Corporate Practice 52 | Developing Leaders Issue 27: 2017 “Leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do it.” Frances Hesselbein L arge and varied organizations must ensure a consistent approach to management across hierarchies, regions, functions, and sub-groups. At the same time, such organizations need to keep executives thinking broadly and in tandem with each other. For nearly 60 years, AARP – formerly the American Association of Retired Persons – has helped Americans over 50 improve the quality of their lives. The non-profit, nonpartisan organization has 38 million members across the United States, and works at the national, state, and community levels on a diverse range of issues and initiatives. AARP has seven affiliated organizations, including non-profit foundations and charities and for-profit corporations. The challenge for large and complex organizations like AARP is to ensure that their management practices are harmonized across their affiliates. To do this, Jo Ann Jenkins (then AARP’s Chief Operating Officer, now its CEO) envisioned a custom executive education program that could reflect, as well as reinforce, best practices across the broad spectrum of AARP’s work. The school tasked with delivering the envisioned program for AARP would therefore need to combine impeccable academic credentials with top quality theory, practice, faculty, and delivery. “We started the Agile program because we saw a need to develop leaders throughout the organization who are able to adapt and respond more quickly to the changing environment in which we live and work. As an organization serving 38 million members and their families, we need innovative leaders who are collaborative – who can work together and with their teams to empower people to choose how they live as they age.” Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO, AARP AARP partnered with the executive education team at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business to develop a multi-module program, called Agile (AgL), for the 100 members of its leadership team. Georgetown McDonough’s Office of Executive Education builds customized programs for organizations around the world, in addition to offering executive degree programs for individuals. Creating Harmony in a Complex Organization AARP’s Collaboration with Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business By Dan Lentell