“To handle yourself, use your head, to handle others, use your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
The project is over! What an action packed learning experience I have had. I am confident that I have grown professionally and personally and was exposed to things that I would not have normally been due to this project. By far, it has been one of the best development opportunities I have had in my career. Our group successfully met each milestone and conquered every deadline – we spent so much time together, I view them as family. We all hung in there together and finally delivered our project. What a whirlwind!
Over the course of 9 months, our team completed our project which was included analyzing a business challenge, identifying future state and clearly delineating steps and/or processes to move from present to future state. Over the course of the project, our goal remained consistent however our path took a few turns and changed. I felt I knew the value of agility however this project showed me how agility can really be a valuable skill to have. Agility is not only the ability to effectively navigate professional situations but also can also help when handling and addressing conflict, building rapport and forging new relationships.
Of the skills I learned during the program, I would have to say my biggest takeaway was the ability to grow and develop my soft skills. In addition to agility, I also had the opportunity to work on my conflict resolution, critical and process thinking, big picture focus and emotional intelligence. I look back at the project (and the massive briefcase I have filled with notes, presentations and other project related items) and have fond memories. I learned a lot about my team members and even more about myself. Now, back to work!
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“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs
Since the last post about the Leadership Development program, a lot has happened. I have learned the full DMAIC process and worked with the team to build micro problem statements, data collection plans and root cause analysis. As you may know, DMAIC stands for:
D – Define (define the problem or customer requirement)
M – Measure (create and implement a data collection plan)
A – Analyze (analyze the data, process steps and root cause(s))
I – Improve (come up with solution ideas and test these ideas)
C – Control (determine control methods and implement response plan(s))
The DMAIC process is a sensible way to look at a problem and find ways to fix the problem and build a sustainable solution. An area we have spent a lot of time on is the Analyze phase. Dissecting and “boiling down” a problem gives us a chance to reflect on the challenge and find feasible and relevant solutions that not only solve the issue but can enhance and build the business. Having a thorough understanding of the cause and the effects of the cause is vital to successful solution. Sometimes this requires having difficult conversations that could be politically charged.
In addition to working on the project and DMAIC (and all my other activities and work!), I have completed DiSC, Hogan Assessments and a comprehensive individual development plan (IDP). IDPs are very important to development and growth and every professional should have one. Sometimes it is hard to look in the mirror and see your weaknesses and threats. Having an honest conversation with yourself and building your personal SWOT analysis is the cornerstone to your professional foundation. The Hogan Assessment was particularly valuable to me. I found my strengths and derailers to be “spot on” and I was able to use them to build my IDP successfully. The good thing is that I can now work on it!
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“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy
Developing and growing leaders has been, is and will be a priority for organizations. Without strong, competent and agile leaders, the success and preservation of a company’s market share can be negatively impacted. Some companies “wing it” and hope future leaders will step up to the bench and throw their hat in for consideration. Other companies take deliberate steps to seek out high potential talent and invest in them. These companies spend valuable time and resources training, developing and motivating these high potential employees with the hopes they will be the future senior leaders of the organization. These leadership development opportunities are evidence of a company that values their talent and wants to retain for future greatness.
In November 2013, I was honored by being selected by my employer for our Leadership Development program. Less than 5% of our leaders were chosen – what an exciting development opportunity! I will be working on a fundraising project for future growth and expansion of the hospital system until May 2014. There is a lot of potential to grow the existing fundraising programs which will provide capital for system-wide growth. We meet weekly (at least) and are putting together plans for a sustainable program. Needless to say, I have busy over the last 2 months.
The Leadership Development program is highly structured with detailed milestones and benchmarks. Each member of the program (almost 50 leaders in total) is working on one of the 8 selected projects – all of which have deep and expansive impact on our hospital system. And each team has a project champion, project sponsor and in-house Organizational Development Consultant to keep us on track. There are formal, full day meetings monthly with each team reporting out and presenting the project progress to date. Some of the benchmarks so far have included project overview, customer identification and SIPOC and CTQ Trees creation. Now we are working on data collection methods.
I have learned a lot from my team mates who include professions like telemedicine, nursing, research, IT, security, philanthropy and a DMAIC expert who is also a Six Sigma Black Belt. This opportunity has afforded me incredible professional and personal development. There is much more to come.
Have you been a member of or work for a company that has a Leadership Development program? I would like to hear about your experiences.
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