Corporate Practice 56 | Developing Leaders Issue 27: 2017 As Professor O’Leary puts it, “Working with AARP, and its many expert advocates, has heightened my appreciation for how people’s development and expertise in one area (e.g., advocacy) can make collaboration especially challenging when their colleagues’ development and expertise is in another area (e.g. innovation).” Together, AARP and Georgetown have developed a program that challenges old assumptions while minimizing conflict and resistance to change. Professor O’Leary highlights the close collaboration between the AARP and Georgetown teams as fundamentally key to the program’s early success and continuance. Together they have been willing to revisit and adjust the original design as the situation at AARP evolved. From the start there was a commitment to ripple the program “up,” “down,” and “out” in the organization. “From the very beginning, AARP’s C-suite team has participated in the selection of participants, orientation, launch day, learning projects, and program finale. They also have experienced a customized version of the program themselves so that they have a deeper appreciation of what their senior staff is learning.” Michael O’Leary, Teaching Professor, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University Has the program helped? For John Sigmon, Chief Human Resources Officer at AARP, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Following the roll out of AgL, Sigmon and his team were able to establish a framework of competencies to integrate talent practices across the organization. “This could never have happened before AgL,” reflects Sigmon. “Before, we would never have achieved the consensus necessary to agree such a joined-up approach to management.” Competencies describe the broad skills required for success. They also provide the common language to drive integration and consistency across talent practices (such as selection, interviewing, and development). AARP’s competency models, called Success Profiles , are the foundation for aligning talent practices to strategy. Because competencies are applicable across jobs in a variety of job functions, competency-based talent practices help AARP compare roles and build connections across an increasingly matrixed organization. John Whitmore, one of the fathers of modern-day leadership coaching, wrote that, “Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” The success of AgL, the collaboration between AARP and Georgetown, is that it builds on participants’ experience and energy, taking the play within sight of the touchdown line and then trusting the talent and determination of the team to reach the ultimate goal. Above all, AgL has provided AARP as a whole with a unified operating framework in which a wide range of human and corporate resources can be catalogued without being siloed. It’s the equivalent of turning an unsorted pile of books into a library – exactly as Jenkins intended from the start. AARP vital statistics: Founded: 1958 Revenue (2014): $1,486,310,000 Expenses (2014): $1,468,824,000 Staff: 1,986 Volunteers: 17,499 Headquarters: Washington DC Recent Georgetown McDonough Rankings: Bloomberg Businessweek : MBA Evening Program – 4th Financial Times : Executive Custom Programs – 15th in the world; Full-time MBA -- 18th in the U.S.; Executive MBA – 5th in the U.S. and 1st for international business; Global Executive MBA – 33rd in the world