Make yourself uncomfortable
One senior director with a large engineering firm said ‘I thought I knew myself pretty well, but what I learned on this programme was quite a shock. This was the first time I really understood how others see me and, more importantly, that I needed to make some changes. While it was quite painful, I am really glad I found this out and only wish I had known it years ago.’
This message of ‘seeing myself as others see me’ is the one that emerges time and time again, despite the fact that those who have attended the Advanced Personal Leadership Programme have normally experienced a number of other interventions: programmes, psychometrics and 360 reviews. So what is it about this programme that leads to a very different outcome?
There are many leadership programmes and processes that aim to help individuals understand themselves better, an essential part of leadership. Many of these depend on psychometrics, which are self-generated and therefore self-limiting however honest one is trying to be. The aim of the Advanced Personal Leadership programme is to create a situation in which extensive feedback between delegates is based on actual behaviour, and behaviour that is closest to how we operate in our everyday lives, work or personal.
In this programme we create situations where delegates are required to use their leadership skills and experience to solve problems both individually and in a group. This is challenging, at times ambiguous and frustrating, and not easy to resolve. In addition, as members of a team that has to operate together from Day 1, and also to influence the other team to achieve progress, achieving consensus is a major challenge.
As relationships develop over the week, and the natural politeness disappears, true feelings begin to emerge and ‘normal’ behaviour returns, for good and not so good.
It is this that forms the basis of the very direct feedback given between delegates every day about how it feels to be working with each individual and what could be different. It is this directness, more open than usual because this is a confidential one-week programme in which everyone is there to learn, that creates the difference.
As we know, recognising changes you want to make is one thing, achieving and sustaining them is very much more challenging. The length of the programme, a week of intensive activity allows time, not just to become more aware, but to discuss why you behave the way you do, often down to habits of a lifetime that have worked successfully for you in your career so far.
Even more importantly, it allows time to try new leadership behaviours and become confident in them before returning to the ‘real’ world. Support from the rest of the team and one-to-one coaching from the programme consultants leads to shifts in behaviour. For many, this is why the programme is described as transformational.
Unstructured, uncertain and ambiguous, by its nature the programme can be an uncomfortable experience that echoes today’s business environment and challenges your perception of yourself and others.
Programme Director, Advanced Personal Leadership Programme