By Barbara Key and Linda Alepin
We started with a vision. That is “We are committed to You as a Global Leader contributing to a healthy world.” What we cared most about was making it widely accessible and affordable.
Over the last 3 ½ years, we have designed, tested, re-designed, re-tested and finally, launched our transformational leadership courses in an innovative/experimental way. Today, we have a breadth of offerings which consists of –
- A 1 – day program called Everyone a Leader (EAL) which has 3 different delivery methods. We teach 1) face to face, 2) online via Zoom, and 3) through the learning management system Canvas as a learning community-based course.
- A 3 – day program called You as a Leader (YAL) taught face to face for managers and above.
- A 5 – day program called You as a Global Leader (YAGL) which includes international topics.
- A 6-month program called You as a Workshop Leader where we train facilitators to lead the programs.
- A monthly bulletin containing our own articles as well as those from other leaders around the world.
In all these programs — coaching and applied learning — are included — real-world use of the principles and reflections on the process and results.
What lessons did we learn along the way?
- Appreciative Inquiry (the basis for our programs) worked. We have constantly iterated through the discover the best, dream big, design the next phase and finally, deliver using community-based principles.
- Pivoting was necessary when adversity appeared. There were times when our intended pathway was blocked by large, and unexpected circumstances. As one example, we were hoping to lead a large YAGL program and the sponsor canceled. We pivoted to transforming our Everyone a Leader to an online format. We persevered in fulfilling our commitment to transformational leadership education.
- Partnerships were important to accelerate the results. We will always be grateful for the partnership of Gatepath. Bryan Neider, their CEO and Erin Montgomery have both helped us to co-design, fine-tune, and re-direct our efforts. We also had the partnership of Global Women’s Leadership Network (now part of How Women Lead) and Mills College in our early efforts. The knowledge of what works in online education from Michael Griffith at the University of Arizona was invaluable.
- Opportunities abounded when we recognized them. When Linda learned about online technologies for another project it would have been easy to leave those techniques in that domain. Instead, we saw the potential to once again transform our course offerings and broaden the distribution.
For our team, we created a culture that rewards creativity, risk-taking and always being on the “learning” edge.