Vaundee Arnold and I attended The Leadership Challenge® Workshop in December of 2015 as internal training facilitators and members of the Leadership for Advanced Management Team (LAM Team) at the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS). This team had been created by legislative action with the directive to create a learning environment that would bring ongoing education to the department’s mid- and upper-level management. Vaundee and Denise’s goal in attending the workshop was to evaluate the experience on two criteria:
- Would The Leadership Challenge behaviors and practices help the organization improve retention, morale, and overall leadership effectiveness?
- Could The Leadership Challenge Workshop itself be expanded to create an “operating system” that would reshape organizational culture across the board?
Coming away from the workshop with very positive impressions, the next big challenge was to find a way of bringing exemplary leadership practices, commitments, and behaviors to the agency—making the vision of using The Leadership Challenge® an operating system reality. To that end, Vaundee and I reached out to iLead Consulting & Training and Harness Leadership and, along with fellow DFPS colleague Christine Ashworth-Mazerolle, began collaborating to launch several pilot workshops between September 2016 and January 2017. Since those initial pilots, over 500 leaders throughout DFPS have now experienced the impact of The Leadership Challenge®. Indeed, the majority have been exposed multiple times to the content through the following four components:
- Two-day The Leadership Challenge® Workshop including the LPI®360
- One hour of one-to-one coaching conducted three-four weeks after the workshop
- One-day Progress & Commitment Workshop, two-four months post-workshop
- One-day Graduation Workshop, action planning and results from a second LPI®360 , four-nine months after the two-day workshop
Through passion, persistence, and teamwork, the efforts of this team of facilitators, coaches and administrators have led to a full organizational embrace of The Leadership Challenge® as an operating system for DFPS.
The results of the work have included:
- Repeated stories of increased morale across departments throughout the State
- A notable increase in the ability of leaders to acknowledge the good work of others
- Proven increase in LPI®360 scores for those teams that focused intently on full adoption and reinforcement of The Leadership Challenge® philosophy
Following is the story of how DFPS used The Leadership Challenge® as an operating system to energize its culture and strengthen leaders at all levels.