Leadership Quarterly

The Leadership Circle Leadership Development System

May, 2012 | by Andrew Bennett
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    A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking on behalf of The Leadership Circle at The Conference Board Executive Coaching Conference in New York City. The Conference Board selected The Leadership Circle because they consider us a “full-spectrum” leadership development system. The Conference Board’s definition of “full-spectrum” means two things:
    • Having tools that can be used to assist in leadership development efforts at multiple levels in an organization.
    • Offering a set of products and services to facilitate a leadership development process.
    The Conference Board truly understands what The Leadership Circle has to offer. Many people view us as an one-assessment company, only knowing about our Leadership Circle Profile, but we are much more than that. Our multiple offerings create a powerful leadership development system on two levels.
    1. Thought Leadership: The Leadership Circle has taken the best of what has been learned over the last half century and woven it into the first Unified Theory of Leadership Development to arise in the field. Prior to our integration, the field of leadership development was a fragmented collection of theories and practices.
    2. Leadership Development as a Process: In the March issue of our Leadership Quarterly, my colleague Jonathan Hulsh explained the importance of approaching leadership development as a process, not an event. The Leadership Circle has all the tools needed to facilitate that process.
    Here’s our portfolio:

    Assessments

    Managing the Development Process

    Workshops

    The Leadership Circle’s Leadership Development System in Action

    The Leadership Circle Profile and Leadership Circle Profile Manager Edition are often used for one-on-one coaching. This usually involves taking the assessment, debriefing it with a Leadership Circle certified coach, defining a development process and working together over time. One-on-one coaching can be powerful, and incorporating one-on-one coaching into a larger developmental initiative magnifies the impact of coaching exponentially. Here are some examples based on some of the ways people are using our portfolio:

    Becoming Innovative

    An information technology company, who had become a market leader developing exciting new products between 2003-2008, was losing market share because they had not developed anything new in several years. They created a process to get back to being an innovation leader. Here’s what they did:
    1. Used our Leadership Culture Survey to understand how leadership was perceived in their organization. They found that the organization had become “fat and happy,” resting on the laurels of earlier achievement. Leadership was perceived as having lost its vision and as they had grown the organization had become fragmented. Decisions took a long time to make and when they were made they were not effective at creating meaningful results. The Leadership Culture Survey revealed that their leaders needed to revisit the organization’s deeper purpose, chart a new direction based on that purpose, and engage all levels in a deep conversation about what the new direction meant and what it required.
    2. Executive leadership team members took the Leadership Circle Profile, allowing each leader to see how his/her own performance compared to that which the organization said was necessary to be successful, as revealed by the Leadership Culture Survey. Each leader was able to identify what they needed to do to move the organization forward, then they worked individually with coaches to make necessary changes.
    3. The executive leadership team used a Leadership Circle Profile Group Report, showing an aggregate of the individual reports so that the team could look at their collective Profile and discuss how they could work better as a team at creating the culture that would get them back to their winning ways.
    4. Managers and supervisors used the Leadership Circle Profile Manager Edition to see how their performance compared to what was required to become successful. The Leadership Circle Manager Edition enabled middle management and supervisors to have powerful conversations, based on a common language, with senior leaders. Those conversations led to the development of policies, procedures, and commitments creating new ways to make decisions and take action at all levels.

    Senior Leadership Team Development

    Two banks merged and combined senior leadership teams. Jockeying for position became the predominant activity as leaders fought for their survival. In the meantime, the merged organization grew confused over goals, roles, and responsibilities. The newly merged board of directors intervened to get leadership on track. One bank had an internal organization development team that was engaged to facilitate a process of senior leadership team development. Here’s what they did:
    1. Internal coaches led a three-day Authentic Leader Workshop where leaders learned what is required to perform at the highest levels.
      1. The difference between reacting to problems and creating compelling outcomes.
      2. Becoming aware of how internal beliefs and assumptions give rise to limiting behavior.
      3. How to clarify organizational purpose and vision so that they generate productive engagement.
      4. How to lead the creation of an organizational culture that will bring the purpose and vision to life.
    2. Each leader received 360-degree feedback through the Leadership Circle Profile. The Authentic Leader Workshop gave leaders a strong foundation to understand what their feedback meant. Team members shared their Profiles with each other so they could see each other’s strengths and limitations of each other and the implications for the team. The act of sharing Profiles was a powerful moment of trust building.
    3. For six months, leaders worked individually and as a group with internal coaches. During this time, several members of the senior leadership team decided to assume roles one step down in the hierarchy in order to bring the organization together.
    4. Authentic Leader workshops were conducted at the vice president and director levels, then at the middle manager and supervisor levels. These sessions included Leadership Circle Profile feedback.
    5. Middle managers and supervisors participated in year-long cohort groups, sharing progress and challenges with each other on a monthly basis guided by internal coaches. They used The Leadership Circle’s Follow-Through Tool to manage their development efforts and to help hold each other accountable and share what they were learning.
    These are just two examples of the powerful ways The Leadership Circle’s Leadership Development System can be used. Join us on May 17th  at 1 p.m. EST for a free webinar featuring practitioners who have successfully used our portfolio to facilitate development initiatives.  
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