I am a recent graduate of the Leading Teams High Performance Leadership (HPL) Program. Full disclosure, I am also the Brand & Communications Manager for Leading Teams and I have worked here for the last 18 months.
My original desire to attend the program was borne out of wanting to see our models in action.
At Leading Teams we have monthly team days and quarterly training sessions, during which I get to see our models being used, and a big part of our initial induction and ongoing development is made up of observing facilitators in action. But my feeling was that it would be quite different to actually experience the programs as a participant, rather than an observer. I knew it would also be beneficial from a personal perspective but almost viewed that as a secondary benefit.
Leading Teams practices what we preach, so my request to go on the HPL program was met with nothing but encouragement.
I’d like to share my highlights of the program for anyone who may be considering signing up.
One of my favourite things about the program is the fact that, wherever possible, it’s delivered on site. My cohort had attendees from five different companies and we managed to visit three of those during the course. Being in the offices of one of our group really helped bring to life the stories and experiences they shared with the rest of us. It gave us an opportunity to learn a bit more about different businesses and their various structures.
It also opened the door to my next highlight.
Our facilitator, Simon Armstrong, invited the CEO of each site to speak to the group about their leadership journey. It was so interesting to hear their different perspectives. I found that the stories shared by Jim Mole of Ameropa in particular resonated with me.
He also shared one of his favourite leadership quotes that I have taken on as one of my own.
“Leadership is making decisions before you have to.”
As someone who doesn’t mind making decisions, but often leaves the trickiest ones until the final moment I have to make them, this has stayed with me ever since.
Hearing from our facilitator Simon was also a treat, and not just because he is a colleague. Simon is trained as a psychologist but has also had a lengthy career in the corporate world, among other things having formerly been the CEO of Cadbury in China. So he had a lot to add to the group, not just as our Leading Teams facilitator but as a person and as a leader.
Because I work for Leading Teams, I was already familiar with most of the models we covered in the program. But on the first day we used one I have never seen before: Lifeline. This exercise involves mapping out your life, marking particular highs or particular lows. The aim is to encourage participants to be reflective and examine turning points in their life. It also helps to build relationships between colleagues when they share their lifelines with each other.
I found this a really interesting exercise because I’ve actually never sat back and reflected on my life so far. A significant number of the milestones were professional ones, which made me think about the impact my work has on my life and the importance of working somewhere that I enjoy both my job and the people around me.
I’m sure everyone always thinks their group was the best but mine really was. All open, honest and interesting individuals, we formed a good rapport pretty quickly.
During the last session we conducted two peer reviews. These were based on what we’d observed during the program, as clearly we weren’t able to get to know everyone fully over the course of a few days, but thanks to the level of commitment and participation among the group they were still able to be impactful. I was pleased to be chosen by the group to deliver the feedback to one of my fellow participants – somewhat nerve-wracking but a reflection of the strength of the relationship we had managed to develop.
Like many people, I’m not a keen public speaker. It doesn’t scare me, as such, but it’s definitely not my favourite thing to do. My trick is always to prepare really well for any kind of speaking engagement and luckily the world of Leading Teams and leadership development is a topic I feel fairly comfortable in!
Preparing for the presentation caused me to look back on what we’d covered, which was the point at which I realised the significance of the lifeline activity and reflected on the quotes and observations that had stuck with me since.
It is good to be required to sum up the learnings because it makes you think about what you are going to be taking away. On the day the presentation went well and I was pleased to get good feedback from Tim, one of our colleagues who came to observe me. I was also delighted to see the other presentations – aside from being proud of my fellow HPL team-mates, it was incredibly rewarding to hear from an independent source the impact that the work we do at Leading Teams can have.
The High Performance Leadership Program is for any individual looking to master their leadership capacity in the company of talented peers. It is action-based learning that draws on the real-life experiences of the participants. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
We have programs starting in Melbourne and Adelaide in February 2018. If your preferred location isn’t listed on our website then just let us know via the form to join the waiting list.