Developing-Leaders-issue-27-2017

Corporate Practice Developing Leaders Issue 27: 2017 | 55 “Themost effective programs help participants learn and apply new tools and frameworks – individually and collectively – but building and developing new relationships across the organization also is a critical outcome for any successful program.” Michael O’Leary, Teaching Professor, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University In the Managing Change Simulation in SLPs, held at the end of the first module, participants gain insight into real-world scenarios faced by AARP. This shared sandbox enables participants to more readily grasp how change appears from perspectives other than their own. When designing a custom program, content choices will balance out technical elements (what tools to use and how to use them) with cultural aspects relating to the executives using those tools on a day-to-day basis. The success of the Managing Change Simulation (as reported by the participants themselves) lies in it being simultaneously a tool, a method, and a mindset. “I find myself soliciting more feedback from others, which noticeably enriches ideas. I believe that was a direct result of the program.” Sonia M. Alvarez, AARP’s Senior Vice President, Operations Strategy and Analysis (program participant) Advocacy organizations face the special challenge of keeping staff motivated even when the broad policy changes they are advocating often take three, five, or 10 years. They have to operate in a constantly shifting ‘big P’ political landscape while minimizing and managing their own internal ‘small p’ office politics. Advocacy organizations have to answer to a broad spectrum of internal and external stakeholders. Finally, they have to promote the agenda they were formed to advocate in the first place. The AgL program encourages communication and collaboration among participants from the outset. For example, the ground in which the seeds of the Managing Change Simulation are sown is cleared during The Five Farmers Exercise in Module One. The cohort divides into teams. Each member of the team is given a card containing information about five farmers—what car they drive, what animals they raise, what crops they grow, what type of house they live in, and the position of each farmer’s house in the village. None of the cards give complete details of any one of the farmers. Team members are not allowed to show their card to the rest of the team and no one is allowed to write anything down. The challenge is to patch together answers to questions set by the instructor using the data siloed among the team members. This creative and engaging session challenges participants’ preconceptions and assumptions about how decisions are made and implemented at a fundamental level, no matter the participant’s length of service or previous experience. AgL has provided AARP with a unified operating framework in which a wide range of human and corporate resources can be catalogued without being siloed

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