, and developing a “teachable point of view.”
The program’s design is iterative and focused on application. First, participants are presented with a leadership model or theory. They then hear a perspective from a senior leader. Then, over several weeks, they apply the model in their work. Participants then come back together to reflect on the results or impact, share experiences with colleagues, receive coaching, and build on learnings.
The Vice President of the division kicks off each session. Senior leaders from across the organization join the workshops as guest speakers to share their teachable point of view and engage in Q&A. Program alumni, senior directors who participated in the program in the past, join to reinforce the content with their experience: for example, how they started paying closer attention to their triggers and to how their own emotions and those of others drive behaviors.
As part of the program, participants are asked to develop and share a “Teachable Point of View” – a personal articulation of their perspective on leadership and how they plan to impact the organization differently.
The key to the program’s success is that it is leader-led and leader-focused – the leader does not outsource the critical work to human resources or an outside firm. The program is led by the leader, while Brimstone supports the Vice President by coaching, facilitating workshops, developing agendas, and other activities as needed. This enables the leader to have maximum personal impact on the participants.
“The program has enabled us to build common leadership competencies and common expectations for leaders.” – Division Vice President
Brimstone worked closely with the Vice President of the division to develop a replicable and scalable program that now serves as a leadership laboratory within the division. Two senior leaders have sponsored the program, six cohorts of twenty have participated in the program, and five additional cohorts are set to launch this year.
Employee engagement has improved; turnover has declined, and internal promotion to fill leadership roles has increased.
The program has created networking opportunities, bringing together diverse geographic and functional areas. The program is also creating a shared understanding of leadership and a common leadership language across the division.