Making an Impact: What Will You Do in 2019?
As the end of the year quickly approaches, we’ve begun taking stock of 2018 and are looking towards 2019. It’s been a great year for us at Impact, filled with fun and meaningful work with our clients—with both those new to us and with those well known.
This week is a little bittersweet for us. For the past two years, we have gotten to work with a fabulous group of high potentials from a large, national construction company on their leadership development. This week marks their graduation from an intensive 2-year program. We are proud of them and of their growth as leaders. So, we want to recognize them here and let you in on the work they have done. Hopefully it will trigger your own thinking about personal development goals for the upcoming year.
The Back Story
Approximately three years ago, a national construction company asked us to partner with them to design, develop, and deliver a customized and intensive leadership development program to a select group of their high potentials. It was a big undertaking and one that we were excited to take on.
Candidates for the program were nominated by their managers from across the company’s five national locations, and a final list of candidates was selected by executive leadership for invitation to participate. Not surprisingly, all candidates accepted.
The Work Done
The program launched in March 2017 and, since then, each of these high potentials has spent a minimum of 145 hours working on their leadership development. Participants set their daily work aside and traveled on-site to attend seven, 2-day modules and one, 3-day module, along with participating in individual coaching and completing applied activities. They built self-awareness; defined their leadership identity, core values, and vision for the future; and developed new skills for leading teams, driving change, and developing others. As a capstone to the program, they formed teams and developed initiatives aligned with the company’s strategic vision to move the needle closer to attainment of company goals. The teams will formally present their projects to the company’s senior management group and executive leadership team later this week.
Despite very demanding and time-sensitive workloads, each of the participants in the leadership development program made it a priority. They embraced the opportunity to learn, readily took on the challenges we presented, and stretched themselves time and again to grow and level up as leaders. They have forged bonds with one another that brought camaraderie; provided a safe, supportive space for learning and growth; and will now feed toward increased collaboration across locations. As they approach their graduation, I find myself feeling inspired by them, excited for their futures, and grateful for the opportunity to have shared this experience with them (if not also little sad to see it end).
So, what is the takeaway from this for you? Ongoing and intentional efforts to develop yourself as a leader are not optional in order to stay at the top of your game. As leadership guru Warren Bennis stated, “success in management requires learning as fast as the world is changing.” Our work worlds are rapidly changing and evolving—as leaders and as organizations, we must do the same in order to remain effective. We also know that the demands of daily work will crowd out the time for it, unless we make it a priority, schedule it, and then protect it.
So, as this year nears an end, I challenge you to commit at least one hour per week in 2019 to invest in yourself. Developing yourself as a leader does not require big commitments like those of our construction friends. It can be woven into day-to-day work in small, but consistent, efforts such as reading, requesting feedback, and establishing mentoring relationships. Bigger commitments could include activities like coaching, participation in a leadership develop program, or the pursuit of an advanced degree. Whether it is through structured or unstructured activities, in large or small increments of time, you decide—just ensure that you do it. The results will pay dividends. Are you up for the challenge?