Team Management Systems

Experiencing Leadership: Making the translation from theory to action

By James Michael
Copyright © Leadership In Action Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

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West of The Great Dividing Range in NSW: It's 1:00am and a group of animated executives sit huddled together in their 12 person tent, enthusiastically reviewing the mission from which they have just returned. They have secured a number of unexpected yet highly-valued resources from the Opposing Forces - or 'OpFor' as they are learning to refer to them. The discussion is about what they've just experienced and the implications for the kind of leadership they provide back at work in the 'real world'. Welcome to the new face of leadership development in Australia - The Leadership Experience™.

The Leadership Experience™ has been developed in response to the growing need or managers to develop the capability to provide effective leadership in a world characterized by discontinuous change. When you look at many of the models of leadership that exist today they originate from a time before everyday life was chaotic and unpredictable; the models that enable 'leadership in a cyclone' are quite immature by comparison. Photo: Experiencing Leadership

One environment, however, which has had 'chaos' and 'unpredictability' as a staple - but where the workforce must nonetheless deliver to exacting standards with limited resources - is that of the Australian Army 'Special Forces operator'. Since the days of Z Force, the Aussie Special Forces soldier and operating unit has been regarded around the world as a great example of high performance and ingenuity. Consequently, Leadership In Action's programs combine principles and processes utilized by Australian Special Forces, along with the research findings and models of Team Management Systems (TMS), to develop the kind of leadership that powers superior team-based performance in circumstances of high-demand.

During the program, participants are taught the fine art of 'tactical leadership' processes, skills and behaviours - and are given repeated opportunities to apply them in an environment which is constantly working against them. What we have developed is a program that immerses participants in an evolving scenario where, to achieve their objectives, they will have to apply the lessons they are taught in the tent, in a less than perfect environment. Participants arrive at the location with 100,000 credits in their 'account'. They can earn tens of thousands of points more - but they can lose points too. Photo: Experiencing Leadership

Each group is required to set a 'go-away target' by the third morning of the program. Everybody rotates in the leadership role throughout the program, so everyone takes a turn in the hot seat. When they are not leading, participants are reminded through the roles they are given, of what it's like to be a follower again.

We have gone to great lengths to ensure that this program is not seen by participants as some sort of 'boot camp' or 'paintball game'. When you introduce them to the Team Management Systems concepts and Profiles, they soon learn that we are talking as much about the soul of leadership as we are the mind. The Team Management Profile (TMP), The QO2™ Profile and the Window on Work Values Profile (WoWV) have been embedded in The Leadership Experience™.

The business prides itself on helping participants make the translation between leadership in theory and leadership in action. One of the huge benefits of the TMS tools is that they reinforce that aim for us every time.

We use the Team Management Profile to educate participants about their work preferences and that of their team members. Participants receive their personal Profile after having undertaken four or five missions and are very quickly able to point out observations made in the report which have manifested themselves in their behavior on this program. The feedback is consistently that of having 'hit the nail on the head'. From this tool we are able to reinforce the ideas of a team needing to consciously cover 360° of their existence and have participants think about the degree to which each member of their team is doing what they are best at, as opposed to simply trying to do their best. We also see great merit in the QO2™ Profile. The pace of change and the need for people to constantly innovate today - coupled with the expectation of increased performance, means teams are asked to take a greater level of risk. Not everybody is comfortable with that. We use the QO2™ Profile to help explain why some people just jump in 'boots and all' with no fear of failure, while others want to do one more risk assessment before plotting their intentions on a Gantt Chart. Both can be disastrous in the wrong situation. Photo: Experiencing Leadership

The third tool utilized is the Window on Work Values Profile. Again, it's about understanding how individuals view the world, what it is that informs their decision-making. The more aware we can become of who we are, and who our team members are, the more likelihood we have of tapping into the pool of energy that exists within each person and realizing their full potential. Ultimately, that's what this program is about.

The Leadership Experience™ was launched in March 2004 and participant satisfaction with the program is currently averaging 92.8% and to the question/s 'How valuable did you find reviewing your personal TMP/QO2™/WoWV?' the average response is an amazing 4.62 out of 5!

One of our favorite participant quotes, from an IPAS 'Concluder-Producer', about the program as a whole is "I'm going to go home and shred my management certificates!"

Looks like he's made the translation from theory to action!

Copyright © Leadership In Action Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Leadership In Action is an Australian professional development firm dedicated to working with businesses and their employees in the pursuit of high-performance - through the development of highly effective tactical, operational and project leadership, ultimately engaging, enabling and empowering employees. Their unique, distinctive and high-impact Project: T.O.P. Leaders™ has combined the principles and processes utilized by the highly regarded Australian Army Special Forces, along with the research findings of Team Management Systems, Immersion Learning Systems and Cultural Imprints, to develop the kind of leadership that powers superior team-based performance in circumstances of high-demand.

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