Pioneering Leadership Development
Sometimes I design and deliver bespoke 3–12 month programs for pioneering leadership teams.
* Hence why I almost only ever consider such things with existing clients. If you and I haven’t worked together yet, perhaps we can start with something smaller, to see if we like the cut of each other’s jib?
This program is crafted to meet the needs of any senior leadership team seeking to venture into new and uncharted territory.
This may sound like an audacious claim—to be able to host a program of such scope!—but it’s not all on me. This program works thanks to my access to quality experts, authors and industry leaders*—talented folks we can bring into the mix. Across a mix of major (off-site) and minor (on-site) sessions—strategically sequenced—we are therefore able to co-create a leadership program that’s both timely utterly relevant to the needs of your team.°
* These are my people. Well, most of them. Many, at least.
° Ergo: this is not an 'off the shelf' product that's churned for the masses—it is indeed, for want of a better term: bespoke.
Bespoke, pioneering leadership development (?)
Yes, that’s right. Bespoke means we can craft it to suit the needs of the team, bringing in relevant expertise and perspective as needed.
Say our deep-dive reveals that digital literacy amongst senior leaders is not where it could be, or rather—it’s not keeping pace with the implications of blockchain, artificial intelligence, automation (or even asynchronous comms). Splendid—we tailor the leadership development program to address these gaps (by integrating the relevant expertise). Likewise, say it becomes clear that the leadership team (and the general enterprise culture) is far too polite, which in turn breeds passive politics and group think. Wizard—we tailor the leadership development program to suit by again integrating the relevant expertise, so as to get better at having the tough conversations. Or let’s say there emerges an appreciation for new leadership behaviours need to be modelled—can do! No matter what emerges from the program—it’s highly likely we’ll be able to tailor our approach to match.
This may not sound that revolutionary—and it isn’t. But... leaders are busy, and organising leadership development to meet the needs of intelligent, seasoned folk is... difficult. And so what we typically get is a patchwork effect: fits and spurts of isolated leadership development. Disruptive box-ticking affairs that—while interesting and nice—do little to build collective momentum. Why? Because such an approach lacks accumulative depth and momentum—each facilitator must begin with the group anew, and so the deeper challenges are never quite dealt with.
To truly pioneer means to venture beyond our well established and deeply habituated defaults. This can be confronting and uncomfortable. More so, as we further the path towards a more responsive organisation, savvy leaders must accept: the game is changing. What worked to get them where they are won’t necessarily work to get the organisation to where it needs to be. Tis not the time to rest on one’s laurels. And besides: in complex environments, experience can be a disadvantage.
So how on earth do we navigate through this? How does a leadership team pioneer through the storm? Hoho, you know the answer to this: there is no singular answer. But a pioneering leadership program (akin to what I offer) may explore the right multiplicity of questions and perspectives, at the right depth, to yield the insight needed to unlock new and meaningful progress for your leadership team and enterprise.
Here’s what it could look like
A (condensed) 3-month pioneering leadership program might look something like this.* A 12-month program (naturally) looks different.
* Or it might not.
01/ The Immersion (offsite)
Wherein we cover elements in The Pioneering Leadership Masterclass as a deep dive over two days. I facilitate a psychologically safe space, and we go deep—confronting elephants, assumptions and delusions, and arriving at a place of deeper truth, shared understanding, alignment and connection. From here, we work—genuinely—on team values, leadership principles and key one behaviours. It’s here we emerge with a renewed sense of ‘having each other’s back’ and ready to confront new challenges.
02/ An Onsite Session
Split into three parts. Firstly: a frank review of progress thus far (there are inevitably hurdles and setbacks—this is to be expected). Secondly: a guest masterclass from a relevant expert. Thirdly: a renewal of intention, framed as an experiment between now, and the Peak/Abyss.
03/ The Peak/Abyss (offsite)
An offsite wherein we review progress to date, and identify the root cause of any blockages impeding meaningful progress (unpacking team/self-sabotage and the delusion of progress, while also celebrating peak wins to date). With this cleared, and with appropriate remedies established, we then consider how to lead amid volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Worthy, challenging, meaningful projects are generated—in service to the enterprise.
04/ A Second Onsite Session
As previous—but with a different guest masterclass expert, and the opportunity to co-craft the final offsite agenda.
05/ The Penultimate (offsite)
An offsite wherein by now the agenda is largely set by the team. We navigate through the complex and challenging conversations we otherwise don’t get the (head)space to do so. We review our meaningful projects, and loop back to the enterprise strategy. Importantly: we plot the final challenge: a full-day onsite event—for the wider enterprise—hosted by the leadership team.
06/ The Final Onsite Session
An internal conference, wherein emerging leaders and relevant stakeholders are invited to learn from the leadership team. This may involve an open panel session, along with short presentations from each leader. Additionally, this is an opportunity for senior leaders to showcase talent from within the enterprise. The result? A memorable event, a clear line in the sand, a visible shift and elevation, and a shared, collaborative triumph for the leadership team.
Ultimately, the Pioneering Leadership Program unearths and elevates a high-performing, visionary and supportive leadership team, well-equipped with the savvy to lead meaningful progress in an unpredictable world.